Category Archives: selling fiction

What the…?

Cory Doctorow writes, over at Boing Boing:

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to fraudulently remove numerous non-infringing works from Scribd, a site that allows the general public to share text files with one another in much the same way that Flickr allows its users to share pictures.

Included in the takedown were: a junior high teacher’s bibliography of works that will excite children about reading sf, the back-catalog of a magazine called Ray Gun Revival, books by other authors who have never authorized SFWA to act on their behalf, such as Bruce Sterling, and my own Creative Commons-licensed novel, “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.”

I’m not a SFWA member, mainly because I don’t yet qualify. But even if I were, they are not authorized to claim copyright of my work in their attempts to serve DMCA notices on my behalf. Just… no.

And I should be writing critiques.

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A question from the “feeling stupid” files…

So, hypothetically speaking, you know, I have this friend… Okay, no, I don’t have this friend.
Suppose I have this story, and my friend said it sucked last July, and I’d had it critiqued at a writing workshop in September and rewritten it so much that a unix diff on the files leaves me scratching my head and wondering where the untouched parts are and whether they exist, but there is the same premise and the same characters and all.
Is this a new story when I go to submit it?

  1. Yes, it’s a new story. Submit like the wind!
  2. No, it’s the same story. You’ve burned the story at the markets that saw the old version. Sucks to be you.
  3. It depends on the editor.

How embarrassed should I be that I don’t know the answer to this question?

  1. Extremely.
  2. A moderate amount.
  3. Mildly.
  4. Not at all.

If I submit like the wind, should I say something to the markets that saw the previous version? If so, what should I say?

  1. It’s rude to not mention it. Say something like this.
  2. It’s a new story. Don’t mention it.
  3. Tell them it’s a “reboot” of the other story.
  4. Do something else, which I will detail in comments.

Discuss.

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The Year of Getting Serious

My Hollywood Creative Directory is on its way. I received one of my two first script queries back in the mail as undeliverable. D’oh! Short fiction markets are all over the Internet, but this is not the case for the places I want to send scripts. (The online version of the Hollywood Creative Directory is $250 a year. Ulp. Maybe if I start selling or win the lottery.)
I’m running a little behind on the short story a month plan, but not badly. I still think I can crank out nine this year if I try. (No short stories during NaNoWriMo, NaNoEdMo, or Script Frenzy.) I may write a play instead of a short story one month, or for Script Frenzy. Or not, but it’s an idea I’ve been vaguely contemplating for awhile. I just think it would be fun. I’ve improved the script reporting in my submissions tracker. I’m also not sure how I’m fitting Lizardfic into that plan, but I really need some short fiction. I don’t have enough in circulation.
After NaNoEdMo comes Critters for the NaNoWriMo novel, unless I decide I hate it. 😉 If I don’t hate it, I’ll have to do something with it. I’ve updated my submissions tracker to handle novel queries and submissions. (Fear me! my Geek-Fu is powerful.)

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Year in Review

Short stories completed: 1
Scripts completed: 1
Novel first drafts completed: 1
Short stories that somehow morphed into novels-in-progess: 2
Short stories that were pulled from circulation and completely rewritten: 1
Short story submissions: 32
Short story rejections: 28
Short story sales: 1
Short stories in circulation: 3
Lo, I am dissatisfied.

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I’ll be patient, then…

From Full Unit Hookup‘s news page, dated 08/26/2006:

My computer crashed this week and unfortunately the FUHU submission log file was corrupted. This disaster doesn’t mean I’ve lost all submissions to FUHU. What it does mean is that I’ll have to rebuild the the tracking file I use to record all FUHU submission activity, which means longer response times. (Even though I keep monthly backups of all FUHU files, the submission file can change daily.) Sorry, folks.

Yeah, this sounds like a bad time to query. It also explains why they’ve had my story 79 days, which is long for them. Darn, and I was hoping it was because they loved me.

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Reversing Myself.

Up until this point, I’ve been very firm in the idea that I should not rewrite old stories. (I’m not sure what the definition of “old” is, in this case, but…)
Well.
I believed quite firmly that “Median Effective Dose” was the single best story I’d ever written when I started sending it out. Rejectomancy, on the other hand, says otherwise; my response times suggest that editors are not particularly tempted by this story, although I’m still getting personalized rejections. I also had a friend tell me that it sucks. 😉
Which is why it’s been rewritten and resubmitted to the Critters queue. This breaks two previously firm rules: 1. Never rewrite anything that received a personalized rejection from My Dream Market, and 2. Never rewrite an old story; make room for new stories. I care too much about this story to waste time with rules.
Of course, I’m now wibbling about resubmitting to those markets. Jed Hartman from Strange Horizons has some advice here that makes me feel better about the whole thing. I was trying to decide whether it would be more boorish to query or to just submit with an abject apology for the rewrite, so I feel a lot better.

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Rituals

There’s this thing I do, when I get a rejection.
1. Enter the rejection in my submission tracker.
2. Report the rejection to Black Holes.
3. If the next market on the list is electronic, email it immediately. If the next market on the list is snailmail, go and print it out. I usually jump in the car and mail it then and there, too.
4. Record the new submission in my submission tracker.
It’s like juggling, or some other game where the ball isn’t allowed to touch the ground. And it cuts down on wibble time.

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Upon Reflection…

I’ve decided that you give up on a story when it’s about Jebi Knight Mary Sue, leading the oppressed rebel army of big business against the forces of evil market restrictions, led by the terrifying Darth Nader.
Short of that, you give up on a story when you run out of markets.
I think we all eye our own work with a hypercritical eye. And this story is at its 15th market. Of all the personalized rejections it’s received, some I agree with and some I don’t, but I’m not sure what to do about that. I suppose I could rewrite every time I get a personal rejection, but then I’d never have time to write something new.
Ah well. I’ve already sent it out again, because stories should not be allowed to sit around with their feet up, eating peanuts, drinking beer, and watching the game. They must be forced to work for a living.

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A Question.

I have a question, for those of you wiser than I.
When do you give up on a story? Never? When you run out of markets? When you decide it sucks?
I’m considering pulling a story from circulation. I just… feel it’s flawed. I wrote it over a year ago and I’m a better writer now. I could rewrite it, but I feel very strongly that I should be writing this year’s story and not last year’s.
What would you do?

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New story in circulation, and badness…

Thanks to the comments of Jen, Margo, and Lisa, the nightmare story is now in circulation under the name “Book of Shadows.” W00t!
I went to go record the information on my Treo–yes, yes, I track these things in mysql and php–and lo, my poor Treo gave its life in the recording of my data and died. It was a 180 that I got off ebay 18 months ago, and was old then. Well. It just so happened that my SO had given me a chunk of back rent recently, so I…
…spent part of it on a Sidekick. Oh, baby! It doesn’t have internet yet–they said to give it 24-48 hours–but I’m still in nerd heaven! *cue soft violins*
Go ahead. Call me a geek. I can take it. In fact, to record what a dweeb I am, I created a shiny new category to record my amazing feats of dorkosity.
Alas, noble Treo! Your tragic sacrifice was not in vain!

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Filed under geekiness, selling fiction, short fiction