Playing the Short Game: Parts 14 and 15 are now up

Well, part 14 has been up for a week, actually, and part 15 went up today.  Part 14 discusses what happens when your story arrives at your chosen market and how editors make decisions on what stories they're going to accept or reject. If you're a new writer, a lot of this may surprise you. Yes, even good stories get rejected.

Part 15 deals with dealing--with rejections. You've been rejected, dude. Deal with it. I try to explain why rejections are a common and even necessary part of a writing career. And no, they never stop coming. 

Check out these latest posts and please feel free to leave a comment or a question. You can find the list of all of the posts in this series here.

April 15 is the last day to nominate for the Aurora Awards

"On Spec" apocalypse issue coverIf you're a Canadian fan of science fictiopn and fantasy literature, you have until tomorrow at midnight to nominate your favourite works from 2012 for an Aurora Award. I have full details on how to nominate in my earlier blog post. And you are welcome to download a free copy of my eligible story, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland," from my bookstore or read it online. Enjoy! 

Playing the Short Game (Part 13): The Numbers Game

In the last few weeks, in Parts 10-12, I reviewed the process for submitting your short fiction to one of your targeted markets and included some advice on mistakes to avoid.

To start off this week, let’s assume that you’ve been following along with that process and that you now have actually submitted one of your stories to the top market on your list.

I’ve Sent My Story–Now What?

First of all, congratulations. Good for you. You’re on your way. So now you can just sit back and wait for the editor to reply to your submission, right?

Wrong (c’mon, you knew that was coming). What is right is to write. Write another story. Send that story out to your next top market. Then write another story and send that out. Rinse and repeat.

It’s a Numbers Game

Because, here’s the thing–here’s the secret to success as a writer, whether that be as a short fiction writer or as a novelist: it’s a numbers game. The more fiction that you’ve written and that you have out in front of an editor at a professional market, the better chance you have to be a success. ...

Read the entire article here.

Playing the Short Game (Part 12): What NOT to do when submitting fiction

Part 12 of my series on how to market and sell short fiction is now up at Amazing Stories. In the last two weeks, Part 10 and Part 11, I discussed the mechanics of submitting your story to a market, cover letters, manuscript formatting, formatting different types of dialog, and an explanation of the two different methods of calculating word count.

This week, I finish this topic on how to submit short fiction by discussing two commonly confused and unwise practices: multiple submissions and simultaneous submissions. Please drop by and ask a question or leave a comment.

I'll be at Ad Astra in Toronto this weekend

This weekend, I'll be appearing as an author guest at Ad Astra, the excellent fan-run convention in Toronto (well, actually Markham). See below for my schedule of readings, signings, and panels, which includes moderating a panel with Jim Butcher. Woo hoo! 

  • Friday 9:30 pm (Floor 2, Suite 2):  Reading (I'll be reading from my Aurora-eligible story, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland"
  • Saturday 3 pm (Ellsemere East): Demons, Werewolves, and Necromancers Douglas Smith, Jim Butcher, Timothy Carter
  • Saturday 4 30 pm (Berczy B): Autograph Session (to 6 pm)
  • Saturday 9:30 pm (Suite 1401): Reading at the digital launch for the Blood and Water anthology (I'll be reading my story "Spirit Dance")
  • Sunday 11 am (Berczy A): How Do You Know It's Done? Douglas Smith, Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Marie Bilodeau, Gabrielle Harbowy
  • Sunday 12 pm (Arctic): Animals In Fiction Douglas Smith, Sarah Water-raven, Fiona Patton, Sandra Kasturi
  • Sunday 2 pm (Berczy A): Save the Cat: Writing Has Rules Kelley Armstrong, Douglas Smith, Max Turner

Hope to see you there!

Please nominate me for the Auroras

The nomination period is now open for the 2013 Aurora Awards, the official awards of the Canadian SF and Fantasy Association.

This year, my fantasy short story, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland," is eligible under the "Short Fiction" category. Your support by way of a nomination would be truly appreciated. You can read the story online on my website, or you can download a free copy from my online bookstore (use the coupon code "FREE-WALKER") in any of .mobi (Kindle), .epub (every other ebook reader), or PDF formats.

"A very different sort of tale. ... A cosmic story of gods which seems to be inspired by the works of Michael Moorcock, and I think he would not be ashamed of it."  —SF Crowsnest Reviews

"A tale of epic love when a mortal gets caught between a battle of the gods. Smith reminds us that we have the potential to change the world around us and that self-sacrifice can be a means of making the world around us better." —Speculating Canada

How to Nominate

To nominate, go to the Aurora site at

If you've registered in the past to nominate or vote for the Auroras, you can simply sign in with your email address and your 4-digit society number. If you've forgotten your society number, just click on "Forgot your Society Number?" link and follow the instructions. 

If you've never registered before, click on "Register" under "Become a Society Member," and complete the registration form.

The Auroras now require a registration fee of $10 each year, which allows you to both nominate (this step) and to vote for the stories that make the final ballot. Yes, I'm sorry about that, but if you're serious about Canadian SF & fantasy, it's not that much to pay to support the genre, is it?

I hope not. Once you've registered and logged in, click on the "Pay Now" button and you'll be taken to a PayPal screen. You don't have to have a PayPal account to pay this way! Just click on "Don't have a PayPal account?" and you'll have the option of paying by any form of debit or credit card.

Still with me? Once you've paid, you'll be taken back to the Aurora Award site. Click on the "Online nominations" link to go to the nominations form. My story is eligible under "Short Fiction" and the information you need to enter is as follows:

Title: The Walker of the Shifting Borderland
Author: Douglas Smith
Publication: On Spec

Any Canadian citizen (not necessarily living in Canada) or permanent resident may nominate for the Auroras. The nomination period closes by end of day on Monday, April 15, 2013.

Thanks again for any consideration!

Playing the Short Game (Part 11): Dear Editor... (conclusion)

Part 11 of my blog series at on marketing and selling short fiction is now up at the new Amazing Stories site. This week's post is the second of three on the logistics of how to submit to short fiction markets, focusing on manuscript formatting, including how to format things that only occur in speculative fiction, as well as explaining about word count. Next week, I finish talking about the submission process by discussing things not to do when submitting to short fiction markets. 

Check out Part 11 here, and please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. Thanks!

"Scream Angel" reviewed

Writer Kristene Perron reviews my Aurora-winning novelette, "Scream Angel," along with works by Noah JD Chin, Lynda Williams, and Michael F Stewart on her "Coconut Chronicles" blog

"The short story is a very difficult form to master... Smith has mastered it… hold on a moment while I shake an angry, envious fist at him.: *shakes angry fist* ... I finished this story with a giant case of writer’s envy. In a short space, Smith lays out layers of love and redemption, and forces the reader to examine how one man can be both good and evil. Highlights: Creative premise that’s super scary to contemplate. Not your average love story (understatement). Plethora of themes. Questions linger long after the end."

Thanks, Kristene! Glad that you enjoyed my story. If anyone else would like to read "Scream Angel," you can pick it up from my online ebook store right here. It's also included as the opening story in my collection, Chimerascope.

Playing the Short Game (Part 10): Dear Editor...

Part 10 of my ongoing series on marketing and selling short fiction is now up at the new Amazing Stories site, a tad delayed from my normal Saturday posting schedule. This week's post is the first of three on how to submit to short fiction markets and covers such fascinating stuff as cover letters. Okay, not so fascinating, but if you're a new writer, it's stuff that you need to know and that most newbies, for some reason, seem to mess up. Check it out here, and leave a comment, ask a question, tell a joke. Just show up. Thanks!

Playing the Short Game (Part 9): How to select the right market

Still playing catch-up on my blog series at Amazing Stories. Part 9 in my series on selling short fiction went up yesterday. After pointing you to the best market list resources on the web in Part 8 last week, this week's post deals with how to determine which is the best market for your particular story, based on an analysis of their submission guidelines and some research, considering factors such as story length, genre, payment, rights (again), and other factors.


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