Writing Markets for Speculative Fiction Writers

ASFJAN2015webThe other day I asked some friends of mine on Facebook about the advantages of still writing for online magazines–specifically speculative fiction magazines. My question was less prompted by a search for bragging rights than it was about searching for ways to find more eyeballs on my work.

My query resulted in two confirmations: 1) Some online magazines pay professional rates, and 2) Discoverability.

These magazines do get a lot of submissions so just submitting a story is no guarantee they will accept it, but that is part of a writer’s life. We know that. You are writing short fiction and I don’t see the downside to submitting your stories to them. If they accept it, you get paid and you still retain most of your copyright, if not all of your copyright, depending on the rights agreement with that publication (usually First English Language serial rights).

You’re still free to continue on the indie route, but you’ll be able to add your magazine published story to your bibliography, more people will have read your words, plus I think it is a feather in your cap. From my understanding, and this depends on the publication that bought your story, in some instances you are free to publish your sold story on your own after a certain time period has lapsed. Strange Horizons, for instance, buys world exclusive English-Language rights (including audio rights) for a period of two months after which you are free to publish the story on your own.

Now discoverability, to me, is gold. That is the first prize. If your story gets accepted a lot of people will read it. If they like it, they will search for more of your work. This is what we want. As writers we don’t compete with each other—at least not in terms of story—but we are fighting for visibility. The generally accepted advice by established authors is to write, publish and repeat and eventually readers will find you. I agree with that, but if you can somehow find a stepladder, just high enough for your outstretched hand to reach above the thousands around you clamoring for attention, why not do that?

I’m told that author Usman T. Malik credited his appearance in The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories to his published story appearing online after first appearing in print form in an anthology called “Qualia Nous” (see his comment below). Ken Lui, author of The Paper Menagerie and winner of the Hugo, Nebula and WFA awards, is another prolific author whose stories frequently appear in magazines like Lightspeed and Analog, to name but a few.

I don’t have the resources to pay for marketing. What I can do is write. And if the best advice is to keep writing, then getting your work on Amazon and in other publications must be a practical strategy. Like I said above, you’re not guaranteed acceptance, but you’re writing and no one can take your finished story from you. It’s yours and you can publish it on Amazon and wherever else you want, and you can keep doing it for as long as you want because you love writing.

This is your passion. If you could afford it you’d do it for free because having people react emotionally to words that came from your mind is spiritually rewarding. When I say spiritually rewarding I mean it’s the equivalent of an emotional orgasm that lingers far longer than the physical.

So, earlier this week I jumped on Google and searched for magazines that specialize in speculative fiction, and I found a few, along with some geared more to mystery and thriller writing. As far as I know these are the main ones or more popular ones out there. I’ve posted the links to each below and if you click on them they will take you to that specific magazine’s submission page where you can decide for yourself whether you wish to venture into this new unknown.

Here they are in no particular order:

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Asimov’s Science Fiction

Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Lightspeed Science Fiction and Fantasy

Clarkesworld Magazine – (Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Strange Horizons – Speculative Fiction

Every Day Fiction – short fiction

Daily Science Fiction

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

Kasma Magazine

Redhead eZine – Fantasy


Apex Magazine – Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Perihelion – Online Science Fiction Magazine

May you write swift and true and may your words resonate. Good luck!


Dwarves, Dragons, Wizards and Elves: Thinking About the Standard Fantasy Setting

ZothiqueI found this article useful. It makes you think about how we view recurring characters in fantasy, the giant impact Tolkien had on this genre, and how we should use more creative freedom in generating our stories.

There are no limits on how high our imaginations can soar. There are no limits on worldbuilding, on creating new cultures and characters, and you don’t need to smoke something to be truly creative. Yet, at the same time I also accept that we write the things we identify with and that we know other people will too, and our pleasure derives from that familiarity. Of placing an ordinary person in a fantastical setting and allowing him to do the things he cannot do in the real world. That is what I enjoy. That, and exploring new and ancient worlds. Worlds that at first glance seem familiar until you go deeper…

We like what we like. And we are free do so just as we are free to explore new horizons. After all, this is what fantasy is all about.

Please read the article over at Black Gate. There’s an interesting history lesson there on fantasy as genre.


I’m new on tsū

1195421944619161676typewriter_john_olsen_01.svg.medI discovered tsū over the weekend, mostly because I saw people talking about it and I decided I didn’t want to be left out in the cold in case tsū is some kind of wonderful. I don’t know yet if it is, but it’s fun to try new things and so I did.  If you click this it will take you to my profile.

It feels like a Facebook/blogging hybrid platform. I think I’ll use it for a while to expand my network. I can share things and write things and hopefully reach more people.

Why not join me there? I’m lonely and lonesome and alone. I need friends on tsū.

Woelf Dietrich | tsū.

Also, this is the first post on my new-look blog. *fist bump*

Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones is Live!

Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones - Smallest

And Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones is live.

Of course the timing is perfect for Cyber Monday.

Personally I don’t think it’s a bad story. Then again, I might be biased. Fortunately for me you can tell me if Bullies is a good story and that way we can cure me of my bias.

And given that the story is about asshole bullies and wanting to stand up to them, you might just have some fun reading it.

It’s a quick read and for a buck you’ll have something to enjoy while drinking your coffee. But you’ll have to sip your coffee to make it last for the duration of the story.

Cover Reveal: Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones

I accidentally wrote a short story called Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones. Date of release is set for 1 December 2014. This tale is a bit different to my usual genres of fantasy and the supernatural. It’s about bullying and about how it feels to be bullied.

The plot description is pretty succinct:

A tale about a boy and his dog, about bullies and soggy soup bones, and about finding courage in the unlikeliest of places.

The cover was designed by James aka Humble Nations at GoOnWrite.com:

Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones - Smaller

Although the story is purely fictional I do have memories of being bullied. These are not comfortable memories. And yet they are tolerable because of time and age, and because I dealt with the bullies at the time. I didn’t always win, but neither did they escape unscathed. Yet, I still remember the fear. A palpable fear that is both pervasive and unrelenting, even when you do stand up for yourself. This is a story about finding courage despite that fear.

I’ve tried to capture that emotional turmoil honestly without glamorizing it or making it sound easy. I hope I succeeded in doing so.

Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones is available for pre-order at Amazon. And for a measly buck it’s almost a giveaway.

I really hope you enjoy it.


Why do I write the books I write? – Venture Galleries

I have a post live at Venture Galleries today. It’s about honesty in writing and about the books I write, and why I write them.

Also, I’m publishing my short story, Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones end of this month. I’ve made some changes, fleshed it out some, and had critical eyeballs scrutinize it. Still waiting for feedback from one or two other people and then after that some more editing, you know, just to make sure.

I’m in the process of sourcing a cover and this is proving far more complex than I thought it would be. I will post more information on that later this month at which time I’ll also provide a plot description. Hopefully I can do a proper cover reveal before it gets published.

I have some other good news as well. I am in the middle of planning a mystery project with a bunch of other writers–all of them talented and fueled by their diverse backgrounds. At this stage I can’t say much more than that, but I will keep you in the loop once we get to a stage where more can be revealed.

Anyway, back to honest writing and the kind of books I write. You can read the article here:  Why do I write the books I write? – Venture Galleries.


R.A. Salvatore and Why He Loves Writing

Every now and then I find an article or a video clip or something else that inspires me creatively, specifically when it comes to writing. It’s fascinating to read about authors and how they started in this profession, how they write, what emotional challenges they conquered, etc. I soak in this information, hoping that something would *click!* somewhere in the back of my mind and the veil of ignorance would lift and I would see my literary path illuminated, free from confusion. Of course it doesn’t really work like that. You only get the magic going if you keep writing.

Still, authors and their stories inspire me. I think it’s human nature. We tend to assume we are special and that our problems are unique to us, but when you read about other people, about other authors and you read about their struggles, their rejections, the mountains they had to climb before success found them, you realize that though you are special, you are not that special. Thousands of other people trotted this path. Some had better hiking shoes, maybe more water, maybe a better backpack, but they all went down the same path, and the one thing they had in common–the one thing they all shared–is that they kept walking. They kept writing. There lies the inspiration.

I found this video clip from R. A. Salvatore from 2012 in which he talks about how he got started in writing, and yes, it started with a blizzard and The Hobbit. The importance for me, in this clip, was when he spoke about why he writes and why he loves doing it. You should listen to the whole clip. It’s about 20 minutes. I think it will be worth your while. I really do. Being able to write and have strangers read our work is far bigger than we think.

From the video description:

On October 4, 2012, writer R.A. Salvatore received the Chandler Reward of Merit from the Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster, Massachusetts. The Chandler Reward of Merit is presented to authors who have made significant contributions to children’s and young adult literature. Salvatore gave an intimate and fascinating talk on how and why he became a writer, his inspirations, and how the fantasy genre has changed since he started writing.