Tag Archives: publisher

Writing as a Life or Adding to Life

I just finished reading a wonderful post article here >>>  4AM Writer – 5 Ways Failure is Good for You <<<.  Now, this post is not really so much about failure being good and I am not one to really tell you. See, I did a lot of research on “how” to publish a short story before I even tried to write it.  I learned what I could, then wrote a story and used my research to figure out who to send it to.  The result?  I sent it to three publishers and didn’t hear from 2 and the other one published it.  He also (Kevin is Great!) published 3 of my other short stories and I had 3 other shorts published by 2 publishers and one individual who was collecting flash fiction.  Her collection never got published, one of the other 2 publishers wanted the story, but the entire collection fell through, and one was online and I don’t think that link is even good anymore (funny as that one paid the best).  But Kevin G Bufton from the UK and I worked together for about 2 years and I loved working with him.  He has, since, quit being a publisher and has written his novel.  He told me I was like a “young Robert Bloc”.  I loved that!  Big compliment for a horror writer.

I have also published 2 more books on Kindle and 1 more under a pseudonym.  The kindle ones are not really counted in my “I have been published” statements because I published them myself and anyone can do that, so nix on that as counting.

The point being I really never went through that “fail” part of writing (at least, not yet).  I was published early and have enjoyed being able to say I am published.

I don’t remember the source, but I did read one person who stated that if you are going to write, first figure out why you are writing.  If you are writing just to write, then write – you are done.  If you are writing to be published, then do self-publishing – you are done.  If you are wanting to make money writing, then it is NOW a job and you have to learn how to work with others, change your stuff, etc…

I did the first two with not much problem.  Number 3 is still not true.  I have made some money, but the total is, probably, less than $200 for about 7-8 years of work.  Not a huge income.  However, I am happy, at present, because I have been selected and did receive monies for my works.  Therefore, I feel I am a successful writer w/o the huge income.

I read Stephen King’s “On Writing”.  This is a truly wonderful semi-autobiography and you should read it, in my opinion, if you are going to be a writer.  He is very honest, open, and compelling here.  I loved reading the book and it helped me understand where a lot of his ideas came from.  Just as one note:  King tells how his first novel, “Carrie”, was one he threw in the trash.  The next morning when he got up to write, there was a note from his wife, Tabitha (a writer in her own right), which was with the manuscript on his desk saying, “You should send this in”.  I believe he got an advance of about $125,000 from this book.  It started him on his way.

Myself, I write horror shorts that take a situation, twist it a bit, then tell a story, then add a twist at the end.  The best example I can think of is the show series “Black Mirror”.  Now, I hated the first episode or story, but after that, fabulous.  They do the same, though.  You are watching a show and enjoying it, then it turns really dark, then, at the end, it twists and isn’t at all what you were thinking.  Kinda like the old “Twilight Zone” or “Outer Limits”.

Anyway, that’s the way I love to write.  So, to get ideas, I think of a situation.  One was mermaids or sirens. I took the idea of luring boats to their doom, modernized it, had a group of twenty-somethings get taken in by it, then twisted it so the end left you just a bit hanging, but still finished the story.  I called it “Sirens of the Deep”, I believe, and it was my first published story.

And don’t think there aren’t mistakes in all of them.  Even that first story, after sending it in, I found a mistake in which I mixed up the names of two people and had a person who had been killed, up fighting as the wrong person.  I sent in a correction and Kevin sent it to the book makers, but they didn’t put it in and so the mistake lives on!  I have even found a mistake in a later story I published on Kindle, but you can go buy the book if you want to see (link on left here).

Finishing up, I just think that the best thing you can do to not give up and stop writing or trying to publish is to:

  1. Do your research.  Publishers are notorious for giving you very specific things they want when you send in the story, like font, word count, page numbers, title just so, etc… For a lot of them, if you miss one thing on this list, they toss your story, unread, into the trash pile.  They figure you can’t follow directions, then they don’t want to work with you.
  2. Write your story and edit it a couple of times.  Have someone or two someones read the story.  I have people read mine for two things:  some people read for grammar and others just to see how they like it.  It is hard to do both at the same time.  Don’t keep revising forever….just a few times, see that it’s decent or near-perfect to you, then send it in to your list or best choice of publishers.
  3. Make sure the publishers are fair and right for your story.  You wouldn’t go to the produce section of the grocery to get cheese.  Why send in a western story to a sci-fi magazine?  It is a waste of time and your money.
  4. Don’t pay someone to publish your story or book. They should pay you for the story.  They should get a commission for the book. Too many people out there take your $200-500 to read your story, give suggestions, and say they will publish it.  They should not charge you to publish the book unless  you are specifically paying a publishing house to do exactly that.  Send in the few pages and synopsis or whatever they ask for (no money) and wait to hear back.
  5. Don’t send your story or book to more than one publisher at a time unless the publishers allow that.
  6. Don’t give up any rights to the story or book until you have settled everything else and are comfortable with the contract.  There are publishers out there who will send you a contract and, in signing that contract, you have effectively given them the book to do with as they choose for a long time and you can’t send it anywhere else even if they never make a cent from it.  Also, make certain you are being paid fairly.  I had a hard time signing that first contract (e-contract, at that) and had to ask some questions and get answers. Kevin was great about it and it kept a good paper trail.
  7. Make sure you send yourself an electronic copy of the book (attachment) in several formats to that you can prove you were the first to write this story.  That is a valid copyright method for writers.  That time-stamped email will help if someone decides to copy your story or book and resell it as their own.

There are lots more, but I think this is a good start.  Enjoy your writing, enjoy your story, and don’t worry if you don’t get published right away.  Keep your options open, read a lot, do your research, and enjoy the process, most of all.

Namaste,

Scott

Aha! I knew I wasn’t Crazy and Evil!!!

I would like to introduce you to the man who has started my published writing career, at least, as far as in an actual book.  He has purchased 4 of my 7 purchased stories and is my biggest professional fan so far.  He is also someone I have come to call a friend.

Kevin G. Bufton is a great guy.  He and I have shared a laugh or two online.  I have never met Kevin; he is from over in Great Britain, I believe.  If that’s wrong then it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter much to me; he is someone I have brought into my circle of friends.

Kevin has published a book, “Cake”, which I own and am fairly anxious to read in between writings and all the other things I do.  He has said he will, most likely, not be doing any more anthologies.  I wish him so much luck, though he won’t need a lot of it; he’s good.  There is that small part of me (the selfish part) that hopes he does a bit of anthology publishing down the road.  I know I will find other publishers, but, perhaps, not one so great to know.

Without more, here is my guest poster: Kevin G. Bufton…

____________________________

CALL ME MR. NICE GUY

Hello there, gentle reader.

My name is Kevin G. Bufton, and I pen nightmares. I’ve written around seventy short stories, and pieces of flash fiction, around half of which have found a home in magazines, anthologies and websites around the globe. Next month sees the release of Six of the Best: A Hellish Half-Dozen, the first collection of my solo work. The stories I’ve hand-picked for the book feature a stillborn baby coming back from the dead, a man’s family destroyed by a killer tumbleweed, a village that practises a bloody Yuletide rite, a luchadore who hides a dark secret behind his mask, a hook-handed sea captain fighting the undead aboard his ship, and scenes of carnage and bloodshed in a  semi-abandoned hospital.

Yes, six tales of filth and depravity, each culled from my own dark imaginings. Truly, I am a foul and objectionable creature.

Only…I’m not – not really.

You see, when Scott asked if I would do a guest post for his blog, he asked me to discuss the difference between the horror writer, and what he writes, and I feel that I’m the perfect subject for such an essay. You see, I am (I hope) a nice guy. I’m a hard-working family man, with a beautiful wife and two wonderful children, all of whom I adore. I’m a faithful husband, an attentive father, and a loyal friend. I’m as quick to laughter as I am slow to anger, and generally chilled out to the point of narcolepsy.

So where does that darkness come from? Why should I, a fairly genial chap in his mid-thirties, be compelled to sit before his laptop, night after night, and forge such terrors?

Because it’s fun.

That’s the only reason. I’ve been a fan of horror and the macabre for more years than I care to admit, certainly since I was five or six years old, at least. For me, horror is the purest field in which one can hope to write. As an emotional genre (as opposed to situational genres like science fiction, Western or police procedural), it ranks above romance and comedy in its applicability. We all have our own horrors, those buttons in our brain that are connected direct to our spinal cords, that send chills through our body. As a horror writer, it is my job to find out where those buttons are hidden, and press them good and hard.

There’s your answer. I write to provoke a reaction from the reader – whether it be to shudder, to choose to sleep with the lights on, or even to gag a little, doesn’t matter. I’m not proud.

One thing my stories do no do is provide a psychological release for myself. The idea of horror being a cathartic thing is as old as the hills, and I consider it something of an insult. I don’t write these things to exorcise my own personal demons; I’m not one step away from becoming a serial killer, the only barrier between myself and bloodshed being the words on my computer screen. If I was that sort of guy, my writing would be terrible – incoherent rantings and ravings, getting ever more unhinged, as I strive to fend off the darkness.

I have had the very good fortune to interact with hundreds of my fellow horror writers, both online and in person, and, for the most part, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant and companionable group of ladies and gentlemen. I have no doubt that most of them have off days, where they are snappy towards friends and strangers alike. Likewise, I’m sure some of them have an amusing array of peccadilloes, or low-grade mental illnesses, simply by virtue of being human. I would not be surprised to hear that one of two of them suffer from crippling depression, but these are not the reasons why they write horror. These mental aberrations are as common in any walk of life, any discipline and any vocation, as they are among horror writers.

The difference I would say, is that it is only horror writers who are expected to analyse themselves in this way. All any writer wants to do is craft a well-written tale, that will entertain, and horror writers are no different. It’s just that our form of entertainment is regularly viewed as being unhealthy in some way.

Fuck that.

I’m doing something that I fell in love with before I even hit puberty, and it’s a good thing, a wholesome thing. I believe that a decent scare, properly produced, is good for the soul. Dark tendrils, caressing your flesh, sending chills down your spine, are the thing that dreams are made of. When you finish a story that has scared you, that feeling of euphoria you get, when your mind accepts that such things are not possible, is addictive, for sure, but it’s not why you pick up the next book, or the next movie.

The dread itself has an endearing quality – each shambling step towards that final destination begins to give you a little thrill.

And I guess that’s the other part of why I do this. It’s not because I have some dark secret, shaking its chains in the dusty attic of my mind. If anything, it’s the opposite. I don’t write horror in spite of being a nice guy; I write it because I’m a nice guy. If I was a kitten-drowning, puppy-killing, baby-punting, nun-stabbing, demon-raising, darkness-loving bastard, then I can’t imagine taking such pleasure in the penning of terrors, as it would all be so mundane, compared to what passed for my real life.

That’s not who I am. I’m happy-go-lucky; a husband, father and friend, all of which gives me the freedom to plumb the very depths of depravity with utter impunity.

And I love it.

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Philosophy is all about being curious, asking basic questions. And it can be fun!

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I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.

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