Website is alive!

June 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

*cue maniacal laughter and partial hand clenching*

Yes: www.samuelmae.info is alive. Mostly. Just need to get the contact page sorted out, but other than that, it’s a-go.

I’ve integrated both of these blogs into the website. Partially integrated. The new blogs are brand new, and i’ve sent over a couple or three posts from each of these ones to give them some meat to start off.

So, from now on i won’t be posting on these pretty shores, but on the newly discovered asteroid belt that is www.samuelmae.info.

See y’all there!

03/06/10

June 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

Crossed Genres is having a flash fiction contest (upper limit 500 words) and i just finished a 340 word piece, so guess what? I’ve subbed it.

It’s nice to sub something new again.

website approaching

June 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

Soon, i shall have my very own website. Have domain name, and hosting, so all that’s left is to build the durn thing.

Once it’s built activity here will cease and this blog will either be redirected to the site, or big, flashing links will be posted here.

The site is: www.samuelmae.info.

Chur chur!

Mental note

May 30, 2010 - Leave a Response

Don’t submit anything to Going Down Swinging again. Fortunately, i don’t write much non-SF stuff, so the likelihood of me needing to is very slim.

Why, you ask?

Well, let me get this out of the way first: i have absolutely no issue with form rejections. Editors are very busy people and in no way do i expect them to make personal remarks in a rejection. It’s nice when they do, but form is fine.

Except when it’s a mass form rejection entitled ‘Dear Writers and Artists’ and which then goes on to explain in detail why it would’ve been far too difficult to send out a simple ‘Dear Samuel Mae, We’ve decided not to use your work at this time.’ The explanation implies that instead of sending out a rejection when they initially read the story and decide they don’t want it they put it aside into an electronic pile and send out a mass rejection all at once. And looking at Duotrope’s RSS feed for responses reported that indeed looks like it’s the case. Feels very inefficient to me, because i truly doubt that all three editors consult each other over every story. So why not send out the rejection when the story is actually rejected? That eliminates a whole step in their process. And keep the big long explanation in the R. That’s fine. Just put my name on the damn thing.

Usually i probably wouldn’t be bothered by the mass form, but this market is very persnickety about format (and their preferred isn’t typical ms format), and requires authors and artists to fill out a whole cover sheet of details about the story and themselves. Again, this is apparently for the sake of efficiency, but i remember thinking, just over two months back when i filled it in, ‘this is all information that could be included in the subject header of the email (FICTION SUB (or whatever it is I’m submitting): name of story by my name (word count)) and what’s not should be included on the first page of the sub (name, address, email, etc) anyway.’

So, after making me jump through all those hoops (inserting their cover page into my document, filling it out, reformatting said document to their requirements) couldn’t they at least give me the courtesy of my name on the rejection?

Hmm, i’m obviously grumpy tonight.

*step away from the keyboard, son, and take a few deep breaths*

And sleep. Some sleep would be good.

Brand new pro-paying SF market

May 30, 2010 - Leave a Response

While browsing the ‘What’s New’ section of Duotrope this morning i noticed a brand new pro-rate paying SF market called Daily Science Fiction. Cool, i thought, another pro market is most excellent.

They pay 8c a word for fiction between 100 and 10,000 words. Awesome. These stories will be available free to the public. Awesome. They also plan to publish new fiction 5 days of every week. Again, awesome…

Then i thought about it. And the more i thought about it the more i wondered whether the two editors had thought their idea through thoroughly. The idea itself is admirable: bring the SF-loving portion of the public a daily (during the week) dose of speculative fiction. And they do state that they’re looking for flash fiction primarily. Even so, at 8c a word, over 260 days of the year, at–let’s say–an average of 1,000 words per story, they’ll be spending close to $21,000 on fiction, and i feel that’s a conservative\minimum estimate. Their yearly budget for artwork is much more feasible: $900-1,200 (each piece of artwork bought will get center stage for approx. one month).

Will the money for the fiction be coming from advertising, fundraising drives, personal funds of the editors? I see no advertisements on the site, and seeing as the format will be electronic, the daily advertising space will be limited. Fundraising drives work for places like Strange Horizons, but they’ve proven themselves to be very good for a long period of time (and they also diversify their material with articles, poetry and columns). I hope the author payments aren’t being budgeted from the personal monies of the DSF editors, because that’s a very good way for them to become disillusioned and poor(er?) very fast.

The money outgoing is one issue. The other is quality. Will they find 260 stories per year that are worth paying 8c a word for? Or will they end up being forced to print average to mediocre fiction to fill their quota? Looking at the other daily markets dotted around the interwebs (and there’s not many, and they usually publish all genres and pay token rates, if at all), i worry that it’s likely to be the latter.

Their is one other teensy issue that is also related to quality: saturation mixed with apathy.

I love short fiction. Love it to pieces. A good short story is, in my mind, incomparable to any other form of storytelling. But, even so, unless Daily Science Fiction is publishing firecracker stories (metaphorically, not literally) at least every other day, then they run the risk of overfilling their short story sink, which in turn will lead to readers shrugging and moving back to the markets they know deliver what they want.

This all sounds like a real downer, doesn’t it? But i don’t want it to be that way. I want this new pro-paying market to succeed. The website is professional, one of the editors has been through Clarion, and it’s always great to see a new pro-paying SF market that is aware of and willing to use technology that isn’t archaic.

(side note: props to Asimov’s for moving to an electronic submission system. The very thought fills my heart with joy.)

But i worry. I don’t want this to be a flash-bang here-for-a-year-then-gone venture. I want to look back in ten years and say ‘i remember when this zine started off and it hasn’t looked back.’

Immediately i think of another new-ish market: Brain Harvest. They specialize in stories of no more than 750 words and publish a new story every 2 weeks. They also run a critiquing service on the side. But recently they lowered their pay-rates from 5c a word ($975 a year maximum) to 3c a word. Why? Here’s what they had to say on the matter: Our gravest apologies for having to lower our pay rates, but as we rely on the generosity of our readers and our own pocketbooks to run this crazy show, pro-rates are no longer feasible at this time.

I know ‘daily’ has a certain ring to it but, Jonathan Laden and Michele Barasso, the dear editors of DSF, please give serious thought to kicking off with a weekly schedule (even bi-weekly, though i still think that’s pushing it) rather than jumping straight into a daily output. At 8c a word you’ll get good writers submitting good stories and won’t be forced to print the average stories you’ll also get, and that works out to win-win for everybody.

No matter what you do, i still hope you have success and that’ll i’ll be reading your zine for years to come.

28/05/10

May 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

Got paid for the poem i sold to Basement Stories a couple days ago. So i guess that makes the sale 110% official. Issue #1, complete with my poem Dust Particles, hits the internet in July.

What with the new job started (yes, i have a new job; it involves, among other things, sitting in an office) and other general busy-ness, i haven’t written much since the last update.

I have decided to pursue something interesting (to me), however. Half-completed manuscript from 10 years ago, put aside at the time because i didn’t have the skill or experience to continue (and also because i didn’t realize that getting the jitters halfway through a draft is normal for many writers and the best way through it is to push on). The idea is fun and my skill level, both mechanically and story-wise, has improved by at least 500% since then, so i’ve decided to revisit. Unfortunately the 40-page outline, complete with maps and diagrams, has gone walkabouts in the last decade, but unfortunate doesn’t necessarily equate to bad because i remember the gist and will probably go in a different direction anyhow.

There’s also a short story idea that recently my subconscious has been pricking my conscious with. Perhaps i’ll start fiddling with that too. *grins like a over-excited clown and skips off*

27/04/10

April 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

Brand New Story Submission Fever Excitement Good Times!

Or, in normal speak: i subbed a new short story tonight. GLEE!

Which is to say, when the first rejection comes back i’ll probably read over the story and slap myself and say, ‘what the hell was i thinking, sending it out dressed like that?’ 😀

Haven’t done much other writing the last week or so. Some jottings here and there, but nothing consistent.

12/04/10

April 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

Got 3 short story rejections over the weekend. For one of those i did a fair amount of trimming before sending it back out. Well, let’s be precise. 286 words. All three of those shorts went back out today, but i tells ya, the submission process takes time, even in our electronically driven world.

Also ran over my brand new short story. Trimming, rearranging. Now i have to force myself to let it sit for a week or two before looking at it again.

Didn’t get near the novel today. Tomorrow afternoon i hope to finish skimming through what i have so far and maybe even write some fresh stuff. On Friday, or was it Saturday, i edited the first 71 pages. It’s not too bad. But i could be a wee bit biased, couldn’t i?

7/04/10

April 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

Added 380 words to a short story today. One that i’d got a rejection back for and the editor said they thought it could use a bit more elaboration in the plot. This is a story where the first draft stood at over 7,500 words and i cut it down to just over 5,200. Perhaps i cut a bit too much out.

6/04/10

April 6, 2010 - Leave a Response

Editing makes me happy.

Got a rejection over the weekend for a short story where an assistant editor (or slush reader, i’m not sure which) said they felt the dialogue bogged down the overall narrative, thus disengaging them from the piece. I read that a couple of times and took it to mean they felt some of the dialogue wasn’t necessary, so today i’ve gone through with my shears looking to condense and remove extraneous speech. And, lo and behold, i cut 566 words from the piece. Good times.

Also did a bit more work on the short-in-progress. Added words to this one. A whole 36 of them. Still haven’t come up with a title for it yet. Usually i have a title before i have the story, but not this time. And i don’t have all that many ideas currently, either.

I really should get back into my novel. Keep thinking about it, but the motivation just isn’t there. I’ll have to force myself. I’m sure once i get rolling again i’ll be fine.