Gary Hurtubise

Welcome to my World(s)

Tag: getting published

Offer of Publication: I reject you!

(or, 5 reasons why that offer might just not <gulp> be for you)

 

So I’ve been a bit quiet for the last few months, mainly because I didn’t know how to address the topic of this post.  Let’s set the scenario, work through the list, then we’ll debrief afterwards, shall we?

Situation: your manuscript, which you’ve been shopping around for going-on two years, finally has an offer of publication!  Yay!  But what’s that you say?  You aren’t immediately sending a reply with the subject heading: “Yes, Yes, Yes!!!”?!?

Well… why not?

(now here’s the list)

5 Reasons Why You Might Reject That Offer of Publication

5.       Your book will only be available via POD (Print-On-Demand).

Whoops – you’ll be published, but not in the traditional sense.  No books to show for your work.  That being said, if your offer of publication comes from a small-press publisher, I get the sense that this is pretty much how things operate nowadays.  And considering how many people are reading their books via e-readers, it’s really no wonder.

 

4.       You’ll have to do all the marketing for your book, yourself.

If you do not already possess, like, ten thousand friends on <enter social media platform here>, and have a faithful following on Amazon or Goodreads, this could mean the death of your book before it even breathes its first papery breath.  Marketing?  Isn’t that the publisher’s responsibility?  Well… again – in today’s market, I’m learning that most publishers are expecting authors to shoulder at least a portion of their own marketing.

 

3.       No advance (what? no money up front?!)

Nope.  Yet again, unless you are offered a deal with one of the large houses, the likelihood of seeing money before your book is published is very low.  In fact, if you decide to work with a hybrid publishing agency, you’ll be giving them money, and not the other way around!

Hey – let’s say you did get with one of the big publishers.  You’re still only looking at $5000.  Yep, that’s it.  Long gone are the days of $400 000 advances (believe it or not, this is what Stephen King got for his first book, back in the 1970’s!)…

 

2.       You’re afraid that the publisher’s brand is not a good fit with how you want to be perceived as a writer.

You write country-western-actions, but the publisher is known more for cozy-mysteries.  Will that ‘typecast’ you as a cozy-mystery writer for the rest of your career?  If you’re a seasoned author already, probably not (though people might scratch their heads when reading the spine of your next book).  But as a not-yet-published author?  I think this is a very relevant concern.

 

1.        The ‘suggested’ changes to your story that are conditional upon publication make you feel: _______ (fill-in: sad, mad, uncomfortable, scared, confused, etc.).

You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into this baby (ie: manuscript) – whether it’s your first or your fifth.  When some stranger tells you your baby is cute, but could be much cuter if you rearrange her face, change her clothes, and re-attach her arms and legs in different positions… hmmm.  That’s hard to swallow.

 

 

And there you have it.  Five reasons why you might say: “thanks, but no thanks”.

Wait!  Before you decide to say those words, realize that the state of publishing today is very different than, say, pre-internet days.  Paper-versions of books are ever so slowly slipping away.  Authors are being asked to shoulder more and more of the burden and responsibility for their books, for less and less money.  Writing is now more a labour of love, rather than labour for cash.  And if you ain’t lovin’ it, regardless of the hassle, you’re probably wasting your time.

Ok.  So, are any of the above reasons legitimate excuses to walk away from an offer of publication?

Numbers 5, 4, and 3 are, in my opinion, simply the realities of the publishing game as of 2017.  You don’t have to like it; just suck it up (if being published is what you truly want).

Numbers 1 & 2, though, are legitimate reasons to hesitate before signing on the dotted line.  You are trying to develop your brand here (especially with your first novel!!).  If your story no longer reflects the vision you had for it, or is presented on a platform that doesn’t fit with your goals, you are doing yourself a disfavour, and could end up damaging your chances for that second book (or any books after that).

And if you haven’t guessed by now, yes – I’ve chosen to reject an offer of publication of my novel “Darksea”.

“Why,” you ask?

Well… see above.  That’s all I’m gonna say.  😛

 

Ok.  That was a bit of a heavy post.  I’ll try to keep things lighter with my next one!

Don’t dismay!  Keep submitting those queries!!

Darksea: A Winner at the 2016 Ozma Awards!

So as it turned out, I was unable to make it out to Bellingham, Washington to attend the 2016 Ozma Awards Ceremony and Chanticleer Author’s Conference (life and stuff got in the way, sadly).  As such, I figured that my lack of attendance would negate any chance I had of winning (not being too sure how these types of awards work…).

Glumly, I watched the first weekend of April go by, waving my chance at winning goodbye.

And forgot about the whole thing…

…(Silly me!)

On a whim, I checked out the Chanticleer website tonight and came across this little bit of news:

How about that?!

The First In Category award winners are to receive a complimentary book review from Chanticleer, as well as a bunch of other promotional items.  And now I can say that my (as of yet unpublished) novel is an award winner!  Priceless.  😀

Thank you to Chanticleer Book Reviews for providing a platform for me to have my manuscript reviewed.  I’m feeling that much closer to turning Darksea into a real book – and me into a real author!   (Reject me now, literary agents!!)

Congratulations to Christopher, Elisabeth, Vijay, Raven, Nicole and Murray for their category wins, and especially to Vijay, for also winning the Ozma Grand Prize!

 

First Short Story Published in Kzine Issue 17!

Well, the day has arrived – my first official published story was released on January 28th 2017!

… albeit in Kindle-reader format 😉    (but hey – published is published!!!)

The 17th issue of KZINE – a British sci-fi / horror / fantasy / crime magazine created specifically for the mobile reader – features seven short stories, including my tale Flesh.

Flesh follows the story of an octogenarian in his final few days of life, trying in vain to leave his past behind him.  Of course, there’s a nasty villain, a space station, a gun fight & a high-speed chase, and — just for good measure — a StarWars-esque fall down a bottomless shaft.

Anyways – I’m very excited, and seeing my name in (electronic) print has been a great boost to my recently lagged productivity at the keyboard.  Nothing like some tangible success to get the muse tapping at the window again!

Please check out KZINE, and consider purchasing a copy of the current issue here or here.  You won’t be disappointed!

 

Last Outpost Military Anthology – My 2nd Short Story to be Published!

Last_Outpost-banner

       I submitted one of my short stories to the 3rd Flatiron Hyperpowers Anthology several months ago.  It did not get accepted…  However, one of the judges happened to be Bascomb James, editor of the Far Orbit anthologies published by World Weaver Press, and he liked the story enough to include it in his upcoming “Last Outpost” military SF anthology!

Here’s a list of the authors and their short stories, to be included in the anthology (directly from Bascomb’s website):

“Conscripts” by Gary Hurtubise
“Corners and Curves” by Wendy Sparrow
“Deathbeast” by H.E. Roulo
“Hashtag Whitebitch” by Shauna O’Meara
“My Letters” by George Allen Miller
“Names” by Todd C. Wilson
“Ripplers” by John Moralee
“Risk Assessment” by David Tallerman
“Swimming Stars” by Andrew Wilson
“The Copper Queen’s Bazaar” by J.B. Rockwell
“The Quarry” by Marc Ferris
“The Thorne Legacy” by J.D. Brink

I’m very happy and honoured to be included in this list!  Can’t wait to see it in print, sometime in the fall of 2016!

Picking the Right Market for Your Fiction

There’s this new feeling to writing that I get nowadays.  I haven’t done anything different, but different things are happening.

No.  Agents aren’t breaking down my door to represent me (yet).  Nor are all of my short story ideas suddenly Nebula or Hugo Award-worthy (…yet?).  But I do feel more confident with my writing – I know it’s of a higher calibre than it was a year, or even six months ago.  Plus, more people are taking notice of my work.  I’m getting more personalized feedback (to go along with my rejections!), and in some cases, I’m being given specific suggestions from editors, followed by requests to re-submit with changes made.

I’m trying to be more selective of where I submit my work too.  Many of my short stories are hybrid-genres.  They aren’t just science fiction, or fantasy.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve spent all this time submitting to ‘traditional’ markets, when I should have been looking for some of those magazines or journals who feature alternative writing.  I believe that’s why I was successful with “Flesh” last month (having it accepted for publication in Kzine).  And so, I’m trying that again with my story “Solace for the Soul-less”…

Sci Phi Journal

I came across Sci Phi Journal the other day, an online science fiction and philosophy magazine.  In it, they publish “stories that explore questions of life, the universe and everything and articles that delve into the deep philosophical waters of science fiction universes” (from their About page).  “Solace” is set in the future, but isn’t about robots or space battles.  Rather, it raises questions about identity and immortality.  Hey!  That’s exactly what Sci Phi Journal is looking for!  So I’ve actually withdrawn “Solace” from consideration at another magazine, in order to try my chances with a venue that might generate not only some interest in my writing, but some dialogue about it too.

Next on my list of things to do: another batch of agent queries!  On this note, here’s a good bit of advice written by Kathryn Craft, of ‘Writers in the Storm’, a writing blog that I follow.

My first published short story!

I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.

After all, it’s a numbers game: send enough of my short stories to enough magazines and/or anthologies, and someone out there is bound to bite, right?

Well, early last week, a UK online magazine accepted my short science fiction story “Flesh” for publication for their January 2017 issue!  My first fiction writing success!

“Flesh” is the story of an elderly man who has given up everything for a chance at a new life.  But everything is not as it seems (dun, dun, DUN!!!).

I’m truly excited – this is a very significant step for me.  Now, I have a ‘publication history’; no longer do I need to leave that part of my submissions or queries blank!  I also get to have my fiction read by a much larger circle of people (beyond my husband, and the members of critters.org, to which I belong).

I had ‘set’ myself a goal of having my fiction published by the end of 2015 (fully aware that it wasn’t entirely in my hands); I’m pleasantly surprised that I was only off by a few months!  😉

Anyways – enough reveling in my success.  I have another set of agent queries to send out, not to mention crafting another couple short stories.  I’m also working on getting my freelance b2b copywriting career off the ground, by the end of the month…

Always lots to do, as a writer!

 

 

No New Year’s resolution… just ‘be’ a writer!

The holidays went well for me this year.  I ate less that I’d feared, and wrote more than I’d hoped, so all in all: a success!

think_like_a_writer       I thought like a writer over the holidays too: not once did I worry about my day job (the one that still pays the bills).  Instead, I planned what short stories I’d write in the coming months, picked which agents I’d send my next queries to, added up my freelance writing earnings for the past year (peanuts, at this stage, but growing!), and saw story ideas everywhere I went over that two week period.

In retrospect, I can’t believe how good I had it for those 14 days (helped by the fact that the in-laws were occupying the kids, which granted me that time to just… think – thanks guys!).

New Year’s eve came and went (we were playing a game of Quelf with friends as the clock struck midnight), and I purposely didn’t make any resolutions.  Instead, I decided (subtly, though – not really admitting it, even to myself) to simply continue the habit of ‘being’ a writer, for the rest of the year.

So far, my (non)-resolution has been easy… After all, I want to be a writer!  …

The secret to New Years' resolutions!

(…wait a sec – did I just crack the secret to New Year’s resolutions!?!)

Top 5 Writing Goals for 2016

With this new habit of ‘being’ a writer, what would I like to accomplish this year?

1.  Get Published

       Specifically, get a short story published (or recognized somehow – contest or otherwise).  Currently, my bio is conspicuously free of any writing credits, which means any and all queries I send out – either for my novel, or my short stories – show me as an unpublished rube.  It’s not helping my success rate… or my confidence!

2.  Get Representation

       (ie: agent representation)  Yep.  My career as a novelist is basically hinging on this step right now.  But I’m up to my 4th batch of agent queries, bringing my total to just about 30.  My agent is out there.  Hopefully in this time frame, spatial dimension, and planet.

3.  Get More Freelance Writing Work

       So far, my fiction writing has not paid many bills (precise number of bills paid: zero).  But freelancing does!  I’m a regular contributor to Gay Parent Magazine (gayparentmag.com), and I’m looking to expand that significantly, as 2016 progresses.  Key word: self-marketing.

4.  Get More Readership

       To paraphrase Julia Roberts, social media is like yelling into the wind.  Sure.  Sorta.  Just make sure you’re facing the right way when you do so.  And listen to others who are doing the same thing.  I need to spend more time seeking out like-minded individuals, and join their secret leagues.

5.  Get More Writing Done

       As I ‘think’ more like a writer, I think up more little tasks that need doing – many of which do not include writing.  I can’t forget that the whole point of this endeavour is to write more.  And so I really need to focus a part of each and every day just for plain, unadulterated  w r i t i n g.

       Should be easy, right?

used_to_hate_writing

 

 

 

 

Becoming an Author: Getting Started

Well, that title is a misnomer actually.  I started this whole process years ago.  It’s only recently that I’ve taken writing seriously, and it’s only tonight that I’ve taken the step to put myself ‘out there’, as it were, via social media.

Here’s a summary of what’s happened with respect to my desire to be a published author, to date:

Sept 2013:

Taking writing seriously; goal: finish the novel ‘Tale of Two Eorldoms’ (working title);

Attended my first Writer’s Fest, in Kingston Ontario (Margaret Atwood in attendance!);

Nov 2014:

Finished 1st draft of my novel, edited by my trooper of a husband, Trevor;

Feb 2015:

Finished 2nd draft of my novel, and edited by a friend (he’s still a friend, btw!);

May 2015:

Began compiling a list of potential agents to approach; and

Sept 2015:

Wrote the synopsis of my novel, and accompanying query letter.

 

And two years later, I’m just about ready to start my agent search.  I have my list, in order of preference, and the requisite ‘bits’ (which just need refining for each specific literary agency).  Over the next week or so, I’ll send out the first 3-5 queries, and then… wait!

(Patiently, of course.)

Of course, it’s hard to express in writing the excitement Trevor and I feel for this step.  Even as I write this, my heart is beating faster than normal.  It’s not every day that I get to send out my first query of my first novel, to the first literary agent in my list…

Final note for this inaugural post: I would not be doing this today if it were not for the support of my husband.  Trevor had supported and motivated me from before day one, and any success I eventually achieve from this is due in very large part to him.  I love you, Trev!!  <3

 

© 2017 Gary Hurtubise

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑