Slush Pile Update – UFO3

March 23, 2014

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There’s approximately a week left to submit a story for consideration for UFO3, and I thought I’d write up a slush pile update.

Every submission received through March 22 has been responded to with either a rejection or a bump up to the second round.

We have read a total of 245 submissions so far this month (which sounds like a lot, but is actually a lighter volume than last year. There’s always a huge swell of subs in the last couple of days, though).

There are currently 8 accepted stories from headliners and I’m waiting on two more headliners to turn in stories.  Additionally, there are seven stories being held in the “final consideration” pile, and 6 more are currently in the second round.

As ever, things the associate editors and I are seeing too many of include: zombies, alien invasions and probing, stories that we don’t find to be at all humorous, zombies, vampires, puns, and did I mention zombies?

Things we want to see more of are stories with more than a humorous line or two placed somewhere within 6000 words, strong voices, and unique situations or characters. Some of the associate editors would also like a pony, but I realize that you can’t have everything and will settle for more quality submissions.



UFO3 is Funded

February 18, 2014

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The UFO3 Kickstarter campaign has funded! 263 people raised $8052, allowing the project to move full speed ahead with no cutbacks in the amount of stories and illustrations I hope to include.

This was a true photo finish. We were $500 short with an hour to go, and $300 short with 30 minutes to go. We reached full funding literally five minutes before the time ran out! For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, the project must reach 100% of its funding goal or the creator gets nothing at all to work with — so you can imagine what a stressful wild ride those last couple of hours were. But, all is well that ends well.

I am finishing work on the Dark Expanse anthology for Deorc Enterprise (more on that very soon) and am looking forward to reading UFO3 submissions very soon now! The submission window is going to open on March 1. Meantime, a huge thank you to everyone who supported this campaign!


2013 Year In Review

January 1, 2014

Another year has come and gone — almost too quickly. It wasn’t as much of a spectacular writing-accomplishments year for me as 2012 was, but it was pretty darn good anyway.

I luuuurve me some data to crunch, so I continue the annual tradition of sharing my submission info with the world. First, I’d like to address my 2013 resolutions, which were definitely a mixed bag:

* Complete at least one novel and begin shopping it around to agents/publishers

Failed that one miserably. I have approximately 20,000 words written on the novel so far, and keep distracting myself with short stories. Definitely must get this done in ’14.

* Continue to participate in the Write1Sub1 initiative and write at least one new short story per month.

Blew that one out of the water by completing two short stories per month instead.

* Translate into English at least two SF/F short stories by Russian authors

Translated one short story (The Ferryman by Siarhey Bulyha) and am shopping it around.

* Attend at least one major SF con (something like WorldCon or World Fantasy) and a few smaller ones

WorldCon accomplished:

Ken's Hugo receives the George R.R. Martin seal of approval.

Ken’s Hugo receives the George R.R. Martin seal of approval.

I also got to attend LunaCon, BaltiCon, CapClave and PhilCon, and will likely be back to all or most of these next year. I  already registered for next year’s WorldCon in London.

And now, to the good stuff:

Short stories written in 2013: 24

This is not counting a handful of stories I started but didn’t complete for some reason. Totaling approximately 65,000 words. 11 of these have already been sold. One I felt wasn’t quite good enough to submit. The rest are out to markets.

Number of Submissions sent out (including reprints, foreign rights, podcasts, translation, etc.): 224

Number of Acceptances (includes stories submitted in 2012 but accepted in 2013):  39

Lost/Withdrawn: 2

Currently on Submission: 18 (with 3 more waiting for specific markets to open in January)

Rejections: 168

$ Earned from Short Fiction Sales: $1850

This is calculated based on what I’ve been paid for in 2013 (i.e. a bunch of stories from 2012, and a bunch of recent sales haven’t been paid for yet).

Non-Reprint Sales: 19

Pro Rates ($0.05+ per word) 13

Semi-Pro Rates ($0.01 – $0.04 per word) 5

Token payment: 0 (the only token market I even bother to occasionally submit to anymore is Every Day Fiction)

Royalty-only: 1 (A story I wrote for an anthology edited by a friend)

I also edited and published two anthologies: Unidentified Funny Objects 2 and Coffee. and began working on at least two more for 2014.

Overall it was a solid year, and I look forward to do more of the same in 2014. I do hope to get my first novel finished (and maybe even a second one if I can find a way to switch to novel mode). Otherwise, my major goal is to break into more of the top short fiction markets that haven’t yet published me.  And, most importantly, continue to have a great time being a part of SF/F fandom.




Getting Short Fiction Published & a Coffee Giveaway

December 20, 2013


I was recently interviewed at SF Signal on the subject of getting one’s short fiction published. Really, the answer is very simple and straightforward: write a good story and keep submitting it until it sells somewhere. But if you want a more elaborate version full of snark, or to learn what sort of bribes I accept, or to see me slam non-paying  markets (again), then go ahead and click that link!

And speaking of getting short fiction published, I recently sold a humor flash “Bedtime Story on Christmas Eve, 1,000,000 AD” to Spark: A Creative Anthology and it will appear in the next issue., which launches on January 1 and features a foreword by Kevin J. Anderson.

A reprint of “Life at the Lake’s Shore” will appear in an upcoming “Outpouring: Typhoon Yolanda Relief Anthology,” a charity projected edited by Dean Francis Alfar. No link yet, but I will post one as soon as it’s available.

Not much else to report on the acceptances front at this time, but then things do tend to slow down around the holidays.

Meantime, I’ve been laboring away on Unidentified Funny Objects 3. I’m very happy to report that I already have three stories from three huge names in SF/F, and a fourth story in final edits. I have a really cool cover, too. Expect more information on this in January. A number of folks asked about the next submission period: we will have one in the Spring, most likely in March.  I am absolutely committed to keeping each volume of the UFO series open to subs from the public alongside the stories solicited from the top pros.

Meantime, there are a few days left to enter the giveaway for a signed paperback copy of COFFEE: 14 Caffeinated Tales of the Fantastic. Over 700 people already entered this giveaway, but it’s free to enter, so why not give it a shot? Just click here to participate.



Status Update: UFO2 and Coffee anthologies

August 8, 2013


Figured I’d post a quick report on how the two anthologies I’m currently editing are coming along.

UFO2 is nearly done. The digital ARC has gone out to authors. They have until the 10th to review their stories and request changes. Our proofreader is going over the text as well. There are numerous small fixes that need to be made.  By mid-month, the ARC should be available to reviewers and Kickstarter supporters for whom early access was one of the rewards.

Arnie Swekel is working on the cover and should turn it in before the end of the month. Once we have it, the book is off to the printer and I’ll be able to announce the release date. The ebook files are being currently worked on as well.

Meanwhile, I’m still reading submissions for COFFEE, both originals and reprints.

As of today I have accepted 6 stories (4 reprints and 2 originals) totaling just under 15,000 words of fiction.

There are 18 more stories being held for consideration, totaling 43,000 words.

The book will total approximately 40,000 words (it will be smaller. but also cheaper, than one of the UFO anthologies). So even if we were to close to submissions today, I wouldn’t be able to accept every story I liked, and more are arriving at a clip of 5-8 per day. This is actually a very light load, compared to UFO, because the theme of this book is so narrow. I’m enjoying not getting buried under the slush pile and responding to most submissions in under 24 hours. As of right now, all submissions received prior to 6pm today have been responded to. This also means if you haven’t heard back from me, please query!

I will be out of town attending WorldCon when the submissions close, so it may take me a few days to read/catch up on everything when I get back. Still, I expect to make all final decisions in early September and have this book out in November.

And now, back to the previously scheduled reading of submissions.




Market Report: The Dark

August 6, 2013

8/27/13 Update: Stories under 1000 words are no longer considered. Sean Wallace has joined the editorial team.
8/25/13 Update: Please wait at least 1 week after receiving a rejection to send another submission.
8/18/13 Update: Mr. Fisher is no longer considering reprints for “The Dark.” Please send original submissions only.

Click here for detailed guidelines.

Genres: Dark science fiction & fantasy, magical realism

Length: Up to 5000 words (query for longer)

Pay rate: $0.05/word

Rights: First North American Serial Rights

Editor: Jack Fisher

The Dark is a new magazine from an experienced editor Jack Fisher. The magazine’s web site is not up yet as of this writing, but he is already accepting submissions and is responding promptly. There’s an IndieGoGo campaign to help raise additional funds for the magazine.

Mr. Fisher answered some questions about The Dark, below:



You’ve been an editor and publisher before, when you ran Flesh & Blood magazine over 10 years ago. What prompted you to start a new magazine now? Why start a brand-new publication instead of resurrecting Flesh & Blood?

I’ve been mulling the idea of “coming back” for a few years now. I missed the work, the scene, the people. F&B had its run as F&B – it was time to start something fresh and new.

In your IndieGoGo campaign you describe _The Dark_ as the “dark fantasy and dark SF magazine” that is “not necessarily horror.” What, in your opinion, separates dark SF/F from horror?

I believe there are many variations of horror. What may be “horrific” to some, may not be to others. I so happen to like the softer side of horror, the more subtle horror. Like the supernatural, for example, or anything with a dark bend to it, not necessarily blood-and-gut horror.

Can you name a few published short stories you would have loved to discover first and print in The Dark, given the opportunity?

I’ve been out of the field for so long, I really can’t say. I had been reading a lot of China Meiville’s work (I especially loved his short stories in “Looking For Jake: Stories”), and a lot of mainstream, non-genre stuff.

What’s your take on flash fiction? Do you enjoy very short stories, and do you anticipate accepting that length for The Dark or do you prefer longer tales?

I think that flash fiction can be very powerful if done right. Those little stories have the power to pack a lot of punch.

Will you consider dark humor?

No, I have no desire to laugh when reading dark fiction.

Will you consider reprints that are more than a year old but are still available on the web site of the original publication?

Yes, that is fine, but it should be noted that despite considering them, they’ll still be a hard sell. They’ll have to be exceptional.

What’s your slush process? Will you read all the submissions yourself, or rely on slush readers/associate editors? You’ve been responding very quickly to the early wave of submissions. Do you expect to be able to maintain that pace in the future?

I read everything myself. If I’m on the fence with something, I reach out to others for their opinions. Sean Wallace of Prime Books is one of my go-to-men, for example. He provides valuable feedback and opinion. I try to keep up on submissions as they come in otherwise I will drown. I expect to maintain swift turn-around’s.

So far, is there any one thing submitting authors commonly get wrong? What is it, and how should they fix it?

Study the guidelines, study the magazine. I have a precise vision and idea in mind, and I think I make this crystal clear in my guidelines. You will also see this reflected in the fiction I buy.


If you’re an editor of a new speculative magazine or anthology paying semi-pro or professional rates and wish to be interviewed for the Market Report column, please contact me.


July 26, 2013


Earlier this week I sold two more stories. Stupefying Stories picked up “An Indelible Feast” and “The Storyteller.” And while every new sale is sweet, what makes these special is that they are my 50th and 51st original short stories accepted for publication.

I made my first short story submission on May 10, 2010.  I submitted “The Skeptic,” my first story, which I wrote the month prior, to Clarkesworld, from which it was promptly and politely rejected.

It has been 41 months since I began writing that first short story. This means I’ve averaged more than one original short story sale per month over the course of my writing career so far! And that’s not even counting reprints, podcasts, and translations.

I am incredibly thrilled to be so far along the writing career path after just a few short years. There are plenty more milestones for me to conquer, and I’ll be gleefully working on those in the coming months!


COFFEE Anthology Update

June 25, 2013

Click here to view the COFFEE anthology campaign on Kickstarter

We had an awesome opening 24 hours, raising 45% of the initial funding goal. Things are bound to slow down after this, but I’m very hopeful that this campaign can reach a total of $2500+ by the end of its 30-day run.

Up to 50% of the money raised between $1000-$1999 will be spent buying original stories, in addition to reprints. (The limit being only the quantity and quality of the stories I might see on submission) — at professional rates.

At $2000 I will announce the super-secret achievement (and I am pretty sure you will really like it!) which will be unlocked at $2500. For now, please spread the word of this project. There are gazillions of coffee fans out there and this book can be huge if we are able to get even a fraction of them aware/involved in th is project.

I am waiting on some contracts and hope to announce the first pair of stories contracted for COFFEE really soon.


Remember, we’ll open to original story submissions the moment this campaign reaches $1000.  So start thinking of a cool (or hot!) coffee story idea!


COFFEE: The Anthology

June 10, 2013


I am almost done with the final selection process for UFO2. Over the course of this week, all authors should be notified and those whose stories have been accepted will receive their contracts. Once all the contracts have been signed, I will announce the official table of contents.

While that’s happening, I am contemplating my next anthology idea. Namely, this:

COFFEE: The Caffeinated Stories of the Fantastic

This is not a submissions call as of yet — I am still contemplating the viability and interest in such a book. It would be a collection of speculative short stories in which coffee plays a major role. I would want to collect mostly flash fiction and short-short stories — the sort one can read while sipping a cup of coffee. I would want one or two tea stories as well. Because, as much as the Interwebs love coffee, some of us love tea, too.

I would be looking for reprints for this book: stories that have been already been published elsewhere rather than original material.

So, for now, I want to ask for everyone’s help.

Is this the sort of book you would buy?

Do you know of any stories that would be a good fit for such a book? If so, please post the link or any information you have about the story/stories in the comments below.

If you’re an author of a story that might be a good fit, you can send it to me at ufopublishing at gmail dot com. I want to stress again that this is not a submission call yet, I’m just exploring the possibility, and that I’m looking for reprints of speculative (fantasy, SF, mild horror) stories only. Published authors would be paid at the reprint rate of $0.01 per word, plus a copy of the book.

Please share whatever other thoughts/ideas you might have about this. They’re much appreciated.





UFO2 Update

June 1, 2013


Submissions are now closed for UFO2. We received well over 600 unsolicited submissions in addition to the stories from authors whom I asked directly to contribute to the book.

Most of the round 1 submissions have been read and responded to. All, or almost all will be responded to in the next 48 hours. At that point I’ll take about a week and reconsider all final-round stories, re-read comments and suggestions made by the associate editors, and send out the rest of the acceptances.

Once all the contracts have been signed and the TOC finalized, I will post the final line-up here.