Branding like a boss

A while ago, my mate Tom Bicknell jokingly referred to me as the Warrior Scribe, due the fact that I’m a martial arts instructor and a writer. I liked it, it kinda stuck, so I renamed my site. But only in the title graphic. Ever since then I’ve loosely embraced the Warrior Scribe moniker for myself. However, when I went looking for the domain, it wasn’t available. But it also wasn’t being used. Turns out it was owned by an evangelical Christian. When I contacted him and asked if I could buy it, he wanted to know what for. I directed him to this website. He came back laughing that I was all about the devil and such, and his domain was for the word of god. “You wait,” he said, “when I finally get around to using this domain I’ll be spreading the word of god with a power you wouldn’t believe. Cities will fall before my evangelical might!” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that was gist of the old bollocks he was selling.

Anyway, I kept an eye on the domain. In the meantime, I used my new title in various places. It went into my email signature. I started a new Tumblr (as it turned out Posterous was complete arse) and used the named there: http://warrior-scribe.tumblr.com. Although, annoyingly, I had to use a hyphen as the name without the hyphen was already gone. (Don’t bother trying that one – it’s not very good and hasn’t been posted to for four months. Go and enjoy the lunacy of http://warrior-scribe.tumblr.com instead.)

But anyway, I kept an eye on things. And now, like a miracle from god (or a bloke who couldn’t be bothered any more), the domain of www.warriorscribe.com became available. So I bought it. Old Mr Evangelical didn’t destroy as many infidels as he hoped, it would seem. Go on, click it. See what happens.

Welcome back.

Yeah, I’m ridiculously pleased with such a lame fucking result, but I’ve just finished and submitted a trilogy of novels, so this is about where my brain is at right now. The thing is, I don’t really know what else to do with it. Other than having an easier url to tell people. Explaining alanbaxteronline.com doesn’t seem difficult, but it’s quite long and then you have to make sure they use alan and not allen or allan or alun or alwyn or whatever the hell else. Now it’s as simple as saying, “My website? Sure, it’s warriorscribe.com.”

I need to set up email to match, I suppose. Because explaining alan at alanbaxteronline dot com is even harder than the url. Beyond that, I’m not sure. Click any of the pages and it basically defaults back to the old alanbaxteronline.com files anyway as that’s still the hosted site. It’s just using a pseudonym. Like a proper little writer’s website. I might get some new business cards though.

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Thirteen O’Clock Australian dark fiction news and reviews – launched

ThirteenOClockI’m very happy to be able to officially announce this new venture. Myself and writers Andrew McKiernan and Felicity Dowker have put together a new website, to fill a void in the Australian dark and weird fiction scene. Since the untimely demise of Horrorscope, there’s been a gap where good dark and weird fiction can be reviewed and reported. We’re hoping to fill that gap with Thirteen O’Clock. And, after all, you can’t have too many sources of news and reviews in this game. Here are the relevant links:

Thirteen O’Clock website.

Thirteen O’Clock on Facebook.

Thirteen O’Clock on Twitter.

All the details are in the official press release, here.

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Online Spec-Fic magazines you should be reading

So I mentioned in my post a few days ago, where I gushed about my love of online magazines, that I would post a follow-up where I list some of the best ones. Here we go then. Please note that this is just a taster based on my own reading habits and by no means definitive. Please do comment below with your favourites so we can all find new good stuff out there. I’ve copied the About section from each of their sites to give you an idea of what they do. Click the title to visit their site.

Online Spec-Fic magazines you should be reading:

Lightspeed

Lightspeed is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF—and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. No subject is off-limits, and we encourage our writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.

Lightspeed was a finalist for the 2011 Hugo Award, and stories from Lightspeed have been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Award.

Edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams, every month Lightspeed brings you a mix of originals and reprints, and featuring a variety of authors—from the bestsellers and award-winners you already know to the best new voices you haven’t heard of yet. When you read Lightspeed, it is our hope that you’ll see where science fiction and fantasy comes from, where it is now, and where it’s going.

Clarkesworld

Clarkesworld is a monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine first published in October 2006. Each issue contains at least three pieces of original fiction from new and established authors. Our fiction is also collected by issue in signed chapbooks, ebook editions/subscriptions and in our annual print anthology, Realms.

Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is a magazine of and about speculative fiction and related nonfiction.

Speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and all other flavors of fantastika. Work published in Strange Horizons has been shortlisted for or won Hugo, Nebula, Rhysling, Theodore Sturgeon, James Tiptree Jr., and World Fantasy Awards.

The Red Penny Papers

One rainy afternoon, I found my dear sister-in-law alone in the sitting room. To my shock and potential mortification, she had my collection of sensational literature out of its (obviously inadequate) hiding spot behind the leather-bound editions of Thackeray. She looked up from an eight-part adventure of Black Bess to say, “My dear Maggie! What is this rubbish?”

“Clara, my love, they’re adventures.”

“They’re those– those red pennies!”

“You mean penny bloods, my dear? Or perhaps penny dreadfuls?”

“Oh, yes. Perhaps I do.”

She looked from the lurid literature in her lap to me, and then back again several times. And then she finally said, “Have you any more?”

And so were born the Red Penny Papers.

Incidentally, Red Penny Papers are publishing my novelette, The Darkest Shade of Grey, in four episodes, starting this Friday. It’s a story I’m very proud of and I hope you guys like it too.

Wily Writers

The Wily Writers site publishes two short stories per month in both audio and text formats. They host a celebrity editor for each theme, and they choose the stories along with the producer (Angel Leigh McCoy).

They publish only short fiction that falls under the genre umbrella of speculative fiction: horror, fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romance/mystery/adventure, and have specific themes that they ask writers to follow.

I’ve had great experiences with Wily Writers over the years. They’ve published two of my stories, Stand Off and Declan’s Plan, and I’m the current guest editor, where I’ve picked two great post-apoc stories for this month.

Cosmos

COSMOS is a literary science magazine with a global following. Australia’s #1 science media brand, it reaches 400,000 people every month via a print magazine, a daily online news website and a weekly e-newsletter. Our COSMOS Teacher’s Notes reach 65% of Australian high schools, and we produce a wide range of quality editorial products (such as websites, booklets, posters and DVDs) for a range of clients.

COSMOS internationally respected for its literary writing, excellence in design and engaging breadth of content. It’s the winner of 45 awards, including the Magazine of the Year trophy in both 2009 and 2006, and twice Editor of the Year, at the annual Publishers Australia Excellence Awards. COSMOS has also won the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, the Reuters/IUCN Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism, the City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Sustainability Award and an Earth Journalism Award.

While this is primarily a print magazine, with fiction included in the print edition, they have an excellent online section of fiction for stories they can’t fit in the print edition.

ticon4

ticon4 launched in 2008, the fourth incarnation of TiconderogaOnline, which began way back in 1999.

Originally published by Russell B. Farr, the webzine is now edited by Liz Grzyb. We provide fiction, reviews, interviews and other tidbits to do with speculative fiction.

ticon4 is part of independent publisher Ticonderoga Publications, and is able to present you with excellent fiction for free, through donations and book sales.

Hub

Hub started as a physical magazine in December 2006. Originally intended to sell as a bi-monthly title, with the very best new fiction, features, news, reviews and interviews, the magazine was well-received by all those that read it.

Despite healthy orders and a growing subscriber base, Hub was unable to attract the advertising revenue necessary for this type of magazine to survive, and the print edition folded after just two issues.

Buoyed by the reception Hub had received, I decided to keep the momentum going. Rather than allow Hub to fold, I and co-editor Alasdair Stuart turned the magazine into an electronic journal. Foolishly optimistic, we decided that Hub was to become a weekly magazine, publishing one piece of short fiction every issue, along with regular reviews and occasional features and interviews. The first electronic edition (issue 3) was distributed to around 900 readers on April 20th, 2007.

Kasma SF

Based in Ottawa, Canada, Kasma SF is a completely free online magazine featuring quality science fiction from some of the genre’s brightest new (and sometimes more established) voices. We publish fiction on the first of every month, our blog weekly, so have a look around, have fun, and please check back often.

My story, Mistaken Identity, was published at Kasma SF in 2011.

Redstone

Redstone Science Fiction publishes quality stories from across the science fiction spectrum. We are interested in everything from post-cyberpunk to new space opera. We want to live forever. Get us off this rock.

We have all been reading Science Fiction and Fantasy since we were children. It has been a key element in our lives.

From writing and submitting our own stories, we’ve learned that there are only a handful of online & print magazines that pay a professional rate for original science fiction stories.

We decided that there needed to be one more.

We know the magazine will probably not be profitable, but we have planned for that.

We will focus on producing a quality science fiction magazine and on exploring every opportunity to make Redstone Science Fiction a long-term success.

Abyss & Apex

There’s no About page for me to copy and paste for this one, but Abyss & Apex is a great magazine with consistently good fiction.

Daily Science Fiction

Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome to Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of science fiction short stories. We publish “science fiction” in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream—whatever you’d likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale. Friday’s weekend stories are longer.

*****

This was only a quick selection, and only a selection of online magazines. Much as I love them, there are loads of great print and other format magazines out there and it’s worth checking them all out. And, if you’re a writer, you should be submitting to all these places too!

So, I know I’ve missed plenty – fill in the gaps. What are your favourite online SF/F magazines? Give us a link in the comments.

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For the love of online fiction magazines

I’ve had my work published in just about every medium in which fiction can be published. I’m very proud of that. My novels are in print, ebook and, very soon to be released, audiobook. I’d love to see them make it into graphic novel and film. Maybe one day. My short fiction has been published in print and electronic magazines, print and ebook anthologies, podcasts and online magazines. And one of my stories is currently being adapted into a short film. There was a time when print was considered the only “real” publishing and everything else was a poor cousin at best, an exercise in vanity at worst. That’s changing dramatically.

To be clear, I love my brag shelf. That’s the part of my bookcase which houses all the magazines and books that feature my work. It’s a thing of beauty. I’m a bibliophile and I love to hold books and feel the pages. I love the scent of ink on a glossy magazine page. But, as a writer, I want to be read by as many people as possible. I want people to enjoy my work, talk about it, get something from it and share it with their friends. And I can’t help thinking that we’ve moved to a place where that isn’t best achieved with print any more.

There are numerous ways to get “published” these days, and that in itself can be a problem. I use quote marks there for a reason. Just because a website will post your story on their garish page, pay you nothing and, probably, don’t really care about quality, doesn’t mean you should be dancing in the aisles. It’s quite likely that nobody is reading that page beyond you and the other contributors. And ask yourself, did you read any of their stories?

Of course, anywhere that an editor of any kind chooses your work over someone else’s is cause for celebration – congratulations, you are a published writer. But we should all aspire to higher things. Personally, I aspire to being paid for my work, ideally being paid well, and being read by as many people as possible.

This is where online magazines are really starting to earn a place of reputation. There are many online zines now which are run just like a “proper” magazine, with editors only choosing the best work and actually editing it. With pay scales that venture well into pro-rates, recompensing authors for their painfully extruded word babies, and with a readership numbering into the many thousands. All these things are great for a writer’s career – recognition, payment and readership.

Many of these magazines are using technology to its best advantage, and making themselves into a kind of hybrid model. For example, they may start with an online edition but also make each issue available as an ebook for people to read at their leisure on their Nook, iPad, Kindle or whatever marvel of reading technology they favour. Some sites also produce limited print runs of each issue, or chapbooks, with added value – signed and numbered, maybe – that readers can collect. Some also produce an annual anthology of their stories, or a Best Of the year anthology. Others use a combination of online text and downloadable podcast. All these things can also help to generate income for said online zine and keep it alive and keep it paying its authors.

All these things are getting the blood, sweat and tears of us crazy writers out to the hungry minds of readers in a variety of ways, of which print is arguably the least important. And they’re doing it with those two most important criteria well in evidence – payment and editing. As a result, hopefully, they garner a wide readership.

The other advantage of the primarily online model is the ubiquitous and permanent nature of the thing. If you read a great story in an online magazine, you can tell a friend pretty much anywhere in the world and that friend can instantly access the story themselves. They don’t have to track down a book or magazine, or pay expensive overseas shipping rates. Bang! One new reader, maybe one new fan. With social media, it’s as simple as tweeting a link to spread the magazine joy out among people well beyond your circle of actual friends and family.

Of course, should the website ever go down or get deleted, the work goes with it. Should that friend I mentioned not have an internet connection, they are excluded. That’s one reason I’m a fan of the secondary print/hybrid option (chapbooks, POD anthology, etc.) as that means the work is preserved, in however a limited way, beyond the inevitable EMP that destroys civilisation. Plus, authors get something for their brag shelf. (We’re petty, vain creatures. Love us and love our work, please!)

On that front, and as a slight – well complete and total – tangent, I’ve recently paid fifty bucks to put all my short fiction to date (around 200,000 words of it) into two Print-On-Demand hardcovers. They’re just for my own shelf, a preserved hard copy of my work. It’s easy today with sites like Lulu automating the process. After all, I back up everything I write on hard drive, memory stick and cloud storage. Now it’s easy to back up in print too.

Online magazines are starting to be recognised industry-wide, pulling in all kinds of awards for themselves and the fiction they publish. More power to them, I say. It’s never been easier for writers to reach more people, though of course, it’s still bloody hard to get work accepted by the really high-echelon, pro-paying online zines. But there’s that aspiration again. I plan to continue submitting to those places and thereby continue to support them by offering my work as well as reading the work of others they already publish. And I’ll tell as many people about them as I can. It’s good for me, my career, the magazine in question, and all its readers and fans. In a future post I intend to list a run-down of my favourite online fiction magazines, which is why I’ve avoided mentioning any specific ones here.

Well, I’ll just mention one. My new novelette, The Darkest Shade Of Grey, will be serialised over four weeks at The Red Penny Papers, starting in a week or two. I’ll be sure to let you know when that’s up. As the publication is so imminent, I couldn’t resist a quick plug.

In the meantime, what are your favourite online fiction magazines? Let me know and I’ll try to include them in the future post I mentioned. Do you read much online fiction? Prefer it over magazines? Buy the ecopy later? Share your habits.

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The August Australian Speculative Fiction Blog Carnival

Nicole Murphy has collected a fantastic array of links to keep you busy all week. The August Australian Spec Fic blog carnival is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. So big it’s in two parts.

Part the first is here.

Part the second is here.

Enjoy and share!

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