Anthologies… are such wonderful books!

Aurora in the Dawn
There are many good things about Anthologies. They are created for all sorts of reasons and can be a good way to discover new writers, because that’s often how new writers first get published. There’s nothing like the thrill of getting your very first story accepted to be part of a book – it’s almost as big a rush as getting your first novel / novella published.

My very first anthology wasn’t for a story, it was a poem that I wrote when I was a teenager. Having that print book in my hands made me feel very grown up and gave me the bug to continue. I ended up having my poetry in another two poetry anthologies, but sadly all three are now out of print and I only have the ISBN to confirm that two of them ever existed.

Novus Creatura

My first entry into Story Anthologies was actually through Horror and A.E. Churchyard.
House of Horror was a fairly popular webzine that also put out anthologies, so as well as getting my work published on the webzine, I made it into several anthologies. Sadly the ‘zine closed, so all I have of that part of my writing career is a print copy of each of the five anthologies I appeared in.

Flash!

The next part of my writing career actually ran concurrently with the Horror section… I began experimenting with Flash stories…

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity.There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as fifty-three words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.
– Wikipedia

So it was inevitable that I ended up getting some of them published. Flash Stories can be addictive as there is a certain satisfaction around getting a whole story done in less than a thousand words…

For a long while after that, I concentrated on writing novels and novellas. I still wrote short stories for fun, but I kept them to myself – they ended up going into my first short story collections “The Necklace of Harmony”  and “Darkness in Mind“.

words to music

Then I got involved in a charity anthology through Authonomy.  I actually almost ended up with two stories in it, but at the last minute the Editor dropped one of them – which was a good job because that story then went on to become a novella… which is currently on the rewrite list.

 

By this time, Facebook and it’s myriad of Procrastination Stations had entered my life and I met a whole load of new people – the majority of them authors. Also by this time, self publishing had become a massive thing in my life. It also meant that the world was suddenly bursting out with anthologies and the next one I slipped into was a fun one – full of murder and mayhem.

bump off your enemies

And that brings us up to the present and the latest anthology to include my work. The story was a swift scribble down based on a conversation with my fiancé and I’m very proud to have been asked to submit it for such a worthy cause.

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The best thing about anthologies is that they are books that you can pick up and put down, perfect for holiday / beach reading or for those days when you can’t read for more than a few minutes at a time.

I realised this morning,  that I didn’t have a page for displaying the wonderful Anthologies I have been a part of. So that’s the whole point of this post… to point you in the direction of some truly wonderful books that you can find under the heading of – OTHER BOOKS TO PERUSE… – in my menu system.

I’ll update it whenever I manage to get a story into an anthology, so keep an eye out!

Being paid with Exposure…

There’s a skirmish raging in the publishing industry at the moment… no, I’m not talking about two of the Big Six going head to head over something, or Traditional Publishing attacking Self Publishing.

I’m talking about writers waking up to a strange concept.

Payment.

When I started writing in the hope of making it a career, I was naive and hopeful. I’d followed an article I read in a Writing Magazine and started out by trying my luck with the Short Story market.

With every acceptance for an anthology I gained, my ego was given a boost. I was going to make it and in just a few months, I’d have accumulated a writer’s CV with enough stories published to wow an agent when I sent out my first book manuscript…

… or at least that is what I thought.

I was careful. After a few submissions paid for in “exposure”,  I went for anthologies and magazines that paid a minimal amount rather than the “for the love of it” publications. My plan was to get a few of those under my belt and then try for the markets that paid multiple pennies per word.
That went awry when I opened my own webzine and realised that unless I paid for writers, I wouldn’t get more than my friends submitting… and I had a sneaking suspicion that my friends were submitting to either shut me up or to make me feel better as my webzine tanked on the views.
*sighs*

I came out of that period a lot wiser. I learned that being a webzine owner / editor wasn’t as easy as it looked and that the stress of getting an issue out each month wasn’t worth the small moment of pride I got each month.
It also taught me that unless I wanted to starve my family, I was going to have to work harder at bringing money in.

(Yes, I know. I live in the UK – our benefits system is supposed to mean no one starves… *snorts*…)

Anyway. That was where I started my inroad into novel publishing.
I’d sent out a large number of novel queries at the same time as the short story foray. It hadn’t gone well.
Exposure wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on after all, I had discovered. Agents weren’t interested in my publishing credits with magazines, even ones that were popular in the genre crowd. They wanted something that they knew would sell to a big publisher, so that they could collect their 15% commission on a large sum.

So now I’m here.

Self publishing is almost as bad as working for “exposure” but at least I get to set the prices when I publish a book. And at least I do get paid… sometimes it might be pennies per book, but at least all those pennies are mine and mine alone.

Chuck Wendig writes a superb blog. He has an entertaining writing style that brings people to his yard for more than just refreshment…  He’s one of my Writing Heroes because he seems to find time to write Books as well as blog pieces. He’s a genius in the art of grabbing his audience by the throat and getting his point across in a few, well chosen words.

He’s also a tad sweary… which I appreciate because I can’t do it properly. There’s an art to swearing that I have never mastered. But I digress.

I’d seen the blog that Wil Wheaton had posted on the subject of Huffington Post’s refusal to pay for his work back in October.  And at the time, I agreed with it wholeheartedly. I’d chuckled and agreed with The Oatmeal’s take on Exposure Payment and then in the rush of creativity for NaNoWriMo, I forgot about it again. Until this…

SCREAM IT UNTIL THEIR EARS BLEED: PAY THE FUCKING WRITERS

Chuck’s post on the 18th whacked me full force in the face with a wet Kipper and forced me to pay attention to something that I thought wasn’t happening any more.

I don’t know why I thought it wasn’t happening anymore. I haven’t been in that world very much, having been spending more time trying to work on my own novels, worrying about my partner’s back and my children’s  schooling.

But now I realise that the “exposure” payment never actually went away… and that I will never again write anything for just exposure. I will expect some kind of payment – whether that is in kind (so a guest blog post on another blog will always mention my own work somehow; aka free advertising)  or an actual monetary payment.

The only place that you will find my words for free is here – on my own blog. And even here, should you wish to support my writing career, you can. I have several e-books available for purchase on amazon and other places; just type “Kira Morgana” or “A. E. Churchyard” into your favourite e-book site’s search facility.

Just buy yourself something to read and thereby keep my cats in Kittynibbles and my kids in socks… it’s as simple as that.

PS: The only work that will ever be entirely for free will be either my Fanfiction (I don’t believe in profiting from someone else’s work and if the copyright holder objects to it, I’ll remove them from my site) or the stories that get published through Cake & Quill – Charity Anthologies are worth the work for an entirely different reason.

Show that you love the world this Valentine’s Day.

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Hearts & Other Dead things
(A Cake & Quill anthology)

Jeremy wants Maggie back. Rosa hates Simon. Adam can’t get laid. Graham hates cats. Maisie brings her new boyfriend home to meet Mom and Dad. Yuki wants revenge. Jake really should get over his dead girlfriend. Bradley gets offered a donkey. Doris should know better. And Peter calls a number, hoping for a good time.

A handpicked collection of sad, mad, bad stories and poems from the realms of romance, sardonic or macabre, infused with woe or mirth, to make you glad you’re single – or wish you were.

Writers are: Bradley Darewood, Cat Nicolaou, J. Cassidy, Charlotte Stirling, S.A. Shields, Adam Oster, Angelika Rust, Ken Alexopoulos, W.D. Frank, Tina Rath, Yvonne Marjot, T.M. Hogan, Chloe Hammond, Jay Robbins, A.E. Churchyard

Cover by Charlotte Stirling

All proceeds will go to HOME, a charity in Singapore which works for the rights of migrant and domestic workers, and against sex trafficking.

To Buy a copy click – HERE!!!
(The link will take you to your country’s Amazon.)

 

I hope that everyone who comes to this page buys a copy – it’s a very good cause and what better time to tell the world that you love it, than at Valentines?

PS: If you pick up a copy, can you please review it once you’ve read it? It really is for a VERY Good Cause and every book we sell means more money can be sent to the Charity!