Somatics recommendation, which I’ll also be presenting at a panel next week with audience movement participation

Authors, do you ever think about your body in conjunction with your writing, beyond acknowledging that Horror makes you feel fear, Suspense makes you feel tense, and Romance might make you feel all tingly? Do you let those feels stagnate in your body once you’ve gotten them happening by reading, or listening to a work of fiction, or do you then take what’s been created and move it through your body? Do you employ movement when writing to help create those and much more subtle and complex range of bodily reactions in your audience?

Here is an article I wrote briefly describing the &Now Festival of New Writing coming up end of March near LA, where I’ll be on a panel. The way of moving I suggest applies to Genre writers as much as to the wild multi-media experimental Literary type attending in person.

You know the persistent cultural image of the stereotypical author hunched over a laptop while others are out socializing, dancing, laughing together, having adventures, hiking, playing tennis, getting it on. Everything we experience comes through out bodies, of which our brains are a part, yes? Do you ever take time to notice how what you like to read makes your body feel, and where? Do you have to just label it with a word, but can you express it physically?

If you pay attention to how you feel what you read and hear, that can help you know the physical effect you want to create for your own readers. And if you match that state with your body as you’re in the process of making your narrative, if you act out how your work will accomplish that in your readers, you’ll have a stronger chance of doing so.

I use movement every time I’m ready to come up with the next big turn in my narratives, to gather up the big reveal to myself, from the standpoint of action, excitement, forward motion on the page. I gesture big, pace quickly, dance, leap, diagram in the air. I act out what the characters are feeling and doing, and what I want the readers to feel.

Feel free to look through my page in my Online Writing Academy site full of Somatics suggestions.

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The REAL crime fiction

For the sake of being commercially viable and safe, much crime fiction ignores truths that are controversial, dangerous, pandering instead to a brainwashed populace. Major publishers understandably have to consider what kinds of friends and enemies in high places their book’s messages make them. But some authors do take that chance of rocking the boat, and I’d like to see more people take risks to produce authentic, culturally meaningful Thriller/Suspense/Mystery unafraid of referencing the fictionalized news in our Cover-up Culture. I, myself, like to write crime fiction that brings attention to people destroyed by, or fighting, the system brutalizes innocent people by distorting reality.

Should we ignore the real crimes against the human psyche by corrupt law professionals, the creation of patsies, COINTELPRO style undermining of the lives of activists, manipulation of citizens through disinformation in the news and CounterIntelligence-created cults? Should we turn a blind eye to the military taking over countries for a sneaky agenda, the ruthlessness of hidden interconnectedness including pest control/waste management – food/poison manufacture — evangelists/government — Theosophy/UN — and so on?

I find crime fiction that props up the corrupt paradigm to be boring, predictable, and old hat. I get excited when I read, or watch movies, that rebel against fakery. Most popular authors seem to present the police or Intelligence agents as being always the good guys, or they single out rogue members of a supposedly great agency. However, many readers are hungry for smart revelations and useful information; when narratives get them to think, and point them cautiously in the direction of true societal crime on a large scale, it’s a service instead of distracting entertainment that reinforces demeaning propaganda.

I prefer to write about crimes which are not simply personal but which are common social problems, such as the FBI creating terrorists by suggesting and funding people otherwise not inclined or capable of committing major crimes.

US: Terrorism Prosecutions Often An Illusion Human Rights Watch reports: “Multiple studies have found that nearly 50 percent of the federal counterterrorism convictions since September 11, 2001, resulted from informant-based cases. Almost 30 percent were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.”

Substantial numbers of newscasters are paid by the CIA or bribed and backmailed to create the fiction warmongers want people to believe, such as Udo Ulfkotte bravely admits. I like fiction that doesn’t shy away from revealing the lies beneath the brainwashing of our society.

I suspect the majority of Literary readers/writers are not particularly passionate or educated about true crime topics. They would be required to question what authorities paid by CounterIntelligence present the masses for the purpose of creating divisiveness. They have other things on their minds, and that’s fine. But that’s one reason I love Genre, which has the potential to reach more readers with hard-hitting message. It’s often written by insiders, and people with extensive experience outside academia, who don’t need to avoid upsetting university superiors.

Authors who take the time to pull away layers of the deceits created by governments don’t find the same fan-base for those controversial topics in Literary Fiction as they do in Genre. There are few Literary magazines to even submit such stories to for consideration. But Political Thrillers and SF readers are more amenable to authors who take an interest in solid facts and world issues. The readers tend to be more action-based, interested in what corporations do, political intrigue, conspiracies, the direction advanced technology is taking our society, murder and mayhem, legalities, mysteries, danger. SF has the option of writing about topics that might otherwise cause the authors problems by using the future and alternate worlds as metaphors to address sensitive issues.

The real crime fiction is that created by bankers, governments, the military, and corporations, using “news” to create a false sense of reality that the majority of people are hoodwinked by. When fiction writers echo that illusion, they are — willing, or unwilling — co-conspirators in dumbing down our culture. When authors are brave enough to look beyond the naivite of the two party system, and write about what’s behind the machinations of the propaganda machine — hats off!

Some brave Thrillers:

The Deal (movie)

Lexicon by Max Barry

Dime Bomb by J. Arthur

Dark Alliance by Gary Web — movie Kill the Messenger

Some insightful SF:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The Culture by Iain M. Banks

Iron Heel by Jack London

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Minority Report by Philip K. Dick

Mind Control busting YA:

Control Group by Patrick Jones

Candor by Pam Bachorz

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Crime Fiction

The mystery of the shining children by Cale Carlson

Morning, Come Quickly by Wanda Karriker

List of fiction about ritual abuse

YA fiction about mind control

Speculative Stories

If you’d like to read any of my relatively straightforward SF, Paranormal Fantasy, and Horror stories, many of these below are free to read at online magazines, and others are in anthologies for purchase at these links.

Partly because I like to think outside convention, I’m a lover of Weird Fiction, which originated before genre rules set in. I’ve picked my most traditional Speculative fiction for this post, but still, some of the stories below are on a bit the edge of their genres, and could be labeled Weird as well as the designations I have given them. I have a couple hundred stories published in magazines and anthologies, and a lot are in Interstitial styles, between Speculative and Literary, with elements of both, such as Slipstream, Magical Realism, Surrealism, New Wave Fabulism, and Weird: I link to over 80 of the Interstitial ones HERE. Looking through them might be useful for people wanting to understand those genres better, to get a sense of what they’re like.

I only write to be read, never just for my own enjoyment. A story isn’t a thing until it’s completed by the readers. I always feel gratitude for my narratives’ completion in readers’ brains’.

Ocularity SF

The Coveted General Anzel Smile SF

Origami Mafia Story Unfolds SF

Breaking the Seal SF

Printed People Eaters SF

Eye Poison Horror

Mask of Sleep Horror

Two-Faced Horror

To Explain the Sasquatch Sitter Paranormal

Mirror Tattoo Paranormal

Projection Theater Paranormal

My SF story nominated for Pushcart Prize

My SF story, “Printed People Eaters,” was chosen as the narrative from the Conspiracy themed print and e-book anthology, Redacted Story, to be nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This is my 6th Pushcart Prize nomination.

The great Ashley Parker Owen‘s KY Story publishing house brings Appalachian authors to print. My mother’s family homesteaded on Sand Mountain, rural northeast Alabama, and I spent a big part of my life living there, loving the land, animals, trees, relatives, down-to-earth ways. My Great Grandparents moved there after Sherman destroyed their farm in Georgia. Some of the family stayed in Georgia (and eventually gave birth to Jimmy Carter, my third cousin.) My Grandparents both died young, leaving Mama and her siblings orphaned as children, raised by their aunts and uncles, most of which remained single all their lives. I was there a year and a half recently for the end of Papa’s life, but we lost the land due to theft by a con artist, which broke my heart. It will remain in my heart. I keep a piece of my friend– one of the old oak trees that was there when it was homesteaded — by my bed.

The anthology has a 5 star rating on Amazon. I have a second story in it as well.

KY Story’s other publications’ nominations: Appalachian Voice: John Vanderslice, “Escape to Ash,” John Sparks, “Fishing with Abraham,” Tom Sheehan, “Sixty Years Later at a Mid-Earth Pub.” Motherlode: “Oren Hammerquist,” “Desert Daddy,” Treg Isaacson, “Growing Up or Not.”

KY Story is current taking submissions about Bullying for an anthology, deadline Feb. 25th 2015.

Submit Innovative Genre Fiction to The J.J. Outré Review

Do you like to write Genre Fiction and seek out places to submit that eschew the formulas, the tired conventions, and instead, play with innovations, and are open to Interstitial Genres like Slipstream? I’d like to bring to your attention a new magazine to submit to that is actively seeking work. You might want to follow their WordPress at The J.J. Outre Review. If you have fiction under 5000 words, consider submitting — they read blind so it’s entirely fair and about the work itself.

It’s a new venture by ELJ, a publishing house which has been bringing lots of Literary e-books and magazines for a good while now. To get a sense of their books which are not Genre, you could check out A Taste of 2013.  I’m happy to say ElJ is putting out my Slipstream novella in December, called Equinox Mirror, which is Interstitial, as it rests ultimately on scientific theory, but doesn’t straightforwardly follow the tropes of SF. Outré is a new direction for them, moving toward the highly entertaining pulp fiction that supported authors such as Philip K. Dick and Lovecraft. Weird Tales was one of the most interesting pulp mags.

I find it kind of funny to see how wary Genre and Literary readers and writers are of each other. I understand it, because the goals can be so different. I grew up reading almost entirely Literary, and respectful understanding of Genre wasn’t engendered in school, or University. Academics mostly write Literary, which doesn’t pay as much usually other than with reputation, but pays off because of job opportunities. Literary is written with the hope of lasting value, material that speaks deeply to readers, changes their perceptions, pushes the boundaries of all previous work. Pulp writers on contract have had to write very fast, as demanded by their publishers, and they could entirely make a living with their word-slinging, reaching a wider audience, being more accessible than Literary texts, with more exciting, action-filled plots, extreme, and offering readers predictable satisfaction. If they like Mysteries, for example, they could trust they would probably enjoy most of what a pulp editor would serve up for them, whereas because their voices and methods are so unique and explore in risky directions, it’s not the same with Literary.

Do you enjoy that innovation, the attention to fresh, surprising language, and character depth, meaningful structure that is found in Literary yet want to appeal to readers more with any of the genres or subgenres, or cross-genre, even genre-busting that still keeps the addictive flavor that would hook people into high impact enjoyment? Do you write Neo-Noir — characters doing what they must in a corrupt system? Do you write New Wave Fabulism — about the role of the imagination? Have you gotten the new issue of Year’s Best Weird Fiction? Do you write stories you’d think Genre mags would like, but it doesn’t really fit in after all? Do you know the Genre market well, but still like to push beyond their boundaries?

Here is their About Page:

“The J.J. Outré Review is a quarterly on-line journal with an annual print issue publishing well-written, a highly engaging genre fiction for a new generation. Think Rae Bryant, Cat Rambo, Michael Kelly, Jeff Vandermeer and others.

We here at The J.J. Outré Review are looking to bend and mix the traditional genres and subgenres. Give us crime, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy, or adventure, magical realism, slipstream, new weird, neo-noir, new wave fabulist or anything and everything in between. But, give us a genre story with heavy literary undertones, a clear concern for the language itself and not just formulaic plot and characters. We’re looking for stories that exceed expectations, surprise the reader in both context and form. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Give us something weird, something nebulous, something gritty, insecure, radical. We’re hungry for surprising poetic prose, prose that leads to unknown wonders.

If your work attempts to bewilder, unsettle, thrill, baffle or completely terrify anyone with language and twists, you’ve found a home with The J.J. Outré Review. We don’t care if you call it crime, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy, adventure or something blurred or in-between, we want to read it. We want to publish compelling stories, intriguing characters, quality writing and strong literary elements. Come on, try us. We welcome the bizarre, in fact, we encourage it.

The J.J. Outré Review is an ELJ Publications publication.

Contact us @ thejjoutrereview@gmail.com.”

Our bodies rule our characters like gods

The way we write is obviously tied to how our bodies feel, but how often do we talk about that? It seems like writing tips usually focus on writing as a cerebral activity.

I wrote a blog post yesterday about How I Choose to Where to Submit that many people liked, but when I re-read it, I realized some parts sounded snarky, which is uncharacteristic for me. I didn’t realize it at the time I wrote it, and I feel the tone came from the fact that I’d been in intense pain all day and night and throwing up from that. Therefore, that WordPess post was my only foray into doing anything at all, and I wrote it in the wee hours when I should have been sleeping if I hadn’t been too ill.  I felt bad about it, especially as so many people shared it.

With fiction, I’d never write something and see it reach the public in the same day. I put it away and rewrite, so it has the benefit of many days’ moods, coming from normal physical changes. Some days I haven’t slept or have gotten dehydrated from the heat, or am in extra pain, and I leave out a lot of words, have poor clarity in sentences, don’t catch logic flaws, have typos. Because I always have some level of all those issues, impulse submitting is never a good idea for me, though it’s often very tempting. I write something I want to get off with a flourish, that day, to fit into a deadline perhaps, because I’m enthusiastic about it, am too confident that it doesn’t need more days’ work. But no — Bad idea. I think this is the case with most people writing seriously.

But what about the effect of daily shifts in how our bodies feel on narratives we are writing? If we’ve made an outline and stick to it, it might not cause drastic trajectory changes, though it might still change the quality, tone, dialogue, language, etc.. If we don’t write from an outline, and each session’s writing has the potential to affect the plot, our poor characters’ lives depend on whether we drink enough water, eat healthy food, get enough sunshine and exercise, socializing, and all those basic human processes.

Consider your protagonist when you chose to eat lots of carbs, which are calming, or proteins, which are energizing — you’re eating for two. If you want your characters to delve into dreamy states, using lush prose, save the coffee for when you want to write choppy sentences in intense action scenes. If you want to write a big world-shattering climax, get up and move around first, arms out wide, chest expanded, maybe dancing, maybe singing loudly, standing up straight rather than continuing to write curled over, sedentary, quietly. Studies have shown that we produce more testosterone and less cortisol when we are in powerful positions. The writing stance is not one of those. Your hormones can make writing muscular and full of zing and authority or passive, feeble, and tentative.

We can be writing a longish narrative and each day’s bodily balance can change the directions the plot goes in, the way the characters interact and feel, the lightness or darkness of the scenes, the richness or flatness of the setting. Right? Have you ever noticed that your storyline is directed at all by your mood, fluctuating hormones, pushing yourself to write too long? It’s impressive we creatures are able to continue a narrative in a cohesive way at all, considering how differently we feel if we have low or high blood sugar and pressure, sitting in an uncomfortable chair in the cold with leaf blowers outside the window or lounging outside on vacation, if we are tired or hyped up, raging in infatuation and producing tons of neurochemical surges, or depleted nutritionally and functioning by willpower.

How about your experience with your body ruling the lives of your characters like a volatile god’s whimsy?

For more on the relationship of body to writing, and links to lots of articles, my Online Writing Academy has this page, Somatics for Writers.

How I choose where to submit

Many people say they start at the top and work their way down, the top being famous journals with clout that sometimes pay pro rates, and sometimes don’t pay much or pay anything. That’s fine, and can make them more money, and is good for career and recognition, gain more readers. I’m not saying they are snobs. But they also say other people should do that too, and I’d like to give another viewpoint to consider. There are very few of these magazines that have the Ohhh! factor name recognition, and they are always the ones people list first in their bios. They’re fine, and I like some of them, but I don’t give them any more weight than obscure ones when I’m considering where to submit, or in judging a writer’s fiction quality.

Yes, they raise status and possibly reach a large readership. Who are those readers? I suspect just like the other magazines, their readers mostly consist of writers studying the magazines to prepare to submit. As far as I can tell, most people in the world don’t read literary  magazines otherwise. They don’t wake up and think, what online short story can I read today? I guess many of the people who do read them go on social media sites, see their online friend’s posts of what they’ve had published, and if they’re intrigued, and have time and are in the right mood, go read them, and if they really like them, comment on them on social media, maybe once in a while even going so far as to do that in the publication itself, if it’s set up for that. Then, sometimes they think about submitting there too, to join the party with their friends, to participate in that creative project, to find a home for their work, to feel like they are writers. This can happen in any kind of journal, but the more homey, inviting ones offer more chances of gratification, because they might accept maybe 2 percent of what they’re sent, or even 10 percent, compared to .01 percent that the Oohhh factor ones do.

That gratification raises dopamine. Getting published in the top ones raises it more, but that can take people years of trying, and maybe they prefer lower doses of dopamine more regularly, by people actually reading their work instead of just editors rejecting them. Really, isn’t much of social media there to raise that neurotransmitter that gets us motivated to keep going with our day? And we can raise oxytocin by showing our support and appreciation for our friends’ publications. By “friends” I mean not only actual in person buddies, but the thousands of other writers we befriend, who befriend us, on Facebook, Twitter, etc..

How important is the whole complex of status-raising that is the current trend of the huge number of people out there who identify as writers? We do need some level of status within our community, to keep our dopamine levels high and feel secure. It’s a primal thing.

Being able to identify as a writer seems almost like a compulsion sometimes, a way of justifying one’s life, of being seen as a creative successful person for many people. And that’s one reason for so much posting about the writing life, about every acceptance, every detail about what they’re working on, want to work on, have stopped working on, how they were rejected, often with a lot of resentment in their posts.

Yet, almost no one at all even knows that online literary magazines exist, and have never looked at a print one, have no interest in short stories, don’t know the meaning of “Literary” or “Genre” or “Speculative.” So by surrounding ourselves with other writers, who are pretty much the only ones reading most of these things, we are justified in spending all this time giving so much meaning to our writing.

Some magazines function more than others to give that impression that writing literature is valuable. Those are the ones that sometimes people who aren’t writers might actually read, people who are simply into that particular genre. There are very few of those major publications, and I personally find many of those boring. I just don’t necessarily care about being part of them, because they are still publishing stories in the same conventions as a century ago, without explorations outside the boundaries, without innovation and unique voices, because they have to please a lot of people, not to mention their advertisers and funders. That’s great. Masses should be pleased, and the publications put out fine work. I just don’t generally “start at the top” by submitting there and work my way down to the humble ones, as writers are so often told to do. Some of the SFWA ones I love, and would be thrilled to be published in. But I rarely feel as enthused by them as I do by the quirkier ones.

I chose to submit to places sometimes because so many of the authors I know and admire have been published there. I know their taste, like being part of that community. One nice perk is that the magazines share them on Facebook, and then we see the names we recognize and read their work. I believe most people probably don’t read every piece published in every new issue of every magazine that comes across their feed. We look for names we recognize, and read those pieces, let the people know we have, often, if it’s easy to do that and we like the pieces. It’s a way of sharing love. Some people probably don’t even read them, but “like” that they have been published there, which is some level of support. The more “likes” the more a piece seems to be seen, and without those, the silence can be disappointing.

I never started writing thinking of Facebook, but of being like William Faulkner, contributing something great and lasting, profound, and innovative. But these days, it seems like social media is a major factor that drives short stories to be read. Does that seem accurate to you? Also, if someone is interested in submitting a collection to a publisher, he will buy books, see what they are like. Ideally, this happens, but not everyone can afford to do that. There are so many publications. So material that is available online is what gets read the most. And the ones that have the Oohh factor are usually not available for free, so really, I suspect they are generally not read as much. People often read what is shared on social media, or available to read for free on a publisher’s site much more readily than spending money to order it.

However, if the magazines are not very interesting looking, with poor quality art, design, description, etc. fewer people will take the time to look, and they might remember that that writer is maybe not that good, or discriminating, and won’t pay much attention later. I love my work being accompanied by great art. Appearance of the publication is very meaningful to me, and the tone of the publisher’s words are extremely important as far as submitting. If it’s generic “send us your best work” (and we won’t pay you) or “we publish the best in fiction and poetry,” it’s too bland for my tastes, and I’m not inspired to submit. If it’s too mainstream, and pushes the dominant paradigm agenda, I’m turned off, though those are the high tiered publications that get people tenure track jobs. They often seem stuffy and naive to me. If they are connected with universities, I don’t send my more controversial stuff because I assume they can’t take a stand on something like that, but have to keep opinions out of it. If they pay, that really does help.

If it’s a new magazine that I suspect is started in a flash of over-excitement but won’t last long, or the editor’s comments sound a mentally off-balance, I don’t submit. If it’s got stories I don’t like I don’t submit. If it takes 9 months before they reply, and Duotrope shows they often don’t reply at all, or if they say as much in their submissions but don’t give a date by which we are supposed to consider it a no, I don’t reply. If they want to keep it for 8 months exclusively, I’m wary. And obviously, if I don’t think they’d like my work, I don’t submit there. If females in the art are always young, white, thin, perfect, and dressed to seduce, I don’t submit. If there are elves, wizards, and other High Fantasy tropes predominating, it’s not really my style, so I move on. If it’s crass, ugly, and insulting, nah. If it’s mostly pretty, domesticated poetry, I get claustrophobic quick and run away. If the stories are focused on romance, I’m not really interested in participating. If it glorifies transhumanism, is religious, or has a theme that wouldn’t make me excited to read the issue when it came out, I don’t bother.

These days I write most of my stories not because I’m inspired to out of the blue but because I’m inspired by submissions calls. I adore magazines and and anthologies that have names, art, websites, descriptions, stories that appeal to my imagination in unique ways, that make me extra glad to be alive, that make me want that editor to be happy reading my stories. I want to connect with those places, even if it’s just to get a rejection, hopefully, a personal one telling me what they liked and didn’t feel worked. I’m glad to see the work they put out, and I want to show support, especially if they are new, without many readers, without big name authors. I love to see people with creativity I resonate with doing something great. I find these particularly focus on specific topics, moods, styles, or themes. I especially am interested in they publish Magical Realism and actually know what that term means, and honor its history. If they publish Fabulism, that’s me. If they publish New Wave Fabulism, I’m in Heaven. If they put out Slipstream, Weird, Neo-Noir, I’m already bouncing up and down in my skin. If it’s just the 3 major types of Speculative — Fantasy, SF, and Horror, I consider very carefully before even beginning to think of submitting, because in my experience those sometimes tend to be somewhat formulaic in approach if the editors don’t open them up to the Interstitial Genres too. Again, formula is fine, and I love it too, and sometimes I write it, but I just am more at home if they extend into more exploratory territory as well.

If I love the work of the publisher and/or editor I’m inclined to submit. I don’t send stuff out willy nilly, but read not only the issues, but bios, and the work of the publishers, and the editors. If the theme of an anthology or issue is a topic I’m passionate about or think is new and inventive, and sounds like fun to read, that’s a yes. If they ask for lush, surprising, glorious language, ahhh, yes. If they want subversive plots, absolutely. If they want cross-genre, hybrids, genre-busting, oh boy do I. If they want strong female protagonists, non-white, and middle aged or elderly or other-abled characters, I often am drawn in. If they say to blow up convention and not send work in tired tropes, I appreciate that greatly. If they’re SF and focus on aliens, no. I personally would much rather they focus on the CounterIntelligence’s hoax to make people believe aliens are interacting with us, instead of push that on people themselves. If they are beautiful Horror, yes, but if they are just ugly Horror, no. If their Horror includes Weird, I’m in. If the police and government are the good guys, bye. If it’s Neo-Noir instead and showing how we live in a corrupt system, yes, please. If it’s Conspiracy oriented but doesn’t require the default structural formula, yes yes yes.

Some periods I can only be in the teaching mode, when I’m creating new classes on deadline, or if I’m doing taxes or something. It’s a different frame of mind that when I have the luxury of delving into my subconscious and coming up with fiction. But when I’m in those phases, or can manage to at least go into it to write something short for one place, I will try writing something to fit a submission call. Then, if I don’t get in, considering only .01 percent, or even 5 percent do, I have stories to submit to the other places that interest me greatly. I don’t mind not getting in, as I have material on hand, then. Because I’m continually intrigued by unusual submission calls, and publications, and if I don’t have anything to try with them them, I’m sad.

How do I find these places? Other than social media sharing, I subscribe to Duotrope and New Pages, Poets and Writers, a Yahoo submissions group CRWROPPS-B, a Facebook Submissions group, and Write to Be, and other such things. I also search using key words in the places that allow that, check out Ralan, search using Google itself, see where writers I like publish. Sometimes I look for how long it takes to hear back on a submission, how much they pay, how impossible it would be to get in, if they pay in print copies. I don’t really like it that much if they sell books but don’t give contributor copies unless at least they apologize and explain and give e-books. If they send pieces to Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, etc. that’s a big plus. If they have been around a good while and don’t have many “likes” on Facebook, I might not send my very best work that I want a large readership for, or if they don’t make an effort to get social media attention.

I’d be curious to hear how you chose where to submit. I’m sorry if I’ve stepped on any toes with this little essay, as that’s not my intention. I’m hoping it’s useful to other writers in some way, partly to give a different take on the process than the usual Start at the top and work Down. Many of the ones at the top are getting more open to innovation all the time. But the thing is, I love Down. I start Down. Those publications are often the ones taking risks, with a more niche audience into breaking conventions, or completely loving the less popular genres like Weird, or taking on controversial topics, or into Literary language in their Speculative fiction, or with description in their quirky, individualistic submission calls that make me want to get to know them through the publication process, and feel glorious about life and writing and remind me why I do it in the first place.