Mad Scientist Journal Spring Anthology

Announcement time! The latest anthology of Mad Scientist Journal is now available for download at Smashwords and Amazon. This edition is particularly exciting for me as it includes my story Mabel’s Mission–along with number of other great stories including some exclusive fiction not previously published on the MSJ website.

If you like a fun read from the slightly-weird side of the sci fi world (or if you just want to support me as a writer ūüėČ ) check it out.

Mad Scientish Journal Anthology: Spring 2013

Find Mad Scientist Journal on Amazon!!

As I have previously posted, Mad Scientist Journal is an ezine that publishes new fiction weekly on its website–that you can read for free. They also amalgamate their stories into quarterly anthologies and add some exclusive content to give more bang for your 99-cent download.

Initially published through smashwords in a number of formats, these anthologies are now available in kindle editions on Amazon. Links to all four, currently available, anthologies are on the MSJ website. My own contribution in the form of a classified ad, Experienced Osteo-transplant Specialist Seeks Work, from Dr. Coccymandible, can be found in the Autumn 2012 Anthology.

Feel free to write a review of one (or all) of these anthologies on Amazon, your own blog, or elsewhere. Help MSJ expand its audience.

An upcoming¬†anthology (Spring 2013, I expect) will also include¬†my short story, Mabel’s Mission, which was published by MSJ on Apr 1st.

More Ezine Reviews – A Lesson in Patience Part Two

As promised, here are some pros and cons for three more ezines where I have submitted work. Hope some of this info is helpful to other aspiring writers out there (first three reviews here):

Every Day Fiction:

This was the first site I submitted a short story to. And yes I just ended a sentence in a preposition. It’s allow these days. EDF publishes a new flash fiction piece every day with a 1000 word limit, which can be good or bad depending on your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I personally found keeping my story under 1000 words to be a challenge, which was actually part of my motivation for submitting to this site.¬†Any genre goes as long as it is fiction — non-sci-fi writers take note. See their submission guidelines for more detail.

The biggest draw back I found with these guys was the turnaround time. They were averaging an 80 day response time when I submitted about a month before Christmas. I managed to get around this by responding to their special submission request for holiday-themed stories, but it certainly came down to the wire when they requested some last-minute edits. On the up side, they have an author admin page (that they actually keep updated) so authors can see that their submission is moving through the selection process.

This brings me to the biggest pro of this site. They actually give fairly detailed feedback (perhaps why the turnaround is so slow??) which I think is awesome and very helpful to new writers. I did however find myself drawing a line in the sand when they wanted be to¬†water down my ending from the implication of sex (not even an actual sex scene) to ‘perhaps a simple kiss’.

I wasn’t trying to be stubborn or ‘protect the¬†integrity of my art’, but looking at it as a business transaction, I felt that less¬†remuneration equaled less input. They only pay a token $3; this is a get-your-work-out-there option. So, I agreed to some grammatical¬†and minor stylistic changes — and appreciated/learn from some of the points they made — but refused to change the ending. I figured if they then decided not to publish my story I could live with that. They accepted the story anyway.

Conclusion: a great option for newbies and I’m glad I gave them a go, but I doubt I’ll be back.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine: 

These guys recently rejected one of my stories, but I recommend giving them a try. The pay is higher than token, 1.25 cents per word up to $20, and their response time is good, a couple of weeks. They have excellent — and humourous —¬†submission guidelines,¬†including an awesome article on common writer’s mistakes, A Comprehensive and Totally Universal Listing of Every Problem a Story Has Ever Had, which I strongly recommend it to any writer of any genre.

These guys are on the to-try-again-list.

365 tomorrows:

My most recent acceptance, A Swirl of Chocolate, will be published on this site. They don’t pay, but since they are only looking for flash of 600 words or less I decided they were worth a try, and could at least offer some visibility. The submission guidelines¬†don’t tell much, but from reading some of the stories published on the site, they are fairly flexible aside from the word limit.

Their response time is slow, and communication is lacking. Unlike every other acceptance I’ve had, which included a back and forth regarding publishing dates, copyrights etc, these guys sent me my acceptance notice via a no-reply email — weird. I’ve resorted to communicating with them through twitter.

Since this one is still in the works, I can’t say whether I’ll submit to them again. The communication thing is annoying, but on the other hand they are a good option for extra-short flash fiction that may not find a home elsewhere.

That’s all for now. As I test the publishing waters in other places I’ll share my thoughts.

Online Publishing – A Lesson in Patience: Part One

I’m very happy to say that I have now had the privilege of having my work accepted by a few different online-fiction sites. I’ve received a few rejections too, but whatchya gonna do. Overall, if there is one thing I am learning from the process it is patience.

Some¬†e-zines will get back to you in a matter of days. Though I’m finding these sites are few and far between…and a quick response is that much more likely to be a rejection. Often it’s “If you don’t hear from us in a month or two, then you can send us a¬†query.” And even after a query it may take a while to hear back.

For the most part, I’m ok with the waiting. At this juncture, I’m just looking to get my work out there for people to see. I understand that there are only so many slush readers with only so many hours in the day. I even find that knowing I won’t be hearing anything for a while sometimes makes it easier to say to myself ok,¬†forget about that for now and focus on the next project.

A¬†slow turnaround, however, can certainly be the last nail in the coffin if there is something else about the site that I have a problem with. Although I am grateful for all the acceptances I’ve had so far, there are some cases where I know it’s unlikely I’ll be submitting to a site again even if they have accepted my work in the past. In other cases however, the experience has otherwise been so positive that a bit of a wait is worth it, and I may try again even if I’ve been rejected–after my ego recovers, that is ūüėČ

For any short-fiction writers out there who might be interested, I decided it was time to share what some of the pros and cons have been for different sites I have dealt with so far. Note that I only have my own experiences to draw on; maybe your experience has been, or would be, completely different. Also, submission guidelines, pay, etc are always subject to change with time.

I have six sites I want to mention. I’ve decided to break this up into two posts so that I can give you more than a couple of bullet points on each one without writing a novel for a single post:

Mad Scientists Journal:

The recent publishers of Mabel’s Mission, these guys were a pleasure to work with. They are quick to reply to questions — and very enthusiastic — are very clear about what they want for submissions, and are professional but not overly formal. Their response time is good, a couple of weeks. The real wait comes between acceptance and publication, about three months in my case, but that is not unusual. Editors are often planning publications some time in advance.

They pay $20 for short stories and $10 for flash fiction which isn’t huge, but some sites like these, which give away free fiction online, don’t pay at all. Also, MSJ does consider the payment to be an advance on royalties–if there are any. They are fairly new and not yet generating that kind of income, so I wouldn’t factor that in too heavily.

The only potential downside — and it could be a strength depending on the kind of writing you do (I happen to love it) — is that the theme of the magazine is quite specific, essays from the world of mad science. They do, however, accept some exclusive fiction of other genres for their quarterly anthologies. So, if sci fi and mad science don’t sound like your thing they still might be worth a look. Check out their submission guidelines. They use Submittable,¬†a submission manager that¬†allows authors to see/track their submissions’ progress.

I will definitely consider submitting to MSJ again in the future. I also enjoy just reading the stories they publish. The writing quality has been good and¬†consistent¬†in what I’ve read so far and the mad science theme brings out the mildly-twisted side of writers. Personally, I find that entertaining.

Scifia:

When I first found this site I thought it looked great and their subtitle Alien Minds, Alternate Worlds¬†is right up my alley. They pay a flat rate of $25 dollars per story, ok, and claim to have a response time of four weeks, not bad. They also lay out quite clearly what they are looking for —¬†see their¬†submission guidelines.

Well,¬†claim¬†is the operative word. Two months after I sent in my submission, crickets. Maybe not so great after all. At the very least, not very professional. I follow them on twitter and did see a tweet mentioning a backlog, so I plan on sending a query and giving them some patience rather than withdrawing my story. Who knows, if they accept my story and are pleasant throughout the contract/publishing process, maybe they will win me over. However, the fact that they are not keeping their website up to date regarding their backlog/response time irks me. As I said, I don’t mind waiting, but I like to know (ballpark) how long I’m going to wait. They also use Submittable, but don’t seem too worried about keeping that updated either.

Daily Science Fiction:

Ok, I’ve sent one story into DSF and they rejected it. But, putting that aside, they deserve a mention. This site publishes a new story every weekday. Though the content is available for free, they pay professional rates — 8 cents a word. I’m sure the definition is variable, but¬†professional is generally considered 5 cents and up.

Their submission guidelines are not as clear as some other sites, but that seems to be because, genre-wise, they are more flexible. From reading a number of their published stories it’s clear that they are¬†pretty much open to anything under the speculative¬†umbrella:¬†sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream, supernatural, or just a little weird — I read one where there just happened to be a friendly poltergeist in a guy’s apartment. Otherwise, there was nothing really sci fi about the plot.¬†If you’re not sure whether your story fits the genre, I recommend giving it a go anyway. There’s nothing to lose. They don’t have the same mechanism for authors to track their submissions, but they confirm receipt promptly via email and respond within three weeks.

DSF is on my to-try-again list.

That’s enough for now. Part 2 to come.

 

Mabel’s Mission Published by Mad Scientist Journal

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

Read about the¬†Mabel’s adventures in a world where human experimentation is as common as getting a haircut…but–like haircuts– sometimes it goes horribly wrong. You can read Mabel’s Mission now ¬†(free,¬†no log-in or other effort required)¬†at¬†Mad Scientist Journal.¬†¬†

And thanks to Shannon Legler for the awesome art.

Almost Time for Mabel’s Mission

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

The crazy adventure of Mabel, a mad scientist’s assistant (written by yours¬†truly) is scheduled to appear on¬†Mad Scientist Journal April 1st 2013. This unique online magazine publishes a new essay every week from the world of mad science. You can view these stories for free on the website–always a fun and unusual read–and/or download their quarterly anthologies for 99 cents on smashwords,¬†with some¬†exclusive fiction added, well worth the 99 cents. The anthologies include¬†variety¬†of short stories (from more than the mad scientists’ realm) and quirky classified ads including my own Osteo-transplant Specialist¬†published in the latest anthology.

So head on over to Mad Scientist Journal or smashwords and mark your calendars for April 1st!

More Mad Scientists

The great thing about Mad Scientist Journal  is that the niche they have carved out for themselves allows them to go from quirky to creepy in the blink of an eye. 

Today I read Zero (or, The Collected Correspondence of Patient Zero) by Cameron

It’s not the most recent MSJ publication, but it’s the one that grabbed my attention today. Definitely more in the realm of creepy than quirky, this essay chronicles the final days of patient zero in a series of journal-like entries giving a little more away with each passage about what’s really going on. Also, the author manages to throw in an impressive level of insight into the potential downfall of the human race with a, slightly disturbing,¬†A Modest Proposal¬†feel to it.

Hope you’ll check it out and become a fan of Mad Scientist Journal in time for my own, more quirky than creepy, story Mabel’s Mission¬†to be published on April 1st. You can also download MSJ’s latest anthology on Smashwords¬†for only 99 cents.