Explaining the No

Back in June, we opened submissions for the upcoming Weird West anthology, Lawless Lands, from Falstaff Books. We’ve had a lot of stories roll in, some of them great, some of them okay, and some of them pretty terrible. Yeah, I said ‘terrible’. Despite all the advice we here on Magical Words (as well as lots of other writing sites all over the net) have offered over the years, there are some writers who are just NOT. GETTING. IT. And that breaks my heart. As an editor, what I hope to find every time I open a story file is that incredible story, the one that makes me race through to the end and then read it again because it was that good. The one that leaves me in tears because it touched me so deeply. THAT story. But sometimes writers send in pieces that make me stare at the […]

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Happy New Writing Year!

We’re coming up on the end of another year, and we at Magical Words are so pleased that you’ve all stuck around so long. 2016 is going to be a great and energetic year around here. For one thing, we’re welcoming David B Coe and Faith Hunter back on a regular basis – yippee! As soon as the schedule is finalized, I’ll post it here.

When the year is getting ready to change, most of us start thinking about ways we can make changes that will benefit us. Exercising more often, decluttering the home, saving more money…. you know the drill. Personally I intend to finish projects that I’ve left simmering. And with that in mind, just a few minutes ago, I was meandering through Facebook when I saw a comment one writer had made to another, asking where he found places to submit his work. So I thought it […]

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Deadlines

So today I want to talk to you about deadlines. A deadline is the date an editor or publisher sets as the last possible moment an assignment is due in their hands. The deadline is usually decided based on the publication schedule, and there’s not often a lot of wiggle room. Writers who meet their deadlines (or turn in their work early) are an editor’s dream.

At the moment, I’m more of the nightmare variety.

I owe a certain editor (who is handsome and charming and delightful and the life of any party and gosh what else can I think of to flatter him with right this second) a story for an upcoming anthology. At this very second, I’m not the last person to turn in a story, and as soon as I finish writing this post, I’m going to work on finalizing my story so I can keep that […]

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We Did It!

Y’all, I’m so proud and thrilled to say that The Weird Wild West Kickstarter funded successfully! If you were one of the wonderful backers, thank you so very much! We couldn’t have done this without you, and we’re so excited to bring you a book of incredible and thrilling stories soon.

But here’s the really good part…we managed to reach two of our stretch goals, which means that we’ll be opening SIX submission slots! We’re accepting submissions now, so if you have an idea for a great weird western story, now’s the time to write it, polish it, and send it to us.

All submissions should be in Times New Roman, 12 point, in .doc or .docx format. Stories should be between 3,000 and 9,000 words. No multiple or simultaneous submissions, and please, no reprints.

We seek stories of the Wild West in all its glory but with that delicious […]

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The Weird Wild West Needs Homesteaders!

Hey y’all! I hope the holidays treated everyone well, and that you were fortunate enough to spend at least some of the time with people you like who like you back!

I’m back again to talk about our Kickstarter. We’re pleased that so many folks believe in us enough to pledge a little money, and we hope that we reach our goal so that we can bring you all some incredible stories. The first volume will feature thrilling tales by R S Belcher, Tonia Brown, Diana Pharaoh Francis, John Hartness, Gail Martin, James Tuck, Jonathan Maberry and me. But we’ll also have space for some of you!

If we reach our initial funding goal, we’ll offer up four open submission spots. We’re very excited to see what you all can imagine, but it will only happen if we reach that goal. You can help us along. Pledge if you can, […]

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The Role of Agents in the Modern Publishing Landscape

I was asked to do a talk this past weekend on the role of agents in the modern publishing world, and it seemed like a great blog post topic as well, so I figured that since my notes were already prepared…

In many, many ways, an agent’s role hasn’t changed at all from when I first entered the business over twenty years ago. We’re still authors’ advocates—first, last and always. We’re still business managers and advisors, negotiators and networkers. But to be specific, here are some of the things we do and some of the ways in which are roles have changed and expanded.

Agents still read submissions and fall in love with books we want to champion. We still read synopses, partials and fulls for our authors, providing feedback and critique, sometimes through multiple iterations of the material, whether we’re preparing these works for submission or publication. We guide […]

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Authors’ Checklist of Dos and Don’ts

Another of my Agent Anonymous articles originally published in the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) Bulletin:

Authors’ Checklist of Dos and Don’ts

You may be right; I may be crazy.

Absolute props to Billy Joel for…well, his entire opus of work, but I can tell you right now that it’s definitely not a lunatic we’re looking for in publishing. What we really want are people as professional as they are talented, who understand about business, time management, promotion and communication. So, I’m going to hit hard on some dos and don’ts, because what seems obvious to some is not to others. And it’s always better to spot and avoid the pitfalls rather than stepping into them.

Let’s begin at the beginning (at least of the business end of publishing): submissions.

Don’t: Rush your work out the door. Whether you’re a beginning writer or a publishing pro, […]

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