My Writing

Open

A brief blog post today to hold the fort while I go off pandal-hopping during Durga Puja.

I’m happy to share the publication of my story Open in Spark!

This has an interesting story behind the story. I had written it long back when Orkut was decommissioned, but subsequently set it aside as I wasn’t too happy with it. The other day I was randomly browsing various literary journal submission guidelines and I came across Spark. By coincidence the theme was ‘Secrets’ and by another fantastic coincidence the theme deadline was that very day!

I spruced up my story the best I could and sent it off. It was accepted a week later and has gone through three rounds of edits (the editor helped me improve the portions that had left me unsatisfied).

The theme for their November issue is ‘The Wait’.

Check out the details here: http://www.sparkthemagazine.com/write-for-us/

Do read my story if possible and let me know what you think!

Lit Journals

Market Spotlight: On the Premises

Last year I had written about my story published in On the Premises. I’d been submitting to this literary journal for a few years before that. Like most markets, I discovered this one too on Duotrope.

There’s quite a few things I like about this lit mag. To begin with, it offers payment to winning writers while maintaining free submissions. Every issue is run as a themed contest, with the top three stories and one honourable mention earning handsome prizes. They also offer a critique for stories that make the final round of judging.

When I came across the journal, I read through a number of back issues in sequence, and I must say I liked whatever I read. The stories were well-written, but also had plot and character.

In 2015, a story I sent in made it to the final round of judging. I received a detailed and really helpful critique. I used the feedback to rewrite the story.

Last year the theme for the first contest of the year was ‘It’s On You’, i.e. clothes. I had been working on a story along those lines but something was missing in it. When I realized I could tie it to the ‘clothes’ theme, I set about rewriting it. I finished drafting and revising and finally sent it out literally minutes before the deadline.

Within a week I got the good news that my story had made it to the final round of judging. I yearned to place but had decided by then I would content myself with another free critique if I didn’t.

Another week later I got the great news – I had placed second.

As the editors promised, the stories went through a round of minor edits and within the month I was both published as well as paid.

Overall it was a great experience and I would recommend everyone to send in their best stories here.

Their next contest ends on 30th August, and this time the theme is ‘Tradition’.

If you have a story or can whip up a good one in that much time, please send it across! And let me know if you win!

Lit Journals

Market Spotlight: Third Flatiron

I’ve blogged before about this wonderful science fiction literary journal called Third Flatiron. They publish around four times a year and mostly around a theme.

Their Spring/Summer anthology, “Hidden Histories” is out now, and a perfect read for folks looking for some fun, short summer reads. The anthology’s available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

The latest and best news about this market: Third Flatiron will be raising their per-word pay rate for accepted stories to 8 cents, beginning with the Fall/Winter 2019 anthology. As a SFWA Afilliate, their goal is to continue to pay pro rates.

They will be reopening for submissions on July 10 for three weeks. Stories are due to us during the three-week reading period: July 10 – August 3. The theme this time is “Longevity,” and they hope to find some fantastic stories for this theme!

In addition, the editor Juliana Rew has come out with her first novel, “The Unwinding: Gin’s Story,” under her new imprint, Sophont Press. It’s a space opera, book one of a planned trilogy. The ebook for Kindle is available for pre-order on Amazon, and paperbacks will be available on July 1. Kirkus reviews call it “A sci-fi romp that’s vast in scale yet thoroughly playful.”

They also did a wonderful, free podcast of Bruce Golden’s lead story about Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare, “The Fairy’s Bell.” Check it out here.

Overall this is a great market to submit to, if you have a piece of speculative fiction looking for a home. Check out their submission guidelines and send something great!

Writing

Resources for Literary Journals

It’s been 2 months since I last posted which is my longest gap in quite some time, but it can’t be helped, as I was tied down with health issues for myself and family members.

The writing has been sporadic to say the least, but I have managed a little in spurts.

I’m not sure if I’ve posted a resources list earlier, but since I have been submitting my writing for regularly for the last five years, I have accumulated quite a collection. A number of resources exist on the internet, but like everyone else I have a few favourites that lead to journals publishing fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

  1. Duotrope: This used to be free many years earlier but has now moved to a paid subscription model, costing $5 per month or $50 per year. I have subscribed the last two years and intend to continue, considering that I easily recover the cost within a few months.
  1. NewPages.com: This is an entirely free resource and includes a huge number of listings. However you might have to sift through quite a few to find the paying opportunities.
  1. The Review Review: If you’ve ever wondered what kind of content a literary journal publishes, The Review Review serves as your guide. It features reviews of journals, interviews with editors, and classifieds as well.
  1. Erika Dreifus’ Practicing Writing Newsletter: One of the best resources out there, with focus solely on paying opportunities.
  1. Trish Hopkinson: Her posts focus more on poetry markets, but since most feature fiction and creative nonfiction, they’re a great resource too.
  1. Entropy Mag: Entropy is itself a “website featuring literary and related non-literary content.” Every quarter they publish a list of submissions calls for the upcoming three months.
  1. Published to Death: A month-wise list of calls for submissions. An excellent resource for fiction and other creative writers.
  1. Ralan: This site has been around for many years and features mainly Fantasy, SF, and Horror markets.
  1. Submittable Discover: Submittable is known more for their submission platform that most literary journals use. They recently launched their Discover platform which helps writers/artists seek out opportunities and filter them based on their requirements. I find that it requires some work to unearth the paying ones.
  1. Poets and Writers: I came across this quite recently and found it a worthy addition to my list of resources.

One resource that I used to go through every month was Cathy’s Comps and Calls, but sadly it is not updated any more:
http://compsandcalls.com/wp/

I do hope Cathy Bryant returns with this but looks like for the time-being this is on hold.

That’s my comprehensive listing of resources. If you have any more do let me know! If any of the above leads you to publication, please leave a comment and let us all help you celebrate!

Writing

Paying Submission Fees to Lit Mags

In recent years, a trend has emerged of literary journals charging submission fees to writers. This is a sore point for most submitters. As it is, the number of paying journals is far fewer as compared to magazines happy to compensate with ‘exposure’.

When Brevity started charging a submission fee, they explained their rationale behind it in a detailed post.

Most journals charge minimal fees of the order of $2 or $3. This is meant to partially offset the costs charged by Submittable or other online submissions management systems, and also to pay writers whose works are found suitable for publication.

Some journals like Narrative charge $20 and upwards to submit, which seems too steep, though I understand they pay their writers well.

Though Brevity charges a fee, they pay $45 for essays up to 750 words. This qualifies it as a Professional payment as per Duotrope.

Another aspect to consider here is if emerging writers really stand a chance in getting published in such magazines. It’s possible that the writers’ fees that are collected go towards paying solicited writers for their works. That’s something you have to weigh with each magazine. Check the bios of contributors. If it’s filled with familiar, known names, then new writers might not stand a chance.

The really objectionable ones are the magazines taking money but not paying writers. I’m sure their business model demands or at least justifies it, but it’s difficult to digest that writers input their creative work as well as part with precious currency merely to see their name in print.

There’s lively debate on this topic at several avenues:

Authors Publish takes a stand against submission fees

Writers Relief breaks it down for you

Michael Nye at The Missouri Review says they introduced fees to reduce the number of submissions:

My own experience

I usually wouldn’t part with my cold hard cash, but I do make exceptions in certain situations. For me, I found it quite convenient to submit online rather than go through the hassle of putting together a submission package consisting of envelope, stamp and printed out cover letters.

I did submit to two journals – Brevity and The Missouri Review by paying the submission fees. At $3, it works out to approx. Rs. 180, which is how much I’d spend on coffee for two at Starbucks. Though the pieces got rejected, I received personal rejections with glowing comments and an invitation to resubmit in the future. This doesn’t bring out such a big high as getting an acceptance, but regular submitters would recognize the value of a personal rejection as opposed to a standard form one.

In other lit mag news, Nathaniel Tower has another useful post on finding sustainable lit mags that don’t disappear taking your publications credits down along with them. Do take a look.