State of the Stuff, Dec 3, 2013

On the writing front, I have made my ninth sale, putting me one away from my goal of ten for the year. I’ve also entered a contest, something I hadn’t done previously and am looking at writing an essay for the Ladies Home Journal essay contest. Either they’ll be reasonable and allow submissions from males or my submission will be protest against sexism. The rules don’t explicitly ban men from entering, though the descriptions in some places assume female writers.

While indie writing is up, with the advent of the ability to self publish without use of a vanity press, magazine subscriptions continue to fall. As someone hoping to sell stories to these magazines, I have a vested interest in their continuation. Thus, I request anyone who likes to read science fiction or fantasy to go out and subscribe to Crossed Genres magazine. While they will be running one of my stories in January, their survival through next year is put in jeopardy by a dearth of submissions. This would be a shame for not only are they a wonderful magazine, but they go out of their way to publish and interview new writers instead of always publishing old standbys.

This situation is exacerbated by the (relatively) recent news by the SFWA that their requirements for joining will be changing. In a move we haven’t seen in almost a decade, the minimum pay requirements for a market which counts toward ‘professional sales’ will be increased mid-2014 to six cents a word, up from five cents a word, effectively re-defining the ‘professional market’ range for all fiction. Read more on that here. To some, this may sound like a good deal, much like raising the minimum wage. Sadly, it just puts more demand on small publishers to pay more or be left out of the ‘professional’ category, relegating them to the kids’ table, or forcing them to pay more and thus raise the cost of their magazines which have likely already seen a drop in readership in recent years.

Back on a more personal note, life is busy. I’ve just failed NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, after ten consecutive wins. I’d always been able to ‘make time’ by putting other things on hold- not watching as much TV or playing games, etc, but this time around, it was not possible. I did start, and I did get to cheer on a group of friends, new and old in their endeavors, so I got some of the fun, but only a small fraction of a book in the end instead of about half. The next month will be interesting as I navigate even more holidays and try to get a few more pieces out there. As always, thanks to editors who can take the time to give useful feedback and thank you all for reading!

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