Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Markets’ Category

July 2012 Writing Update

leave a comment »

It’s been a while, so it’s time for a periodic writing update (July 2012 edition).  I decided to write this after being asked by more than a few people, “Hey, Barb!  Isn’t this blog supposed to be just as much about your writing as it is about baseball updates?”   

Well, yes, it is.  But I haven’t had much to report lately.  I’ve been submitting stories and none of them have been accepted — such is the writer’s lot — and while one of my poems was held until the very last minute at one rather good poetry market (I won’t say which), it ended up getting bounced out, too.

Other than that, I’ve been working hard on getting a story together for the UNIDENTIFIED FUNNY OBJECTS anthology as my main strength is writing funny urban fantasy.  (If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time and have paid attention to any of these writing updates, you probably know this already.)  But the story’s not ready to go; all I can say is that it’s in process, and that if you wish to submit a story to this anthology, follow the directions at the above link — you have until August 31, 2012, to get a story in of your own.

I have hesitated to even discuss my attempt to get a story into this anthology, because I’ve been somewhat afraid to jinx any chance my story might have down the line.  Nevertheless, there’s still room in this anthology and I’m going to take my shot.  Those of you who can write funny stories, or at least wish to give it a shot, should do the same.

Aside from that, I’m not giving up on any of my novels nor any of Michael’s novels.  But none of them are going like gangbusters at this time, either — they’re just . . . there, like nagging guests that won’t quite tell me whatever important news it is that they have because they’d rather I guess.  (And I don’t know about any other writers, but I hate guessing.)

The only thought I have regarding my recalcitrant novels is this: it’s been very hot and humid in Wisconsin, which has sapped my energy and strength.  I haven’t been able to review anything since last week (though I hope to review at least one book over the weekend); I haven’t been sleeping well, either; I haven’t wanted to eat.  And all of that can’t help but get in the way of my creativity as, last I checked, I’m still a human being.  (I point this out mostly because some people seem to believe, perhaps with an excess of credulity, that science fiction and fantasy writers might not be precisely human.)

So that’s about it: I’m surviving the heat, continuing to write and edit, and I’m also thinking about what sort of story it is that might get through at the UFO anthology (listed above).   And as always, if something changes/improves, I’ll be glad to keep you posted.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

My poem, “No Rest,” accepted at Midwest Literary Magazine

with 4 comments

I found out a few days ago that my poem, “No Rest,” has been accepted at Midwest Literary Magazine and will be in an anthology from them called “Due North” along with their November issue.  Here’s their press release, which only gives my name — but does prove my work was accepted so I’m printing it:

I wrote “No Rest” two years ago, kept revising it (I have at least seven different versions, which isn’t uncommon for poets — Dylan Thomas used to work and re-work his poetry constantly, and so did Byron and so did many others like Coleridge and Keats), and finally placed it this year toward the end of 2010.  This is my third poetry sale; the first was to the Written Word online magazine in 2006 with my poem “A Love Eternal,” then sold my poem “Break the Dark Lens” to Joyful! Online magazine in December of 2009.

The writing life is fraught with peril, financially, and is extremely difficult to deal with mentally as there’s far more rejections than acceptances involved for any writer — much less someone who’s not well-known like me.   But days like this are good ones; I wrote a lot this morning (see my earlier blog of today’s date for details) and placing “No Rest” at the Midwest Literary Magazine helps give me encouragement.  I’d badly needed it after having possibly the best story I’d ever collaborated on rejected by the Writers of the Future contest as I’d reported last Friday.

The best thing you can do as a writer is to persist, while the second best thing you can do is to keep your work out there as best you can.  I believe submitting stuff is very important, but refusing to give in and continuing to work on your craft however you can is the absolute most important thing when it comes to writing, bar none.   So don’t let the rejections stop you, my friends; keep on keepin’ on, as that’s literally the only way to succeed in this business at any level.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Realms of Fantasy bought . . . UPDATED

with 3 comments

. . . by Damnation Books LLC.

UPDATE:  Preditors and Editors does not recommend Damnation Books LLC; please see their Web site for further details:

Preditors and Editors is a highly reputable site that monitors agents, book publishers, and more.  If they say this market is not recommended, I’d steer clear unless and until Damnation Books LLC proves they will be much more responsible and reliable than they’ve apparently been in the past.

Jason Cordova, in the comments section, said that he knew Damnation Books LLC wasn’t reliable; perhaps he’d checked Preditors and Editors.

The other things I found out about Damnation Books LLC with a quick search is that they do something rather odd; their e-book prices go up .05 per copy until 119 sales are reached, at which point they stay at $5.95.  This is not author-friendly, to put it mildly, and is a very unusual business concept — I don’t see how it’d pay anyone to do it that way.  (Please see this thread, here:)

Worse yet, it appears from this thread that Damnation Books LLC makes their “real” money by the illegal use of what’s called a “kill” fee, where they do something wrong with your manuscript — bad editing, bad cover, bad whatever — then you end up paying them to get out of your contract.  This is a horrible business practice, and it is one I cannot support.

Note that it’s not only unethical to do something  like this (the whole “kill fee” issue), but it is illegal unless it’s actually in the contract.  Even there, it probably won’t hold up in court because it’s not a normal business practice, so if for some reason anyone reading this blog has had bad dealings with Damnation Books LLC, they should go to a lawyer and find out their rights pronto.

The publisher pays the writer.  It’s not supposed to be the other way around, and whenever you see writers paying the publisher instead, that is not a good sign.

It’s too soon to know whether they will behave at Realms of Fantasy the way Damnation Books LLC has behaved so far in their two years of professional existence.  But since they have a history that’s bad, I’d not submit there until or unless I heard they had profoundly altered their business practices for the better.

Now, back to the link, and the original post.  (BC)


Here’s the link:

The substance of the press release states that all subscriptions will be honored by the new publisher; there’s a new address to submit stories, and the April 2011 issue will be a dark fantasy issue to commemorate the World Horror Convention.  Damnation Books LLC will host a party there, and will have a booth in the press area, according to this press release.

Only time will tell how the new publisher does, much less the type of stories the new publisher buys; as for the editors of Realms of Fantasy, no official word is forthcoming.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm

The Economy 2, SF/F magazines, 0 — or, RoF and DoD shut down due to poor sales figures.

with 5 comments

I was shocked to read at this evening that both Dreams of Decadence and Realms of Fantasy (also called DoD and RoF by cognoscenti) are shutting down immediately due to poor sales figures.  I knew Realms of Fantasy was in trouble; I didn’t know Dreams of Decadence was also in trouble, though they were both owned by the same parent company.

Warren LaPine, the publisher of Realms of Fantasy, said this in his final letter from the publisher, available at this link :

I invested more than $50,000.00 of my own money into reviving (Realms of Fantasy). I tried every traditional method I could think of to increase the circulation, but nothing worked. I also spent a great deal of money trying nontraditional methods. I advertised online with Google and Facebook, neither of which came close to covering their costs. And we created DRM-free electronic versions of the magazine to see if that would help increase our circulation. Sadly, the DRM-free versions never sold more than twenty five copies per issue, and the Kindle editions sold fewer still.

 As things stand, I would need to invest another large amount of money simply to continue publishing the magazine at its current level—an investment that I do not believe would have any chance of repaying itself. So, unfortunately, I have no choice but to close Realms of Fantasy and Dreams of Decadence.

This is horrible news for readers, who now have fewer choices when it comes to quality magazines that publish science fiction and fantasy, but it’s even worse news for writers.  Simply put: the economy gets us coming and going.  We all scramble for the available markets, and while a few new ones have opened that seem very, very good (Redstone SF, Daily Science Fiction, and John Joseph Adams’ new Lightspeed magazine), it seems that every time we turn around, there’s another venerable SF&F magazine like RoF biting the dust.

It’s sad.  It’s shocking.  And I wish I didn’t have to report such horrible news.

The only potential good that may come out of Mr. LaPine’s note as of 10/18/2010 is that he’s willing to sell Realms of Fantasy for $1.  That’s right.  One whole dollar.  But don’t try to buy it unless you’re willing to put at least as much money — and time — as Mr. LaPine . . . I know that if I had at least $50K start-up, I’d be glad to buy Realms of Fantasy and Dreams of Decadence and put everyone back to work.

But I don’t.  And many writers/editors are like me — flat-out busted.

So for now — and perhaps forever — we must bid adieu to these two fine magazines.  How I wish it weren’t so.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 20, 2010 at 4:05 am