Project Status Updates

Well, I’m a bad blogger. I have not been taking my own advice and keeping my regular blog days lately. I have a good excuse. I’ve been sick on and off for the past 10 days and I’m so busy with creative projects, it’s hard to think of blog topics that are fresh and worthy of your time. But some of you do follow this blog. I get enough traffic even without posting, that my numbers hardly drop, so that’s encouraging, and I’m grateful.

But here, at least is some news.

Beyond Sun Cover.inddWe released the cover for Beyond The Sun in its final incarnation. I am finishing manuscript prep on that now and will turn it in tomorrow to Fairwood for July release. I’ll have Advanced Reader Copies in April. Hard to believe. What a ride it’s been since I dreamed this up in August, and here it comes! There are some truly great stories in this, though, so I can’t wait to get it out in the world. In case anyone missed it, the cover is included here. A full Table Of Contents can be found at http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/01/toc-beyond-the-sun-edited-by-bryan-thomas-schmidt/.

Also, Abraham Lincoln Dinosaur Hunter: Land Of Legends, the first chapter book in my fun new scifi alt history series for young readers released after a delay on my birthday, February 13, 2013. The day after Lincoln’s birthday, by the way. So far sales are steady and I know they’ll only increase when reviews pour in.  That cover and more info can be found here: http://bryanthomasschmidt.net/writings/childrens-books/.

I have started the first novel in a new scifi series. Garret Hawke, Lunar P.I. is a detective noir set in colonies on the moon. The first story has Hawke’s young neighbors’ baby murdered and the parents accused, when he sets out to clear them. This is a world of A.I.’s called Synthetics, where humans live underground because of radiation and Synthetics cover the above ground work. Colonies have only existed on the moon for 15 years, in this 22nd Century setting. Each book will stand alone but there will be some through arcs to the storylines that continue in each consecutive book. Again, illness has slowed me down, but I’m hoping to get this done by April 1st.

After that, I have to write the next Abraham Lincoln Dinosaur Hunter, and then, depending on response, perhaps start book 2 in The Dawning Age. (see next paragraph). Plus, I have the May issue of Blue Shift to turn in this week. And I have 3 other partial novels I can resume work on.

I have agents looking at Duneman, Book 1 in my epic fantasy/steampunk mix, The Dawning Age. Excited to see what comes of that.

Raygun Chronicles is 1/4th funded in Kickstarter, but hopefully the next 15 days will turn that around so I can release that. There’s some awesome writers attached. I’d hate to see it fail. But Kickstarter is a giant waiting game. The t-shirts though are awesome and to die for. I think people will really want those!

Jennifer Brozek and I also signed a contract with Baen Books to edit what we hope will be series of military fantasy anthologies, called Shattered Shields. Coming in 2014, you can find details on writers, etc., here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/601968027/raygun-chronicles-space-opera-science-fiction-anth/posts/405709.

And I also have a YA reprint anthology in the works and so far have Cory Doctorow, Robert Silverberg, Mike Resnick, Jay Lake, EC Myers,  and several others committed to that.

So, as you can see, I have a good excuse for being too busy to blog but I will be doing another Write Tip later this week, and I hope to get more active again soon.

Thanks for following and cheering me on!

Bryan

 

 

Write Tip: Advice From The Slushpile-8 Common Mistakes To Avoid In Submitting Manuscripts

This week, I decided to cover something which is going to seem obvious to some but clearly isn’t: common mistakes to avoid in submitting your work. As a slush reader at Ray Gun Revival and now as anthology and zine editor, these are things I’ve seen again and again. And not just from novice writers, who might be excused for their ignorance with an over eagerness that we’ve all been through. No, I’m seeing these from SFWA and Codex members and people I know have been published and submitted a lot. And folks, there’s no excuse for them except one: laziness. So here are 10 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Submitting Manuscripts.

1) Read Guidelines-All editors have them somewhere. They exist to give you an advantage. Ignoring them is stupid. Why? a) If I’m an editor telling you what I want to see, with competition for story sales being what it is, why in the world would you not use this to your advantage? b) If I told you how I want submissions to look and be done, ignoring it is telling me you either don’t respect me, don’t care or think you’re above it. All three are the signs of not just unprofessionalism but an attitude that bodes negative things for our working relationship.

2) Use Standard Formatting-You don’t have to like it. We don’t care if you find it annoying. We don’t care if it seems old fashioned. It’s industry standard for reasons from tradition to ease of import for programs like Adobe InDesign, so just do it. Examples are rampant, but one of the most respected comes from Bill Shunn and can be found here. He even offers samples to download. Take advantage of it and get it right. Our guidelines will tell you if you except any variant, if not, show us you’re professional and at least meet the standard.

3) Use Spellcheck-Some typos fall under things we can forgive: the occasional missed word, for example. A missed period or capital letter on occasion. Words that are actual words but not the one you missed. If you read your story aloud or have betas read it before submission, you’d likely catch them, but at least they are things that can happen to anyone. In the case of words that any basic spell check ought to catch, there’s just no excuse. “Matter” and “mater” are not the same word. “Rond” instead of “round” is something that just shouldn’t be missed. If you don’t care enough to make the simplest effort to get it right, why should we read your story or care about it?

4) Keep Cover Letters Short-Folks, I am a slush reader. I get tons of submissions. I don’t want your life story. I don’t want your brown nosing. I just want good stories. Don’t write me long letters about admiring me and the zine, etc. Tell me your name, the name of the story, the word count, any relevant publications (i.e. markets I’ve heard of), thank me, sign your name and attach the file. Keep it simple. If I want a full bio or list of credits, I’ll ask for it. Unless your mother is an industry luminary, her opinion has no value to me. That goes for any other relatives or friends in your inner circle. And don’t lie about it either. I know lots of people. I can probably verify the truth of it if I get curious. Don’t make me think you’re up for wasting my time before I even get to your story. TRUST ME.

5) Include Your Contact Information-This is part of standard formatting. Again, you can find it here. But really, if I want to send you a contract, email you or mail a check, don’t make me go through twenty steps to track you down. Put it right on the story, before the title and byline. Name, Address, City, State, Zip, email, and if you’re a SFWA, Codex or other member. Phone number can be helpful too and is a good idea. That’s it. Word Count across the page. Boom. Make it easy to deal with you. We have to deal with so many writers, the ones who make it easy definitely make the best impressions.

6) Spell My Name and Title Right-Yeah, it sounds obvious but my name is BrYan not BrIan. It’s right on the guidelines. It’s on the staff page. It’s on my bio. If you don’t care to get that right, then I can assume you aren’t concerned about the details of anything else either. It’s also a sign of simple respect. Simple respect and politeness go along way in businesses where relationships and networking play a key role. This is one of them so be polite and have respect.

7) Read Up-Read copies of the magazine or anthologies I’ve edited. Read my blog. Ask writers who’ve worked with me. Find out about my likes, dislikes, etc. in any way you can. It’s probably in my guidelines, but sending me stuff that will automatically get rejected like erotica, porn, gratuitous sex and violence or often non-family friendly stuff (I state specifically for each project what the limits are) is going to waste both of our time and leave me again feeling that you’re either lazy, disrespectful or cocky. None of which makes me remember your name as someone I’d like to work with.

8 )  Use The Right Submission Address-Yes, often my personal email or editor’s box email is available. There are all kinds of reasons for this. But if the guidelines tell you to submit stories to another address, unless I specifically asked you to do otherwise, use the address as instructed. I’m a nice guy. I try and treat people the way I want to be treated. I’m not at the point where I am so tired of writers making these mistakes that I’ll reject a story out of hand for them, but I can see why editors do this. I get tons of email like anyone else. Having paths I use for various types of email help me keep it organized. Don’t think you’re an exception to the rules unless I tell you. I have the rules for a reason.

I think what makes these errors so annoying in their commonness is that they could be so easily avoided. If you writers don’t take your career seriously enough to get the easy stuff right, it’s hard to trust that you’ll be serious about the big stuff, and that tends to leave an impression that you are someone we might not want to work with. In any case, something to consider and take seriously. For what it’s worth…


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is editor of Blue Shift Magazine, and an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince(2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on Beyond The Sun for Fairwood Press, headlined by Robert Silverberg, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress, a Ray Gun Revival Best Of Collection for Every Day Publishing and World Encounters and Space & Shadows: SpecNoir with coeditor John Helfers, all forthcoming. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

 

Blue Shift: Call For Submissions & Slush Readers

Well, I made the announcement several weeks ago that White Cat Publications has hired me to Edit a new semi-pro bi-annual science fiction magazine called Blue Shift. Well, I am now officially taking submissions and also I need slushreaders to help me sort through them. Full guidelines will be posted soon here. But, in the meantime, here’s how to send them:

Guidelines:

Who we are:

Blue Shift is the science fiction specific periodical of White Cat Publications, LLC. Our goal is to present the very best examples of the genre we represent. We are a bi-annual publication publishing short stories, flash fiction, interviews, reviews, and columns for print and digital download.

What we seek:

We are interested primarily in good quality writing in the sci/fi genre. We will consider stories of any variant of this genre. We desire First English Language serial print, audio and digital rights so that we might present your work in all formats within the magazine.

How we want it formatted:

All manuscripts should be .rtf or doc/docx format and follow the industry standard for formatting (here is a great example: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html ), however, please make the following changes:

Words in italics should be underlined even in New Times Roman; it’s easier for our design people to see.

Em dashes must touch the words on both sides of them

Ellipses are three dots and do not touch the words on either sides of them. Please use them sparingly.

Please do not use hard returns to indent.

Please use single space, do not double return between paragraphs.

Please do not double return after periods.

All submissions that don’t meet our guidelines will be rejected. We’re trying to improve our response times to submissions, but please bear with us as we gear up to handle a larger than expected volume of stories. Simultaneous submissions are fine with us, just let us know. We’re all writers here and we’re happy when fellow writers sell their work anywhere they can. Since we’re a bi-annual magazine, we strive to respond to all our submissions within three months. Due to the volume of submissions, however, please be patient.

What we pay:

Short Stories and flash fiction: We accept stories up to around 5,000 words in length, three cents per word up to 5,000 words. Reprints are paid out at one cent per word. Send these toblueshiftmagsubs@whitecatpublications.com

Interviews: Query first. The rate is $15.00 per interview. Please submit these to blueshiftmagqueries@whitecatpublications.com

Reviews: Query first. We are always interested in reviews of genre related books, music, games, products, etc. The rate is .03 per word up to 500 words. Please submit these to blueshiftmagqueries@whitecatpublications.com

Articles and columns: Query first. We are always interested in engaging and entertaining articles about fiction and non-fiction subjects. We pay .03 cents per word up to 1,000 words. Please submit these to blueshiftmagqueries@whitecatpublications.com

Art: While we have a couple in-house artists, we’re always looking for more variety. Please send a link for your site to blueshiftmagqueries@whitecatpublications.com

All the above items require a short bio, preferably with a 300 dpi or better picture of yourself. We also require a picture (again, 300 dpi or greater) of the subject, where applicable. Please let us know if you prefer Paypal or money order and your email/address you would like used. All payments are sent within 45 days of publication.

Slush Readers:

I need people who can read stories and give me brief analysis. I’ll have a worksheet with specific questions. My aim is to process stuff quickly so I’d like 3-4 readers. At this time, I can not offer monetary compensation but I can offer mentoring, a chance to grow in knowledge of story,  genre and editing, and an inside look at the submissions and publishing process in regards to a zine. You won’t be allowed to submit while working for us, at least right now. We don’t want accusations of favoritism. But we’ll try and make it pay off in other ways, including free story critiques from time to time and the opportunity to do reviews and nonfiction articles for the zine (pay rates to be determined). I can tell you from past experience that editing and slush reading are both highly educational and good experiences to have as writers and editors up and coming in the business.

To apply, please email me at bryan@whitecatpublications.com. (NO STORIES should be sent here. In fact, unless I specifically asked you to send it to me directly, I’ll reject it and ask you to submit properly. The submissions email is for organizing the queue.)

Thanks much. I look forward to working with you.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince(2011) received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases for 2011. A sequel The Returning followed in 2012 and The Exodus will appear in 2013, completing the space opera Saga Of Davi Rhii. His first children’s books, 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids (ebook only) and Abraham Lincoln: Dinosaur Hunter- Land Of Legends (forthcoming) appeared from Delabarre Publishing in 2012.  His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 (2012) and is working on Beyond The Sun for Fairwood Press, headlined by Robert Silverberg, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress, a Ray Gun Revival Best Of Collection for Every Day Publishing and World Encounters and Space & Shadows: SpecNoir with coeditor John Helfers, all forthcoming. He hosts #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter and is an affiliate member of the SFWA.