Friday, November 27, 2015

15 Calls for Submissions: December 2015- Paying Markets

Here are 15 literary magazines willing to pay for your fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Some pay at pro rates, which is great for boosting your morale - and for adding to your resume.

In December, there are calls for speculative fiction, experimental fiction, general fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction, so there is something for everyone.

If you don't particularly care whether you get paid for your writing, but simply want to get your work out there, go to New Pages for a list of calls for submissions (both paid and unpaid), or Poets & Writers.

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Uncanny Magazine

"Uncanny Magazine is seeking passionate, diverse SF/F fiction and poetry from writers from every conceivable background.  We want  intricate, experimental stories and poems with gorgeous prose, verve, and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs. Uncanny believes there’s still plenty of room in the genre for tales that make you feel."

Length: 750-6000 words

Payment: $.08 per word (including audio rights)

Deadline: December 1, 2015

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The Hollins Critic

Genre: Poetry

Payment: $25 per poem

Deadline: December 1, 2015

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Lockjaw Magazine

"We don’t want you to show your work. We want you to show your bones." Leans toward the experimental and post-modern.

Genres: Poetry and fiction

Payment: $.01 per word

Deadline: December 1, 2015

Accepts reprints

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Myslexia: Issue 69: Monster

A subject to conjure pity and/or horror, that invites experimentation in both genre (fantasy, literary, crime, romance?) and point of view (from inside or outside the creature).

Genres: Poems of up to 40 lines or stories of up to 2,200 words

Payment: £25 per poem, and £15 per thousand words of prose

Deadline: December 7, 2015

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Martian Migraine Press Anthology, "Cthulhusattva: Lovecraftian Tales of the Black Gnosis"

"We want to see tales of Mythos mystics, spiritual sorcerers, monstrous monks, and preternatural philosophers, and we want to see them in a diverse range of settings, not just Arkham. The world is vast and strange: show us the bizarre and mind-expanding traditions of far-flung locales."

Length: From 1,500 to 7,000 words. FLASH FICTION: under 1500 words. No poetry.

Payment.03CAD per word, via Paypal, as well as a contributor copy (paperback) of the anthology, and copies in all electronic formats (mobi, EPUB, and PDF). Authors are also entitled to copies of three additional Martian Migraine Press titles of their choosing.

Deadline: December 15, 2015

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Kenyon Review 

Genres: Short fiction (up to 7500 words); essays (up to 7500 words); poetry (up to 6 poems)

Payment: $40 a page

Deadline: December 15, 2015

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Don't Open Till Doomsday and Melee

Genre: Medieval Fantasy, Science Fiction

Payment: One contributor copy and a one-time payment of $15

Deadline: December 15, 2015

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Among Animals Anthology

"We’re looking for stories of how the lives of animals and humans intersect, particularly in regards to the conservation and protection of animals."

Length: 2,500 to 7,500 words

Payment: No payment information. Please inquire. 

Deadline: December 15, 2015

Accepts reprints.

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Far Orbit anthology series: Last Outpost

"World Weaver Press is expanding the Far Orbit anthology series with a new a new military science fiction anthology, Last Outpost. Last Outpost will be published in 2016. As the name implies, we’re looking for military adventure stories, page-turners that keep us on the edge of our seats. We’re not looking for mindless mayhem; we want compelling science fiction stories with a military theme."

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: Under 10,000 words

Payment: $0.01/word

Deadline: December 15, 2015

Accepts reprints

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The Puritan

Genres: Fiction, essays, poetry, interviews, reviews

Payment: $100 per interview, $100 per essay, $100 per review, $50 per work of fiction, and $15 per poem (or page, capped at $60 for poems running four pages or more)

Deadline: December 25, 2015

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Polychrome Ink

Genres: Poetry collections, short stories, short narratives, and essays off all genres that celebrate diversity. They are looking for LGBTQIA+, Neuroatypical, and Disabilities as well.

Length: Each poem cannot exceed four pages, single spaced, Times font, 12pt. Flash Fiction and Short Essays under 1k words. Long Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Essays over 1k but not surpassing 5k words. You may submit up to 5 poems or flash fiction pieces at a time.

Payment: $15 per short prose; $25 per poem; and $40 per long prose.

Deadline: December 27, 2015

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Book Smugglers Publishing

"We’re looking for original short stories from all around the world as long as they are written in English. Our goal is to publish at least three short stories, unified by a central theme. Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork from an artist commissioned by us separately. The theme is Superheroes."

Genre: Speculative fiction

Length: 1,500 and 17,500 words

Payment: $0.06 per word up to $500

Deadline: December 31, 2015

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Workers Write!

"Issue twelve of Workers Write! will be Tales from the Construction Site and will contain stories and poems from a tradesperson's point of view. We're looking for fiction about laborers, carpenters, plumbers, welders, foremen, safety inspectors, individual contractors - anyone who builds or works in construction for a living. Your stories can take place on sites as large as skyscrapers and as small as second bathrooms."

Length: 500 to 5,000 words

Payment: Between $5 and $50 (depending on length and rights requested)

Deadline: December 31, 2015

Reprints accepted

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Allegory

Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Length: 500-5000 words

Payment: $15

Deadline: December 31, 2015

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Alternate Hilarities 5: One Star Reviews of the Afterlife

Genres: Humorous speculative fiction

Length: Flash Fiction between 500 and 1500 words. Short Fiction between 1501 and 6000 words

Payment: Flash Fiction - a half cent a word paid on publication as well as one E-book and 1 share of royalties. Short Fiction - one cent a word paid on publication as well as one E-book and 2 shares of royalties

Deadline: December 31, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

45 Writing Contests in December 2015 - No Entry Fees

Painting of Russian writer Evgeny Chirikov by Ivan Kulikov, 1904
There is something about the last month of the year that inspires deadlines.

December boasts of no fewer than 45 free writing contests, encompassing a broad range of forms and genres.

There are prizes this month for published books, for unpublished manuscripts, for poetry, short stories, essays, memoirs, mysteries, and nonfiction.

None of these competitions charge an entry fee.



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The Schneider Family Book Award is sponsored by the American Library Association. The award honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Prize: Three annual awards each consisting of $5000 and a framed plaque, will be given annually in each of the following categories: birth through grade school (age 0-10), middle school (age 11-13) and teens (age 13-18). (Age groupings are approximations).

Genre: May be fiction, biography, or other form of nonfiction.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read details here.

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Poetry Center at Smith College Prize.

Restrictions: Open to sophomore or junior high school girls in New England.

Genre: Poetry.

Prize: $500.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read details here.

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The David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction is offered annually to the best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history.

Prize: $1.000.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read guidelines here.

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The Lyric College Poetry Contest.

Restrictions: Open to undergraduates enrolled full time in an American or Canadian college or university.

Genre: Poetry.

Prize: $500.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read details here.

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The W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction honors the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. It recognizes the service of American veterans and military personnel and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction.

Genre: Military fiction.

Prize: $5000.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. For details click HERE.

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Spark Award: Held by SCBWI.

Restrictions: Open to members of SCBWI who are self-published.

Genres: Fiction and nonfiction, self-published.

Prize: Envy. The SCBWI is our most prestigious national organization (US) for children's book and YA writers.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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The Pushcart Prize honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published in small presses and literary magazines. Magazine and small press editors may nominate up to six works. Pushcart Press publishes yearly anthologies of the winning submissions.

Prize: Publication.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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Tony Quagliano Poetry Fund, International Poetry Award.

Restrictions: Open to poets who have a published body of work over a period of years. Poems must be in English.

Genre: Poetry.

Prize: $1,000.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry.

Restrictions: Open to African poets who have not yet published a collection of poetry.

Genre: Poetry.

Prize: $1,000 and book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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David J. Langum Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction.

Restrictions: Self-published and subsidized novels are not eligible.

Genre: American Historical Fiction.

Prize: $1,000

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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Quantum Shorts.

Genre: Flash fiction (1000 words max). The story must be inspired by quantum physics.

Prize: $1,500

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

Requires registration.

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Words and Brushes.

Genre: Short story inspired by one of the pieces of art on the website.

Prize: $300

Deadline: December 1, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) provides direct support to individual Bronx artists who create literary, media, visual, and performing works of art.

Restrictions: Residents of the Bronx

Prize: 25 BRIO grants of $3,000 each are awarded to Bronx artists. BRIO award winners complete a one-time public service activity.

Deadline: December 4, 2015. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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White River Environmental Law Writing Competition is sponsored by the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law and Vermont Law School.

Restrictions: Open to all students currently pursuing a degree (J.D. or LL.M) at an accredited law school in the United States. Submissions written as a class component, as a journal requirement, or otherwise for academic credit are acceptable.

Genre: Original essays addressing any relevant topic in the fields of environmental law, natural resource law, energy law, environmental justice, land use law, animal law, and agricultural law.

Prize: $1000 cash prize and an offer of publication with the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.

Deadline: December 9, 2015. Read more details HERE.

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Friends of American Writers. 

Restrictions: The author must be a resident (or previously have been a resident for approximately five years) of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin; or the locale of the book must be in a region identified above. The author must not have published more than three books under his/her own pen name.

Genres: Books can be fiction or creative non-fiction and published in 2015. Self-published and e-Books are not eligible.

Prize: $4000.

Deadline: December 10, 2015. Read more details HERE.

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Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest.

Genre: Unpublished short story, no more than 2,500 words.

Prize: $1,500 to be divided among the five winners. Manuscript will be published in early winter in The Austin Chronicle.

Deadline: December 11, 2015. Read more details HERE.

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J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.

Genre: Uncompleted work of nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern.

Prize: $30,000 fellowship.

Deadline: December 11, 2015. Read more details HERE.

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J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize.

Genre: Book-length work of narrative nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern.

Prize: $10,000.

Deadline: December 11, 2015. Read more details HERE.

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Mark Lynton History Prize.

Genre: Book-length work of history on any topic that "best combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression."

Prize: $10,000.

Deadline: December 11, 2015. Read more details HERE.

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Rider University Annual High School Writing Contest.

Restrictions: Open to high school students.

Genres: Essays, poetry, fiction.

Prizes: 1st-$100, 2nd-$50, 3rd-$25.

Deadline: December 11, 2015. Read more details HERE.

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Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Novel Competition.

Restrictions: The competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any published novel (except that authors of self-published works only may enter, as long as the manuscript submitted is not the self-published work) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a novel.

Genre: Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story.

Prize: $10,000.

Deadline: December 14, 2015. Entry form and details here.

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Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest.

Restrictions: Registered undergraduate full-time Juniors or Seniors at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States during the Fall 2015 Semester.

Genre: Essay on  any topic that explores the theme of ethics. 3,000 to 4,000 words.

Prize: $5,000. 2nd Prize $2,500, 3rd Prize $1,500, two Honorable Mentions $500 each.

Deadline: December 14, 2015. Read details here.

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Christopher Doheny Award.

Genre: Fiction or non-fiction book-length manuscript on the topic of serious physical illness by a writer who has personally dealt or is dealing with life-threatening illness, either his or her own or that of a close relative or friend.

Prize: $10,000 and production and promotion of the book in an audio edition, with the option to pursue print publication with Audible's assistance.

Deadline: December 15, 2015. Read details here.

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Black Caucus of the American Library Association. BCALA presents four awards to an African American writer published in the United States during the previous year: one for adult fiction, one for nonfiction, one for a first novelist and one for poetry. These awards acknowledge outstanding achievement in the presentation of the cultural, historical and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.

Restrictions: African American writers

Genres: Books, published

Prize: Four $500.00 awards.

Deadline: December 18, 2015. Details here.

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Amazon Little A Poetry Contest.

Restrictions: Open to US poets who have published no more than one book of poetry.

Genre: Poetry; full-length collection.

Prize: The winner will receive $5,000 in prize money and a publishing contract featuring a $2,000 advance with Little A, Amazon Publishing’s literary imprint.

Deadline: December 20, 2015. Read details here.

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Commonwealth Club of California Book Awards.

Restrictions: Open to residents of California.

Genre: Book of poetry, fiction or nonfiction.

Prize: Medal.

Deadline: December 22, 2015. Entry form here.

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Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award.

Restrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter.

Genre: Poetry, unpublished and published.

Prize: $1,000.

Deadline: December 22, 2015. Read details here.

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Lucille Medwick Memorial Award.

Restrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter.

Genre: Poetry, unpublished and published. Original poem in any form on a humanitarian theme.

Prize: $500.

Deadline: December 22, 2015. Read details here.

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Cecil Hemley Memorial Award.

Restrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter.

Genre: Poetry, unpublished and published. Lyric poem that addresses a philosophical or epistemological concern.

Prize: $500.

Deadline: December 22, 2015. Read details here.

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Lyric Poetry Award.

Restrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter.

Genre: A lyric poem on any subject.

Prize: $500.

Deadline: December 22, 2015. Read details here.

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The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award.

Restrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter for free.

Genre: A poem inspired by Dickinson though not necessarily in her style.

Prize: $250.

Deadline: December 22, 2015. Read details here.

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Robert H. Winner Memorial Award.

Restrictions: Only Poetry Society of America members may enter for free. There is a charge of $15 for non-members. Open to mid-career poets who have not had substantial recognition, and is over forty, and who have published no more than one book.

Genre: Poetry.

Prize: $2,500.

Deadline: December 22, 2015. Read details here.

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The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognizes outstanding works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Awards are given for both fiction and nonfiction.

Prize: $10,000.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. The winners are announced in the spring. Read full submission guidelines HERE.

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GENEii Award. The Southern California Genealogical Society sponsors its annual family-history writing contest to support and encourage the writing of family history, local history, and memoirs, both by genealogists and by the public at large.

Genre: Nonfiction.

Prize: $200.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read full submission guidelines HERE.

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The Push [START] to Begin Chapbook Contest.

Genres: Chapbook-length collections of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and hybrid work inspired by video games. For fiction or non-fiction submissions, a word count between 5,000 and 20,000 is preferable. For poetry, 10 to 30 poems is best, depending on their length.

Prize: $150.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, Griffin Poetry Prize.

Restrictions: One prize goes to a living Canadian poet or translator, the other to a living poet or translator from any country, which may include Canada.

Genre: Poetry. Books must have been published in English during the calendar year preceding the year of the award.

Prize: C$200,000, is awarded annually in two categories – International and Canadian. Each prize is worth C$65,000.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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Society of Classical Poets, Poetry Competition.

Genre: Poetry. Three to five poems, each of which does not exceed 50 lines. The poems must be within the four themes used by the Society (at least one poem must be in the Falun Dafa theme or about the plight of the Chinese people under communism in general).

Prize: First Prize: $500.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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Caribbean Writer Prizes.

Restrictions: Open to Caribbean authors.

Prizes: The Virgin Islands Daily News Prize for a fiction or nonfiction essay to an author residing in the U.S. or British Virgin Islands. $500; The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for best short fiction $400; The Gilbert Literary Prize $500; The David Hough Literary Prize to a Caribbean author $500; The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize to an emerging Caribbean author $500; The First Lady Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean $500; and The Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first-time publication in The Caribbean Writer $250.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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Golfwell's Annual Golf Story Writing Competition.

Genre: Original unpublished golf stories: Fact or Fiction.

Prize: First Prize $300.00 - 2nd Prize $150.00 - 3rd Prize $50.00 and First, Second and Third Prizes receive publication as the "Golfwell.net Best Golf Stories Ever Heard."

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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Gover Story Prize.

Genres: Short fiction and creative nonfiction.

Prize: annual cash prize ($250) and publication in Best New Writing for the best fiction and creative nonfiction under 10,000 words. Finalists are also published in Best New Writing.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Submit HERE.

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Kansas Book Award.

Restrictions: Author must establish a connection to Kansas by birth, education, employment, residence or other significant claim.

Genre: Book of poems.

Prize: $1,000.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest.

Genre: Speculative fiction prose, up to 17,000 words.

Prize: $1,000 with $5,000 grand prize.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.

Restrictions: Open to first-generation residents of the United States. “First-generation” can refer either to people born in another country who relocated to the U.S., or to American-born residents whose parents were born elsewhere.

Genre: Unpublished fiction and nonfiction books.

Prize: $10,000 and publication.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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SPS Studios Poetry Card Contest.

Genre: Poem.

Prize: $300.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

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William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition.

Restrictions: Open to students attending allopathic or osteopathic schools of medicine in the United States and Canada.

Genre: Poetry.

Prize: $300.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. Read details HERE.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2 New Literary Agents Seeking Writers

Here are two new agents seeking clients. Nan Thornton (Zachary Shuster Harmsworth) is looking for literary fiction,  narrative nonfiction, biography, memoir, and nonfiction in the areas of health, science, business, parenting, and education. Arielle Datz (Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner) is seeking Fiction (adult, YA, or middle-grade), both realistic or fantasy/sci-fi. In nonfiction, she is looking for essays, unconventional memoir, pop culture, and sociology.



About Nan: Nan brings more than a dozen years’ experience to Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. A former subsidiary rights assistant at Knopf, Nan has practiced copyright law for the last 12 years, representing authors and their estates as well as Pearson Education, where she was in house counsel for the most recent eight years. As an agent, Nan’s negotiation skills and familiarity with a variety of contracts serves her well. A New York City native, Nan is a graduate of Phillips Academy, Georgetown University, and Vanderbilt Law School. Follow her on Twitter: @thornton_nan

What she is seeking: Authors working in a broad range of areas, including literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, biography, memoir, and nonfiction in the areas of health, science, business, parenting, and education.

How to submit: Submit a short query letter via form found under “Contacts” at www.zshliterary.com. Select Nan Thornton from the drop-down menu of agent options.

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About Arielle: She started as an intern at Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner in 2011, and then worked in the foreign rights department at WME, followed by 2 years at the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency. She has since returned to DCLA full-time.

What she is seeking: Fiction (adult, YA, or middle-grade), both realistic or fantasy/sci-fi. In nonfiction, she is looking for essays, unconventional memoir, pop culture, and sociology.

How to submit: Submit a query letter at mail [at] dclagency.com. Put “Query for Arielle: [title]” in the subject line. Do not include attachments. Due to volume of inquiries received, the agency is unable to respond to all emailed queries.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

HarperOne Accepts Unagented Manuscripts for Digital-First Fiction Imprint

San Francisco, CA (November 10, 2015) – HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, today announced HarperLegend, a new line that seeks to discover and publish new authors of visionary and transformational fiction in the digital-first format. HarperLegend will publish visionary fiction from new voices that communicates wisdom, insight, and/or personal growth with an overarching theme of transformation. Submissions will be accepted online via www.HarperLegend.com beginning today.

For nearly four decades, HarperOne has been publishing books that transform readers, institutions, and culture. Though the bulk of these books have been non-fiction, HarperOne has helped to create a unique genre of transformational or visionary fiction with such titles as The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Screwtape Letters and The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma, Buddha by Deepak Chopra, and Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard.

'Call them visionary fiction, spiritual novels, or just stories of change; these are books that not only move us, but transform and illuminate,' said Mark Tauber, senior vice president and publisher of HarperOne. 'We have seen the success of this type of fiction as we watch our sales grow and our authors' influence widen. As we can see from our colleagues at Avon Impulse, and often hear from our readers, digital-first fiction is growing.'

Submissions will be handled digitally via HarperLegend's online system and reviewed by the line's editorial team. If accepted, authors will obtain royalties for the e-book publication of their novels, access to HarperCollins's individualized editorial direction, and custom marketing and publicity guidance. Visit www.HarperLegend.com for more information.

What are they looking for?

"We want to read your visionary fiction. If you have a novel (or a trilogy or a series) that communicates wisdom, insight, transformation and/or personal growth, bring them on. We want fresh voices, great characters, compelling storylines, and original ideas and approaches. These novels may have many different stripes and flavors including Christian, Eastern, or general spirituality, personal growth, wisdom literature, fables, historical fiction, fantasy fiction even paranormal fiction as long it is transformational."

Bottom line

Pros: You get an editor, and you can say you've been published by an imprint of HarperCollins.

Cons: HarperLegend royalties start at 25% and rise to 50% after the first 10,000 copies are sold, which is not wonderful. They do not pay advances. As a financial deal this might be worth it if HarperLegend did any marketing or promotion. However, the most they offer is a packet to help you build your platform, distribution on ebook retail sites (Amazon, B&N, etc.), and the tantalizing possibility of perhaps offering your book in print if it does well.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Martian: How did a self-published novel become a top-grossing movie?

The Martian, a film directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) and starring Matt Damon, has grossed over $385,869,582 in less than a month. This is not an unusual occurrence in Hollywood. But how an obscure, self-published novel chock full of math and science ended up as a blockbuster certainly should be a question on every indie author's lips.


Like many authors, Andy Weir, a computer programmer, could not get an agent interested in his novel, The Martian. Weir, the son of a particle physicist father and an electrical engineer mother, spent years researching orbital mechanics, conditions on Mars, the history of manned spaceflight, and botany in order to write his survival story about a man marooned on Mars. While clearly a work of fiction, Weir, to use his own words, "scienced the shit out of it." The novel is laden with enough math and science to defend his premise, which is that a man can survive alone on Mars.

The plot of the book (and film) is fairly straightforward. Astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead when a manned mission to Mars is hit by an intense storm. Abandoned by the rest of the crew, and unable to contact NASA, Watney uses his knowledge as a botanist to grow food in the mission's artificial habitat. He figures he'll need to survive for at least three years. (Think Cast Away, but without the volleyball.) Eventually, Watney locates an old probe and uses it to regain contact with Earth. The rest of the plot follows the twists and turns of various disasters, recoveries, and attempts to rescue Watney.

Since Robinson Crusoe, survival plots have been sure-fire hits among readers. There is something deeply engaging about an individual's fight for survival. I believe this is because it is a theme we can all identify with, and, at a metaphorical level, it is one we all experience. Yet, this story was rejected by every agent Weir contacted, probably because of all the science. Science and math are not considered "marketable." (Neither are long sentences and words containing more than two syllables.)

So, how did Weir manage to find an audience?

First, Weir posted his book, chapter by chapter, in serial form, on his website. Then he published it on Amazon for 99 cents. After the book had gotten 35,000 downloads in less than three months, Weir was contacted by Crown and offered a contract. The rest is history.

If this story seems pie-in-the-sky to you, it is. In fact, it's a little like the hilarious Monty Python skit, "How to do it."
"This week on 'How to Do It' we're going to learn how to play the flute, how to split the atom, how to construct box girder bridges and how to irrigate the Sahara and make vast new areas cultivatable, but first, here's Jackie to tell you how to rid the world of all known diseases!" 
So, to paraphrase Monty Python, all you have to do is "write something marvelous, and when the world starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well write your own ticket." (Sadly, this is a commonly held delusion among young writers.)

Spawnling #2 weighs in: Find a platform that's bigger than yours

To answer the question "How could Weir's story possibly be true?" I consulted with someone I gave birth to (Spawnling #2). I figured he could give me an insider's view of how on earth (ahem) someone can end up with a movie deal after posting a novel on his website. After all, there are a billion websites out there. How did readers find his?

The answer, not too surprisingly, was to get onto a bigger platform. Spawnling #2 described reading a serialized book on a website after encountering it on Reddit (/r/books, to be precise). Reddit has a much longer reach than most individual websites can muster. After drawing attention on Reddit, lots of people began talking about the book, and it gained a readership. (Go here for other writing-related sub-reddits.)

You may be tearing your hair out right now, wondering how your historical romance can possibly appeal to a bunch of 20-something males on the west coast. (That's Reddit's demographic.) The truth is, it probably won't. But there is always a platform (meaning a popular site) for the sort of people who will want to talk about your book. It is up to you to find where your demographic hangs out, and how to reach them.

I've made your job a little easier by assembling these resources:

Top 5 Sites for Science Fiction Writers

Top 5 Sites For Mystery/Thriller Writers

Top 6 Sites for Romance Writers

Top 5 Online Resources for Children's and YA Book Writers

Top 5 Sites for Historical Fiction

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

7 Agents Looking for Fantasy Writers

Here are seven agents looking for fantasy of all kinds, shapes, and colors. All are from reputable agencies, which means they don't charge reading fees. (Never pay an agent to read your work!) All have brokered deals with established publishing houses, and all are seeking fresh, new talent.

Good luck!

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What she is looking for: Adult and YA fantasy and science fiction except dystopian. “If you’re submitting urban fantasy, please no vampires, angels/demons, or werewolves.”

How to submit: Query Mary [at] kimberleycameron.com. Include “Author Submission” in the subject line. Attach a one-page synopsis and the first fifty pages of your manuscript as separate Word or PDF documents.

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What he is seeking: “My tastes in fantasy generally run the gamut of the entire genre, but with a twist. I love epic and urban fantasies, but all of my clients approach those genres with a very weird eye. They see the unending beauty of the world we live in and go “yeah… this is great and all, but what if we had to deal with drunk dragons all the time?” I like fantasy that can be explained clearly in the title (i.e. Ryan North’s ROMEO AND/OR JULIET), brilliantly explained in a sentence (i.e. LAMB: Christ had a best friend named Biff and here’s their story), or can’t be explained at all without a map, index of characters, and a thirty minute symposium on the magic system (Discworld, Song of Ice and Fire, etc.)”

How to submit: querysam [at] awfulagent.com. Send the query and your first five pages pasted into the email. No attachments.

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Lane Heymont  of Tobias Literary Agency

What he is seeking: "In fantasy, I’m open to most genres. High, urban, contemporary, or magical realism, but I love it dark, gritty, and believable. Also, English medieval societies have gone stale for me. Medieval times are great, but I’d like to see some different (read: multicultural) types of societies."

How to submit: To query, type “Query - The Title of your Manuscript”  in the subject line, then please paste the first five pages of your manuscript into the body of the e-mail to query(at)thetobiasagency.com

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What she is looking for: "In middle grade submissions, I love seeing fantasy novels because the magical world-building and heroic adventures seem to mesh well with the heroes and heroines of that age range. I love characters who are funny and confident and who love their parents. I love dragons, unicorns, magical swords and daredevil princesses. I also love urban fantasy with its awesome juxtaposition of the real world and magic – Michael Underwood has a heroine with a real light saber and Steve Vera has a gun battle on the New Jersey freeway – these are all good things. Avoid common tropes (portals, prophecies, sudden inheritances, super heroes) and go big."

How to submit: ”Please email your query letter and the first three pages of your manuscript in the body of the email to saraquery [at] ktliterary.com. The subject line of your email should include the word ‘Query’ along with the title of your manuscript. Queries should not contain attachments. We aim to reply to all queries within two weeks of receipt. In addition, if you’re an author who is sending a new query, but who previously submitted a novel to us for which we requested chapters but ultimately declined, please do say so in your query letter. If we like your query, we’ll ask for the first five chapters and a complete synopsis. For our purposes, the synopsis should include the full plot of the book, including the conclusion. Don’t tease us.”

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Evan Gregory of Ethan Ellenberg Literary

What he is seeking: “It’s time to break away from medievalism and embrace different mythologies, weirder magic, different worlds, different perspectives.”

How to submit: Please send submissions to agent [at] ethanellenberg.com to the attention of Evan. “For email submissions, we ask that you paste all materials into the body of the email in the order mentioned below. For example, if you were submitting fiction you would begin with a brief query letter, followed by your synopsis, followed by the first 50 pages of your manuscript. We will not open attachments.”

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Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong

About Emmanuelle: Before joining Stonesong as an agent in January 2012, she was an agent at Judith Ehrlich Literary and Wendy Sherman Associates, and an editor at Fodor’s, the travel division of Random House. She enjoys developing long-term relationships with her clients, working closely with them to build their literary careers.

How to submit: submissions [at] stonesong.com addressed to Emmanuelle. Include the word ‘query’ in the subject line of your email to ensure we receive it and it isn’t filtered as spam. Include the first chapter or first 10 pages of your work, pasted into the body of your email, so that we may get a sense of your writing. Please note that Emmanuelle is closed to queries in December. We welcome queries from independent and self-published authors. If you have self-published your book and are interested in working with a publisher for future works, please include descriptions of published and forthcoming works, as well as information about sales and reviews. Our system is set up so that every email query receives an automatic reply confirming receipt. After that, we will be in touch only in the event we would like to request more material. This is because we receive such a volume of submissions that it is impossible for us to respond individually to every query. If you have not received a request from us within 12 weeks, consider that we have passed. If we request additional material, we will of course respond with a specific reply. Please feel free to follow up with additional news about your submission during the 12-week period.”

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Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency

About Nicole: Nicole has been listed by Publisher's Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country, and named ACFW's 2012 Agent of the Year. She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level.

How to submit: Send all queries to nicole [at] theseymouragency.com. The subject line should be “QUERY: (Title)”. Please past the first five pages in the body of the e-mail. Please do not query Lane Heymont (also on this list) if querying Nicole.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Top 5 Sites for Historical Fiction

Historical fiction enjoys a long and vibrant tradition in world literature. From Ancient Greece to the Ming Dynasty to 19th century Europe, writers have engaged in the task of reconstructing history. In some respects, fiction has had a greater influence over popular conceptions of historical periods than has nonfiction written about the same era.

If you write historical fiction, you are not limited by genre. Historical fiction sub-genres include historical fantasy, historical mysteries, children's historical literature, historically based graphic novels, the ever-popular nautical and pirate fiction, historical romance, and fictional biographies. To expand your reach, see the top resources in these sub-genres:

Top 5 Sites for Science Fiction Writers

Top 5 Sites For Mystery/Thriller Writers

Top 6 Sites for Romance Writers

Top 5 Online Resources for Children's and YA Book Writers

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Historical Novels website and blog 

This site contains tons of valuable information on how to write historical fiction, as well as ample resources for researching whatever time period you are writing about. A side bar contains links to time periods (centuries as well as specific eras), as well as geographic region. You can also search YA novels by time period.

Additional features include:
  • A list of more than 600 book reviews of historical novels, ranging from prehistory and the ancient world to World War II
  • Best novel lists and reviewer profiles 
  • Many author interviews
  • Articles covering a broad range of topics  
  • A book release and review blog


These forums are "a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction." Members can post reviews, reading logs, author announcements, helpful links. This is a very active site, with numerous discussion threads and posts numbering in the thousands.


Looking for a review for your historical novel? The Book Blogger list contains thousands of review blogs - hundreds for historical fiction alone. The list is arranged in no particular order, and doesn't allow for refined searches by sub-genre, so it can be somewhat tedious to compile a list of potential reviewers. But, if you are arranging your own virtual book tour, this list will be invaluable.



If you are writing naval fiction, this is your go-to site. It reviews all the latest releases - fiction and nonfiction - and includes an author A-Z, a breakdown of books by sub-genre (e.g. naval fantasy, YA, pirates !), a book title index, and a book timeline where you can search books by time period. For writers, this site contains naval facts and images, a list famous officers, sub-genres of naval fiction, and an incredibly useful glossary of naval terms. To keep abreast of the most recent developments in naval fiction, sign up for their newsletter.


For historical fiction writers, joining the HNS is a must. Members receive a quarterly 64-page print magazine (available exclusively to members of the society) which includes reviews of every historical fiction novel published in the US and UK. Members also get discounts to the annual HNS Conference. The HNS sponsors several awards, including the HNS Indie Award for excellence in self-published historical novels. Membership costs a reasonable $50 US per year. There are 15 local chapters in the US and UK.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2 New Literary Agents Actively Seeking Clients

Here are two new agents actively looking for writers. Anjali Singh (Ayesha Pande Literary) is seeking character-driven fiction or nonfiction works, literary thrillers, memoirs, YA literature and graphic novels. Tricia Skinner (Fuse Literary) is looking for romance.


Anjali Singh of Ayesha Pande Literary

About Anjali: Before joining Ayesha Pande Literary, Anjali Singh started her career in publishing in 1996 as a literary scout. Most recently Editorial Director at Other Press, she has also worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Vintage Books. She is is best known for having championed Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis after stumbling across it on a visit to Paris. She has always been drawn to the thrill of discovering new writers, and among the literary novelists whose careers she helped launch are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Samantha Hunt, Preeta Samarasan, Zoe Ferraris, Victoria Patterson, Natalie Bakopoulos, Enid Shomer and Brigid Pasulka. She is a member of the International Committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival.

What she is seeking: She is looking for new voices, character-driven fiction or nonfiction works that reflect an engagement with the world around us, literary thrillers, memoirs, YA literature and graphic novels.

How to submit: Use the agency’s online submissions form here: http://pandeliterary.com/queries/

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About Tricia: Tricia is an writer herself, author of the Angel Assassins trilogy and is represented by her fellow Fuse agent, Laurie McLean. Tricia is an assistant agent with McLean and she is also a project manager for Short Fuse Publishing. Tricia started writing as a business reporter for several publications, including The Houston Chronicle, MSN, and Investor’s Business Daily, before transitioning into media relations and then game industry relations.

What she is seeking: She is only looking for new romance clients.

How to submit: Email your 300-word-or-less romance query letter followed by the first 10 pages of chapter one (no prologues) in the body of your email (no attachments) to querytricia@fuseliterary.com. Response time is 2-4 months on average, but could be longer if they’re deluged.
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