Within the genre of science fiction/fantasy, the five writers in my Writers’ Group are following their own unique paths to finding readers and publishing.
One is entering writing contests and winning. Austin Briggs has a website that I have mentioned before that is Flash Fiction and the winner of the month takes home $55 for 55 words.
Allie Vaughn was their winner for her February entry. “Jump Through.” That’s a dollar a word! Not bad. Check out her winning entry.
She has also submitted short stories in various contests with successful results. Her winning short story appears in “Great Tales Beyond the Mystic Door” by Professor Limn and is available on Amazon.com. Sixty-one three minute short stories by sixteen exciting authors.
She also won “Golden Curl Girl” in the Aspiring Writers Short Story competition that will also be published in an upcoming anthology.
Allie is also a winner of poetry and won third place for “Lady Winter” to be published in a poetry anthology.
Winning contests is one way to get your name out there and build a reader base.
Another writer in our group is using the short story anthology route to publishing and also self publishing science fiction/fantasy games, while he waits on acceptance through traditional publishing. Clayton Callahan has just been accepted into a science fiction/fantasy anthology edited by friend Phyllis Radford called “How Beer Saved the World.” Should be very popular. His science fiction story “Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow” is a great read.
Clayton is also a gamer and has been involved in gaming for a while now. He just recently wrote a non-fiction article, “Playing a Role in Science Fiction.” Check it out online at Perihelion, a professional science fiction magazine. http://www.perihelionsf.com under Clayton Callahan. He also has self published several non-fiction gaming manuals, one which is Battlefields: from Broadswords to Bullets. Another is a handbook for a game called Star Run, also available on Amazon. I used his information on military and weapons in several of my scenes.
“Pointy side out.”
Another author in the group, Ted Blasche, has also published in Perihelion a delightful short story called, “To Dance with the Girls of IOS-5.” http://www.perihelionsf.com/archives/blasche001.htm
In addition to publishing in a well known online magazine, Ted is going the traditional route of submitting to major science fiction publishing houses and is currently waiting on a response to a military science fiction novel he has completed.
But Ted has also gone the script to screen route and has won a finalist spot in the Willamette Writers contest FiLMLaB. The final few will be used at the Willamette Writers’ conference and will be announced April 11.
We’re rooting for you, Ted!!! Screen plays from novels or short stories is another way to get your name out there.
A small subsidiary publishing house, Mockingbird Lane Press, has accepted Diana Peach’s novel Myths of the Mirror. Her website here gives a taste of her soon to be published book on dragons. http://mythsofthemirror.com.
Already, she is busily writing a sequel and has recently put Dragon Soul into the hands of the editors there. There’s nothing so great as a book with dragons in it, and Diana writes wonderfully well. Look for Myths of the Mirror coming soon.
Many valid small publishing houses are springing up to service new writers and help them with editing, book covers, formatting and other needs. Increasingly, individuals are offering classes and panels (for a price) on various aspects of publishing, including marketing. The new writer has to tread carefully and investigate those he does business with as the scam artists are finding this new area of publishing and writing fertile ground. Even the well known publishing houses are buying out publishing businesses like Authorhouse and writing contracts for eager new authors that don’t realize what they are getting into. So authors beware. Check out editors and predators: http://www.pred-ed.com.
Several established authors in my Portland luncheon group are going the traditional route, but also are exploring other venues.
These are professional writers that have been writing for a while and are “connected.” David Levine has sold over fifty of his short stories and was recently on the cover of Analog Magazine.
I did an interview with him in my February blog about his short story anthology, Space Magic. This is a collection of his own short stories that he came out with in 2008, and now in January, he has reformatted the collection and put it out digitally through Book View Café.
Many known authors with backlists are bringing them out again in digital format and reselling their story. David has teamed up with other well-known Portland authors to do readings and book signings all over the area. He recently did a successful reading and signing with other authors at Powell’s at Cedar Crossing in Beaverton. Getting out face to face is a tried and true method for known authors. Pairing up with other authors swells the attendance.
Phyllis Irene Radford, in addition to her recent forays into editing anthologies, has just published the third trilogy in her Dragon Series. The Silent Dragon: Children of the dragon Nimbus #1, which is now available on Amazon through DAW. Phyllis also has published a series on Merlin’s descendents with her Guardians of the Balance and also a series on fairies of which Chicory Up is the latest. Adding on to a popular series is also a recommended route to success.
While following the traditional publishing route, she also has a serious eighty-six-page nonfiction called Magna Bloody Carta. This was published through a writers’ online co-op called Book View Café. Writers getting together and providing exchange services for each other on a website that lists and sells digital books is becoming a popular way to build readership, become known and sell books. Self-publishing authors are banding together to help each other. Many online websites that offer digital books are providing an avenue for authors, both new and old.
She also has gone into other anthologies with her own short stories: Gears and Levers 2: a Steampunk Anthology and Breaking Waves through Sky Warrior Book Publishing, a small publishing house.
And I’m going the self-publishing route via Digital Imagination Publishing. You can check out my series on the right. All are available online at most known booksellers, Smashwords, Kindle, Amazon, ibookstore, and others. I’m following the advice of Dean Wesley Smith and using serial writing to get my name out there. I recently experimented with the KDP Select program that offers Caught in Time for free to Prime members of Amazon for ninety days…so pass it along. Hopefully, they’ll like it and buy others in the series.
I am also dabbling with social media (ex. this blog) as another way to get my name out there. In fact, I just won a Liebster Award for my blog submitted by Andy McKell. This is a new fun way smaller bloggers are spreading the word, so stay tuned next week for the details.
The paths to establishing a following of readers, eventual publication and greater sales is varied in this new world of writing, and new writers are trying many new and interesting ways to find a reader base, get published and sell their story.