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Goals For 2015 Pt. 7: Publication and Short Fiction

Soccer Ball Hitting NetOne of my goals for 2015 is to submit up to six short stories to SF&F magazine markets. I currently have one story under consideration with one market and I’ve almost completed a second story. But why would I bother with short fiction when I’ve got numerous books to write and one I’m definitely preparing for publication later this year. Here are several reasons:

1. I hope to show readers I have a wider ability and scope with my fiction writing. I think it’s important that readers have an idea of what they’re getting from my fiction and submitting short fiction is an outstanding way to attempt this goal. If a reader likes my short stories they are more likely to like my books too.

2. Being published through a magazine market provides greater credibility for me as an author. If a reader trusts my fiction content they will certainly look further in to my books and perhaps become a fan. Gaining fans is the best way to increase the number of readers for my fiction because they spread the word.

3. Short fiction is a great way to continue improving my craft. While my goal is to write books they take a long time to complete. A short story gives me the chance to hone my writing skills while taking less time. Gaining acceptance of any short story at a paying market also validates that I’m improving at the craft.

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

4. If a short story is accepted it becomes a great source of secondary income. The goal of my writing is to entertain well enough to make some money at it. A short story can be sold several times through podcasts, re-prints and anthologies so they offer several pieces of pie to an enterprising author.

5. I enjoy writing and short stories are a lot of fun to write. I wouldn’t be writing if I didn’t like it and short fiction by its very nature provides loads of enjoyment for me. I get to develop ideas in all kinds of settings with all kinds of characters all in a small package. There’s far less commitment of time for development and writing which makes this a pleasant break from the grind of a novel.

6. Short fiction is inherently challenging. A short story requires an author to weave a tale in limited space. The goal is to tell a lot with far less words so you have to be conscious of the length at all times. Brevity is a great creative exercise.

So those are my reasons for spending time on short stories. Do you like to read or write short fiction? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so The Black Bag by P H Solomoncheck my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Cover art provided on commission from Chris Rawlins

Cockof the south

Fantasy Authors Unplugged: C. S. Boyack

This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule.

Q:Your book has been featured here recently but please refresh everyone about your new book.

Cockof the southA: The book is a Greco-Roman fantasy, involving characters of alternate races. They are being persecuted into extinction by the Remsian Empire. One young dwarf, Cobby, thinks they can carve out a place in the world, but they have to overcome prejudices against each other first.

Q: How are your initial sales and reviews?

A: Reviews have been awesome. Sales have been small. Part of my 2015 efforts have to go toward extending my reach. More people would enjoy this story if they only knew about it. I recently joined Goodreads and there has been a small spike of interest in all my titles. The Rave Reviews Book Club has been really helpful in getting me noticed too.

Q: Is there anything special of note you can share about the book’s background – ideas and development?

A: I really wanted to read a good dwarf story. Elves seem to get all the attention in modern fantasy, and I wanted something else. I found some fun stories, and some that fell short. Along the way, I decided to write my own. In order to write this, I decided I had to bring something different to the table. I didn’t want to concentrate on another story with the same themes. This is when I came up with the Greco-Roman setting. The setting required races that are different than Tolkienesque fantasy. This book is full of centaurs, satyrs, and cyclops. It’s still a dwarf story, but different too. There are humans as well, but they’re Paeonians, Goths, Jews, and Amazon’s.

Q: What keeps you going creatively?

A: I love creating something new, but it’s my friends who keep me going. A positive comment on a blog post, a retweet, a nice review, these are the things that drive me forward. I come across something and it spurs my imagination. It could be on DeviantArt, television, another book, song lyrics, almost anything. Ideas come and go, but some stick around longer. These are the ones I outline to see if they make the cut.

Q: What are your thoughts regarding being an independent author?

A: In many ways, it’s independent or private. There is nothing wrong with writing for private amusement, and many people are. The gatekeeper system got so restrictive that I explored self publishing. Self publishing is kind of like being one salmon in a vast school. Thousands of new books are released every day. Readers have access to more choices than ever before. The challenge is to stand out. Invitations like this are incredibly valuable.Part of my time has to be spent exploring ways to get noticed. We’re all learning as we go, but the blogging community is very generous when it comes to sharing what works, and doesn’t work.

Q: What are your writing goals beyond this current book?

A: I limit myself to three closely related genres; Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal. This helps me stay dedicated. It may not work for others, but it works for me. I can avoid the stagnation that sometimes catches me by changing things up. I have a Paranormal story called Will ‘O the Wisp nearly ready to go. Several people have advance reading copies right now, and the early reports are wonderful. I’d like to keep putting out one or two novels per year. I’m also toying with the idea of a book of short stories. This could be a great way to inspire readers to check out my longer efforts.

Q: How consistent was the final version of your cover with your original concepts?

A: Not very, to tell the truth. It is an important scene from the story, but I envisioned something a bit more grandiose. It will serve its purpose, for now. I may change it up to all marble using carved letters and a cockatrice medallion. It has to wait for another day. A cover has to do several things. It has to catch the reader’s eye. It has to illustrate the genre and setting. It also has to be intriguing enough to make the reader click the blurb or a sample chapter. My cover has the Field of Jars and a cockatrice, that’s interesting and screams fantasy. The clothing and chiseled lettering illustrate the setting. It’s serviceable, but I may change it someday.

Bio:

Craig author picI was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

You can follow Craig at the following places:

His blog, Entertaining Stories. http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

On Twitter.  https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

You can pick up a copy of The Cock of the South at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P4H37WC

Thanks to Craig for the interview. Take some time to view his links and check out his latest novel.

If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Writing

Goals for 2015 Pt. 6: Site Management Follow-Up

HammerLast month, I wrote about my goals for 2015. However, those were just stated, good intentions. At this point, I want to begin sharing how I’m progressing with these goals. The effort is not to toot my own horn but, rather, to share my journey as an author for both readers and authors – especially newer authors regarding the latter.

One of my stated goals for the year was improvements to my website. As an author, a writing platform is essential in this digital age. Social media serves to bring readers your website and direct them to your content. As a consequence, my website is an effective tool to present myself to readers so they can get to know me. My blog exists to inform but also to present content that prospective readers come to trust.

I’ve come to understand that a website, much like the platform, is a growth project. It may experience construction followed by a lull and then more work. But always it needs to be in use.

One of the ways I want to grow this year is by improving this website visually. I want to use custom themes as well as possibly shift to self-hosting though my current needs are well-fulfilled. The custom themes will server to further brand my site and content that identifies my work with the fantasy genre. Getting there is an important milestone.

WritingHowever, I currently lack funds to enact these major site changes and branding. In the meantime, I’m working instead to brand the site in a different way – with content. I’ve begun a new feature named “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” which presents interviews of other fantasy authors. With this and more genre-related content I’m identifying this site and my content with SF & F fiction.

I’m also sharing more of my journey to publication and growth as an author to inform readers of the process and encourage other authors. I’m also beginning to write more about other facets of development and hoping to submit guest posts on other sites and beginning to do some author interviews myself.

So, while I’m not yet able to directly address my final goal for this website I am working to further brand it for fantasy genre readers and authors. My content is slowly changing to favor that of more general writing topics and those of fantasy.

The Bow of DestinyHave you made goals for the year? Have you taken steps to enact your goals? How? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

Cover art provided on commission from Chris Rawlins