500 / 10 Years

Friday, 1 June 2012 22:54
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
The Long Haul Burn To Space

Earlier this evening I sent in my 500th submission to any market. I thought it was my 499th, but my log sheets don't lie. 500. Friday 1 June 2012. And just eight days shy of ten years since I made my first submission.

It took 1427 days after 9 June 2002 to get to the first hundred submissions on 6 May 2006, 725 days for my second hundred on 30 April 2008 and 689 days to the third hundred on 20 March 2010 and 532 days to the fourth hundred on 3 September 2011. And now, largely due to last year's sabbatical, just 272 days for the fifth hundred.

75 completed stories sent out 500 times, with 19 publications including two reprints. One recent sale awaiting publication.


Dr. Phil

Look What I've Got!

Saturday, 26 May 2012 01:52
dr_phil_physics: (space-shuttle-launch)
Rocket Science Sighted On This Side Of The Pond

The drought is over. (DW) When the Rocket Science anthology launched in April at Eastercon in the U.K., they ran through the first print run and now with a second print run delivered, editor Ian Sales finally was able to ship contributor copies to those who weren't at the two launch events. Ian's also put up a link to reviews.

Three copies was just stiff enough that they didn't try to stuff it in the P.O. Box, but gave me a key to one of the lockers. So they all arrived in perfect shape. (grin)

Of course part of my interest is my story The New Tenant. But it's nice to see an anthology of near term space SF stories. One of the one's I read is an interesting alternate history piece with a hoax lunar landing -- by the Soviet Union.

You can order through Mutation Press -- U.S. delivery is £8.99 + £5 discounted airmail shipping ($14.00 + $7.30 approx, depending on currency). Both Amazon and Amazon (UK) have it listed, but the U.S. site says Out of Print--Limited Availability and the U.K. site has it out of stock.

There will be a Kindle version -- I'll pass on the word when it gets out.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
In The Time Honored Traditions Of April The Oncest

We give you the April Fool's Collection for 2012:

LocusOnline had two stories:

"Dirtiest Nebula Campaign since 2015," says SFWA President
-- Sunday 1 April 2012 @ 11:20 am PDT by Paoli du Flippi -- DATELINE: Hollywood, March 1, 2018 -- This year's campaigning for the coveted Nebula Award given by the Super Fantastika Writers of America has been marked by "lies, disinformation, nasty tricks, vicious personal slurs, impossible promises, bribes and actual physical assaults," says SFWA President Jennifer Lawrence, in a recent interview conducted during a bit of downtime on the Tinseltown set where she is finishing the filming of The Hunger Games VI: Daughter of Katniss versus the Borg: The Mashup Reboot, based on the polymath star's own novel that earned her admission to SFWA and its presidency in the first place...

Margaret Atwood Launches New SF Magazine
-- Sunday 1 April 2012 @ 11:09 am PDT by L. Ron Creepweans -- Toronto: Today Booker Prize-winning novelist Margaret Atwood announced that she was launching a new science fiction magazine, Loquacious Cephalopod...

And Tor.com had two as well:
Mary Robinette Kowal pens an exhaustive essay
-- Sword and Sensibility: Conan Creator Robert E. Howard's Lesser Known Collaboration...

Covers Revealed for John Scalzi’s Manga Fantasy Trilogy
-- The Shadow War of the Night Dragon series by John Scalzi...
(Truly inspired artwork -- John rhapsodizes here.)

And then there's the British Library:
Unicorn Cookbook Found at the British Library
-- 01 April 2012 A long-lost medieval cookbook, containing recipes for hedgehogs, blackbirds and even unicorns, has been discovered at the British Library. Professor Brian Trump of the British Medieval Cookbook Project described the find as near-miraculous. "We've been hunting for this book for years. The moment I first set my eyes on it was spine-tingling." ...

And other assorted writerly personnel:

My favorite Roman comic artist has an Exciting new project in the works
-- 1st-Apr-2012 01:40 pm Your humble artist fell off the thrice-weekly schedule, and even the sketch-of-the-day updates, because of intense work on a new Great Big Project. All those pages and character designs from Big Project have to be put to some sort of use, and it's such an easy step from the genteel plantations of the south to the humid jungles of South America-just add more water and alligators and/or crocodiles. So those pages are being recycled into a completely genteel story about a young lady explorer of the alternate-steampunk 19th century travelling through monster-infested swampland who encounters a hidden tribe of love-starved octopus-men, as one does. True romance ensues...

Jay Lake goes for A change of direction
-- 2012-04-01 07:46 I'm redirecting my efforts toward something that better reflects the current circumstances of my life, and offers me a greater shot at economic success. From now on, I'm going to be writing nurse romances...

Mary Robinette Kowal is a pen name
-- Sun 1 Apr '12 My actual name is Stephen Harrison. I teach history at Vanderbilt and am getting my PhD, and yes, I am a man. The woman that you have met at some conventions is my sister. I hired her to be "Mary the writer." ...

Diana Rowland is "utterly thrilled to announce that my agent has sold stage rights to Andrew Lloyd Webber for my White Trash Zombie series!"
-- Facebook Yesterday at 6:20am My Life as a White Trash Zombie: The Musical! will be produced and directed by Webber, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, of Wicked fame. Current casting includes Kristin Chenoweth as Angel, Hugh Jackman as Marcus Ivanov, and Tom Wopat as Angel’s dad...

And the March 32nd Review would not be complete without some newfangled can't-live-without-it invention
-- Apr. 1st, 2012 at 11:07 AM As readers of this blog know, I'm a great believer in technological innovation. So great is my belief, in fact, that I dabble in inventions for the betterment of mankind. And now I've found it. The ultimate tool for authors with writer's cramp! Bow down in awe as I introduce: The self-signing book...

And, of course, Google had their piece on the Google Autonomous Driving NASCAR racing car. (snert!)

I'm sure there are others, and I'll update when I run across them. But these have been archived by Yours Truly so that the guilty cannot claim innocence later -- and these are certainly enough to entertain you for now. (grin)

Oh, And Dammit:

My posting on 1 April 2012 is totally legitimate (DW)! There really is a new and proper military SF story up on GigaNotoSaurus for you to read.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (space-shuttle-launch)

Previously I'd written about my sale of "The New Tenant" to Ian Sales' Rocket Science anthology (DW).

Now the details are set for the book launch at Eastercon (London) on Sunday 8 April 2012. Alas, as I was just telling someone else on Dreamwidth, as I am in the middle, or end, of the semester, I cannot jump the pond and attend Eastercon, even though it's being held at Heathrow. But... if you happen to be in the U.K., you could drop by. And with the launch at Eastercon, information about ordering Rocket Science for your very own should be coming Real Soon Now.

I've also been negligent about keeping up with the Rocket Science blog, so missed the appearance on March 8th of my brief Introducing the Authors: Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon piece. But you can take the plunge and check the links and get all the teaser information about the forthcoming book.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
Sabbatical 1.36 Report -- December 2011

In the last month since I reported on my sabbatical progress (DW), I managed just 10 submissions. All told I made 112 submissions since the 29th of July. 1 sale (DW) to the Rocket Science anthology. Plus an Honorable Mention and a Silver Honorable Mention (DW) from Writers of the Future.

I had five new stories to add to my Invenstory in 2011 -- three of them during my sabbatical. Though that's not a record for new stories, but it is a huge record for total new submissions. I even added fourteen new markets to the mix.

Did I accomplish my goals for not quite half a year? We-elllll, no. Not really. But there were a lot of extenuating circumstances -- things that I could take the time to deal with without leaving either students or job in the lurch. I came up with a new workflow for getting stories out. I'm going to call this a win.

And you know? I may be teaching two classes this winter, but I manage to find time to write. And I have a lot of notes for new stories and I have that new novel to work on.

It's 2012 and I already have three new submissions. And no new rejections. Not bad considering how many editors and slush readers were working over the holidays. (grin) Can't sell if don't submit. (double-grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
Sabbatical 1.35 Report -- November 2011

In the last month since I reported on my sabbatical progress, I've made only 19 submissions -- 102 since I officially started Sabbatical 1.3 -- including ONE SALE! I have to say, that given the unexpected death of my sister and a long trip to Atlanta, I got more done on the writing front that I'd thought. Currently, a week into December, I still have 27 stories out to market. And I'm getting more rejections with positive comments, instead of just "No".

The End is Nigh

Can't believe it's December already. In a month my classes will be starting up. Haven't done nearly as much groundwork on the new class as I thought a month ago. While the sabbatical as a whole hasn't gone as planned, what six month plan ever goes as planned? (grin) Currently fighting an infection -- feeling better but I knew I was in trouble Monday evening when my teeth were chattering and my temp was 102.0°F. Dammit, in the past year I've had too many things that required a course of antibiotics. We'll get over this, too.

Hope y'all had a happy Thanksgiving... and on to the Big Name Holidays.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
An Anthology Sale to the U.K.

In all the work and hubbub of this month, I'd mentioned how I'd written one last new story at the last minute for an anthology -- and then later mentioned that it'd sold. Hell, I've even been paid. Now that I've had a chance to sit down for a few minutes, I can dole out more information.

"The New Tenant" by Philip Edward Kaldon to appear in Rocket Science, edited by Ian Sales and published by Mutation Press. Expected to be released in April 2012.

They have a cool graphic of the Table of Contents over on the Rocket Science News blog. It breaks the stories into locale -- "The New Tenant" is listed under LEO, Low Earth Orbit, for example, since it's set on the International Space Station at the end of its NASA service life.

I've a limited number of near-term SF stories, though of course my WOTF XXIV story "A Man in the Moon" is one, so when I ran out of stories to sub, I wrote one more over a weekend. And it sold. You never know... except if you don't submit, you can't sell. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
Sabbatical 1.34 Report -- October 2011

In the last month since I reported on my sabbatical progress, I've made 27 submissions -- 83 since I officially started Sabbatical 1.3. Currently, two days into November, I have a staggering 30 stories out to market -- a new personal record -- including 1 new story. If editors aren't reading it, they can't buy it.

Working on some new writing, of course, but though the conceptualizing phase is going great on all these things, I wish I had more words written. Still, I know of at least two or three stories under consideration. And actually, I've been getting more rejections with comments, even from markets which haven't sent comments before. So this massive sending of stories is certainly not a wasted effort, even though nothing's sold. Yet. (grin)

Next weekend is WindyCon 38 in Chicago (Lombard IL) -- 11-13 November 2011. As of right now, I'm on one panel:
How Not To Get Published
Sunday, 11:00 am–Noon, Lilac D
Mike Resnick, Bill Fawcett, Phil Kaldon, Jim Hines, Steven Silver

This should be a great panel, and if you're a new writer, or have thought about writing, you need to come to this one. Mike Resnick is a powerhouse and tells excellent stories and knows the publishing business. Jim C. Hines is a wise, wise man, who is also a terrific writer.

The Double-Edged Sword of New Stories

I mentioned above that I churned out one new story in October. I wanted to get in one more submission to an anthology which closed in the U.K. on Monday, but I needed another near-term SF story. The good news is that between Clarion and the WOTF workshop's 24-hour story challenge, writing 4600 words in a little over a day is quite doable. The downside is that it was pretty much one writing and one editing session. The danger in shipping a Version 1.00 of a story, is that I always feel like it's 80% there. That is all the major components are there, but surely it would benefit from a rewrite or two, pumping up the conflict, etc. On the other hand I've sold first versions of stories, so what do I know? Mrs. Dr. Phil is just now reading it, so it didn't get the benefit of my first reader/copy editor. (grin)

We'll see.

Classes Looming

I've picked up a second class starting in January -- so I'll have PHYS-1000 for the 1st time and PHYS-1070 for the 24th time. Something old and something new.

I've been printing out worksheets of my sabbatical progress about once a week. Just printed out the 13th set. Hard to believe that there's just two months left.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (jude-mourning-1)
Realms of Fantasy Closing

I've already written this obituary -- twice -- here and here. This has gotten convoluted enough that I missed posting about RoF's sale, though I did post about their impending (past tense) switch to e-subs.

Ian Randal Strock reports some details on SFScope today, announcing "The third death of Realms of Fantasy". He includes this posting from the latest owners:
When we purchased Realms of Fantasy last year we truly thought that we could succeed in publishing the magazine for the foreseeable future. We were unable to realize this goal, have been losing money, and we must regretfully announce the closure of the magazine.

During our time with the magazine we picked up without missing a single issue and were lucky enough to produce the 100th issue. We were able to introduce poetry and bring back the table top gaming column. We have been truly amazed at the positive feedback on the issues we have produced from all of the fans. This is what makes this decision so painful for us.

As we were considering closing the magazine we thought it was important for the October 2011 issue to be released in print for the fans. We did this knowing there would not be a return on the investment, but did it simply because we felt it was right. This does mean the October 2011 issue will be the last issue. The issue did go to newsstands and we have copies for those who are not active subscribers.

Since the October issue shipped late please allow until November 15th before contacting us about lost mailings. International subscribers please allow an additional two weeks.

We are currently trying to work with other magazines to assume the subscription list. This will ensure that subscribers get something for the portions of the subscriptions not fulfilled. This does mean that we will not be issuing refunds unless we are unable to secure a deal, at which point we will follow our posted refund policy. We will update you when we have more information.

If there is anyone interested in purchasing the magazine we will listen to all offers. Those interested should send an email to support [at] rofmag [dot] com.

We would like to thank Shawna McCarthy and Douglas Cohen for all of your support and help. You have both been wonderful to work with during the last year. We would also like to thank all of the remaining staff for the quality columns and attention to detail. Lastly, but definitely not least, we would like to thank all of the fans for your support and encouragement.

Please direct all further inquiries to support [at] rofmag [dot] com.

William and Kim Gilchrist
Damnation Books LLC

As the deja vu-ness of this all unfolds, we have farewell editorials (again) by Shawna McCarthy and Douglas Cohen, whose closing comments included:
There is of course that small voice in the back of my head, saying, “Maybe you’ll rise from the dead again!” Hey, maybe we will. But as I said to Shawna, “Each cancellation has felt a little more final than the last one. This one feels like the end of the road.”

If it is, we’ve had a final year we can be proud of. We’ve won a Nebula Award, and we were nominated for another one. Our longtime fiction editor, Shawna McCarthy, was honored at this year’s World Fantasy Convention as the Editorial Guest of Honor. Artwork we’ve published has received some wonderful honors. We reached issue 100, and with this latest issue we’ve managed to publish 600 stories in RoF’s lifetime. We published poetry for the first time, and in my admittedly biased opinion, the work our nonfiction columnists delivered was second to none. There’s a lot to be proud of in this final year, and I’m glad we and the magazine managed to have it. It makes for a fitting end. It’s time to move on, and I’m excited at what the future holds for me in this field.

As I said in January 2009 and October 2010, I'm not much of a fantasy writer, so it's not that this is a market that I submit to. But it's one I've read from time to time, and a lot of the writers I know DO write fantasy. So I know this will affect some people.

Is this REALLY the end? Dunno. Lots of people tell me that the glossy physical magazine is dead in this e-world -- and "no one" has figured out how to make money in said e-world. Dunno about that either. Still, someone else might pony up and restart RoF again -- nothing would surprise me. And copy-and-paste is making this easier each time. (sad wry grin)

Dr. Phil

A Busy September

Saturday, 1 October 2011 22:43
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
October Already?

September ended cold and rainy and gusty. October dawned with blue skies and sunshine and cold. Sweater and jacket weather.

Sabbatical 1.33 Report -- September 2011

In the last month since I reported on my sabbatical progress, I've made 22 submissions -- 56 since I officially started Sabbatical 1.3. Currently I have 25 stories out to market. For a brief time I had an insane 28 -- a new record of sorts. One new story shipped. At least two stories are in the second round.

My plan is to spend a bunch of October-November working on a new novel. I've had several projects lying around, both new ideas and taking some novellas to novels. Well, Monday I attended a nice colloquium on the Crab Nebula -- funny how most semesters I'm teaching or have to leave at colloquium time -- and now I have started my new novel. And it's definitely a novel, because the complexity doesn't easily lend itself to pull an episode out for a short story or write it in 20,000 words. Ex-cellent.

And future planning for Chicago. Registered for WindyCon in November. And caught next year's Chicago WorldCon attending registration before it went up. Should be a couple of really great events.

Spring 2012

Also this week I received my contract letter for next semester. And a new course for me: PHYS-1000 How Things Work. Yay.

This was also the first time I made it down to my office since August. I'd planned on missing the first week of class, because the students always count on not getting ticketed for filling up the faculty spaces for the first week. Then we had the flu, then I had an allergy to an antibiotic... Thank goodness I wasn't teaching! (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (WOTF XXIV)
All Those Years, All Those Entries

I was on a friend's blog the other day and happened to notice a sidebar mentioning their successes -- Honorable Mentions, Semi- and Finalists -- in the Writers of the Future contest. And I realized that I should do more than just provide stats. So I created a webpage of Dr. Phil's WOTF Results Summary. And it's a lot -- might even be some sort of a record, certainly in the "modern" era of the contest.
Since June 2002, I've submitted a story to the Writers of the Future contest every quarter. But Dr. Phil, if you were published in WOTF Volume XXIV, from the 2007 Q3 contest, why are you still submitting? Excellent question! My story, "A Man in the Moon" was a Published Finalist and not a winner -- and as I currentlt only have two SFWA-eligible pro sales, I still have contest eligibility left. With 30 out of 37 submissions receiving some level of recognition, WOTF Contest Director Joni Labaqui thinks this may be some sort of a record, although there don't appear to be complete stats over the lifetime of the contest.

Someone else might consider my lack of winning as beating my head against the wall. But I don't see it that way. After all, if you just consider WOTF as a market, it pays better and has higher visibility than most. Why wouldn't you send new work to them?

Every ninety days.

The Results:
Rejected 6
No Call  1
Finalist 3 (1 published in WOTF XXIV, 2 in one year)
Semi     2
Quarter 10
H-M     15 (Quarter+H-M = 25)
Total   37
Subs    38 (WOTF Q4 2011 in)

Published    6
Readings     3
Website      1

It might seem strange that only six stories from all these have been published. But only about half of my finished stories have gone to WOTF -- and often these were the first versions. It is, after all, a numbers game. For WOTF stories the publication rate is 1 in 5.5 stories, for all my stories it's 1 in 4.5. Pretty close. And whether any story fits what an editor -- or a judge -- wants at any time, is a matter of preference. And yes, I rewrite everything when it comes back.
Me? I'm pleased.
You can see all the stories and what happened to them on the webpage It's complicated enough that I even missed a publication in my first iteration. Now if I could just win this damn thing. (grin)

Dr. Phil


Saturday, 3 September 2011 18:04
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
Milestones Continue To Accumulate

Today, Saturday 3 September 2011, I shipped my 400th submission to any market. 72 completed stories sent out 400 times, with 16 publications including one reprint. Not bad for just over nine years of sending things out, if I do say so myself.

It took 1427 days after 9 June 2002 to get to the first hundred submissions on 6 May 2006, 725 days for my second hundred on 30 April 2008 and 689 days to the third hundred on 20 March 2010 and 532 days to the fourth hundred. Clearly I'm continuing to decrease the average time between subs.

Sabbatical 1.32 Report -- August 2011 (and into September)

August was the first full month of my Sabbatical 1.3. Back on August 19th I had a record 26 submissions out to market. With rejections, that dropped down to 18. But with #400 -- sabbatical submission #41 -- I am back to 26 stories out to market. In 3373 days of sending stories out into the world I have never let the number of subs drop to zero. It's been a motivator, that's for sure.

[livejournal.com profile] jakobdrud wrote about Writer, Take Heart. I commented:
Just before I started submitting stories in June 2002, I'd read some authors talking on the order of 600 rejections before they made it. Closing in on submission 400 with two pro sales and 13 others, so I suppose I could argue that at 2/3 the way to SFWA pro status I'm right on track.

That and enduring 300+ rejections for my post-Ph.D. job search, had already toughened me. (grin)

oh, and average and typical results mean nothing in specific cases. (big-grin)

Dr. Phil


I'm full of new stories right now and I need to get back to novels. But I'm still working back into getting sufficient Time In Chair. Still, the amount of work I've gotten done on my Fujitsu U810 UMPC since the end of July is astonishing.

Go me. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (tomb-of-the-unknown)
Context For Choice Of Words

In yesterday's post, announcing the publication of my military SF short story "Hail to the Victors" at Abyss & Apex, I was talking about the history of the story and included this quote from my notes:
04/27/05 23:24 Wed

Hail to the Victors Version 1.0

okay, this is the opposite of a happy winning warrior story – the humans are too stupid to quit

After I posted, basking in the glory of having a new story out in the world, it occurred to me that someone might take exception to the phrase "too stupid to quit". That I was making fun of or mocking the military. Actually, I wanted to deal with a war on another world in which the humans were losing, or at least not winning -- and attrition was taking this to the sort of end game you rarely see in chess matches. You know, where you are left with too few pieces to win.

If I was mocking anyone, it would be the University of Michigan, from whom "Hail to the Victors" is the title of their omnipresent fight song. (evil grin)

A Bit Of A Backstory

I once worked with a man who, it turned out, had fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Actually, one of his buddies outed him. His response? He'd lost his best friends on either side of him during the fighting. Then he told me, "We weren't geniuses or heroes. We were just too stupid to quit."

That phrase stuck with me for a long time. I've often thought about what it would be like in a long, drawn out, desperate battle. How do you go on? I know that when I wrote that note six years ago, that "too stupid to quit" was shorthand for a whole lot of things going on.

Anyway, go read my story. I think you'll see I meant no malice.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (quill-winslet)
A Story Of A Story

Six years ago to the day I started a new story. And amazingly 27 April 2005 was also a Wednesday. (grin) It went to four markets, including earning a Semi-Finalist in the Q2 2006 Writers of the Future, it's first stop. Then I submitted to Abyss & Apex on 28 February 2009. I mention this because sometimes it takes times for stories to develop, find the right market, and find the right slot for publication. A military SF story from a market surprised that they were buying a military SF story.

It was just over a year ago that I announced the sale of "Hail to the Victors" to Abyss & Apex. And now Issue 38: 2nd Quarter 2011 snuck online earlier in April and my story is finally published. A long twisting road and you can now read it here:

"Hail to the Victors" at Abyss & Apex. "Interstellar Expeditionary Force 1 started out as a real army, trying to take back a planet from partial enemy occupation. The alien ships were smaller, but there were ten thousand plus of them scattered across three of six continents. A year and a half later and Team 84632 was down to five. Lt. Eddie wasn’t really a lieutenant, he’d last officially been a first sergeant, but they needed an officer, and with Lt. Allen and 2nd Lt. Brace dead, along with Master Sgt. Hayden, well… someone had to lead. They hadn’t heard from Battalion in a long time."

And We Began Here:
04/27/05 23:24 Wed

Hail to the Victors Version 1.0

okay, this is the opposite of a happy winning warrior story – the humans are too stupid to quit

Of course years of revisions has taken us a long way from that simple note. 2000 words. 4000 words. And finally, a bit over 9000 words. As pointed out in the comments last year, the story started out dark, but is better than that now. Rather pleased with it, I'd say. Thanks to all those who gave comments over the years and versions.


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (darth-winslet)
A Novel Contest Which Might Be A Little Too Novel

This is burning up on a number of sites, including John Scalzi's Whatever, and these two blogs

Anyway, First One Publishing is holding a contest for first novels of up to 65,000 words for digital publishing. No genre restrictions. An open call for new writers. What could be so bad about this? Well, I see four red flags off the bat:

(1) The contest fee is $149 per entry. $149!

Sure, there are contests with entry fees. But this one is steep and the thought is that they only need to get 34 entries to cover the $5000 Grand Prize award. After that, the contest becomes "profitable" to them.

(2) The contest rules include some rights grabbing language -- sounds like ALL entries become the property of the publisher to do with as they wish. Wait, you mean if you DON'T win, they STILL get to keep your story? How's that work again?

(3) Other people have noted some other details -- or in some cases lack of details -- regarding how much of a publisher or how much experience this operation has. In other words, they say they're offering a great opportunity to non-professional writers, but we just have to trust them? Um-mmm, no. Legitimate operations don't work this way.

Also they don't guarantee that anyone will actually win the Grand Prize. This is supposed to be an example of quality control, one thinks, but it also makes things worse for those who enter.

(4) Then the publisher, Karen Hunter, showed up on Absolute Write to defend First One Publishing's contest and didn't do a great job of explaining the rationale for the problematic aspects of the contest or a real understanding of what professional writers and people in the publishing business were objecting to.
Whatever is telling you that something is amiss, is lying to you. And we accept your apology because you are wrong as it relates to the contest. To judge a book before you've read it is unfair. Let us launch the contest (Feb. 11). Join it. And if you have a problem, then you have a right to criticize. But it's not even officially launched yet.

Since when is quoting the relevant sections of the rules and pointing out what the language is saying tantamount to lying? And accepting an apology for said lies when they weren't lies and those who have objections are not apologizing? What kind of fantasy world does this person live in?

And to say that the contest hasn't even started yet and to hold off objections until February 11th is pure nonsense IMHO -- because you put the contest announcement on the Internet a month ahead of the contest opening so that you will have people working on their manuscripts to have something to submit. A month from now is NOT the time to start a discussion about whether you should have wasted your time on such a project or not.

All In All...

... at best this person is very naive about how publishing, contests and contracts should work, in which case one would be advised to stay away and not invest $149 in an unprofessional operation OR it really is a rights grabbing, money sucking scam operation, in which one would surely be advised to stay the hell away from it. At the very, very least this contest does not pass the smell test today.

We shall see how this develops. But for now I'd strongly recommend staying away from First One Publishing's contest. Money is supposed to flow to the writer -- schemes where the money flows the other way (with the exception of the option of reasonable entry fees) are either scams, vanity presses or both.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (7of9borg)
Grokked From Scalzi's Blog

John Scalzi's Whatever today has an article on James Frey preying on MFA writing program students with a really lousy book packaging contract, referenced from a New York Magazine article about the YA novel packaging mill Full Fathom Five -- you can read the details there.

Yeah, we're talking about turning your work over to another person, who will control it, not you. And losing one's copyright. For up to a big $250-$500 payday. Plus promises of more if there's a media deal for TV or film. Makes one wonder what the hell they teach in MFA writing programs. Apparently, there's not much publishing business being taught. And to re-write James Frey, "a crappy deal is still a crappy deal, not an opportunity".

One of the commenters wanted to know if, after the Cooks Source scandal about plagiarism, has this become something like National Kick Authors Month? Sadly, no. People have stolen other people's writing and come up with massively unjust contracts for a long time. Another commenter suggested that people would be "better", for very poor values of "better", going the self-publishing route than with this contract. The only good news is that these things usually only affect a few writers.

As for James Frey, he's not a stranger to controversy and questionable ethics. You can read in the Wikipedia article about his A Million Little Pieces, which had been an Oprah featured book. This new deal isn't going to polish his starry little luster very much, IMHO.

I'm sure there'll be more about this on the web. But my point is basically that if you want to be a published writer, that doing a little research on your part and asking people about the business side of writing will go a long way to cut down on the odds of you being taken advantage of. And some people will allow themselves to be taken advantage of, because they either buy the deal or don't know any better.


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (7of9borg)
This Has Been Roiling Around The Internet For A Day

This isn't about SF publishing, but it is a cautionary tale about publishing and the Internet.

Nick Mamatas started the ball rolling when he alerted his minions that something was afoul with Cook's Source -- a freebie print magazine which makes its money on advertising and apparently doesn't think it needs to spend money on content. Certainly not content they found on the Internet. Here's a link to the original author and a truly pathetic reply by a clueless editor:
"Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was "my bad" indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me... ALWAYS for free!"

Bet you didn't know that everything on the Internet was public domain, did you? Yeah -- I didn't know that either.

Oh, and about all that editing? Apparently the original article had archaic words in Old or Middle English, or something, which the editor "helpfully" corrected. Clue. Less. Fail.

Well, Nick updated this morning as to the Internet shitstorm which has fired up. Among others, John Scalzi had posted "The Stupidest Thing an Editor With Three Decades of Experience Has Said About the Web Today".

This free publicity managed to send people to write comments on the Cooks Source Facebook page and they even started a Discussion Topic on The Cooks Source Editor's complete ignorance of copyright laws.

Behold the power of the Internet -- All shall tremble before me and fear!

Really -- People Can Be This Clueless

One of the things that keeps many new SF/F/H writers from publishing their works is the fear that if they submit a story to an editor, that rather than buying the work someone might steal it for their own. This rarely happens because people eventually figure it out. Same with cowards who simply plagiarize someone's work and submit it as their own -- the truth will eventually come out.

This is more of a warning to anyone who thinks they can start a website or e-zine and stuff it full of other people's good stuff. This is a case of someone whose business plan may actually be based on criminal plagiarism of copyrighted material. Bad, bad behavior -- No cookie for you and you've left yourself open to a whole lotta legal troubles. Because as one of the commenters observed, this can hardly be the first time they've done this is the editor -- with three decades of experience -- assumes the Internet is all public domain. (It isn't.)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Maybe I'll Hate Myself In The Morning

But last year, after I noted the first passing of Realms of Fantasy, my next post was about RoF's website was woefully out of date, including the cheery note that they are still going strong.

Alas, while the current RoF website has the news right, along with nice farewells from editors Shawna McCarthy and Doug Cohen, as well as publisher Warren Lapine, there's the little issue regarding the Final Issue. Or non-issue. As I posted on the Final Issue PDF Available Via Bittorrent and Direct Download page:
Dr. Phil October 19, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

FYI — Alas, neither the Click here to download the PDF from our servers OR the Download PDF button to the right work. The first is an incomplete URL — the second 404’s.

Dr. Phil

Tis a shame that bad HTML coding spoils the party and mars the ending... once again.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (jude-mourning-1)
Realms of Fantasy Closing

Didn't I already write this obituary? Apparently yes. But from multiple sources, I got the link to Warren Lapine's farewell.

As I said in January 2009, I'm not much of a fantasy writer, so it's not that this is a market that I submit to. But it's one I've read from time to time, and a lot of the writers I know DO write fantasy. So I know this will affect some people.

I wasn't quite sure if Warren was the right person to run RoF, but he had it and there were some signs of life -- including writing checks to people -- and there was even some controversy about covers and such. So at least RoF was splashing around noisily in the pool and not being a wallflower. But still.

Intriguing Postscript

Towards the end of Warren's post, he did mention the following:
Should there be any interest in purchasing the magazine I will gladly sell Realms to a responsible party for $1.00 and give them the finished files for the December issue.

Does this represent true love for RoF? Or a quick way to pass on a magazine's debt load for a buck? Or does it even matter? If anyone really wanted to keep RoF going, if Warren is good to his word, then he would not be an impediment. It will be interesting to see if anyone takes him up on this.

Of course Nick Mamatas [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid pointed out that "I'm tempted. A shame this wasn't announced last month, when an enterprising person could have had the December issue out for World Fantasy as a pick-up."

Alas, if Real Estate is all about location, then Publishing is all about timing.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
dr-phil-physics.com version 2.0

06.06.2010 waned, and with it, the arrival of the newly renovated dr-phil-physics.com, the Official Webpage of Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon.

The Heart of the Upgrade

When I started dr-phil-physics.com back on 02.02.2008 I wanted to highlight my science fiction writings and publications, as well as my physics teaching and science literacy efforts.

(1) A Revised Look
Most of the webpages now feature Wordle.net graphics in the newly updated headers. (If you aren't seeing them and you've visited dr-phil-physics.com recently, you might want to Reload the page or clear your browser history.) I am also improving navigation by providing more jump links around pages and also will be off-loading some longer sections onto their own pages.

The result, when fully implemented, should result in a cleaner look which is easier to get around and find things of interest.

(2) Updated News and Publications Info
It's no secret that I use this [livejournal.com profile] dr_phil_physics LJ blog to post news and publication information, then provide links to the these postings on the website. Alas, not only did I let it get out of date, the main page listing has grown like a weed and I'm paring it down to the latest and bestest (grin) news. All the news links get archived on the old news page.

In the next month I hope to take the last two years of my publications and create proper webpages for each of these stories, as I had for earlier ones.

Oh, and there's an FAQ page for my 29th century universe, where a lot of my stories take place. It'll expand, too.

(3) Broaden the Content

Recently I moved some 2002-03 movie reviews and other comments from my university website over to dr-phil-physics.com . That prompted me to start digging up other things. For example, a number of Dr. Phil stories are available online for free -- either as publications or posted on this [livejournal.com profile] dr_phil_physics LJ blog or on dr-phil-physics.com . Now there's one page where you can find Dr. Phil's free fiction. Similarly, I need to group together all the movie, TV and book reviews I've posted and make them easier to access.

I've also added some of my professional physics material -- just to let you know that I do work on teaching Physics and promoting Science Literacy. (grin)

A Website's Work Is Never Done

Like any multi-purpose tool, dr-phil-physics.com works best when it is kept up to date and that's on me. It's taken a good five weeks to get the Version 2.0 revisions in shape -- not continuously -- and I still have some sections to work on in the coming months. Best advice to me is not to let it get so out of date again. (grin) Both for me and for you. (big-grin)


Dr. Phil

P.S. Remember, there's always a handy link from the left side of the [livejournal.com profile] dr_phil_physics main LiveJournal page to dr-phil-physics.com .


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