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.

Playing the Short Game (Part 8): Where Do I Look?

Forgot to post about this one, although if you're following me on Twitter, you would've got a notice. Part 8 in my continuing series on marketing and selling short fiction went up last week on the new and spiffy Amazing Stories Magazine site. This one deals with finding markets that publish short fiction. I provide my recommendations on the best online resources for identifying available short fiction markets, and talk about how to use them to select your list of top markets. The lists are slanted to speculative fiction, although I do provide some resources for literary fiction as well.

If you write short fiction or if you want to, check out the series. Here's a list of all the posts so far. And please feel free to comment on any of the posts. It helps me writing them if I know that there are people out there who are reading the series. Assuming I keep to my planned weekly schedule for the series, a new post will go up each Saturday (more or less). If you want to be notified of a new post in the series, follow me on Twitter. And in answer to several inquiries and suggestions, yes, I will be pulling all of these posts into an ebook after I finish the series, which is likely to be sometime in August or September.

30 Countries!: "Jigsaw" published in India

India SF cover with "Jigsaw"My science fiction short story "Jigsaw" has been republished in issue #2 of the relatively new bi-monthly webzine, India SF. which brings me to thirty countries in which I've been published. "Jigsaw" first appeared in the Julie Czerneda-edited young-adult anthology, Odyssey, in 2004. It was a finalist for the Aurora Award in 2005. It is also, for some reason, my best selling short story ebook. Here's the story blurb:

Humans are just beginning to explore the outer reaches of our solar system when the wormships are discovered outside the orbit of Pluto.
Abandoned? Lost?
Or left to be found? Found with charted wormholes in Sol System. Found with incredibly ancient yet perfectly functioning Wormer technology.
Five years later, humanity is exploring the stars.
But now something has gone wrong with the perfect Wormer technology. The orbit of the wormship, The Johannes Kepler, is decaying, and Cassie Morant, ship geologist, has less than twenty-four hours to solve a planet-sized, eons-old puzzle--or the entire crew will die. Cassie's good at puzzles, but this one has a piece missing. A big piece.
Now Cassie has one last chance to save the ship and the man she loves. But time's running out...

If you're interested, you can check out reviews of the story and buy the ebook version of "Jigsaw" in my online store. Don't forget to use one of the discount coupons if you'd like to buy something.

Playing the Short Game (Part 7): How to Choose Short Fiction Markets

New Zealand cycling trip

Part 7 in my ongoing series of posts at Amazing Stories on marketing and selling short fiction is now up. This week's topic is on how to decide where to send your story first. Hint: start at the top. Next week, I'll be discussing how to find available markets and how to understand submission guidelines. 

I missed a couple of weeks of posting for this series, but I plan to be back on a regular weekly schedule again now. The gap was due to an extended vacation and business trip to New Zealand and Australia. I did a 6-day cycling tour on the south island in New Zealand and fell in love with that country. The photo at the left is pretty typical of the scenery that we were cycling through. We went from Queenstown, over the mountains to the west coast, up the coast, and then inland again, finishing with a beautiful train trip through the mountains to Christchurch. Fantastic trip, and I can't wait to get back there again.

Back to the writing topic, if you haven't been able to follow my Amazing Stories blog series, you can catch up on all of the past posts here.


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