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What else am I up to?

I feel like I've really lost my way with blogging. Most of the time these days, when I finally sit down to livejournal, it's so late at night and I'm so very tired that I just don't feel chatty enough to update. Once upon a time I could never imagine a day when I wouldn't been read up on my flist at any moment in time. Now I grab ten minutes while I'm waking up in the morning to quickly read up on everyone.

And in some ways I also feel like I have very little to say. I was joking earlier on today that my blog got boring when I got a nice boyfriend (he'd hate the use of the word "nice" but I mean "nice to me" boyfriend). Noone wants to read endless posts about watching sunsets and curling up and falling asleep on the couch with each other (we don't do either of those things but go with me on this). There's no point of conflict to make the story interesting! I was driving home though this evening from popping in to see Liz and Russell and I thought how different it was and felt compared to all those nights I drove home when I was in heartbreak hell. This time I wasn't going home to an empty house after being in their warm, bustling one. This time, I wouldn't have noone to share dessert with. How much difference the passing of time makes. How different I feel now. I no longer feel worthless, unloveable or undeserving of a happy ending. And frighteningly, something on TV after that made me realise it hasn't even been 3 years! Surely it feels so much longer. I feel so much further away from that situation and that version of me.

What else? The other thing is that I am working a lot. Somehow I've found a bit more of my way again back at the day job. I've had a very full and urgent week but I feel back into the swing of things. And TPP is full steam ahead as is Swancon 36/Natcon 50.

I'm supposed to be joining the Last Short Story crew on a reading marathon til October some time. But I actually have another book to finish - the first Novella Double for 2010 (of 2) called The Company Articles of Edward Teach/The Angaelian Apocalpse. The cover art is done thanks to the very talented Dion Hamill. Amanda has laid it out. I just have to FINISH it!

Here are Thoraiya Dyer and Matthew Chrulew posing as the novella double pair!

The trouble is, after two months of solid copy editing in July and August, my brain got broken. And all I can face is slushing. Which is just as well because I have a huge backlog of submissions to read and have been spending my time working my way through those.

Course today I fished something out of the pile that I've been looking for for a very long time. I just ... need to figure out how to fit it into my publishing schedule!

Working Weekend

I'm desperately needing to make up for a week that had little productivity and many spanners thrown in (my) works (hmm that reads funny).

So... I still have 4 books to finish up for Worldcon. This weekend the list is:
- Edward Teach corrected proofs to layout
- Bleed correct proofs and send to layout

- Sprawl correct proofs to go back to layout (and then to authors and then to printer)
- Below correct proofs and send to layout

And then I have to work on the other halves of the two novella doubles in the week.

Also I have some merch stuff to organise and some logistical stuff to sort for my dealer's table.

And Monday I have to pop into my local bank and take in some signed paperwork as I got all sorted out on Friday for an Eftpos machine and some proper business accounts for TPP as well. Turns out having an advisor go through your records and also talk about your transactions and payment vectors on the phone actually really helps set your business finances up to be tailored to your needs. Who knew?! I'm so cynical of big organisations that I always feel like they are trying to scam me. Hopefully this will be the lowest fee options and the best facilities.

I still have some leftover discomfort from the procedure which is a bit ... uncomfortable? And work seems to have gone slowly today.

The process

I have to become a hard arse. That's the lesson I think I am currently learning. Or if not that, at least be more definitive when extensions are granted that they also apply to publication dates. Cause it's not just me here at TPP anymore - it's too big for me to fulfill all the roles myself and that means that taking on tighter turnarounds affects other people too. I think this is the lesson here.

cassiphone would tell me that there is another lesson here about my buying process. And I partially see her point. It would be really nice to buy completed work just in need of some light proofing. A sort of submission, read, add a fullstop and then send to layout process. Sounds relaxing. But the truth is, I'm not sure I'd be able to do 6 books a year that way, especially with mostly local content. Markets have been thin on the ground here for a few years and I think that's affected how much some writers are writing.

And as much as I've been losing sleep and working all crazy hours the last couple of weeks, it's nowhere near that of some TPP writers. And I do kinda feel bad about that. On the other hand, I feel a little less bad when I read the final versions of the work that will be going to press. Things looked ... tight ... there for a bit but I'm really happy with how it's all starting to shape up. And it's so inspiring to observe the professional and seriousness of the writers I've been working with. It makes such a difference to the publishing experience and I think it makes an enormous contribution to the quality of their work.

I think I've edited about 100 k words this week. Tomorrow I'm back in there for final copyediting. And publishing tasks. It's fun.

Jun. 22nd, 2010

So I'm testing out what it's like to do a couple of days at maelkann's place. Up til now, the puppy has been a complicating factor that has meant I pretty much only see C when he comes up to Perth. Sometimes that's several times in the week, and sometimes its meant that we only see each other on the weekends. But he's on leave at the moment and after he spent the weekend with me, I couldn't really bear not seeing him til the following weekend, and in which he is going to be quite busy with other commitments. So I decided to brave it up and pack me and the puppy up for a couple of days.

And it's mostly been really good - the drive into work was ok, I got in earlier than normal because ... yo, sailors get up really early. Also the drive home this evening was only an hour. And the funny thing is that I had always thought that would be the worst thing ever, at the end of the day, to have to schlepp that much further home. But I never factored in that when I get there, there would be maelkann. Or maybe that is so much more to me than it was when we first talked about splitting the sleepovers.

Being able to leave a mostly better behaved puppy - he totally was awesome until right now when we found he had eaten my underwear.

So a very good experiment in all, I think.

Tomorrow I head home with the puppy cause I'll be tuning in to record Galactic Suburbia tomorrow night with Tansy and Alex.

Tired tired tired tired but I'm sure I mentioned that. Still not sleeping. At like 3 this morning maelkann asked me if I wanted to talk about it. I don't think much can be fixed or helped other than walking through this and I have much more to go before I sleep, I guess.

I did get one novella back to the writer today. Two new reworked versions of others appeared in my inbox. And I am halfway through what I hope is my final go through on Glitter Rose. I guess from here, it's hard to get perspective. And cause I've done this before, I just have to have faith that there will be a day, a moment, when it suddenly all comes together. This though, was not that day.


end of the day wrap up

Ugh. I'm pretty stressed out at the moment with a bunch of different things in my life. Things at TPP are ramping up. My schedule was to have Horn, Sprawl and Glitter Rose at the printers by May 30. So the running behind is really starting to make me quite anxious and panicked - the kind of anxious and panicked where you start to become increasingly more tunnel-visioned and start casting off deadweight that's just slowing you down or distracting. The truth is that I am my best in this frame of mind, as long as I don't get paralysed by fear or overwhelmed by what is left to do. I am more decisive, more driven and more focussed. Usually.

With Glitter Rose almost at the printers, I think I might end up maybe only 2 weeks behind schedule here. I sent the final Sprawl story to proofing today. So Sprawl is not far behind going to print. And that will put me at 3 books to the printers for 2010.

The other thing is that I tend to just suck in and get done other tasks - when approaching one horrible to do item that I've been putting off, I find myself looking for others and completing those. Today's done task list in no particular order:

- published 2 reviews at ASif!
- read a few stories from F&SF Jan/Feb
- sent final Glitter Rose story to layout
- sent Glitter Rose layout proofs out for final proofing
- edited Sprawl story and sent to proofing (completing all editing on Sprawl)
- opened an Alinta Gas account to prevent them shutting off my gas (what? no first warning?)
- started sorting out car insurance
- kicked arse at day job
- sorted out all the Sprawl signed contracts, countersigning and setting up system to ensure payments
- worked on RWE
- answered about 60 emails
- wrote a guest piece for a website
- sorted out assigned review copies at ASif and got ready to post them tomorrow
- entered recent book preorders into finance spreadsheet
- updated new submissions and sent confirmation emails to writers

Tired now. Got two awesome books in the mail and I so want to start reading them but it's after midnight.

I can't believe that I have finished editing short stories for this year - all the editing I have left is for longer pieces. I will of course set in on 2011's short stories after Worldcon in September but I have edited all the short stories I shall publish in 2010. I'd pause to reflect on that but I have 5 novella/novelettes and 1 novel to get cracking on.

it's never enough, eh?

It's 11.10pm and I'm working hard but having to admit that it's probably time to start cajoling myself towards bedtime. I feel like I didn't get enough done today for TPP. Here's my list:

- edited and published 5 reviews on ASif
- emailed publishers to inform them of published reviews
- read half of Analog May Issue and started Phantom Queen
- sorted the final proofs with authors for two stories for Sprawl and forwarded one to layout and one to proofing
- sent out two contracts for Sprawl
- finalised two author bios for Sprawl
- worked on the final cover art for Glitter Rose (liaising with the artist, author and designer)
- discussed a printing option with a new printer
- promoted the submissions period for Speakeasy and emailed back and forth with a few authors relating to this project
- answered emails
- recorded the intros and outros for Twelfth Planet Cast episode 3 (and lost the entire thing)

It's not nothing but it's a bit less than a usual given day because I had an appointment after work and had a couple of other things to do.

Ugh. I am so behind and starting to stress about it. Onwards, onwards, ever onwards. All you can do is give it your best.

and then

in my actual publishing news, I think I nearly have 3 of my 7 books done. Yesterday I was still waist-deep in not knowing where the end of the tunnel was and then on my way in this morning I realised that someone had switched on the light, not that far away.

I've seen the Horn internals and there are only minor tweaks left before that goes off to the printer. Most of Sprawl has been sent to first proofing and layout. Almost all the stories have been through their major edits stage. Very few are still on the back and forth with minor edits. And about half the contracts have gone out. And the cover is done for Sprawl so once all the stories are edited, there's not too much work left in that, I hope. And almost all of Glitter Rose is at layout and I've seen the preliminary draft from vodkandlime for it and it is *very pretty*. We're just finalising the artwork and cover and Marianne is polishing off the final story and that too will be very soon ready to go to the printers.

Which is pretty cool!

Course, I still have 4 other books I need to get moving on. But having 3 under my belt does feel somewhat reassuring. And once these are underway, I can get back to editing Robot War Espresso and the first half of the final book I am yet to officially announce - a second novella double. And after that, I'm all awaiting for authors to finish work. Though, 2011 projects are sorta in my inbox too ...

Thoughts on editing writers

Over at twelfthplanet, I talk about some thoughts I was having yesterday on editing writers and how to ensure you work with an editor again: here.

Yesterday, I

Yesterday I got back on track. My job situation got totally sorted out, in every direction I got wins. I can hardly believe how neatly the whole thing folded up but it did. So big yay.

I also got stuck into things. Shiny 6 is mostly all at layout/proofing except for a couple of bits and pieces round the edges. I finally rolled up my sleeves and began getting stuck into Sprawl editing. It now has a tracking spreadsheet which somehow makes the whole task doable. I'm also pulling extra weight at ASif! so I've been publishing 3 reviews a night for the last two nights and will do for a couple more nights til we're back on track. Swancon 36 is in full swing and I have much to do on my list before the meeting on Sunday.

Busy busy busy.

I visited my parents last night. And I also designed my template for my charm quilt, finally, after much faffing about on graph paper. I know what shape I want to use - triangle, 6 of which fit into a hexagon. But what I don't know is how I want to piece the triangles in order to have an overall visual effect. I realised I need to have actual colours and pieces to fiddle with to work this out so I created the template last night and began cutting triangle shapes out of my entire stash. I have hardly begun making an indent into the stash but it's awesome fun! And I get to relook at all my fabrics in my collection. Huge fun! See, I need to know how many pieces I have in order to work out if, and how many, charm packs I then have permission to buy. Cough. At Cough.

I was grumpy last night. But this morning, looking at the projects I still need to get into high rotation on my done list - Cold Cases, Glitter Rose, ASif overhaul, con planning and reading of new novella submissions - I have much to do and should quit being grumbly about *things*.

ahhh newbie writers

Don't write to me and ask me why I set my guidelines the way I did. Because the answer isn't relevent to you. If I have asked for stories between 2500 and 8000 words and your story does not fit within this range: DON'T SUBMIT TO THIS CALL. It's quite simple.

But don't write to me and ask me why my guidelines are like that with a "I’m just curious as to why that minimum has been set, as I don’t often see them in journal/anthology guidelines. Let me know!" kthxbai

This will be the answer that you get back:

Thanks for your query. The reason I have set a minimum word count (which I don't actually have to justify) is because I hate flash fiction. I consider stories under 2500 words to be a waste of time as a reader.

I'm comfortably writing this here in the secure knowledge that this writer never reads my blog. Otherwise they'd know my intense hatred for flash fiction. (Ignore Tansy's shortlisting of "Like Us" in the Aurealis YA short story category - it's a complete anomaly. Or rather, perhaps that's a validation for my breaking my rule, that one time. The exception, if you will.* I probably also liked one other flash fiction piece, like, 4 years ago but it wasn't memorable enough for me to still recall its title).

The point of this post being that - it doesn't matter WHY my guidelines are what they are. They just freaking *are*.

*Also, "Like Us" is an awesome little YA piece on gender and sexual orientation, and you don't much see that in YA fiction. (Shiny Issue 5 - plug because hardly anyone ever read it.)

and in other news

I'm in a reflective mood.

Doing 4 books this year was on the one hand ridiculous. It was a lot of work and at times was exceedingly full on - especially getting ready New Ceres Nights and then Horn out straight after. And for all the working steadily on A Book of Endings for 18 months or more, we were still down to the wire by the deadline. And for as much hard work that I put in, none of these books would have gotten out on time without the writers, who were all awesome, and the people behind the scenes at TPP - Tehani, Amanda, Dion, Dianne, Tansy and Ben - who are generous above and beyond.

Next year? Well next year has an even heavier schedule than this year.

The thing about me though is, I'm always in a hurry and I'm not interested in walking if running is where it's at. And part of the reason for doing 4 books this year was to go on a rapid and steep learning curve about editing and publishing. With the production of each book, you find the things you could improve on. And with 4 books in one year, you can immediately try to tweak that in the next one.

And so I guess, with the heavy schedule for next year, it'll feel like a rollercoaster ride but I hope I learn as much or, hopefully even more, next year as I did this year.

Right now, today's learning curve. The one thing I would change about A Book of Endings is that I would make it 21g lighter. One of the things I learned (there were several) is perfect flop is priceless!

More work to do

But it doesn’t take a seer to predict that with more awareness and a more open mind, editors will be less likely to dismiss, even unconsciously, fiction that is good but isn’t only about white heterosexual male concerns.
Creating Better Magazines (And Anthologies)

I've been enjoying K Tempest Bradford's commentary on the diversity of voices in science fiction anthologies. It's made me think a lot about my own habits and tastes as a reader and as an editor. At Twelfth Planet Press we have a reasonably good ratio between male and female writers in our books, leaning towards a much higher female ratio in Shiny, and the novellas lean more towards male. New Ceres Nights has about equal ratio I think and includes stories from a range of cultures and several nonstereotypical gender roles and nonheterosexual characters. This happens not because we have a quota. In fact we aren't even conscious of it when we buy stories. We choose stories using a merit based system.

The reason of course that we come out with better representation whilst using the same apparent merit based approach is obvious. We are already readers who experience life outside of the white heterosexual male world. Our view point is different. Our tastes and interests and concerns are different. What we relate to and are engaged by is different.

But... and here is the big but. I still have a lot of work to do.

When I looked at the table of contents for the Mammoth book, I immediately noticed the lack of female names. What I didn't notice was the lack of POC. And because I'm not going to buy nor read the book (I personally am not enthralled by a book with no stories by women in it - story after story about men gets a bit overpowering) I am not going to have noticed the lack of diversity of sexual orientation, ability or character roles.

I didn't like that I didn't notice. I had a bit of a look round my books at home - books sitting in the to read pile, favourite books in the shelves, stuff in the review pile. And what I noticed is, I read a lot of books written by women and a lot of books by men (I'm a SF reader after all) but I don't read that many books by nonwhite writers. I've read Amy Tan. I've read Maya Angelou. I've read Salman Rushdie. That I can list them says there aren't that many. I read a lot of Jewish authors.

But essentially, I still read what is familiar to me.

And it's not something deliberate. It's not something that I set out to do - not read books written by people who don't look like me. I love books that expose me to new worlds, perspectives, thinkings and experiences. But I tend to read what I fall over. For much of my life I've read out of other people's home libraries. I've not gone looking very far for books, I guess.

What I discovered is that I have more work to do. And the awesome thing about all the discussion that happened around the Mammoth book is - people out there are recommending a ton of great books to read. So actually, I still don't have to go looking very far for books. I just need to become more aware of some of my own habits and the kind of built in failures that exist when not looking beyond your comfort zone. It's easy to get blindsighted.

The electronic submission debate

It's floating around.

Heh, we've never accepted print submissions at Twelfth Planet Press - probably for the same reason that I've never owned a cheque book. It kinda strikes me as odd to be publishing science fiction and not be adept with using the science facts of today. Kinda like going to a doctor and finding out that they don't keep up with current medical journals.

Something that I don't think has really been thrown around is the idea that having electronic submissions might improve your slush pile. oldcharliebrown mentions it but I thought I'd take it a step further. The top notch writers don't submit to open call submissions - they don't need to. When you get to a certain point in your career, you get approached and asked to submit to so many projects that you just physically don't have time to write to open calls for works. Probably that's still not the case for "the big three" where it's still a pretty big deal to get published. And that's probably why for them, the argument falls over.

But for the rest of us ... writers need to build their careers. They need to do this by gaining publications and audience exposure. They can't afford to submit a story and not find out if it's made a sale for a year. Or worse, longer. A story that is a year older when it comes back is no longer good currency. Presumably, whilst that story has been making its way to the publisher, maybe by mail, waiting to be collected, sitting in a pile to be read and then rejected, the writer has been working on new works. Works that will be a year further along in the writer's development of their skills. Works that might have already been sold and published. What do you do with the year-old work? Do you submit it and hope noone notices that it's out of synch with your style and proficiency? Do you rework it?

Writers will often tell me that a particular story I read is old. That they want me to keep that in mind when I review it. But the truth is, the story is as "old" as its publication date, not when the writer actually wrote it. And it will be critiqued that way too. The very last thing a writer wants to be doing is trying to shop around stories that no longer reflect their style, skill and proficiency.

And that's why ambitious writers who are actively navigating their careers, building up a publications history, working with as many editors as they can to gain skills, develop themselves and grow professionally, are going to be more attracted to markets that accept electronic submissions and have higher response rates. This can reduce that first stage in a writing career by years (Which has its own repercussions). So too, I think writers who want to stay current, want to be read regularly and often and maintain exposure, either to pitch themselves as a novelist or to maintain their status, will use the same submission tack.

Electronic submissions and quality of submissions are unrelated.

On building careers

I'm working at the moment on getting two book projects to completion, slushing for Shiny 5 upcoming issues, talking to novella writers about novella projects, and developing some new future projects for Twelfth Planet Press. All of which are exciting. And all of which I am really enjoying working on. And it's gotten me thinking.

I was invited recently to participate on a panel talking about why we need small press to publish specfic. It's similar to other panels I've sat on before. And my response reminded me of how it felt to be on a recent panel in Adelaide. See, when I think about it, I don't think we do need small press to publish specfic - not *us* as readers. Not us really as a specfic community either. Small press is going through a bust period, and has been for the last two years, and we've all gone on like it hasn't happened. We still read specfic. We can still find specfic to read that we like. And the majority of specfic readers won't even have noticed there was small press, let alone that it has diminished.

Small press is traditionally the place for writers, artists and editors to grow and learn their crafts. It's a place to try new things, be non-mainstream, be less safe in your choices. It's also a place to learn about the industry. And I think that's really why we need small press.

As I learn more about the industry, and gain experience with each project, working with each writer, I'm learning a lot in terms of how small press is a great opportunity to gain exposure and to learn the art of professionalism. Both for me, as publisher and editor, and for the writer. I've worked with writers on their first publication and I've worked with writers who have been publishing for 20 years or more. And it gives me the unique position of seeing how different writers interact with the editor. Everybody needs different things from the editor and I definitely interact with different writers differently but I must confess it's the most fun with the classiest writers. This, for me, is what makes this gig. What's interesting though is that as you go along, you develop a bit of a list - people who, if you had two manuscripts that you loved equally, you might choose one over the other, just because you had a better experience working with one writer than the other.

And what it makes me realise is, the question of why a story gets rejected has lots of answers. It could be that it's not good. It could be that it doesn't conform to the guidelines. It could be that it's not well written. It could be that the market just accepted a story like it, or already has too many stories like it in that issue/volume/collection.

I have worked with some awesome writers by now. Writers who have been being published for much longer than I've been in the game. And pretty much, without exception, these writers tend to take on board criticism. These writers are not precious about the 6 words on page 13. They are never the writers who tell you that you have missed the point of the story, or explain to you what you didn't get about the plot, and they never tell you that you are wrong (at least about the big things, I'm all up for debating the small ones like semicolons or hyphens). And you know why they don't? Cause those kind of writers respect the reader. They know that if the reader didn't get the work, or the point, it's not the readers fault, it's a flaw in the work. And these writers don't cry, they don't whine on their blog, they come back to you in a couple of days or a week with a new version. And what floors me is when large sections of the plot come back completely from a new angle, or have taken the story in a completely new direction, so totally reworked that you just think ... wow! They did that in 3 days?!

And the thing is, when you get the privilege of working with a truly classy writer, you kinda get a bit spoiled. They are so professional. So prompt in replying to emails, they ask for deadlines and meet them. They follow up on all your queries. They are available, they don't fall off the face of the earth days before the print deadline without signing off on the proofs (that's happened to me). They are reliable and they are enjoyable to work with. They work with you and you get to experience that creative synergy. And what that means is that the next time, if I have two manuscripts that I like equally well, I'm likely to buy the one that I know means working with the writer is going to be enjoyable and efficient. I am not likely to choose the writer whose last experience to work with was painful. And the more painful the writer, I reckon the harder they have to work for their work to be a cut above the rest in order to shift their manuscript up the pile.

I'm reflecting on this because of late I've been working with some really talented writers and artists. People who take feedback as part of the creative process. I've really been enjoying seeing concepts develop and grow and watching how both the art and stories have evolved into final products that sometimes look very little like the first draft. When you become less attached to every detail about a work, when every single word or pen stroke no longer define who you are as a writer or artist, you become more comfortable experimenting and deconstructing and rebuilding. And for me, I think that's when work gets really interesting. Particularly when looking at working out why something doesn't work and when something else does, which sometimes helps you figure this stuff out the next time too. When you accept that nothing is ever perfect, and you can let that go, you create a space that encourages improvement and growth. And development. You create a space that allows more risk taking. Because there is no penalty for failing. And that becomes really exciting to watch, and sometimes be a part of.

I've learned a lot too about the industry, through the luxury of small press. I've made my own mistakes as an editor and publisher. I am always interested in new writers who are just coming along, at the beginning of their career. And I have a ways to go yet, doing my own time, seeing things and stuff, but I have a keen interest in seeing how writers go. Seeing how successful different approaches to the editing and publishing process become.

The thing though that I always keep in mind is, honestly, losing one really brilliant story by accident (ie by not "recognising" the talent) is a price, but it's a small price, compared to being stuck in a really unfun editorial process for a story that is less than brilliant.

(ETA: And on rereading this, I've just figured out who the audience is for small press - it's readers who love seeing and supporting the development and evolution of a craft, just like me.)


Commas and spaces around ellipses will be the death of me yet.

And - it's time for expansion of our team again at TPP. Delegation ... I will get good at this yet.


I gotta take a break from reading Deborah Biancotti for a couple of days.

Just finished proofing "King of All and the Metal Sentinel" and after the news of my own dog today, man this story rips out my heart. Mighta brought a tear to my eye too (and it has a happy ending, this one).

Biancotti has a way of seeing straight into the soul of people and stories. She's not interested in the icing and dressing, she is far more intrigued by the truth and the heart, or lack of heart, of things. And that commitment to the harsh truth, the raw humanity that she sees in people and rips out and puts front and centre - it's gritty and honest and unflinching. And it hurts - sometimes in bad ways and sometimes in bittersweet ways. But ... damnit she takes no prisoners.


The number one giveaway of how far along you are in your short story career is submitting your story without a cover letter at all (I know I mock them but don't send me an empty email) and no information about you or the story in the body of the short story itself.

Ahhhh ... slushing. What a way to spend a hot saturday night. Could my life *get* more exciting? Or my mouth more sarcastic?

I lack focus

Perhaps a list will help?

Things I need to do:

1. Choose printer based on quote
2. Send stories to layout (0/13)
3. Finalise artwork
4. Finalise layout
5. Sort contracts
6. Sort introduction
7. Sort glossary
8. Back cover blurb
9. CIP information
10. Sort author bios
11. Website upgrade
12. Check with Tehani what else I am supposed to do :)
13. Start working on launch, promotion

1. Send stories to layout (2/21)
2. Write back cover blurb
3. Coordinate cover art, introduction and blurbs
4. Coordinate author bio and story blurbs
5. CIP information
6. Index with publication information
7. Look at printing quotes
8. Sort payments and contracts

1. Send Issue 5 stories and NF to layout (0/5)
2. Write editorial
3. Website stuff
4. Catch up on slush (0/8)
5. Sort contracts and payment
6. Sort ISSN stuff

1. Send more info to interested cover artist
2. First round edit

Bunch of other stuff

Win at email inbox

girliejones, Editor

Things are getting pretty fast-paced at TPP these days. Juggling is what I'm spending most days doing. Given our publishing schedule for 2009, I spose that's not really all that surprising.

We're starting to sign off parts of the first two books for 2009 and sending them to layout. I think I will start to feel better as the stories sent to layout increase and the number of stories left to agonise over ellipses and em dashes decrease.

But tonight I sent an acceptance out for Shiny 6/7 (we'll decide on what goes where when we've bought all of the stories) and it's been so long since I sent one out, I forgot what they look like. Doh!


I've spent the week reading submissions. I've come to the conclusion that most writers are too verbose and most stories need to lose at least 1000 words.

That is all.

Rejection Block

So I mentioned that I've been having editor's block the last couple of weeks (those who deal with TPP, know it's been longer than that!) with respect to writing and sending rejections. It's kind of ridiculous and I think it's passing now - too much to do, too much piling up, and writers deserve the courtesy. So I'm making myself send at least 2 a day - awesome (not) kind of thing to have on your to do list, huh?

I got this first thing this morning:
I felt i had to reply to your email immediately and tell you that was
the nicest rejection letter I think I've ever had. ;)

Rejections are not fun to write and they're not fun to receive.

I don't know if this kind of interaction makes them harder or easier.

Ugh! And I still have a bunch of submissions to process.

Cover Letters

As y'all are out there beavering away at NaNoWriMo let me say ... when you finish your manuscripts and you pull them together to submit to various places, big and small, for consideration ... editors don't need to hear about where and how you live. I do not care if it's 2 cats or 3 rabbits and I am constantly wondering *why* I need to be told this in cover letters.

Incidentally, I now also read cover letters to see if they are more entertaining than the story attached for consideration. Hint: they should not be!

Confessions from the Slush Pile

I have a confession to make. It used to really really annoy me when writers would ignore the submissions guidelines to my projects and would try and submit things outside of what I was clearly looking for, as though I wouldn't notice. Or that I would like it so much I would buy and print it anyway.

These days, I secretly look forward to and enjoy stories outside my guidelines. Because it's a quick rejection and delete and a tick off the list. Love them!

My current favourites:
- stories set on Earth in the current time period for New Ceres
- stories with no young adult characters *at all* submitted to Shiny

Yes, there is a hidden message in here to carefully read guidelines before you submit to calls for submission - otherwise you are just wasting everyone's time.

Watch me Mum!

Look! I'm actually editing!!


Know your market

I think one of the most important things about snagging a sale is to know which markets to submit your story to in the first place.

I'm working with a writer at the moment on the beginning of a project and she asked my advice on where to send her stories - she not really being that familiar with what kind of stories many of the overseas markets are publishing. It got me thinking.

Then I got a submission the other day to Shiny with a cover letter that suggested we might like this writer's work because they write in a similar style to what we are publishing. Now, you'll forgive me but I know exactly who has subscribed to what issues of Shiny - the subs are hardly that multudinous that I could not notice. So ... I see this cover letter and I think "how would this writer know? They haven't read an issue (at least not legally)". And then? And then I read the story. And I think, "oh .. this writer has read some reviews of the issues and knows issue 1 had the theme of death ..." But really? I do not print stories that objectify women and that describe disfigurement of female corpses in long plotless detail. Don't send them to me. I do, though, know several markets where you can send that fetishist material.

My point? If you read the markets you intend to send to, or you do a bit of broad reading before you start subbing, you might not waste your time, the editor's time and you might just be able to marry up your story with the right outlet.

It's also kind of insulting, to tell the truth, when you get a sub like that with that kind of cover letter: you don't want to spend $3 buying a copy of my mag but you want me to give you $50 for *that*.

Writing - simultaneous submissions

So what's the go on simultaneous submissions? If you are a writer, do you do it? If you are an editor, do you mind it?

Someone submitted a story to me yesterday and today pulled it as it was accepted by another magazine. My first response, naturally, was to see if I would have taken it, had I still had the opportunity.

I could see why you might do it if you'd submitted the story to slush and not heard anything for 6 months. You might think stuff it and have a go somewhere else. But I can't help thinking this person was wasting my time - had I actually gotten round to reading it. Shiny pretty much has a one week turnaround so it's not like we are really holding anyone up. We don't specify that we don't accept simultaenous submissions and I guess yay for the writer for getting an acceptance. But I can't help being left feeling a little annoyed.


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December 2014



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