Category Archives: Process & Craft

Do Duotrope!

(From my forthcoming 2nd Edition to Publishing and Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author)

Duotrope lists virtually every market for short stories and provides a handy submission tracking device. I truly can’t recommend Duotrope highly enough. You can research markets by genre, pay, story length, and more. As you research, you can save particular markets to your favorites list if they stand out or you could add them to your ignore list if they are something you’d never do, like religious fiction, for example.

Their Calendar is a huge source of inspiration. It’s a place where themed journal issues and anthologies are chronicled by deadline. You can even filter the Calendar by pay level (any, token, semi, or pro), type (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry), genre, and medium (print, audio, or online).

Here is an example of what the Calendar looks like filtered for pro-payment for February and March 2013 deadlines: Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Emerging Authors, Process & Craft


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Writer Tip: Tired Plots, or Stories to Avoid

For the past two years, I’ve been utilizing the wonderful service of Duotrope to find markets for my short fiction and to keep track of what I sent where. All my short fiction is published under my pen name, O. M. Grey, and I’ve had a considerable amount published since 2011.

While researching one of my dream publications, I came across their list of “Stories We’ve Seen Too Often,” and I was so very happy the story I submitted to them didn’t fall in one of these categories. Here is a partial list, for the complete list, please visit Strange Horizons, an online speculative fiction magazine:

  1. Person is (metaphorically) at point A, wants to be at point B. Looks at point B, says “I want to be at point B.” Walks to point B, encountering no meaningful obstacles or difficulties. The end. (A.k.a. the linear plot.)
  2. Creative person is having trouble creating.
    1. Writer has writer’s block.
    2. Painter can’t seem to paint anything good.
    3. Sculptor can’t seem to sculpt anything good.
    4. Creative person’s work is reviled by critics who don’t understand how brilliant it is.
    5. Creative person meets a muse (either one of the nine classical Muses or a more individual muse) and interacts with them, usually by keeping them captive.
  3. Visitor to alien planet ignores information about local rules, inadvertently violates them, is punished.
    1. New diplomat arrives on alien planet, ignores anthropologist’s attempts to explain local rules, is punished.
  4. Weird things happen, but it turns out they’re not real. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Process & Craft


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P&MR Second Edition Coming Soon!

NonFiction4Web2ndEdComing very soon, like in March, the new, improved, updated Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author, Second Edition.

So much has changed in the past two years since I wrote this book, that it’s high time for an update. In the second edition, MAJOR CHANGES to LSI and CreateSpace as viable publishing options. More on Goodreads, changes to Facebook, and how to use Duotrope effectively, building your name and publishing history while you work on your novel. Plus so very much more.

Still, I have some of the first editions left, so I’m offering a SPECIAL DEAL– get your copy of Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author, First Edition, and I’ll email you a FREE PDF Supplemental of all the important updates. You will get all the great information of the first book AND the second book, all for just $7.50.

These books retail for $14.95, so that’s over a 50% savings! BUY YOUR COPY HERE (Only about 40 left!! They’ll go fast!). Anyone who buys a copy in the next 30 days will receive a FREE PDF of all the important updates in the second edition. It’s like getting the second book 50% off before it’s available for anyone else! (And author-signed, too!)

Here is what authors have to say about Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author:

“This book gives readers a look into an author’s life while simultaneously imparting invaluable advice. It turns reading what could have otherwise been a dry textbook into an exciting learning experience. Needless to say, I highly recommend Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author to everyone who wants to be published…The lifetime benefits as a writer that you’ll receive from this book far outweigh the small price you pay for it.” ~Rachel Brooks, Emerging Author (full review) Read the rest of this entry »


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Process, Word Count, and Inspiration

Being a writer means you write. A lot.

Like, everyday.

I’ve been there, staring at a blank page not knowing how to begin, but I also know that the only important thing is to begin. However you begin. It’s at this point, when either I don’t know how to begin or I don’t know how to continue or where my story is going or what they hell I’m doing writing to begin with because I quite obviously suck at it, that I remember this is a PROCESS.

Don’t wait for that perfect opening. Write something. Anything. Get the flow started. Don’t know where your story is headed? That’s okay, too. This is what E. L. Doctorow says about writing:

It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.  ~ E. L. Doctorow

I’ve written and published 8 books that way. Working on the 9th now, and some days, I just don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going, and that’s okay.

That’s what editing and revisions are for, and, yes, those things are essential. They are not steps you can skip over by “doing it right the first time.”


They are a crucial part of the writing process. Every step of the writing process is… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Emerging Authors, Process & Craft


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Stay True to Your Reader or Sell Out?

In the writing business, we often get conflicting advice from our readers, other writers, and industry professionals like agents and editors. Agents advise us to write what’s in our hearts, but they can only sell what the editors want. The editors want more of what is already selling, limiting their risk in this fast-changing business. I’ve overheard readers in bookstores scoff at yet another new vampire novel. Other writers have told me that vampires are overdone; prophecies, tired. Yet this is exactly the opposite of the advice from New York. Vampires sell, so they want more vampires. Steampunk is popular, so they want more Steampunk.

They are the ones writing the checks. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Process & Craft


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Careful, You’ll End Up in my Novel

Writers write what they know. Even if your story is set in a fictional, futuristic dystopian society, the characters’ behaviors and traits reflect what the writer knows. What the writer has experienced or witnessed.

This past Christmas, my mother gifted me with a tea towel that reads “Careful, You’ll End Up In My Novel,” and I loved it. Likely my favorite gift because it is so true. My agent, Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Agency, gave this advice to writers:

1) Be nice. Be gracious. Keep your cool and try not to get involved in the cattiness of online bickering.

2) You cannot write in a vacuum, so get out into the world and work, meet people and interact with other writers.

3) Sometimes the best writing can originate from an overheard conversation. But you have to experience the world in order to write about it. I believe that you have to live in order to write. You have to live. Period!” Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Process & Craft


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What Joss Whedon Taught Me About Storytelling

In 2009, Colleen Lindsay wrote a blog about what Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse could teach novelists about hooking readers.

Good article. Really true, too.

The art of storytelling has changed over the years. Our attention spans, as a collective audience, have shortened.

Colleen’s post is mostly about how Dollhouse took a few episodes (like seven, according to viewers) to really get going. People generally won’t wait through 7 hours of a show to get interested, unless they’re die hard Whedon fans like I am. (I actually liked it from episode 1).

It’s just a fact of entertainment reality. Audiences want to be hooked immediately. First page. First 5 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Process & Craft


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