Long List Anthology Volume 3 Kickstarter

written by David Steffen

The Kickstarter for the Long List Anthology Volume 3 is launched as of this morning!  This is the third in a series of anthologies collecting works from the longer list of works that got a lot of Hugo Award nomination votes from the fans.

The art this year is a lovely piece by Amanda Makepeace.

 

The stories lined up are:

Short Stories (base goal)

  • “Lullaby for a Lost World” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “A Salvaging of Ghosts” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands” by Seanan McGuire
  • “Things With Beards” by Sam J. Miller
  • “Red in Tooth and Cog” by Cat Rambo
  • “Terminal” by Lavie Tidhar
  • “Razorback” by Ursula Vernon
  • “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0” by Caroline M. Yoachim

Novelettes (stretch goal)  

  • “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” by P. Djèlí Clark
  • “Red as Blood and White as Bone” by Theodora Goss
  • “The Venus Effect” by Joseph Allen Hill
  • “Foxfire, Foxfire” by Yoon Ha Lee
  • “The Visitor From Taured” by Ian R. MacLeod
  • “Sooner or Later, Everything Falls Into the Sea” by Sarah Pinsker
  • “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories” by Jason Sanford

Novellas (stretch goal) 

  • “Runtime” by S.B. Divya
  • “Chimera” by Gu Shi, translated by S. Qiouyi Lu and Ken Liu
  • “Forest of Memory” by Mary Robinette Kowal

 

I hope you are as excited as I am!  Thank you for your support!

 

Announcing the Diabolical Plots Year Four Fiction Lineup!

written by David Steffen

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.  1003 submissions came in from 720 different writers, of which 25 stories were accepted.  Now that all of the contracts are in hand I am very pleased to share with you the lineup, which will start as soon as the Year Three stories have wrapped up in March.

This year I think the overall submissions were more on-target to my peculiar tastes than ever.  Emphasis on the weird, with a lot of great stories that involve religion without preaching or demonizing it.  I am very excited to share these excellent stories with the world.

Since I accepted 25 stories instead of 24, there is one month that will have three stories (which I’d like to see as a regular thing if the recurring funding is there for it).

April 2018
“Giant Robot and the Infinite Sunset” by Derrick Boden
“Her February Face” by Christie Yant

May 2018
“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
“Graduation in the Time of Yog-Sothoth” by James Van Pelt

June 2018
“Tank!” by John Wiswell
“Withholding Judgment Day” by Ryan Dull

July 2018
“Crimson Hour” by Jesse Sprague
“Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

August 2018
“Medium Matters” by R.K. Duncan
“The Vegan Apocalypse: 50 Years Later” by Benjamin A. Friedman

September 2018
“Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins
“The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

October 2018
“Pumpkin and Glass” by Sean R. Robinson
“Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss

November 2018
“The Memory Cookbook” by Aaron Fox-Lerner
“The Coal Remembers What It Was” by Paul R. Hardy

December 2018
“The Hammer’s Prayer” by Benjamin C. Kinney
“For the Last Time, It’s Not a Ray Gun” by Anaea Lay

January 2019
“The Divided Island” by Rhys Hughes
“The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat” by Jennifer Lee Rossman
“The Dictionary For Dreamers” by Cislyn Smith

February 2019
“Local Senior Celebrates Milestone” by Matthew Claxton
“How Rigel Gained a Rabbi (Briefly)” by Benjamin Blattberg

March 2019
“Heaven For Everyone” by Aimee Ogden
“The Last Death” by Sahara Frost

Long List Anthology Volume 2 Ebook Release Date!

written by David Steffen

long-list-antho-cover-art-ebook_edited-4-2Today is the release date for the Long List Anthology Volume 2 Ebook!  Check out our Books page for more information and links to the vendors which will be updated as more vendors post it.

A print version is on its way soon, and a shorter audiobook version in January.

Announcing the Diabolical Plots Year Three Fiction Lineup!

written by David Steffen

Diabolical Plots was open for its yearly submission window for the month of July. During that time, 803 writers submitted 1070 stories.  This year, the maximum word count was raised from 2000 words to 3500 words, and this year instead of one story per month Diabolical Plots will publish two stories, for a total of 24 stories that will begin running in April 2017 which is when the Year Two stories have all been published.

Thank you to all the writers who submitted.  You made the final choices incredibly difficult, which is a very good problem for an editor to have.  If we had the resources to publish more right now, there would have been plenty of excellent stories to choose from.

OK, without further ado, here is the list of stories and authors and their publishing order!

April 2017

“O Stone, Be Not So” by José Pablo Iriarte

“The Long Pilgrimage of Sister Judith” by Paul Starkey

May 2017

“The Things You Should Have Been” by Andrea G. Stewart

“The Aunties Return the Ocean” by Chris Kuriata

June 2017

“The Existentialist Men” by Gwendolyn Clare

“Regarding the Robot Raccons Attached to the Hull of My Ship” by Rachael K Jones and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

July 2017

“Monster of the Soup Cans” by Elizabeth Barron

“The Shadow Over His Mouth” by Aidan Doyle

August 2017

“For Now, Sideways” by A. Merc Rustad

“Typical Heroes” by Theo Kogod

September 2017

“Strung” by Xinyi Wang

“The Entropy of a Small Town” by Thomas K. Carpenter

October 2017

“Lightning Dance” by Tamlyn Dreaver

“Three Days of Unnamed Silence” by Daniel Ausema

November 2017

“When One Door Shuts” by Aimee Ogden

“Shoots and Ladders” by Charles Payseur

December 2017

“Hakim Vs. the Sweater Curse” by Rachael K. Jones

“The Leviathans Have Fled the Sea” by Jon Lasser

January 2018

“Six Hundred Universes of Jenny Zars” by Wendy Nikel

“Brooklyn Fantasia” by Marcy Arlin

February 2018

“9 Things Mainstream Media Got Wrong About the Ansaj Incident” by Willem Myra

“Artful Intelligence” by G.H. Finn

March 2018

“What Monsters Prowl Above the Waves” by Jo Miles

“Soft Clay” by Seth Chambers

 

ETA: Note that this list originally include “Smells Like Teen Demon” by Sunil Patel, which was removed from the lineup.  This list has been edited because it is the easiest way to reference which stories are in which year, and I didn’t want this to be a source of confusion.

Diabolical Plots is now a SFWA Qualifying Market

written by David Steffen

Just the briefest of notes:  fiction sales to Diabolical Plots now count as qualifications for writers toward joining the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America(SFWA).  Very excited by this news!

This applies to all the past fiction accepted here, as well as the fiction for the current submission eindow open through the end of the month.

 

Sneak Peek: The New and Improved Submission Grinder

written by David Steffen

There’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the Submission Grinder site in preparation for a big site upgrade.

ETA: The upgraded version is now on the main site.  See the rest of this article for a list of some new features.

What you’re seeing is an overhaul of the site that’s been in the works for quite some time now.  The new site includes all the features you’re familiar with, plus some exciting new ones.  I’ve written this article to show off some of the new changes.  As always, the site is free to use whether you register an account or not.  I encourage you to go check out the new site for yourself, or for the first time if you’re a newcomer to the site.

Now that this big batch of features is rolled out, it should be much easier for me to roll out individual features as they are ready to launch.  I have a lot of ideas that I think you’re all going to love; it’s just a matter of prioritizing them and finishing them one by one.

First, I want to thank a few people who have contributed to this new development.

  • First and foremost, thank you to Anthony Sullivan who wrote most of the code.  You may remember that Anthony had co-edited Diabolical Plots with me for a number of years, and we collaborated to launch the Submission Grinder site in 2013.  He wrote the entire original site in a very short period of time, as well as the majority of the feature updates to that version of the site over the last 3+ years.  He also wrote most of the new version of the site, before he changed the focus of his work.  Anthony is still around and contributing to the site to help with hosting and mentoring me as I learn more about web development.  If you want to find out what he’s doing, you can check out his website, where he’s been working on video game development, at Zombie Possum.
  • Thank you to Stewart C. Baker and Matt Dovey, for your immense help with the CSS work to make the site much more friendly to mobile devices.  I have very little experience with CSS, and it’s incredible to see what someone more knowledgeable than me can do to make the site much more usable.  (There is still some work to be done yet to make the site entirely mobile friendly!  But the parts that are mobile friendly are because of their excellent work)
  • Thank you to the beta testers who volunteered to pound out as many dents as possible on this site before it became the new official site, and for meticulously spelling out what you found so that I could track down and resolve those issues.
  • And thank you to all the users, especially those who donate, spread the word about the Grinder, suggest new features, suggest market updates, or help contribute to the effort in any other way.

 

Okay, now that all the sappy stuff is out of the way, let’s get to the new features!  These are listed in approximate order of how excited I am about the feature, with the most exciting features first.  (YMMV so of course it’s possible that you’re more excited about the last ones on the list, so this is far from a scientific sorting method)

Submission Timeline Graph

This is a feature I’ve been so eager to share with more people because it shares an incredible amount of information in a very compact space.

The graph is a bar chart.  The X axis is time, covering dates between one year ago and today.  The height of the bars is the number of recorded submissions sent to that market on that day.  Bars representing submissions that have met different ends are stacked on top of each other–purple bars are pending response, red bars are rejections, green bars are acceptances.  If you are logged in and you have a pending response to that market, your submission is shown as a black dot.

For a few examples (not necessarily all up-to-date graphs mind you):

You can see, in the Apex Magazine graph, that they were closed for submissions from about June through December, that they got slammed with submissions when they re-opened.  On the far right side you can see what their current slushpile looks like (the purple portion of the graph), and the trail of small purple bars to the left of it are probably stories that have been approved by slushreaders and passed up to the editor and so are waiting a longer period of time outside the main slushpile.  (The black dot there is my own submission that was held at the time I took this snapshot)

ApexTimeline

You can see in the Analog graph that, well, they don’t really stay on top of their slushpile.  At the time this snapshot was taken in March no one who submitted more recently than the beginning of October has heard anything, and most people who submitted since the beginning of September has heard anything.  Long waits here don’t mean much.

AnalogTimeline

You can see in the Cast of Wonders graph that they closed for submissions from about September through December.  You can also see that the volume of submissions has surged upward after they reopened.  Not coincidentally, Cast of Wonders increased their payment rates from a flat 5GBP to a professional rate of 6 cents/word when they reopened (after a change in ownership as they were purchased by Escape Artists, Inc) which starts the timer for them to become a SFWA-qualifying market.  This has clearly made submitting to Cast of Wonders more appealing to writers.  You can also discern the shape of the slushpile and the hold pile pretty clearly here.

CastOfWondersTimeline

You can see in the Clarkesworld graph that they receive a lot of submissions all the time.  They haven’t closed within the last year.  And they are on top of their slushpile in an incredible fashion (look at how little purple there is!).  If you want a quick response (maybe to get one last submission before you can send that story to something else before deadline), this graph tells you that Clarkesworld is a great place to submit.  The statistics would’ve told you that before, of course, but the statistics are the summary of a year’s worth of responses, while this graph tells you what their slushpile looks like right now.

ClarkesworldTimeline

In the writers of the future graph, you can guess, without knowing anything else, that they have a quarterly deadline, and that lots of writers submit at the last minute.  You can also guess the reason why because they can take a while to respond, and so why not wait until the deadline?

WotFTimeline


There are probably other things to be gleaned from these graphs, but these are the kinds of things that I’ve been very excited to see in these graphs.

Summarized Recent Activity

SummaryGrinderThe Recent Activity list on the front page of the site looks different than you’re used to.  You’re used to seeing a list of individual responses grouped first by day and then by alphabetical order of market name.  One long-term frustration with that layout was that when an alphabetically privileged market, like Asimov’s, has a big push of rejections, then suddenly the one market would occupy most or all of that list.

Well, no longer!  Now a market only has one line per day to summarize all of its rejections.  And the page still shows the same number of lines, so you will often see more total information on that list than before these changes.  Acceptances still always get their own line, since those are of special interest, and so if you have chosen to show your name for acceptances you will still see it on the front page.  If you ever want to know the more detailed list you can always click the “details” icon to click through to that market page’s recent activity which lists all items from the last 30 days without summarizing.

Remember These Settings (Advanced Search)

On the previous version of the site, the Advanced Search page has had some limited memory of your choices, but I’ve never been entirely satisfied with the method of its operation.  In the past it would remember the settings of a few of your choices in the exclusion section by using a cookie.  But, this would not persist from device to device, it would only affect a select few parameters, and it would remember any change you made even if you didn’t want it to.

So, the new Advanced Search page has a choice to remember these settings.  You pick what values you want saved, you check the box for “remember these settings” and then every time you load the page in the future it will have those same values populated.  So, for instance, you can choose whether you want to see fee-based markets in the results, and you could set your minimum pay rate to Pro.

Zoomable Graphs

ZoomGraph

One occasional frustration with the market graphs on the previous version of the site was that if there had been a very long response reported the Turnaround Time graph scale would be very very long and it would be hard to make out much detail in the rest of the graph.

All three graphs are now zoomable, so you can zoom in on particular area of interest, see what specific days were associated with certain values, and etc, so this shouldn’t be a frustration anymore.

Average Response Days in Search Results

The Advanced Search Results and other market results pages now show the average response days for easy comparison of responsiveness.

Sortable Columns

The Advanced Search results and some other pages now can be sorted by in ascending or descending order based on several of the column headings (including the new average response days column).

Delete Piece Option

It was always perhaps a little bit odd that there was no way to delete a piece once you’d made it.  Generally the easiest way to work around this had been to just rename the piece the next time you finish a story and use the record for that new piece going forward.

But now you can delete the piece, so you don’t need that option.

Alphabetical Market Listings

Why didn’t the site have alphabetical market listings before?  I… really don’t remember.  I guess people have usually either knownwhat the exact name of a market was already, or they were searching by attribute rather than name.  So no one’s really complained about the lack. Anyway, whether it gets much use or not, it’s available.  And it might come in handy if, for instance, you don’t remember how to spell Giganotosaurus.

Exclude Retired Pieces

On the previous version of the site the Manage Pieces page let you filter your list of pieces by checking the “Exclude Accepted” box so you’d only see unsold stories.  A new box has been added to “Exclude Retired” (which are simply any pieces that you have marked as retired so they don’t show up in your dropdown list of pieces).

Grinder Favicon

The Submission Grinder site now has a favicon in the form of the site logo.  This is what shows up on shortcuts or browser tabs.  Might come in handy for spotting at a glance which tabs were Grinder tabs.

 

 

 

Introducing: The Submission Grinder Newsletter

written by David Steffen

Since the start of 2016 I have been working hard on completing some major upgrades to the Submission Grinder site.

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the Submission Grinder is a web tool for writers to find markets for their fiction: market listings, a search engine to find markets that fit your criteria, a submission tracker, and anonymized submission statistics to get an idea of what kind of response time can be expected from a particular market.

As part of the development work, in January the Grinder began sending out weekly Submission Grinder newsletters to subscribers which contained a list of recently added markets with links to the Grinder listing for each of those markets.  The newsletter also includes updates on Submission Grinder feature development, and fundraising updates.

Starting next week, the newsletter is expanding to also include lists of markets that have recently opened or recently closed, making it easy to keep track of changes in market status, all delivered right to your inbox.

And, best of all, each of these lists is filtered based on user preferences for genre and pay rate, so you only hear about the kinds of markets you have personal interest in.

To sign up for the newsletter you don’t have to be a registered Grinder user, or even have experience with the site’s features.  All you need to is sign up here and enter your preferences for filtering.

There is also a separate newsletter to talk about Diabolical Plots’s publishing projects, which you can sign up for here.

The Long List Anthology Released!

written by David Steffen

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00012]Today marks the official release ebook and audiobook versions of the Long List Anthology, a collection of stories published in 2014 from the Hugo Award nomination list.  (The print version was released not too long ago).

See the Books page for a link to all of the different vendors for the different formats.

In case this is the first you’re hearing about this, I ran the Kickstarter to fund this anthology in October, which you can see here.

I hope you enjoy the stories in this book as much as I have.  Share links!  Leave reviews!

Description

The Hugo Award is one of the most prestigious speculative fiction literary awards. Every year, supporting members of WorldCon nominate their favorite stories first published during the previous year to determine the top five in each category for the final Hugo Award ballot. Between the announcement of the ballot and the Hugo Award ceremony at WorldCon, these works often become the center of much attention (and contention) across fandom.

But there are more stories loved by the Hugo voters, stories on the longer nomination list that WSFS publishes after the Hugo Award ceremony at WorldCon. The Long List Anthology collects 21 tales from that nomination list, totaling almost 500 pages of fiction by writers from all corners of the world.

Within these pages you will find a mix of science fiction and fantasy, the dramatic and the lighthearted, from near future android stories to steampunk heists, too-plausible dystopias to contemporary vampire stories.

There is something here for everyone.

The cover art is by the Hugo-Award winning artist Galen Dara, the cover layout by Pat R. Steiner, and the interior layout by Polgarus Studios.  Audiobook production by Skyboat Media.

Table of Contents

  • “Covenant” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “This Chance Planet” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet
  • “The Breath of War” by Aliette de Bodard
  • “The Truth About Owls” by Amal El-Mohtar
  • “When It Ends, He Catches Her” by Eugie Foster
  • “A Kiss With Teeth” by Max Gladstone
  • “Makeisha in Time” by Rachael K. Jones
  • “Toad Words” by T. Kingfisher
  • “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik
  • “The Magician and LaPlace’s Demon” by Tom Crosshill
  • “The Litany of Earth” by Ruthanna Emrys
  • “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i” by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • “The Bonedrake’s Penance” by Yoon Ha Lee
  • “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” by Scott Lynch
  • “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado
  • “We are the Cloud” by Sam J. Miller
  • “Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy” by Xia Jia, translated by Ken Liu
  • “The Devil in America” by Kai Ashante Wilson
  • “The Regular” by Ken Liu
  • “Grand Jeté (The Great Leap)” by Rachel Swirsky