Valuable Tool for Selling Professional Short Fiction

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I picked up Playing the Short Game by Douglas Smith and I’ve already read it twice. Despite the fact that there’s a vast number of books on writing, I’ve not really found many on selling short fiction in modern markets. What this book offers is a valuable resource on the methods of publishing short fiction at the professional level in modern markets as well as information on licensing and relicensing your works, cover letter creation, and how to leverage your short fiction career into a novel career. Douglas Smith has an encouraging and conversational tone that I enjoyed and as one of the more prolific modern short fiction authors out there, his experience is invaluable.

One of the most important things this book taught me was to not sell myself short. Many times I’ll polish up a short story and be rather proud of it and sell it to a semi-pro magazine. Now there’s nothing wrong with semi-pro magazines and I have sold things to these venues before, but I never really try to give the ‘big dogs’ of the industry a chance. I often feel like I shouldn’t even try because who gets into those magazines anyway, right? Well, this book really has shown me how writing short fiction in today’s world is a numbers game more than anything else, that is, writing quality stories and getting as many out in front of editors as possible. It sounds like obvious advice, yet I really hadn’t been following it too well. Often times I would send something out and wait for it instead of immediately beginning work on another piece. My mindset has shifted quite a bit and now I am aiming high from here on out. By the end of the year, I want to place a story in a professionally paying science fiction or fantasy magazine. It’s worth a shot.

Check out Douglas Smith’s Playing the Short Game if you have an interest in writing and selling short fiction at the professional level. This is a book that I’ll have close to my writing desk for a long time.

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Storm Witch – Out Today

IIIf you’re looking for a short Grimdark read on your lunch break, commute to work, or even if the grim darkness helps you sleep at night, Storm Witch is out today. It’s the second tale in my ongoing series The Exiled Crown. It can be read independently from Forsaken, but some of the elements from the second story are present in that first tale. Storm Witch is about Ayla and her companion Brim taking a contract to kill a witch who has cursed a city with winter in the midst of summer and rescue a princess to get paid some much-needed gold. It’s double the length of Forsaken, around 4,000 words. I hope you’ll check it out and, as always, if you’d like a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review on Goodreads, feel free to contact me. Have a grim and dark day!

-ESF

Only .99 at all Amazon markets.

Storm Witch:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Forsaken:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

The Best Spec-Fic Anthology/Collection Purchases I’ve Made this Year (2016)

With limited time on my hands, I’ve started to read a lot more short fiction anthologies. In the work week, it’s so much easier to squeeze in a short story or flash piece here or there and I’ve found a lot of really strong stories that have resonated deeply with me. Reading short fiction has become more than just ‘research’ for developing my own short fiction craft. I’ve actually really grown fond of the things. These are the best anthologies I’ve read this year and in turn, the ones I recommend you check out for yourselves.

6. Rogues Edited by George R.R. Martin

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There’s an amazing lineup of Fantasy authors here. The stories are a bit of a mixed bunch based on taste, but all of them are well written and polished and based around the same theme of Roguish characters. I have found quite a few favorites in this one. Plus, writing short Fantasy can be incredibly difficult so it was a lot of fun to read it done well.

5. Road Brothers by Mark Lawrence

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Mark Lawrence has been writing short stories for various characters which appear in his Broken Empire series for some time now. Some of them have made appearances elsewhere in other venues while others he has been hinting about for some time. Finally, he has collected them all in one place and if you’ve read the Broken Empire trilogy this is a nice one stop shop for getting a little extra depth on Prince Jorg’s band of brothers.

4. Blackguards Edited by J.M. Martin

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Similarly to Rogues, Blackguards boasts an amazing cast of fantasy authors all coming together on the theme of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues. I found a lot more stories here that I enjoyed than Rogues and each story was well polished in a wonderful collection of fantasy literature that I’m sure I will come back to again and again.

3. Way of the Dead Edited by Marc Gascoigne and Christian Dunn

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I’ve not really been a Warhammer fan in any respect. However, after seeing a story in here by C.L. Werner I decided to give the anthology it hailed from a shot. These stories are dark and very violent. But the writing is on point and the stories very well polished. I’ve started to get a feel for Warhammer and I think I’ll probably give more of it a shot.

2. A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories by Ray Bradbury

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Ray Bradbury is my favorite short fiction author. I’ve read a lot of his stuff online and his stories have been one of the major inspirations for my pursuit of writing short fiction. Bradbury has written so many stories in his life (more than 400) and I’ve not read the majority of them. I decided to start collecting his works and I’ve never been disappointed in a story here. If you’ve not read Bradbury and you like Science Fiction, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

1. Nature Futures 2 Edited by Henry Gee and Colin Sullivan

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I love Nature’s Science fiction imprint. I would go so far to say that it is one of my favorite places to get my science fiction fix. When I learned there were two anthologies I both felt like and idiot for not knowing and quickly purchased. It is an anthology of stories that have appeared on the site, yet there are so many great stories under 1,000 words here that it would make anyone believe in the value of flash fiction.

The Bradbury Challenge

I recently watched a video of a lecture given by Ray Bradbury, American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author. Bradbury is considered by many to be one of the greatest short fiction writers of all time. Many of his stories have impacted me deeply in one way or another, but I’d never before thought to search for any of his writing advice. I stumbled upon this lecture from 2001 in which he presents several important things beginning writers should do to improve their craft. As a result of the video I have decided to take on the following challenges to improve my writing:

I encourage you to watch Ray Bradbury’s lecture on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W-r7ABrMYU

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” -Ray Bradbury

  1. Starting today, 9/24/16, until next year this day, 9/24/17, I will attempt to write 52 short stories. One short story a week. This will probably be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but if I can push through, I’m sure I’ll be a better writer for it. I’ll keep you up to date in semi-regular posts as I progress with this part of the challenge. It’s Saturday, and I’ve already written my short story for this week, and I will start work on my short story for next week shortly.
  2. Starting yesterday, 9/23/16 I want to read at least one short story per day. It’s been said by many that one of the most important factors in improving your craft is to be a constant reader. I’ve always read a lot of books, but not every day, and not often was my reading short fiction. I want to be a short form writer, and I need to read more short form. To keep track of this challenge, I will create a page on this site to catalog the stories I’ve read.

I’ve wanted to take my writing seriously and to the next level for some time and this is the way I think will best help me reach my goals. Keeping this site posted will help me stay accountable. If you’re serious about writing, I hope you’ll join me in ‘The Bradbury Challenge’ to improve your craft. If you want to join me, or even to share your thoughts and feelings on the challenge, I encourage you to do so in the comments below.

-ESF

 

Short Read Recommendation: “Reading Together” by Clive Tern

Every once in a while I’d like to share some of the great genre stories I’ve read. Today’s recommendation is “Reading Together” by Clive Tern over on Daily Science Fiction. This particular short demonstrates how powerful the flash fiction format can be, a powerfully written story in around 270 words. You can read it over at Daily Science Fiction in the link below:

http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/virtual-reality/clive-tern/reading-together

Read any good short stories lately? Let me know in the comments below!

-ESF

 

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