Hello everyone! Greetings and I hope that you and your family and friends are well, or as well as can be expected.
For the last several years, Diabolical Plots has opened for a regular submission window every July. I’ve found that having a single month every year helps me to compartmentalize the effort involved in reading the submission queue–because I find it exhausting and time-consuming, so I just schedule myself one very busy month where I get very behind on everything else, and then I go back to normal.
This year, because of COVID-19, I do not have the time to spare to handle a submission window properly–I have a full-time dayjob and no childcare, and as much as I dislike changing an established routine like this, I don’t see any way that I could handle the time and effort of a submission window in July.
On the bright side I’ve always kept a pretty long publication schedule between acceptance and publication, which does come in handy at a time like this–I already have the selections made in the 2019 submission window lined up to publish without interruption through March of 2021, so it will be almost a year before any possible disruption to the publication schedule will occur.
When will the next submission window be? I don’t know! Depends on, among other things, when I have childcare again. I will have to revisit that question later as more information is available.
In the meantime I will be doing the best I can trying to handle what I can handle–best of luck and best of health to you and yours!
For most of its existence, Diabolical Plots has had one person, me, behind the curtain, with the occasional nonfiction contributor and of course the fiction writers. In the last couple of years we have started to shift that policy and have taken on first readers (aka slushreaders) who help out during the submission window to help narrow down the huge submission queue (1400 submissions in our 2019 window) to something more manageable to find the final 24 selections.
One of the first readers this year was Ziv Wities, who was a very prolific reader of the stories and who had a good eye for a story (in my opinion, of course). Since then, he has volunteered to take on extra work at Diabolical Plots as well, including helping edit the individual Year Six stories, helping find a new artist for the cover of this year’s Long List Anthology, and other things along those lines. We are currently talking about other things he could do, which we will surely announce in due time. You can take a moment to congratulate Ziv on Twitter at his handle @QuiteVague or anywhere else you see him online!
Since there’s going to be a lot of people at home a lot more than usual in the near future, we’ve put the Diabolical Plots anthologies on sale for 99 cents USD (or similar value in other currencies) at all ebook vendors. (That is the “Diabolical Plots” anthologies collecting the stories that are published on the Diabolical Plots site itself, not at this point the Long List Anthologies). Check the Books page for links to some of the vendors or search on your favorite ebook vendor.
Hello! This is one of those posts where I declare what is eligible for speculative fiction awards (such as the Hugo and Nebula and Locus) and in what category from Diabolical Plots offerings. In past years I’ve also included fiction that I wrote that was published elsewhere, but alas, this year I have no original published speculative fiction of my own. The closest thing I have I published right here, titled “The Horowitz Method: A Metrics-Based Approach to Rank-Ordering Musical Groups”, but while it fills me with delight and I would love for you to read it I think it would be a stretch to call it speculative fiction.
Diabolical Plots itself is eligible for the Hugo Award for the Best Semiprozine.
Editor (Short Form)
David Steffen is eligible for Editor, Short Form for the Hugos, for both Diabolical Plots and The Long List Anthology.
Locus has a category for publisher, which would be for Diabolical Plots, LLC, for the Diabolical Plots publication, Long List Anthology (and Submission Grinder?).
Best Reprint Anthology
For the Locus award!
Websites that relate somehow to science fiction and fantasy are eligible for related work. So I believe Diabolical Plots as a whole is eligible.
Individual works of nonfiction are definitely eligible so individual pieces on Diabolical Plots, whether reviews or otherwise, are eligible.
And The Submission Grinder may be eligible as well! People ask me every year what they can nominate it for. (I think it would be very unlikely to win since that is a tool for writers and Hugos are voted by broader group but it is probably eligible anyway.
This one might be a bit of a stretch but I have been chronicling progress on The Mighty Samurai cross stitch on the DP Twitter feed which seems to be a favorite of followers.
Diabolical Plots, LLC published two commissioned illustrations this year.
One was the cover of Diabolical Plots Year Five from Galen Dara. You can find her website here. This individual artwork would be eligible for the Chesney Award. Galen has previously won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist but she now qualifies under the Best Professional Artist category (and has been nominated for that category as well).
The second commissioned illustration this year was the cover of The Long List Anthology Volume Five from Amanda Makepeace (whose award eligibility post you can find here). Amanda won the Chesney Award last year for an original Diabolical Plots commissioned cover art. Her individual pieces are eligible for the Chesney Award, and she as an artist is eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist. You can see her own eligibility post here.
All of the original fiction published by Diabolical Plots falls into the “Short Story” category as defined by both the Hugo and Nebula and Locus awards (meaning that each is under 7500 words apiece). All of the eligible stories are listed here with the announcement of Year Five fiction, and can be purchased in one convenient ebook package. Please note that this is a complete list of the eligible fiction published by Diabolical Plots this year–the stories published on the site between January 2019 and March 2019 are not eligible because they were first published as part of the Diabolical Plots Year Four anthology published in 2018.
For the sake of convenience, here is a list of the eligible short stories with links and brief excerpts:
“One Part Per Billion” by Samantha Mills There were already two Irene Boswells onboard and a third in the making. Radiation poured out of the Omaha Device in an endless stream of buttery yellow light, and Irene (the Irene in the containment room) knew they were doomed. But she slapped patch after patch over the ruinous crack in the device’s shell because she hadn’t come twenty billion miles to sit and wait for death.
“What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide” by Eleanor R. Wood The ball bounces off the tide-packed sand and Bailey leaps to catch it with lithe grace and accuracy. He returns to deposit it at my feet for another go. It’s nearly dusk; the beach is ours on this January evening. It stretches ahead, the rising tide low enough to give us ample time to reach the sea wall.
“Dogwood Stories” by Nicole Givens Kurtz “Late bloomers have the prettiest blooms,” Sadie’s momma said, after she tapped her on the head with the comb. “So, stop squirmin’.” “It’s too tight.” Sadie winced, sucking in air to offset the pain. Her scalp burned like someone had set fire to it. She put her hands in her lap and tried to weather the storm, her hands rubbing each other to soothe the pain. “Tenderheaded. That’s all.” Her momma pinched off a section of hair, and began another braid.
“The Ceiling of the World” by Nicole Crucial This is important. When Margaret moved to the city, you see, the office she worked in was on the top floor, five stories up. The train took twenty-five minutes to travel between Bleek Street—where her office was—and Swallow Avenue—where she lived. She took a room in a basement, and that basement room was ten feet below the ground, and through the eighteen-inch windows at the top of the room, daylight filtered in. The reassuring whisper-hum of the underground trains tickled the soles of her feet every few minutes.
“Bootleg Jesus” by Tonya Liburd Out where rock outcroppings yearn to become mountains, there was a town cursed with no magic. In this town, there was a family. In this family, there was a girl. She was nine, almost ten, Mara. Childhood hadn’t completely lifted its veil. She had an older brother, Ivan, who was fourteen, and whose voice was changing. Elsewhere, puberty would have signaled all sorts of preparations – acceptance into a special group home as much for his safety as for the general public – while his Unique Gift manifested. Watchfulness. Guidance. Training.
“Little Empire of Lakelore” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires All the world followed pretty much the same guidelines for international trade and travel. That’s a very big gloss, but let’s say it was true. And it was, for the most part. There was however, one exception. It was Little Empire of Lakelore. Little Empire of Lakelore had to be qualified by the word little, because simply calling it the Empire of Lakelore would be a misnomer. You see, there was nothing imperial about Lakelore itself, except for its air of superiority, which was manufactured much like the actual air itself. The air had to be manufactured and pumped out, and it wasn’t too costly to do so, given the marginal cost of opening a few more factories for that purpose.
“Lies of the Desert Fathers” by Stewart Moore The Abbot’s eyes stared up at the ceiling. The reflections of blue-robed angels flew across his gray irises. Not much blood had spattered on his face. His chest was another story. The stains had finally stopped spreading from the rents in his brown wool robe. I noticed a smear near the hem of my long skirt where I stood too close.
“The Inspiration Machine” by K.S. Dearsley “I’ve got it!” Barnes leapt out of his chair and knocked hot synth-coffee over his work interface and paunch. Perhaps that was why the idea vanished. By the time he had swabbed away the mess, the brilliant flash of creativity was no more than the memory of something that had almost been within his grasp. He needed a few breaths of bottled fresh sea air–his last multi-million global craze–to boost his brainpower.
“Colonized Bodies, Dessicated Souls” by Nin Harris The PPMS had cordoned off Jalan Mandailing. They had guards posted along the banks of Sungai Chua. But it was not enough. The battles ranged from midnight till the cock’s crow and the call for prayers every dawn while the sun painted delicate fingers of rose across a yellow ombre sky. In the daytime, the blistering heat of the day kept the undead under protective cover. Even in their present state the British could barely handle the heat of the tropics. Penghulu Udin discovered he was exceptionally good at killing the undead. He could spear them, decapitate them, blow them up or use the bamboo blowgun the way his Dayak ancestors had before they had travelled to Selangor to build a new life by marrying into the Javanese community. He learned how to construct bombs from the materials they’d scavenged from the army barracks. He’d trained a small army that grew larger, and larger.
“Empathy Bee” by Forrest Brazeal I’m at the microphone for the first round of the 32nd Annual National Empathy Bee, and I can’t feel a thing.
“Dear Parents, Your Child is Not the Chosen One” by P.G. Galalis Dear Mr. and Mrs. Goodblood, Thank you for expressing your concerns about Rodney’s First Term grade. Please understand that the highest mark of “Chosen One” is exceedingly rare, even among our exceptional student body here at Avalon. Rodney’s grade of “Stalwart” is neither a mistake nor cause for concern, but a performance about which you and he can both be proud.
“Fresh Dates” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires SFX, International Terminal The scuttling of a million feet before him, the collective aspirations to get somewhere resounded in the marble hall, while he stared at his stubby chin in the glass. He rubbed a growing five o’clock shadow with a soft hand. “Paging passenger Carl Rogers. Please come to Gate 48B. Paging passenger Karl Rogers. Please come to Gate 48B.” The near-garbled voice issuing forth from the speakers was far from honeyed, but there was something sweet about the announcement and the cadence of the passenger’s name. At that moment, he would do anything to be Karl Rogers, to have such a short three syllabled name, so he could be rushing about like the many others rushing about. Needing to get somewhere and feeling the inadequacy of bipedalism in hauling body and material possessions to reach that end.
“Tracing an Original Thought” by Novae Caelum It’s like this: if the world has a food shortage, you eliminate hunger by leaving the planet, taking all your animals and plants in your genetic ark, and finding a new planet on which to grow and flourish. It’s also like this: if the world has a distribution of wealth crisis, you eliminate poverty by never having elites in your new society. At least for a little while. At least, that was the plan. And if the world has a gender crisis, an inability for equality, you eliminate gender.
“Save the God Damn Pandas” by Anaea Lay My job? Purity shaming pandas. It’s great. You loom over a living, breathing, talking embodiment of the international fixation on world peace and you shout, “Why won’t you fuck, you lazy motherfucker?” And then you play them some porn. Okay, it’s not actually like that. At all. Really, my job kind of sucks.
“Consider the Monsters” by Beth Cato Jakayla crouched in front of her dark closet. She hadn’t turned on the light because that was an awfully rude thing to do when trying to talk to the monster hidden inside. “You gotta listen to me,” she whispered. “The news is saying really bad things, like rocks are gonna fall out of the sky and a lot of people are gonna die. You can’t stay in my closet. You gotta go to the basement. There’s dark spaces down there for you to hide in. I won’t tell no one you gone there.”
“The Train to Wednesday” by Steven Fischer Charlie Slawson sat alone in the transit station, watching a set of empty train tracks and wondering why the train was late. Truth be told, he hadn’t known until just then that temporal trains even could be late.
“The Problem From Jamaica Plain” by Marie L. Vibbert I was waiting for the teakettle to boil, and the office wasn’t due to open for, oh let’s say three minutes. The phone blinked and I considered not answering, what with those three minutes of leisure ahead of me, but I needed every client I could get. I put on my phone voice and chirped, “Jasmine Alexa, Attorney at law.” The voice on the other end trembled with fear and flat, Bostonian vowels. “I’m not shuh, but Ah think I might have killed someone.”
“This is What the Boogeyman Looks Like” by T.J. Berg This is what the boogeyman looks like. It has white eyes with no pupils and no irises. Just white all the way through. But it can see you. So I must not fall asleep as I wait outside this closet door in an empty room, in an empty house with a derelict For Sale sign in front of it, everything smaller than I remember, baseball bat gripped in my hands.
“Beldame” by Nickolas Furr I never had a driver’s license, you see. Instead I was born blessed with epilepsy. The doctors said it was bad form to put a two-ton vehicle into the hands of a young man who could seize at any time, medication be damned. Grand mal, tonic-clonic—whatever you wanted to call it, it was the big one, and I grew up afraid to be responsible for running off the road and killing someone because of it. I tell you this simply to explain that I was completely at the mercy of the bus line when we stopped at the small town in Kansas where all the houses faced west and I met the whispery old crone who sat at the intersection of two worlds.
“Gorilla in the Streets” by Mari Ness He’s hairy. He grunts a lot. He can be – there’s no kind way to put this – a little clumsy, and even his best friends say his table manners could use a little work. But at barely the age of 30, he’s become Wall Street’s best performing hedge fund manager, with an estimated fortune of $36 billion, and with bankers, CEOs and even – it’s rumored – a United States president and several prime ministers jumping at the mere twitch of his finger. Despite being a – there’s no way to put this politely – a gorilla.
“Invasion of the Water Towers” by R.D. Landau The water towers never showed up on film. That should have been a sign. In the before times, there were water towers on every rooftop. They were highly visible, distinct from the rest of the landscape, cylindrical bodies with conical heads and long spindly legs. Maybe if we hadn’t been so busy whining about work and finding the perfect brand of deodorant and wondering if that cute barista was flirting with us (They weren’t. It is literally their job to smile and draw hearts in foam and have perfect hair. We as a society need to get over ourselves) we would have asked ourselves why the water towers didn’t want us to see them represented in the movies. Maybe if we hadn’t sharpened those not-thinking skills by not thinking about global warming and drone strikes and the asbestos in the ceiling that coated our hair like dandruff, we would have asked the right questions before it was too late.
“The Cliff of Hands” by Joanne Rixon “Lhálali’s bloody viscera,” Eešan cursed. She searched the cliff face for a hold and found nothing. Finally she spotted a thread-thin crack and wedged her wingtip claw in it so she could reach upward with her stubby grasping-hands. “Watch out,” Aušidh said. “If you fall now you’ll get hurt, won’t you?” She dipped in a little swoop less than a winglength away from Eešan in the air. The shadow of her wide membranous wings rippled across the uneven stone and the little burst of wind ruffled the sparse black fur on Eešan’s back.
“The Eat Me Drink Me Challenge” by Chris Kuriata The first YouTube video received over seven million hits before being taken down. A shaky camera held by a giggling friend captured a teenage boy standing in a well-tended backyard. Dressed in cargo shorts, he stared solemnly down the lens before announcing, “I’m Shyam Rangaratnam, and this is the Eat Me Drink Me Challenge.” After taking a deep breath and a dramatic pause—as all on-line daredevils do before embarking on their potentially painful stunt—Shyam broke the seal on the familiar purple vial, and emptied the liquid onto his tongue.
“The Old Ones, Great and Small” by Rajiv Mote School’s out, and everybody wants to see the Great Old Ones: the line into the Miskatonic Zoo doubles back and winds out the gates. The American and Massachusetts flags barely flutter above the gate, and the sun today is merciless in a cloudless sky. I ask my grandchildren, Caleb and Cody, if they wouldn’t rather go to a museum or park, catch a ball game, or go anywhere at all less crowded, but they won’t be swayed. The zoo has been closed for renovations for two years now, and they want to see the Great Old Ones in their new, “natural” habitats.
Diabolical Plots was open for submissions once again for the month of July, to solicit stories to buy for the fourth year of fiction publication. 1432 submissions came in from 1066 different writers, of which 122 stories were held for the final round, and 24 stories were accepted. Now that all of the contracts are in hand I am very pleased to share with you the lineup.
There a few names in there that Diabolical Plots has published before, there are some others whose work I know from elsewhere but who are making their first DP appearance in this lineup, and there are yet others that I didn’t know before this–I like to see a mixture of these groups!
All of these stories will be published for the first time around March 2020 in an ebook anthology Diabolical Plots Year Six, and then will be published regularly on the Diabolical Plots site between April 2020 and March 2021, with each month being sent out to newsletter subscribers the month before.
This is the lineup order for the website.
April 2020 “A Promise of Dying Embers” by Jordan Kurella “On You and Your Husband’s Appointment at the Reverse-Crematorium” by Bill Ferris
May 2020 “Everything Important in One Cardboard Box” by Jason Kimble “Synner and the Rise of the Rebel Queen” by Phoebe Wagner
June 2020 “Open House On Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell “The Automatic Ballerina” by Michael Milne
July 2020 “Minutes Past Midnight” by Mark Rivett “Bring the Bones that Sing” by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor
August 2020 “Finding the Center” by Andrew K. Hoe “For Want of Human Parts” by Casey Lucas
September 2020 “The Last Great Rumpus” by Brian Winfrey “That Good Old Country Living” by Vanessa Montalban
October 2020 “A Complete Transcript of [REDACTED]’s Video Channel, In Order of Upload” by Rhiannon Rasmussen “Are You Being Severed” by Rhys Hughes
November 2020 “Many-Faced Monsters in the Backlands” by Lee Chamney “Mama’s Hand of Glory” by Douglas Ford
December 2020 “‘My Legs Can Fell Trees’ and Other Songs For a Hungry Raptor” by Matthew Schickele “Tony Roomba’s Last Day on Earth” by Maria Haskins
January 2021 “Everyone You Know is a Raven” by Phil Dyer “Unstoned” by Jason Gruber
February 2021 “Energy Power Gets What She Wants” by Matt Dovey “A Study of Sage” by Kel Coleman
March 2021 “Boom & Bust” by David F. Shultz “The Void and the Voice” by Jeff Soesbe
It’s time for that January tradition, the Award Eligibility post for Diabolical Plots.
This has been a year of change, as we’ve been trying a new publishing strategy; instead of publishing stories only on the Diabolical Plots website, we’ve been shifting toward publishing them in ebook. Since there was a backlog of several years of stories already published, this resulted in three anthologies of stories that were first published on Diabolical Plots:
Diabolical Plots: The First Years in March 2018
Diabolical Plots: Year Three in June 2018
Diabolical Plots: Year Four in September 2018
Diabolical Plots: Year Four was particularly momentous, because it marked the point where the ebook publications have overtaken the website publications. And because of this change, as well as this being the first full calendar year with 2 stories per month, more DP stories are eligible than have ever been eligible before, because all of the stories that were scheduled on the site from January 2018 to March 2019 are eligible (January 2019 to March 2019 stories were all in Diabolical Plots: Year Four).
As ever, I’m not saying you should nominate these, but I do get questions about what is eligible, so here is a list of what is eligible, if nothing else it’s nice to look back at what was new this year.
Here are the stories, alphabetically by author, which are all eligible under the Short Story category (by Hugo or Nebula rules)
“Brooklyn Fantasia” by Marcy Arlin
“The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley
“How Rigel Gained a Rabbi (Briefly)” by Benjamin Blattberg
“Giant Robot and the Infinite Sunset” by Derrick Boden
“Soft Clay” by Seth Chambers
“Local Senior Celebrates Milestone” by Matthew Claxton
“Withholding Judgment Day” by Ryan Dull
“Medium Matters” by R.K. Duncan
“Artful Intelligence” by G.H. Finn
“The Divided Island” by Rhys Hughes
“The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney
“For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay
“The Memory Cookbook” by Aaron Fox-Lerner
“The Vegan Apocalypse: 50 Years Later” by Benjamin A. Friedman
“The Last Death” by Sahara Frost
“The Coal Remembers What It Was” by Paul R. Hardy
“The Efficacy of Tyromancy Over Reflective Scrying Methods in Divining Colleagues’ Coming Misfortunes, A Study by Cresivar Ibraxson, Associate Magus, Wintervale University” by Amanda Helms
“Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins
“What Monsters Prowl Above the Waves” by Jo Miles
“Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss
“9 Things the Mainstream Media Got Wrong About the Ansaj Incident” by Willem Myra
“Six Hundred Universes of Jenny Zars” by Wendy Nikel
“Heaven For Everyone” by Aimee Ogden
“Graduation in the Time of Yog-Sothoth” by James Van Pelt
“Pumpkin and Glass” by Sean R. Robinson
“Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman
“The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat” by Jennifer Lee Rossman
“The Dictionary For Dreamers” by Cislyn Smith
“Crimson Hour” by Jesse Sprague
“Tank!” by John Wiswell
“Her February Face” by Christie Yant
Diabolical Plots is eligible for the Hugo Award for the Best Semiprozine.
Editor, Short Form
I am eligible for the Hugo Award for the Best Editor, Short Form, for both Diabolical Plots and the Long List Anthology.
Around this time of year people occasionally ask what The Long List Anthology and The Submission Grinder are eligible for, award-wise, since these lists are always Diabolical Plots short stories.
The answer is: not really any categories for the Hugo or Nebula, but possibly for other awards which I don’t keep up with as much.
The Long List Anthology is fiction, but by its nature it is entirely reprinted fiction from previous years, so all of the stories within it are already past their period of eligibility by Hugo and Nebula rules, and there are no categories for anthologies specifically.
The Submission Grinder is an online tool, which there isn’t a particularly suitable category for in the Hugo and Nebulas.
In both of these cases there might be categories in other awards, such as anthology categories in the Locus awards for the Long List Anthology, or categories in Preditors and Editors poll about writing tools.
If one felt very determined and maybe more than a little bit silly, I suppose one could nominate the Mighty Samurai cross-stitch photo series on the DP twitter account for Best Related Work.
Diabolical Plots was open for submissions once again for the month of July, to solicit stories to buy for the fourth year of fiction publication. 1288 submissions came in from 915 different writers, of which 26 stories were accepted. Now that all of the contracts are in hand I am very pleased to share with you the lineup.
There is a lot of strangeness in this lineup, varying wildly in tone from humor to drama. I hope you’ll like them as much as I do.
All of these stories will be published for the first time around March 2019 in an ebook anthology Diabolical Plots Year Five, and then will be published regularly on the Diabolical Plots site between April 2019 and March 2020, with each month being sent out to newsletter subscribers the month before.
This is the lineup order for the website.
April 2019 “Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Traditional Worship of the Elder Dark?” by Matt Dovey
“One Part Per Billion” by Samantha Mills
May 2019 “What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide” by Eleanor R. Wood
“Dogwood Stories” by Nicole Givens Kurtz
June 2019 “The Ceiling of the World” by Nicole Crucial
“Bootleg Jesus” by Tonya Liburd
July 2019 “Little Empire of Lakelore” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
“Lies of the Desert Fathers” by Stewart Moore
August 2019 “The Inspiration Machine” by K.S. Dearsley
“Colonized Bodies, Dessicated Souls” by Nin Harris
September 2019 “Empathy Bee” by Forrest Brazeal
“Dear Parents, Your Child is Not the Chosen One” by P.G. Galalis
“Fresh Dates” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
October 2019 “Tracing an Original Thought” by Holly Heisey
“Save the God Damn Pandas” by Anaea Lay
November 2019 “Consider the Monsters” by Beth Cato
“The Train to Wednesday” by Steven Fischer
December 2019 “Consequences of a Statistical Approach Towards a Utilitarian Utopia: A Selection of Potential Outcomes” by Matt Dovey
“The Problem From Jamaica Plain” by Marie L. Vibbert
January 2020 “This is What the Boogeyman Looks Like” by T.J. Berg
“Beldame” by Nickolas Furr
“Gorilla in the Streets” by Mari Ness
February 2020 “Invasion of the Water Towers” by R.D. Landau
“The Cliff of Hands” by Joanne Rixon
March 2020 “The Eat Me Drink Me Challenge” by Chris Kuriata
“The Old Ones, Great and Small” by Rajiv Mote
The newest anthology from Diabolical Plots, Diabolical Plots Year Three, is now available for pre-order from Amazon and Kobo (other vendors to follow). Pre-ordering is a great way to help ebook vendor algorithms promote it more, so if you think you would like a copy anyway pre-ordering is a big help.
Note the wonderful cover art, an original illustration by Amanda Makepeace, the same artist who made the awesome fox cover art for The Long List Anthology Volume 3 in December of last year. She illustrated the story “For Now, Sideways” by A. Merc Rustad, and she did a wonderful job with it. I love how a good illustrator can tell a story with an image like Amanda’s done here, how your eye is drawn to different parts of the image that imply the conflicts and resolutions of the story. Cover layout was done by Pat Steiner, who has done all of the anthology covers for Diabolical Plots and continues to do great work.
A couple of new features were released over the last week on the Submission Grinder. For those who don’t know what the Submission Grinder is, it’s a donation-supported website that helps writers finds publishers for their work, as well as providing submission statistics from user data.
The Advanced Search Engine can do a lot of things already. You can search by various parameters like length or pay rate. You can ignore individual markets so they never show up in your search results, or exclude markets where a particular piece has been submitted. But it can only work with the data it has available to it, and sometimes that’s not the sort of data that a program can make sense of. For instance, Beneath Ceaseless Skies takes secondary world fantasy only. The search engine can base its search on genre, so it’ll find BCS in a Fantasy search, so if you search for your contemporary American fantasy you’re going to keep seeing BCS in your search results and you’ll have to remember to ignore that result yourself. Or if you have a piece that doesn’t technically fit the specifications of a market but you have special permission to submit or something, then there would be no way to mark that for yourself.
Now there are things you can do to customize your search results! Now, you can define “piece priorities”, which tell the site special instructions for a combination of a particular piece and a particular market. Besides the default “no priority” setting, there are two other values you can set:
This priority indicates that you just don’t think this piece is a good fit for this market, even if it fits the defined search parameters. If you set a piece as unsuitable for a market, then that means that when you search for markets for that piece, that market will always be excluded from the results. And if you search for markets for that piece, that market will always be excluded from the results.
This priority indicates that you think this is a particularly good fit for this market, even if it doesn’t fit the defined search parameters. If you set a piece as preferred for a market, then that means that when you search for markets for that piece, that market will always be shown at the top of the results clearly marked as Preferred, even if it doesn’t fit the search parameters otherwise and even if the market doesn’t qualify for a listing or you’ve marked it as Ignore (but it won’t show up if you’ve already submitted it there). And if you search for pieces for that market, that piece will always be shown at the top of the results clearly marked as Preferred.
I am very excited about these additional features, I think they will be useful in those corner cases the search engine just doesn’t quite cover. Thank you!
You can mark these priorities by clicking the “Piece Priorities” link on any market page while you’re logged in.
2018 will mark some exciting new additions to the Diabolical Plots publishing lineup. As well as publishing original fiction online, as Diabolical Plots has been doing since 2015, these stories will also be collected into ebook anthologies. The main goals of this effort are twofold. First, to find new readers for Diabolical Plots that ebook platforms like Amazon and Kobo will provide. Second, to try to work toward the original fiction breaking even financially–which has not been the case in the past. That will help ensure that I’m able to keep doing this long-term.
For this to work as well as possible, the ebook anthology will eventually need to publish stories before they’re available on the website. So you’ll be able to read them early in the ebook, but you will be able to wait until they’re on the website to read for free. But since the website has a few-year headstart, it’s going to take some catching up.
To this end, 2018 will mark a pretty busy publication schedule to get this plan on track. Also, if you have been a donor or are thinking about being a donor, if you donate at a $5/month level, you’ll get the ebooks early as long you maintain that–and this will be a great year to do so, with an ebook every quarter through March 2018.
I am very excited to see how these changes work out, to make the whole publication more sustainable. Thank you, as ever, for all of the support and feedback you all have given me over the years!
So, here are the books planned for the next 15 months:
1. March 2018: Diabolical Plots: The First Years
–This will include all 25 stories published in the firsttwo years (between March 2015 and March 2017) on Diabolical Plots, with newly commissioned cover art by Galen Dara.
2. June 2018: Diabolical Plots: Year Three
–This will include all 24 stories published in year three on Diabolical Plots (between April 2017 and March 2018), with newly commissioned cover art by Amanda Makepeace.
3. September 2018: Diabolical Plots: Year Four
–This will include all 25 stories published in year four on Diabolical Plots (scheduled between April 2018 and March 2019). Note that this will be the anthology that overtakes the publishing of stories on the actual site, so for about 12 of those stories the first place to ever read them will be in the anthology.
4. December 2018: The Long List Anthology Volume 4: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List
–Same concept as the prior three, assuming there is enough author buy-in, but these have moved pretty steadily, so I think it makes sense to keep going.
5. March 2019: Diabolical plots: Year Five
–This will include all the stories that are purchased as part of this year’s slush window, which of course are yet to be determined. Note that this anthology will publish before any of the stories have been on the site.