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Monday, 25 March 2013

2013 Specfic Festival: Angst

It's can be a surprise what gets under your skin. In the last panel I went to at the NSW Writers' Centre Speculative Fiction Festival there were a number of comments that really got me thinking. One in particular that caused me some real angst. I've been sitting on this for over a week now and I just want to get it out. The panel was about writing and selling short stories

First there were some comments by Angela Slatter, maybe Lisa Hannett I'm not totally sure which. These two authors have done a lot of co-writing and on the panel they tended to agree with and re-enforce each others comments a lot. It may be that I mostly remember it being Angela because she has a story in the In Fabular-divino anthology and I had met and talked with her earlier in the day.

Anyway there were three things that Angela (or Lisa) said (not their exact words) that got me thinking.

  1. Aim for the highest pro markets first. I really liked this advice and it made sense. I had been thinking that I needed some success at a lower level first, but once she said it I saw the wisdom.
  2. Put that rejected story straight back out a quickly as possible. One of the ladies said they send the story out again within minutes of a rejection. This advice I'm really uncertain about. Every time, so far, that I've had a story rejected I've looked at the story and found things wrong with it. Not just picky stuff, real mistakes and problems with the story. This made me wonder if I'm sending out haft baked stories, even though I'm having other people read (and not just family, other writers) and going over it many times. Maybe this will change with time and experience.
  3. Have a lot of stories ready to submit. This is the idea of having many coals in the fire. It's seems like a good idea, I'm just not sure if I can do it.
These were all thought provoking comments but the comment that gave me real angst was from another panelist Cat Sparks. Again, I cannot remember her exact words, but she basically made the comment that just because your got some out there (on the net in particular) it doesn't make you a published author. she was making the valid point that it's really easy to get a story published on the web by a friend, or even on your own site. However, that is not the same as having a story accepted by a professional publication (web based or other wise.). She is completely right, but (silly me) I started to doubt the validity of my In Fabula-divino story and put myself through all kinds of stress over of it. 

The truth is that it doesn't really matter if I'm a published writer of just one story or not. What matters is writing the stories the best you can and getting them out there for people to read and enjoy, if they are good enough.

Interestingly, to me, Cat Sparks took a picture of me on the day. I cannot work out how to get picture from flickr, but here is the link, I hope it works. It's likely that she was actually taking a picture of the two authors sitting in front of me, Jason Nahrung and Ben Chandler. Standing next to me is another aspiring writer, who has a very good blog called W.I.P. It, Lynda Young.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

2013 Specfic Festival: After

It's just been a few hours since the 2013 Speculative Fiction Festival at the NSW Writers' Centre. I must say that I enjoyed the day a lot. However, how did my plans go?

    Handing out flyers: When I arrived I saw that others had there promo flyers on the tables in the foyer, so I followed this example. You can see an example of a table. I kept some flyers to give to anyone I happened to chat with who seemed interested. I then had this idea to see if I could get people to ask me about In Fabula-divino. With a rush of inspiration I wrote, 'Ask me about In Fabula-divino', on my name tag. Now my last name had been miss spelt on my name tag, so I'd already scribbled that out and wrote the correct spelling. This left my name tag in a bit of a mess and I'm not sure that it helped.

    Meeting and talking: I did a bit of meeting and talking. I met Angela Slatter in the coffee line and we talked briefly about In Fabula-divino. I met and chatted Jason Nahrung, and then down loaded his new book, 'Blood and Dust', to my Kindle using the free Wifi at the centre. I also briefly chatted with Richard Harland and saw a copy of his, soon to be released, next book. 

    Meet Mark Webb: I did met Mark and we had a good long chat at the end of the day.

    Finally: My name tag got one positive response. A lady who had heard of the book said to me that she was going to buy it and looked forward to reading my story. The only other response was from a friend who laughed and said, 'How funny.'

    Friday, 15 March 2013

    2013 Specfic Festival part 1: Before

    Tomorrow I'm going the the 2013 Speculative Fiction Festival at the NSW Writers' Centre. This is the second such festival, the first was in September 2011 and I went to it. The first one was really great, it was my first experience of such an event, it was inspiring and intimidating. Inspiring because it really got me excited about writing and convinced me to have a go. Intimidating because I knew no one and was just overwhelmed by it all. I talked to almost no one, didn't ask any questions at any of the sessions and just left quietly at the end. I had no plans or goals other than to be there. This time I hope it will be different.

    I have a few things I'm planning to do:

    1. Hand out flyers promoting the In Fabula-divino anthology, just released, which I've have a story in. This is a bit scary for me. When I was in high school I was asked to hand out some flyer for an event I was part of. I got scared and chucked them in a bin. Don't want to do that again!
    2. Meet and talk to some authors and other people in the industry. Angela Slatter is one of the established authors who provided a story for In Fabula-divino, so it will be good to meet her. There are also some other authors who I've met and chatted with at a previous event I'm hoping to get a chance to meet again.
    3. I'm also hoping to meet Mark Webb, an aspiring writer (like me) and a great blogger. Mark has done some beta reading for me and has really helped improve my work. We've never met in person, so I'm looking forward to doing so.
    So, I'll let you know how the day, and my plans, went after the Festival. 

    Below is the flyer I'm hoping to hand out a bunch of.

    Sunday, 10 March 2013

    In Fabula-divino on sale now!

    The Anthology, 'In fabula-divino', featuring my story, 'Crossroads' is now on sale as an eBook. Wohoo!

    You can buy if for your kindle at Amazon.

    You can buy it in the format of your choice at Smashwords.

    And it's just $2.99! Amazing! So Cheap!

    Even better you can get a free copy simply by sharing! Share this on you favorite social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) and you could win.

    The first three people who let me know that they have shared will get a free copy in the format of there choice. The format options are epub, Kindle or PDF.

    Just let me know how you have shared (with a link) either here or by email at, and if you are one of the first three, you win the book. You'll have to tell me which format you want and the email to send it to.

    Yes, this is an unashamed attempt to sell more books.

    Saturday, 9 March 2013

    Count down to Launch Party: In Fabula-divino

    As I post this there is just 22 hours to the launch Party of the Anthology In Fabula-divino.

    At 2 pm (Sydney time) Sunday 10 March the fun begins.

    Find out more at the office web site.

    More to come

    Friday, 8 March 2013

    Epilogue: A Review

    Epilogue is a great Anthology. It's only the second Australian made themed anthology that I've read and it teases me to read more. Every story left an impression on me.

    Sleepy Beauty: Don't know if I understand, still thinking.

    A Memory Trapped in Light: The stories not finished, I want to know what happened next.

    Time and Tide: Amazing concepts, great characters, confusing ending.

    Fireflies: A slice of post apocalyptic life.

    The Fletcher Test: There is hope after all.

    Ghosts: Just to survive is not enough.

    Sleepers:  More questions than answers.

    Solitary: How we are the same matters more than how we are different.

    Cold Comfort: There is a larger world to be explored here, give me more.

    The Mornington Ride: Almost the song.

    What Books Survive: Who will read them.

    The Last Good Town: What is good?

    Thank you FableCroft, a wonderful book.

    Wednesday, 6 March 2013

    Three ups and one little downer

    There are some really good things happening for my writing right now, all very encouraging.

    First, In Fabula-divino the book is a reality! As you can see in the picture it's now a real physical book, with pages and everything!

    The book was approved for printing in record breaking time. These are the proof copies, but the real thing is not far away.

    In Fabula-divino will be available as an ebook (which is also a real book) on the 11 March. The paper versions will come out soon after this.

    There are lots of thing planned for it's launch in a few days, including some giveaways, so keep an eye out.

    Second, I have another story accepted for publishing. My shortest story ever, "Mouse" is going to be published in the June issue of AntipodeanSF. Antipodean SF is a monthly ezine of speculative flash fiction. It's really worthwhile subscribing to, it's a short fun read every month.

    Third, I've finally received my copy of the, "81st Writer's Digest Writing Competition Collection". This book features the grand prize winner and winning entries of the ten categories in the competition. There were ten winners in each category and my story, "Leprechaun Tours Australia" came in seventh in the children's/young adult category. This is the little downer, I thought all the winning stories, including mine, were going to be published, but only the first place stories are in the book. The other winning stories are just listed in the back. It's good to be listed.