2009 Australian Shadows Awards open

As reported at Horrorscope on Friday, Australia’s top honour for horror fiction, the Australian Horror Writers Association’s Australian Shadows Award, is now open for 2009.

In previous years, short stories competed with novels and anthologies, but from 2009 onwards, awards will be issued for the best works in Short Fiction (short stories), Long Fiction (novellas, novels, and single-author collections), and Edited Publication (for editors of anthologies and horror fiction magazines).

The Australian Shadows Award reading period is open from now until December 31, 2009. Works of horror and dark fantasy written or edited by Australians (or New Zealanders) and first published in the 2009 calendar year are eligible.

I’m pleased to say that MageSign will be entered in this year’s Award, as it was published in January 2009, so keep your fingers crossed for me there. I think I’ll also enter any of my short fiction that gets published this year that has a darker edge that would be suitable for this Award.

The 2008 Australian Shadows Award trophy

Read the Horrorscope announcement here, which lists details of the judges, and learn all about the Award at the AHWA website here, which includes all the submission guidelines.


Author 2.0 Program launched today

My good friend and fellow indie author Joanna Penn, from The Creative Penn, has been hard at work putting together a new online training program for indie and self publishing authors. It’s called the Author 2.0 Program and it’s all about using Web 2.0 to produce, promote and sell your books.

There are 12 modules to the program:

Module 1: Writing 2.0
Module 2: Self publishing and Print-on-Demand
Module 3: Ebooks
Module 4: Websites
Module 5: Author Entrepreneur
Module 6: Blogging
Module 7: Marketing 2.0
Module 8: Video and Book Trailers
Module 9: Podcasting
Module 10: Social Networking
Module 11: Using Amazon
Module 12: Traffic Tactics


Each module has loads of information including podcast interviews with experts in any given field. The expert in Module 11: Using Amazon is actually me, so that module at least will be excellent.

The whole thing is jam packed with information and should be a really useful tool for people new to the indie publishing world and those not so new. The program sells for US$297. You can also become an Affiliate, which means you put the information and sales links on your website and any sales of the program through your site earn you 50%. So if you sell the program twice through your site, you make US$297 and you can have the program for free. Or you can buy 5,940 5c chews and distribute them to children in your neighbourhood in an act of selfless generosity. It’s really entirely up to you.

The program is being launched with a free Author 2.0 Blueprint, that gives people lots of free information all about the idea, with great tips on how to build your author profile. If you go on to buy the program you’ll learn all about those tips in detail.

Click on the image above and have a look at the blueprint to see what you think. It’s free with no obligation and you can decide for yourself where to go from there. Let’s help Joanna spread the word about this.

(If you’re interested in picking this up as an affiliate, go here.)

EDIT – I should mention here that I’m set up as an affiliate with this program as well as being a contributing “expert” (yes, I think the quotes are justified.) I thought it was apparent from the post, but a couple of people have asked, so it’s obviously not. Therefore, if you do go through the links here to get the product, you are making me some money. But then if you set up as an affiliate too you can potentially earn your money back. Just so we’re all clear on the situation – I don’t want to be accused of spamming or misleading anyone. This is a good program and you can always search for it directly rather than link through from here if you prefer.


#fictionfriday at Twitter

J M Strother over at Mad Utopia came up with this idea for authors to build up their platform using Twitter. The hashtag symbol is used for Twitter searches and is a powerful tool for following trends or news items. Strother has suggested using a hashtag of #fictionfriday to post regular pieces of short fiction on your website or blog, then tweet the link on Twitter every Friday, accompanied with #fictionfriday. He’s modeled the concept on the popular #followfriday hashtag, which is a great way for Twitter users to recommend other Twitter users to their followers.

I think Strother is onto a good idea here, so I thought I’d share. I’ll try to post some flash fiction here periodically and tweet about it and we’ll see if this thing has legs or not. I might start by tweeting about some of the flash fiction already on my Dark Shorts page. If anything comes of it, I’ll start writing some new pieces as time allows.

If you use Twitter and you’re a writer, get on board and spread the word. Do you think this idea is a good one? Share your thoughts in the comments.


A little more publishing success

This is what makes it all worthwhile.

I would write whether people wanted to read my stuff or not, let’s get that clear from the outset. I’m a writer. I have stories to tell. I love it when other people read my stories and enjoy them, especially when they tell me what moved them and why. I was ecstatic when I heard that two customers at Infinitas Books in Parramatta had pre-ordered MageSign after reading RealmShift, before I’d even finished writing it. Things like that make a writer glow inside. But, I would still write without all those things; it’s just something I’m driven to do.

However, there is always that dichotomy – I would write anyway, but I love to get published. Rejections always burn. Any writer gets used to rejections very quickly, or they stop submitting (no writer would stop writing!) But however used to rejections you get, they always burn. So that just makes the acceptances so much sweeter.

You may remember I posted at the beginning of this month about the short story submissions I had out there at the moment. A couple of the things I mentioned were:

A whimsical sci-fi vignette is under consideration at a UK based online magazine…

… I have another flash fiction piece being considered at Antipodean SF.

I’m very happy to say that they’ve both been accepted for publication. I made a mistake in my previous post saying that only the Antipodean SF one was not a paying market. As it happens, the other publication that accepted is not a paying market either. So out of eight submissions currently out there, two have been accepted. It would be nice if they were two of the paying ones rather than the only two non-paying markets, but publication is publication.

Antipodean SF is a flash fiction online magazine that is very well respected and quite a hard nut to crack. I’m very pleased to have a second piece accepted by them. The story is called The Book and will appear in issue 136 of Antipodean SF, in October this year.

The other piece is a story called Crossfire and that has been accepted by The Oddville Press, a PDF spec fic magazine. Crossfire will appear in volume 1, issue 4 of The Oddville Press, due out mid June this year.

I’ll make sure to post here and let you know when those publications are out and you can have a read.

So out of eight submissions, two have been accepted for publication, two more are shortlisted, one is longlisted and the others I’m yet to hear back on. Not a bad result all round so far. Fingers crossed that those on the shortlists will get accepted, especially as they’re the paying ones (and they’re for magazines that I really want to appear in!)

So keep at it – it’s not all rejections. You can see Antipodean SF here and The Oddville Press here – both well worth a look and both free to read.


Win a signed copy of RealmShift

I thought it was about time I ran a competition here through my website and gave away a book. I guess I’m just feeling very generous today. It’s also a transparent attempt to get more people reading my work – I’ll be honest about that from the outset in the interests of full disclosure. Of course, reading my books is reward in itself, but there’s never any harm in offering something for free.


Here’s the deal. On my website here are downloadable PDF files containing the entire first three chapters of both my novels currently available, RealmShift and the sequel, MageSign. By giving away free chapters people get a chance to try before they buy to see if they like the stories – just like thumbing through a copy in the bookstore before committing to buying one.

So, head over to the RealmShift page, download the PDF of the first three chapters, and have a read. Then see if you can answer the following question:

In the story, Isiah arranges a meeting with a small time hood who calls himself Baker. What is Baker’s real name?

Email me your answers to alan(at)alanbaxteronline(dot)com with the subject line: RealmShift competition – if you don’t include this your email is likely to get dumped as spam. Include in the email your full name and postal address along with your aswer and, in the event that you’re the winner, I’ll use that information to send you a dedicated signed trade paperback copy of RealmShift, just like the one in the picture above. I’ll pick the winner randomly using the WPANFTH method. That’s the Wife Picks A Name From The Hat method – tried and true. I’ll post here the name and location of the winner so you all know who won. Of course, I’ll only post their city and country, not their full address. That would just be irresponsible.

The Rules: By submitting an answer you indicate your acceptance of these rules. Only one entry per person – multiple submissions will ALL be disqualified from the contest. Only responses containing the correct answer to the question will be entered in the drawing. The deadline for submission of answers to this contest is 11:59 pm (Australian Eastern Time), 9th June, 2009 (two weeks from now); no submissions will be accepted after June 9th, 2009. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and her/his name and city will be posted on this blog. Decisions of the author in this matter are final and not subject to any appeal.

So, have at it! Tell all your friends, get your entry in and see if you can score yourself a free book.