Editor’s Note: In the future we are adding a resource section to the website and part of this post will show up there as well.
So I teased a big surprise last week. You’ll get it in time. Probably during my next Killercon post. But I can’t write for 6 weeks straight about Killercon without either boring the shit out of you or sounding like a full on self-obsessed dickhead so I’ve got something different.
I started this writing journey about a year ago. I still don’t know shit, but I know a hell of a lot more now than I did then. There are some industry specific terms that I’ve been slowly picking up along the way. Here’s a cheat sheet (slanted of course with my own views and/or commentary) but I’ll try and keep it short and mostly informative.
Learn these and if you have more, or think I’ve got it wrong, get at me. So in no particular order, here a bunch of shit (terms) you should know.
And what I’d love to see happen is for you to come at me either at [email protected] or on Facebook New World Horror – Kerry G.S. Lipp and give the some of the ones that I missed and we’ll see if we can get a glossary posted here on HT. When we get a solid list we’ll post ‘em, but I need your help.
God I’m good to you. Buy a book or something would ya? 😉
Terms writers need to know:
Self published short stories on Amazon for $5 – this is what people who can’t sell stories anywhere else (and likely haven’t even tried) and are in it for the money do. 100% of the time these clowns have no credibility or bibliography and often cannot write a single sentence with changing point of view and verb tense. They should be avoided like a tornado filled with broken glass, ebola, aids, herpes, revving chainsaws, and fuck it, hungry sharks. If that happens to be you…FUCK YOU, what you’re doing isn’t okay. And I’d love for you to argue with me on this. Contact info is at the top of this post.
Writing isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s an art, a craft… shit I’m ranting already and we’re on the first term. DEEP BREATH. BIG DRINK. Ok, I’m back. For those of you reading and wanting to dazzle the world without being a shithead, here you go:
Sub – submission. Any time you send a story somewhere it is a sub/submission. And often editors with beat you into submission with their rejection letters because of your submission. Got it?
FTL – This means “for the love” it means that you will not be paid cash money for your work. You submit it and if they accepted it, they publish it. The pay you get comes in the form of exposure. This sounds like a fart garbage deal and sometimes it is, but if you’re selective and careful about what you send and where you send it, submitting to FTL markets can help you greatly.
Multiple submission – this means that publishers accept more than one story at a time. I have no idea why some publishers agree to this but a lot of them do. If you’ve got more than one story that fits a theme or that you’re desperately trying to get off your hard-drive, fire those fuckers off and pray that whoever decided to accept multiple submissions doesn’t kill themselves.
Simultaneous submission – this is when you send the same story to more than one place. Some publishers are cool with it, some aren’t. Make sure you read the guidelines. While rare, it is possible to sell the same story to two different markets at the same time. That fucks everything up. It fucks both publishers up, it fucks other writers up, and it fucks up your credibility as a writer. Don’t do it unless the publisher says it’s okay (which a lot of them do) and if your story does get picked up by someone else, let the others know ASAP.
Token – A lot of markets pay what is called token. This is somewhere between like $5 and $25 and it usually comes through PayPal. If you don’t have PayPal and you’re submitting to these markets, get a PayPal. It’s for the best. No matter the word count, the publisher buys your work for x dollars. Doesn’t matter what the amount is, getting paid is a good thing.
Semi-pro – these are markets that pay per word, usually somewhere between 1 to 4 cents per word. If that doesn’t sound like much, welcome to writing. Honestly I wouldn’t even plan on cracking one of these markets for quite a while. That’s not supposed to scare you, it’s supposed to let you know just how tough it can be and these are the markets that get the most submission, giving you much worse odds. That’s not a greenlight to self-publish. That’s a greenlight to grow thick skin, deal with the rejection and write more and get better.
Pro– these are markets that pay at least 5 cents per word. Yeah, holy boners. These are even harder to crack. But they are not impossible. It happens all the time. It is highly competitive, but if you don’t send in a story, you don’t have a chance. Start at the top and work toward the bottom. I’ve been shortlisted twice at pro markets and been accepted zero times. It’s tough, it sucks, but it’s a hell of a lot better to take your licks and become a better writer than to sell mediocre shit for two or three times what Cemetery Dance pays/costs. You’re choice. I’m just sayin’.
Shortlist – often they have this at professional markets and they will send you an email letting you know that you’re on the short list. Most pro/semi-pro markets get hundreds of submissions. Hell, sometimes they probably hit four figures (that’s what your competing with, it’s almost like the lottery) and they develop a short list of their favorites. Just because you made the short list does not mean that you will make the final cut. But be honored that you can be the worst of the best!
Query – This can mean two things. Some places will ask you to query before you submit. This may have to do with content or word count or you checking to see if there is still room in the anthology before you start a story for submission. I don’t do this often. The other type of query is to check-up on your story. Most people (myself included) want instant feedback as soon as they send a story out. It’s hard, but relax and try and forget about it. If you haven’t heard anything back in about 4 months, send them a follow up email, but I wouldn’t do it before unless you either know them, follow them on social media and see that they sound out acceptance/rejections and you didn’t get one, or there is a different timetable listed on the submission guidelines. Think about all the submissions and reading they have to do before you pester them and ask why they haven’t read your story already.
Ok. So this is a start. I think I hit the most important ones, but I was just going off the top of my head. Help me out! Tell me what I missed. Lets make this a great resource for the writers starting out and we’ll see if we can it it’s own page here at HT. Have a great weekend and get some words down! Thanks errybody!
If you have any terms we’ve missed that you feel should be added or that you don’t know – ask us!
Keep reading, keep writing, and keep it real,
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