Vote! Vote! Vote!

Yay! An extra post.

I think I mentioned the Festival of Drabbles and that I had entered the competition in last week’s round-up. As well as the official competition result, there’s also a People’s Choice award, for which you can vote! What’s more, you can win a prize for voting.

Click on this link to read the stories and vote for mine! Or someone else’s, I don’t mind. Then, if you want to be entered into the draw, make a comment.

That’s all there is to it. Easy-peasy (no idea if that’s the right spelling and I’m not about to check it).

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A Lovely Surprise

I received some post today that I wasn’t expecting.

2014-02-11 19.09.44 2014-02-11 19.10.36

It’s my copy of The British Fantasy Society Journal containing my third place story from last year’s flash fiction competition, held in conjunction with National Flash Fiction Day.

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting it to be something quite so chunky. Plenty of reading to do!

Time to Step it Up!

New Year is all about resolutions.

Well, maybe. In truth, there’s nothing special about New Year. You can decide to change things any time you like, but most people don’t. I guess it’s kind of a feeling that we’re all in it together if we decide to change something on 1 January.

Well, I am going to change something. I am going to try to post here regularly. I’m not going to commit to more than one post a week – let’s not be rash about this – but I am going to post, every Monday, a summary of my writing progress for the past week.

You’ll see that I now have some lovely progress meters on the left-hand side of the page. And you’ll also have deduced from those, that I currently have three projects on the go. The progress meters only chart the number of words, of course, not everything else that goes into having a finished product. This particular meter is one that’s meant for NaNoWriMo, but can be adapted to your own requirements. You can find it here if you’d like to use if yourself.

In addition to the progress meters, I intend to post details of how many words I write per day, and on which project. I’ve also decided to tally up how many hours I read each day (because I consider that to be part of writing), but I haven’t done that for the first week, so that will be missing from tomorrow’s post.

In addition to these projects, I also wrote a Drabble for a competition about New Year’s Resolutions. You can find it here. The competition is open until the end of the month, so if you want to enter, you can do so by using the competition link at the top of the page. You will have to log in to the site to do so, which you will also have to do if you want to vote for my story. Drabbles are exactly one hundred words, by the way, and the submission form does count them!

So, my first progress report will be posted tomorrow. See you then.

Competition vs Competitions

It’s about a year now since I last entered a proper writing competition¬† (ie, a recognised competition rather than one on someone’s blog or in a writing group). Why? Because, to a large extent, I feel like it’s money down the drain.

If you enter a competition that has a large entry (let’s face it, those are the only ones really worth entering), you could be competing against thousands of other entries and there are never more than three winners and a few highly commended entries – and not all of those will win a prize. However, it is becoming increasingly likely that one of the conditions of entry is that your story appears on a website or in an anthology (even for those who are only shortlisted). This may seem like a good idea if you’re trying to make a name for yourself, but I’m not sure that it is.

The first downside is that you cannot easily use that story anywhere else. You won’t be able to submit it to very many publications because they usually require ‘first’ rights and that means that you have no chance of making any money from it yourself unless you self-publish. Even then, you may be restricted as to how soon you can use the piece in your own publication.

And some competitions claim rights even if you don’t win! (Always read the Terms and Conditions carefully.)

So, what do I do instead?

I either write stories specifically for self-publishing or I send stories to paying magazines.

Sending stories to magazines is as much of a lottery as sending them to a competition, but there are a number of advantages:

  • You aren’t trying to second guess what they want. There are copies of the magazine you can buy to do your research;
  • The maximum cost of sending your story off is an envelope and a couple of stamps;
  • You will be paid if your story is accepted;
  • Magazines publish a lot more stories than competitions name as winners, so the odds are better;
  • If you don’t succeed at the first magazine, there’s nothing to stop you sending your story to another one.

In my eyes, there’s no competition.

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albh blog post

A series of short horror story anthologies
for those who like their horror served with a touch of humour.