New policy

Here’s the deal.  I’ve been trying to politely reply to incorrect submissions.  People using the last resort email without reading the guidelines have been getting summarily and unceremoniously deleted, but others have used the submission form for non-fiction, or they’ve submitted their query via the contact us page, one person even recently read the submission guidelines and somehow got the impression it was pick-mix and skipped straight to the last resort option and even admitted as much in the email.  Until today the ones not just sending us any and sundry email on the last resort address have been getting polite replies directing them to the submission guidelines and form.

No more.

The forms explain themselves.  The submission guidelines, while possibly able to stand being phrased more business like and stuffy (something I’d rather slit my own wrists than attempt to do to the poor defenseless English language), are pretty straight forward and clear.  If you can’t read them, it is now our policy to assume that this also means you cannot write and that we will not be able to finish your book; literacy, after all, ought to be a prerequisite for being a writer.

I’m sorry, but it’s going too far and getting to be too much.  There have been days where over half of the submissions were incorrect and it took the better part of an hour to reply to all of them before adding the people who did as they were asked to our backlog!  That’s time that might have seen the start and finish of someone’s short story.  It’s certainly the amount of time it took me to read our first comic submission!

When you waste our time you waste other authors’ time.  So no more.  When you can follow the guidelines we’ll consider your book.  Until then you’re refiled to the bin without a glance or a tear shed.

Yes, this post is rude.  Believe me — there are hundreds of bad submissions behind it.  Patience and politeness have been exhausted and have left the building.

Penny Palabras – Episode 1

Penny Palabras 001James B Willard has given me the opportunity to take a look at the first issue of his Penny Palabras story — available through Amazon (just click the cover, as usual) — and I must say, it’s very interesting.

Now, I will admit, it’s hard to decide what to say about a single issue of a larger story.  I don’t have the whole plot, after all.  But each issue does have a job:  it has to establish some stage of the larger plot; in this case, it needs to introduce everything.

This does very well.

Let’s start with the fun stuff in graphic media:  the art!  Patrick K Beavers does a wonderful job.  The comic is in greyscale, and this was a great stroke, I think, in maintaining the somewhat … let’s use creepy, creepy’s a good word, tone of the overall story.  The lines are crisp — despite the monochromatic scenery, you can distinguish features; this puts this lightyears ahead of some of the offerings I’ve seen from DC or Marvel at times.

The story itself, an introduction to, well, as the blurb says:

Penny Palabras, 17, has experienced the paranormal for years. She knows that things aren’t always what they seem. Now, she’s tormented by a malevolent entity called the Straw Man. As she searches for ways to banish him from her life, she’s haunted by more than ghosts. Her nightmares won’t let her sleep, her friends and family can’t understand, and the Straw Man is getting more powerful every day.

The setting, the characters, the story, all leave you wanting more — leave you needing that second issue.  In this it does its job well.  I’m not personally a fan of the issue-by-issue story arc format usually called “writing for the trades” and will lean more quickly toward the old-school episodic issues with occassional multi-issue stories, or just a good ol’ graphic novel.  But, that’s me, and the comic universe right now is this.  So who am I to judge?

If you’re looking for something light-hearted and silly, I’d say stay clear of this.  But if you want a good bit of paranormal thriller, with some suspence thrown in … or maybe that’s the other way around … whichever, you should certainly give this a read.  Hell, it’s worth the $2.99 sticker price just for the artwork!

An observation about publicists

As this is an indie reviews blog, I think it is within my responsibility to point out a trend to my fellow broke, struggling authors out there:  Publicists, probably aren’t worth what you’re paying them.

[horror]Whatever do you mean!?[end horror]

I mean out of all the improper submissions to this review site a good 90% of them are made by publicists.  Publicists tend to do things like give me anything and sundry for the title of the book, except the title of the book.  They submit non-fiction or self-help to this fiction only review blog … the list goes on.  Really, if they can screw up the book submission in some way, they’ve done it.  Authors & publishers?  Some, but not hardly as often nor as badly.

So, just from a reviewer’s stand point, you’re really wasting your time and money on most of the publicists that I’ve come across.

Does  this mean publicists are bad?

NO!  Gods, no.  Just like with publishers and agents, some are brilliant (or at least competent) and others are an utter waste of carbon – they tend to resemble humans in this regard.  The key is in carefully research your publicist, ask questions of them before you hire them, then keep an eye on them.  Ask for progress reports, and otherwise check up on them to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.  Remember:  they’re your employee, but unlike the agents and publishers (unless you took a scam artist one of those) where if you don’t make money, they don’t either, a publicist gets paid no matter what.

Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2013, Day Two: Non-Traditionally Published Books

A little holiday shopping help.

Authors and publishers? Might want to post your stuff in the comments.

Readers? Some great stuff listed in there. Check it out.

Whatever

Today is Day Two of the Whatever Shopping Guide 2013, and today the focus is on Non-Traditionally Published Books: Self-published works, electronically-exclusive books, books from micro presses, books released outside the usual environs of the publishing world, and so on. Hey, I put my first novel up on this very Web site more than a dozen years ago now and told people to send me a dollar if they liked it. Look where it got me. I hope you find some good stuff today.

Please note that the comment thread today is only for non-traditional authors and editors to post about their books; please do not leave other comments, as they will be snipped out to keep the thread from getting cluttered. Thanks!

Authors/editors: Here’s how to post in this thread. Please follow these directions!

1. Authors and editors of non-traditionally published books only. This includes comics and graphic novels…

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Neverworld

neverworldE. Racine did a fabulous job in this novel.

I’ll start with the bad, just to get it out of the way.  The book could, as all book could (I swear there are typo gremlins that will make sure that no matter how many times you edit, there will STILL be mistakes) use another proofread pass.  That’s it.  There’re as few as 2 or 3, as many as 5 typo grade mistakes or small missing or extra words per chapter.  Big deal, no?

The story.  You start with a mysterious, otherworldly stranger dropping a baby off on the doorstep of Child Services in modern America.  The little babe grows up to be an outcast teen girl.  Then the fun starts.

I love the very creative Neverworld, a world where fairy tales live … in a manner of speaking.  Truly an imaginative twist on an old standard.

The characters are wonderful.  Sam and Charlie are endearing enough to make you want them to succeed and to be all right.  Captain Jones is the quintessential good-hearted and good-natured buccaneer,  Tom is the great swordsman you’re promised he is …

Is it light hearted?  Yes.  Is it a “serious work of fiction”, I shouldn’t think so.  Is it perfect for a younger reader — maybe 8-10 years old?  Absolutely.  Is it perfect for the young at heart of any age?  You bet.  This story reads well, and is not so terrifying it couldn’t be read to a small child for a bedtime story, or by an older child to themselves, or by an adult looking for a good bit of damned good fun; but it’s exciting.  You’ll devour it before you know as the narrative, the characters, and their misadventures suck you in and don’t let go.

My greatest disappointment?  The sequels haven’t been published yet.  I’ll be standing in line to get them when they are.

This book appears to be available only through Amazon.