Writing Market News – January 10

Today’s listings are almost all themed around superheroes and superpowers. The non-paying market is the one exception, instead being post-apocalyptic themed. I wanted to put that out there up front today to save people time who aren’t interested in superheroes.

Penumbra May Edition – Superheroes

Another call from Penumbra, the May edition is themed around Superheroes. It’s obvious, but no fan fiction or using existing superheroes or villains. Other than that, this call is wide open.

Deadline: March 1, 2014
Words: Under 3,500
Pay: $.05 per word
Reprints: Yes

The Good Fight

The Good Fight will be an anthology put together by Emby Press. Emby is all about monsters, and this anthology is no different. Put your hero to work fighting the evil that lurks in the shadows and preys on humanity. They are looking for grand and spectacular fights between these forces.

Note: Emby has another open call ending the same time, so check out the submission page for more info.

Deadline: March 31, 2014
Words: 2,000 to 10,000 words
Pay: $25
Reprints: No

Inaccurate Realities – Superpowers

Volume 4 of Inaccurate Realities is also themed around superpowers. This is a young adult market, so bear that in mind when considering your story. Other than that, your options are again pretty wide open.

Deadline: May 15, 2014
Words: 2,000 – 5,000
Pay: $15-$25
Reprints: Yes

StoneThread SpecFic Short Story Contest III

The non-paying market this week is a contest. StoneThread Publishing is looking for speculative fiction stories set in a post-apocalyptic setting. Stories that are selected will be published in an ebook anthology. As is often the case, this is more of a semi-paying market.

Deadline: March 31, 2014
Words: 1,000 – 10,000
Pay: None (Prizes for 1 – 5 place: $60, $50, $40, $30, $20)
Reprints: No

Writing Market News – January 3

We’re back with your weekly dose of market news now that the holidays are over. This post is going up later than I would like, but better late than never, right? I trust everyone had a relaxing and/or productive holiday season. I managed to get some writing done (and submitted!), and I hope you did as well.

Let’s get right into this week’s market listings.

Aghast

Aghast is a new journal of horror and dark fantasy to be published twice a year by Kraken Press. They are looking for supernatural and other strange tales, and are not interested in “serial killers, werewolves, vampires or zombies.”

Deadline: Ongoing
Words: 250 – 1,000; 1,500 – 7,000; 10,000 – 30,000
Pay: $.01 per word
Reprints: Query

Crossed Genres Magazine – Music Theme

Crossed Genres seeks to blend genres and themes monthly with their regular staples of science fiction and fantasy. The theme for February submissions is “music” (if you’re feeling ambitious, the January theme is “food). Stories should incorporate this element, as well as fall under SF or fantasy. Crossed Genres also has a lengthy description of things they would like and things they don’t really care for, so check the guidelines carefully.

Deadline: February 28, 2014 (do not submit before February 1)
Words: 1,000 – 6,000
Pay: $.05 a word
Reprints: No

NINJAS!

Twit Publishing is assembling stories for an anthology featuring everyone’s favorite characters (those that aren’t pirate lovers at least), NINJAS! I think they put it best when listing what they are after:

Future Ninjas, past Ninjas, present Ninjas, Ninjas fighting fascist states, Ninjas in the Old West, Ninjas fighting dinosaurs, Ninjas fighting Vikings, Ninjas fighting werewolves, etc. and so on, and so forth.

 

In short, Ninjas being bad#@*es.

Deadline: April 18, 2014
Words: Unrestricted
Pay: Royalties
Reprints: Unknown

Ninja Novellas

If you find yourself with a novella length ninja story, Buttontapper Press is also looking for submissions. They say they are looking for “creative and humorous” ninja stories, and list an example of a good story in their guidelines.

Deadline: Unknown (to be published in 2015)
Words: Under 50,000 words
Pay: Unknown
Reprints: Unknown

Writing Market News – December 13

Due to the upcoming holidays and vacation plans, this will be my last market news post of the year. The series will resume January 3. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Do lots of reading, and writing of course.

Insert Title Here

A collection of speculative fiction stories being assembled by FableCroft Publications, Insert Title Here (yes, that’s really the name), will contain all manner of speculative fiction. The usual cautions against gore and erotica remain true for this anthology.

Deadline: February 28, 2014
Words: 2,000 – 12,000
Pay: AUD $75
Reprints: No

Penumbra eMag – Issac Asimov

The submission window has rolled over on Penumbra. Did anyone submit for the Egyptian mythology anthology? For this issue of Penumbra eMag, they are looking for stories told in the style of Issac Asimov, or that include him as a character in the story.

Deadline: February 1, 2014
Words: Under 3,500
Pay: $.05 a word
Reprints: Yes

“Astronomical Odds” Themed Anthology

Third Flatiron Publishing is collecting stories for their Spring 2014 anthology themed around “astronomical odds”. Stories should be science fiction or fantasy. Based on the theme, you’ll probably want to have a central event that is unlikely in the extreme. There’s no shortage of ideas on this one.

Deadline: January 15, 2014
Words: 1,500 – 3,000
Pay: $.03 a word ($.05 a word if chosen as the lead story)
Reprints: No

AMOK!

The beginning of a series of anthologies called “Short Sharp Shocks”, AMOK!, published by April Moon Publicationswill feature people, well, running amok. Any genre or time period for the setting is acceptable, but no slapstick humor (keep it dark). This is the non-paying market of the list today, but again, is not strictly non-paying.

Deadline: February 28, 2014
Words: 2,000 – 5,000
Pay: None (Five editors choice awards will be given out, worth $30 CAN)
Reprints: No

Interview with William King

Today we interview one of the Black Library fandom’s favourite authors, the legendary William King. He’s responsible for creating the iconic Gotrek, Felix and Thanquol characters in Warhammer Fantasy, and for writing the Ragnar series in Warhammer 40,000 and more recently the Tyrion and Teclis and Macharius series. He’s also written a number of stories in his own settings. William King

Your latest novel Bane of Malekith, the third in the Tyrion and Teclis trilogy, is out now. What was the writing process for the book? Can you describe how you go about working on a novel?

The second question is tricky to answer since the process varies from book to book. The Tyrion and Teclis trilogy was probably a unique case among all the books I have written. They were done one after the other in the space of about nine months and then revised in about another 5 months.

The trilogy was in many ways the easiest thing to write I have ever attempted. I set myself the goal of writing a minimum of 1000 words EVERY day come rain or shine and I pretty much stuck with that until the books were done. I even spent an hour writing in a Costa coffee house in Qatar in the middle of the night to keep up my unbroken run.

I spent many years brooding on the story which probably helped make things flow. I wrote the original outline for it way back in the early 90s in the first High Elf army book so I was pretty clear what I wanted to write. The characters themselves have been pretty strongly defined and mostly I just wanted to show how they became who they are today. I wanted them to be believable as heroes and still sympathetic.

Bane of MalekithAs for my usual writing process, it’s pretty simple. I almost always work from an outline – which is handy since Black Library requires me to send them one before they will issue a contract. This outline provides a guide for the actual writing. I don’t try to stick to it religiously. Some things that look great in the outline don’t actually work when you come to write them and conversely there are always things that take on a life of their own as they escape from your brain onto the page.

As I go through the first draft, I tend to stop and go back occasionally and rewrite things the light of what has happened since I wrote them. I put in foreshadowing, bits of stuff that I now know will be important to let the reader know about and so on.

Once I have written the first draft, I go over the book a number of times, trying to make sure everything is consistent. Sometimes there are large changes needed at this stage as flaws become evident. Eventually the thing is done, sent to the editors. More changes are often required at this stage. There is a backwards and forwards process until the book is done.

Are there any parts of the book that were a particular struggle to write, and any you are now especially pleased with?

As I said above this trilogy was probably the easiest thing I have ever written, with the possible exception of Daemonslayer, which was written after a similarly long gestation period. It was an enormously pleasurable experience. There are lots of things in the books I like – in particular the depictions of Aenarion, Caledor, Malekith and Morathi. In Bane of Malekith I like the way Malekith comes across. I also like the final set of duels between Tyrion and Urian and Malekith and Teclis. I am pleased with the opening chess game between Caledor and Death as well, which is, as I am sure many people will have spotted, a reference to Bergman’s The Seventh Seal.Gotrek and Felix

Do you have any particular literary influences or sources you draw inspiration from in your writing?

Robert E Howard, Roger Zelazny, Michael Moorcock and Tolkien all spring to mind. Less obviously Lawrence Block, George Orwell and, this is going to sound bizarre, Charles Dickens. He had a brilliant way with creating memorable characters.

Readers sometimes comment that you have a great ability to portray details of character or setting with just a few well-chosen words. Is this an element of your writing that you’ve consciously developed, or has it always come naturally?

See my comment about Dickens above. He has a knack for giving characters memorable mannerisms (Orwell comments on this in his essay on Dickens). It’s one of the things I try to do—like Gotrek running his thumb along the blade of his axe as he ponders violence. When creating a character I try and come up with three really memorable things—a look, a mannerism, an attitude and I build on it.

With settings, it’s the same. I try and find small details that will be convincing to the reader. I look for the sort of things that make me nod and think, yes, that’s how it would be.

How do you approach character development? Do you prefer to see how the characters evolve as the story progresses, or do you tend to plan out character arcs before starting to write?

I tend just to let the characters run from where they start. My basic philosophy of character creation is find characters you like and understand and then torture them. By this I mean cause them difficulties, take away their stuff, pick on their loved ones etc.

Again though, when I pause to think about things, I would need to add that this varies from book to book. Sometimes I have a definite aim in mind. With Tyrion and Teclis I wanted to show how they got to be heroes. With Gotrek and Felix and Grey Seer Thanquol, I just ran with what was happening in the stories and left the characters to their own devices. You can see what happened.

Writers seem to have different patterns when they’re involved in their writing. Is the writing process for you a lonely one or do you become more social?

I’ve never been the world’s most sociable man. I enjoy being on my own. I think it helps. On the other hand, it’s easy for me to say since I have a very supportive family.

You’ve been writing now for over twenty years. How have you found that the world of publishing has changed in that time?

It’s a different world now, completely and utterly. The single biggest change has come in the past five years with the rise of indie publishing and Amazon’s Kindle store. I have sold something like 40000 indie books in the past couple of years. The royalty rate on those books is something like 10 times as much as those on a conventionally published book so that’s a significant shift.

I think the whole industry is in turmoil. We’ve seen giant bookstore chains close shop and more and more people shift to e-readers. The process has only just started. That said, I do think Black Library is incredibly well-placed to weather the changes. It has its own loyal audience and control of at least part of its distribution chain

Fist of DemetriusCan you remember when you started writing, and do you have any advice for aspiring writers now?

I can remember it like it was yesterday but the world has changed so much that nothing I learned in terms of the business side of things would be useful today. On the other hand, some advice never goes out of fashion. Write what you love. Write the best stories you can. Read a lot. Write a lot. Don’t expect to be an overnight success. Learn to manage money. I know those all sound like clichés, but there’s a reason for that. They are all true and will most likely remain so for as long as people write books in the hope of selling them.

You did a lot of work on developing the Warhammer setting as a designer. Do you find that has made it easier or harder to write fiction set in the world, and has that changed over time?

It was easier when I started but it has gotten harder as the Warhammer world had been changed and expanded and so many more books have been written.

You’ve written in a variety of settings. Do you prefer working in an original setting of your own or with somebody else’s IP?

It depends! (You’ll notice a trend in my answers here as once again I sit on the fence.) In some ways writing in somebody else’s IP is easier because the world has already been created and you have very clear guidelines as to what is expected.

In some ways, writing your own stuff is easier because you don’t need to worry about what other writers may be doing. When I am writing my Kormak sword and sorcery novels or my Terrarch gunpowder fantasies, I am free to do pretty much as I please, up to and including blowing up the world if I want. I am pretty certain I could not get away with doing that (in Warhammer fantasy at least, in 40K there are a lot of worlds).

In Warhammer as more books are written by more writers, the number of things you can write about tends to narrow because somebody else may be doing something you would like to do.

Also, if I may introduce a note of crass commercialism into matters, if you are working in somebody else’s IP there is usually some certainty that there is a market for it and that you will be paid. If you are working on your own stuff, unless you are already a well-established writer, that is not a given.City of Strife

Who would you say is your favourite character among those you’ve written?

It’s really hard to make that choice, I like them all.  Gotrek and Felix come first but as a team!  If I absolutely had to pick just the one character, probably Grey Seer Thanquol. He was pure fun to write.

In your heart of hearts, do you prefer Dwarfs, or Elves?

Elves. Most of the time. Although I would probably rather go out drinking with dwarves.

After the conclusion of the Macharius trilogy, do you have plans for any more novels we should look out for?

There are some things being discussed but I am not allowed to talk about them at the present moment. Sorry about that!

Profound thanks to Mr King for taking the time to answer our questions! For more of his thoughts, see his blog at williamking.me

Writing Market News – December 6

Sorry for the interruption of service last week. Things were very busy for me with the Thanksgiving holiday, so I wasn’t able to compile a post. I didn’t want to waste space on the blog for an explanatory one either. I figured you all would understand.

Moving right along, there’s some good stuff out there this week. I didn’t intend it to be this way, but it’s mostly a horror group, with one exception.

The Grotesquerie: An Anthology of Women in Horror

Mocha Memoirs Press is putting together a horror anthology, The Grotesquerie, written by women. They say, “Your submission must be written to frighten or disturb to be considered.” No slasher stories or splatterpunk. They are also quite clear on who qualifies as a woman:

For the purposes of this anthology, a person claiming to be a female author must have been born female or be a transgendered, hermaphrodite or intersex person living publicly as a female.

Deadline: December 31, 2013
Words: 1,500 – 6,000
Pay: $10
Reprints: No

Fear’s Accomplice

Not to leave out the guys, Noodle Doodle Publications has an open call for their debut anthology, Fear’s Accomplice. This is pretty wide open horror, with the caution that gore should be there for a reason, as is most often the case. Being a brand new publisher, your mileage may vary on this one, but it could also mean you don’t have a slew of competition. They also claim they will offer feedback on rejected pieces. You don’t see that every day.

Deadline: February 28, 2014
Words: 2,000 – 8,000
Pay: Profit Sharing
Reprints: Yes

V.F.W. – Veterans of the Future Wars

V.F.W will be a collection put together by Martinus Publishing, focusing on wars to be fought in the future. Entries should be stories that respectfully portray soldiers and warriors doing what they do in a science fiction setting. It’s somewhat rare to find a collection dedicated to military science fiction, so this is a good opportunity for those of you who appreciate that aspect of Black Library’s books.

As you’ll note if you check out the submission page, Martinus also has several other interesting open calls running right now. Check them all out if this doesn’t sound right for you.

Deadline: December 31, 2013
Words: 2,000 – 6,000
Pay: Royalties
Reprints: Yes

A Merry Little Apex Christmas Flash Fiction Contest

Apex Publications is currently running a holiday flash fiction contest. I am tossing this in as this week’s unpaid market, but oddly, it’s actually more guaranteed pay than most. All entrants will receive their choice of one edition of Apex Magazine. Stories should be holiday themed, but with a dark fantasy or horror twist.

One winner will be selected, and, among other things, that winner will earn a story critique (up to 5,000 words).

Deadline: December, 16, 2013
Words: Under 250
Pay: None (Winner will receive $.05 a word, a one year subscription to Apex Magazine, and a story critique)
Reprints: No

Writing Market News – November 22

Strange Horizons Magazine

Strange Horizons is a weekly speculative fiction magazine. The magazine is run by a non-profit agency that is dedicated to providing authors a well paying market for their work. They want broadly defined speculative fiction stories, but note that they are not a horror market.

Deadline: Ongoing
Words: Under 9,000 (Under 5,000 preferred)
Pay: $.08 cents per word ($50 minimum)
Reprints: No

Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly

I’m breaking my rules here on not highlighting romance, but this market was interesting given its meld of science fiction and romance, so I thought I would offer it up. Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is a new online magazine featuring science fiction romance stories and reviews. For the current issue, stories should have a steampunk theme, and should be prompted from a picture shown on their submission page. They also ask that stories have an upbeat ending.

Deadline: January 31
Words: 1,000 – 7,500
Pay: $25
Reprints: No

Daily Science Fiction

Daily Science Fiction is an online market for science fiction and fantasy stories. Stories are sent out daily to their mailing list (which I recommend subscribing to, there’s some very interesting stuff), and posted on their website. There is the potential that accepted works may also be used in themed anthologies. They caution against military science fiction, and don’t want horror.

Deadline: Ongoing
Words: 100 – 10,000 (special need for under 1,000)
Pay: $.08 per word
Reprints: No

713 Flash Fiction Contest

713 Flash is a rolling flash fiction contest put on by Kazka Press. Multiple winners are selected for each theme. Despite looking for flash fiction, they want stories that have a structure with a beginning and end, but say, “Our preference is for forward momentum with a middle free of too much backstory.” The theme for the current submission period is Discovery.

Deadline: December, 20
Words: 500 – 1,000
Pay: $15
Reprints: No

50 Comrades of Red

Organized by Pep Pep Publications, 50 Comrades of Red will be a collection of humorous stories centered around the idea of communism. Genre and setting are wide open, with the exception of erotica, and of course the story must be funny.

Deadline: December 16
Words: 750 – 3,216
Pay: None
Reprints: No

Writing Market News – November 15

Big Bad 2 – An Anthology of Evil Volume 2

Big Bad 2, to be published by Dark Oak Press will be an anthology focused on everyone’s favorite characters, the bad guys. All genres are accepted, and the only requirement is that your protagonist be a bad or evil character. This anthology follows on the success of The Big Bad. Some authors have been invited to contribute, and only 10 slots are available for open submission, so expect competition to be tight.

Deadline: January 1
Words: 3,000 – 9,000
Pay: Royalties
Reprints: No

Infinite Science Fiction

Put together by Infinite Acacia, Infinite Science Fiction will be a collection of science fiction stories. The publisher states, “We are looking for good SF that breaks away from the tired tropes of the genre.” They also state that for their purposes, fantasy, horror, and magical realism do not fall under science fiction.

Deadline: December 31
Words: 2,000 – 6,000
Pay: $.01 per word ($40 max)
Reprints: Unknown

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope is a crowdfunded anthology to be edited by Alisa Krasnostein of Twelfth Planet Press and Julia Rios of Strange Horizons. The guidelines for this anthology are very specific. Stories are meant to be for a Young Adult audience, and should have a teen protagonist that is of diverse character: non-white or non-western, disabled, mentally ill, etc. Stories should be set on contemporary Earth, but involve fantastical or advanced technological elements.

Deadline: December 31
Words: 2,500 – 10,000
Pay: $.05 per word
Reprints: Unknown

Ares Magazine

Ares is planned to be a very interesting little magazine. They are looking for speculative fiction stories across the spectrum of genres. They want stories to be action and adventure focused. From their website, I pulled this nugget of information:

Ares is the name of the Greek god of war. He is bold. He is brash. I want the magazine bearing his name to be bold and brash. The stories we have collected thus far are solid, quality stories. But too few of them could be characterized as real action-adventures. Personal stories are great, but I would like to see more swashbuckling and more derring-do.

That’s pretty clear guidance to help you draft a story that will be favorably considered. To also be included in each issue of the magazine is a stand-alone, playable board game, which is a really neat idea.

Deadline: Ongoing
Words: 1,000 – 60,000 (4,000 – 10,000 preferred)
Pay: $.05 per word
Reprints: Yes ($.01 per word)

Lamplit Underground

This week’s non-paying market is Lamplit Underground. This is an online “magazine,” with future plans for a print edition. They are looking for stories “related to the unique, the grotesque, the beautiful, the powerful.” If you have a story that makes an unconventional statement, this may be a good market for it.

Deadline: Ongoing
Words: Any
Pay: None
Reprints: Unknown