Tag Archives: flash fiction

Closing Soon: Open Call from Sunspot Lit

Since launching in January of 2019, Sunspot has amplified multinational voices from around the world. The pSLJFrontublication is accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, scripts, screenplays, photography, and art until November 30. Translations and extremely long-form pieces are accepted. Submit here or visit the website here.

New Multi-genre Writing Contest

SunspotSunspot Literary Journal wants your best fiction, nonfiction, or poetry opening. No restrictions on theme, category, or length of the piece from which the beginning is excerpted.

Length for the entry: Up to 250 words for prose. Up to 25 words for poetry. 

First place winner will be published, and finalists will be offered the opportunity to be published. Enter as many times as you like. Simultaneous submissions accepted. Work can have won other awards without being disqualified.

Cash award of $250 for the winner.

Link here to submit today. 

Closing October 31, 2019. 

Contest for Authors and Artists

C*nt Contest for Authors and Artists from Sunspot Literary Journal

Words are important. Words are so powerful that certain ones have been weaponized to use against specific groups of people.

C*nt is one of many, but in the world today, it is more incendiary than ever. Submit a story, essay, poem, or art piece that talks about c*nt in your life:

-When did you first encounter the word?

-Have you taken on this word and ones like it as a rallying cry?

-Have you ever used it to refer to someone else?

Send your rants, your ribald comedy, a poem, or a photo that cuts to the core. You do not have to use the word within your submission as long as you are conjuring the essence of some element of this word and its use.

All submissions for this contest will be compiled for a special edition of Sunspot Literary Journal. First place winners and two runners-up from each category will be published in summer of 2019.

All first-place winners will be considered for a cash award. The best of the best will receive $50.

The C*nt Contest is now open for submissions. Deadline: March 31, 2019.

Tin House to Close; Sunspot to Open

books-2158737_1920June of 2019 will see the last Tin House literary magazine roll off the presses. After twenty years publishing original fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Tin House is saying goodbye.

The move was done in the face of mounting costs associated with print publishing. Rob Spillman, the co-founder and editor, is moving on to other areas. The closing brings an end to a very long stretch of quality contributions to the literary arena.

While some new works will still be published on Tin House’s website, the loss of yet another print publication is difficult for writers. Much of the industry still gives more weight to credits in print publications, so the loss of even one magazine can be bad news.

There is a bright spot, however. Sunspot Literary Magazine is launching in January of 2019. For the first year, one print edition will be published. The magazine hopes to add additional print editions in subsequent years.

Meanwhile, digital editions are scheduled for every quarter. The founder is also considering adding frequent special editions that focus on a single author or a single category.

The magazine’s mission is to “change the world through words,” and is open to new and established authors and artists. Submissions of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, essays, art, interviews, and reviews of books, movies and galleries are being accepted through Sunspot’s Submittable portal.

This is an excellent opportunity to be heard and to enact the change you want to see.

Ficton Contest Now Open

The Laine Cunningham long-form fiction contest is open. Now in its fifth year, the contest awards $1,000 to first place, $500 to second place, $250 for third place, and a certificate for honorable mention.

Fiction ranging from 30,000 words up is eligible. The manuscripts can be novels, novellas, short story collections, mixtures of various forms (including short prose and flash fiction), YA, New Adult and adult romance, sci-fi, literary, mainstream…pretty much as long as it meets the minimum length requirement, anything goes.

Details are available on Writer’s Resource’s website under the Writing Contest tab.

Literary Fiction Makes Readers Better People

A study published in Science found that “literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make references about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity. They theorize that reading literary fiction helps improve real-life skills like empathy and understanding the beliefs and intentions of others.”

It’s nice to know that even in today’s busy, disconnected world, literature is still having a substantial impact on society.

Book Marketing with Adjunct Stories

Often I talk to authors about selling themselves to readers as much as their books. It’s natural for readers to want to know more about authors, their motivation for writing a particular book, even about the writing process.

Nowadays, with short books and short stories being produced in ebook and even print formats, there’s an added ability to market your books. No matter what you’re writing, you can create adjunct books.

Consider a self-help author with a workbook…the workbook isn’t the primary self-help book but it adds to the original publication in a helpful manner. Novelists, too, can use this idea by writing short stories about appealing secondary characters in their stories.

These can be sold, of course, or given away to generate interest in the book. Since most adjunct books are short, the time and effort to produce them is often much less than what the original project required.

Hope for Indie Bookstores: Quote from Dan Cullen of the ABA

Dan Cullen of the ABA says, “Customers are making decisions to patronize locally owned retail stores because they recognize that where they spend their money makes a difference. They’ve seen the closure of important local stores or institutions and kind of woke up to what’s important from that regard.”

Combined with readers making choices based on supporting local businesses, the failure of Borders means many regional markets are suddenly open to smaller shops again. Bookstores are being opened now by individuals who realize a bookstore is a community gathering place. New models are combining books with other things like workshops, meeting spaces and much more than the usual coffee and cookie.

That means better hand-selling for authors of all kinds.

How Much Should a Bookstore Get for Carrying Your Books?

Traditionally bookstores get 40% of the list price of a book. They have overhead to pay from that money in addition to earning a profit. Remember that they rent or own the storefront, they have employees to pay, and they have utility bills that arrive every month.

Don’t be surprised if a store asks for 45% so they can run special promotions.

Be flexible. Consider whether sales can help your brand by getting your name out there even if the store discount means you make very little profit yourself.

How Much Should You Charge for an E-book?

Recently e-books have been getting a lot of attention. Big publishers who were slow to enter the game now have as much as 27% of their profits coming from e-books. The market increased 129% over the last 18 months, and it shows no signs of shrinking. So, how do you take advantage of this as an author?
Consider the top and bottom parts of the range first. Some sites allow you to charge up to $199 for a single e-book. That’s great if you have specialized information but for most books, that’s really out of bounds.

Ten bucks is considered the magical touchstone…as in, don’t price an e-book more than that.

Free…well, that’s not really the bottom. It’s zero, so we’re going to bypass that as an option.

$0.99 is the true bottom. Reserve this lowest price point for special promotions that you advertise heavily and that run only for a short timeline, say, a single day.

$1.99 is a nice price point for longer term sales or sales that you don’t market as heavily.

That leaves you with a nice everyday price range between $2.99 and $9.99.

Short Stories

Over the past five years, there has been a resurgence in popularity for short stories. Usually authors have had to work with a book-length collection before getting a publisher’s eye. With digital technology, though, there’s a much bigger market for shorts. Check out this article from the New York Times for more.

Author as Entrepreneur

Here’s an article listing the 10 aspects of every entrepreneur. Every one of these applies to authors.

1. Passion. This is the sole driving force that will keep you moving through tough work days, endless rewrites, rejections, and deals that fall through at the last minute.

2. When you’re writing, you’re thinking about your idea…all the time.

3. You know that any issue in your piece is an opportunity to make it stronger.

4. Every new piece you work on is better than the one that came before.

5. There are no guarantees in publishing but you keep writing anyway.

6. You are social enough to network but know when to sit in the chair and be alone with your writing.

7. You know your strengths…and that means you also know where you are weak…and you get help from others with those weak areas.

8. You know your limits. You can’t write a book in a day. You can’t work on more than a few things at once. You pick the most important and get them done.

9. You are energized by writing. You are energized by talking about writing. You are energized by reading this blog!

10. You get something back from your work. It might be a paycheck. It might be a “thank you” from a reader whose hunger you fed particularly well. Both put something back into you.

Rejections

For anyone who needs a laugh about all those “good” rejections they’ve been getting, check out this blog post.

Set Your Novel in a Famous Place

Here’s another article from Writer’s Digest. Author Josh Pahigian shares the reasons why.

All are valid for different reasons. One of the best is the fact that your marketing machinery will be built in. Tourist boards, local shop owners, and travel advertisements all help to keep your book in people’s minds…or to spark that important first interest in your story.