J.M. Williams

A home for all things fantasy and sci-fi.

The Were-Traveler Open Call: Tribute to Douglas Adams

Nov
19

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Do you write humor stories on your blog? Do they sometimes have a speculative twist, even outright sci-fi roots?

I’m looking at you Shawn Cowling, E.A. Wicklund, and Biff!

The Were-Traveler has, among their Calls for Submissions, an issue they are calling “Mostly Harmful, Sort Of, Something Something 42 : A Science Fiction/Fantasy Humor Tribute to Douglas Adams.” Who doesn’t love Douglas Adams?

While this publisher doesn’t pay, they do accept reprints. You can send them a story from your blog, which is what I did. What you get is the added exposure of their site and social media. And, of course, you get to sit in the issue alongside moi!

Yeah, it’s not the fanciest or most well-known publishing site. But you probably weren’t sending that story anywhere anyway, right? The deadline for the Douglas Adams tribute is January 15th.

You can find Were-Traveler’s submission guidelines HERE.

Pre-orders Now Open

Nov
17

The PRE-ORDER PAGE for The Adventures of Iric is now live on Amazon. I’d like to think it will be the same page for regular sales, once the release date arrives, but I’m not sure.

Justin Cover

Thanks to everyone for all the support you’ve given me over the past year here on the blog, on Facebook, and all the places I’ve been published. Finally things are starting to take shape in the way I had expected when I started on this writing adventure over a year ago.

~JM

The Adventures of Iric–Release Date Set!

Nov
17

Well, I did it. I pushed the button that handed my baby over to Amazon. The official release date is set for Monday, November 20th. But it should be available for pre-order some time soon.

Without further ado, here is the cover:

Justin Cover

That’s pretty decent, right? E. Rachael Hardcastle did a good job. I wasn’t actually trying hard or hoping for much with this collection, since it’s a first and just collection of my blog stories. But it came out very nice. I was shocked when I found the stock photo with this guy. I almost shouted to myself, “It’s Iric!” Really close to what I had in my head when I started writing him.

I struggled a lot trying to decide on the right pricing for the book. In the end, I decided to go a bit lower than what I thought was right. I’m hoping to use this book to build my brand, so I think I need to preference distribution over income. Accordingly, the book will be priced at $2.99 (US) and whatever the equivalent is in other currencies. The length is about average for a novella and seems longer than many flash collections out there.

I have put a lot of work into making this a great collection. All of the stories have been revised, some significantly. For many, this happened during the editing process when they were published across the web in a variety of magazines, ezines, and flash sites. For the rest, I revised and edited as I added each to the collection.

Though this is primarily an Iric collection, there are some bonus stories at the end, featuring my other flash fiction characters from the same setting: Sparrow and Faline.

I really hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of the book when it drops. And if you do give it a read, please give me an honest review on Amazon!

This is just the beginning. I’ve got several more projects coming up soon. Keep an eye on this blog for further news. Things are starting to get busy!

~JM

To J.M. or not to J.M.?

Nov
16

Dear Friends and Followers,

I have a quick question. As I wrap up the formatting for my Adventures of Iric collection, I’ve been reconsidering the way I write my name. These second thoughts (read: doubts) came to me when I received the cover for the book (done by the wonderful E. Rachael Hardcastle).

You see, for stylistic purposes she left the periods out of the first part of my name. She wrote “JM Williams” instead of “J.M. Williams.” And you know what? I think I like it. There are a lot of author names out there that use the initial-period-initial-period style, but few if any that use just the initial-initial style.

Also, there are already a few people listed on Amazon as “J.M. Williams” (with initials), including THIS GUY. And yet, I don’t see any with the formatting “JM Williams.”

Well, thanks for your advice. I think I’m pretty much sold at this point. Good thing I made the choice before my first book was released! It would have been trouble hunting down the 20-or-less sold print copies and whiting them out.

PS> I will be revealing the cover for the collection soon, so stay tuned!

~JM

A Horde of Updates

Oct
29
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Brace Yourselves!

It seems I should take business trips more often. In the past two weeks, while I was away from home and my computer, I received a flurry of publication news. November is turning out to be a big month for me. I could bore you with the details of my trip and my feelings at receiving several acceptance letters while in the middle of doing something totally different. Instead, I’ll keep this short and jump right into the juicy bits.

First, my story “Innocence Lost, Innocence Found” will be dropping on Flash Fiction Magazine on October 31st. Halloween is the perfect day for a good old vampire story.

My story “The Sorcerer” will soon be out in Bards and Sages Great Tome of Magicians, Necromancers, and Mystics. The publisher has announced the book should be released on or about the 1st of November. An extract of another story in the anthology can be read here.

I will have another Iric flash story released on Eternal Remedy on or around the 5th of November. I loved what they did with my last one, the site and accompanying illustrations having a great vibe and not being something I would have chosen to use on my own.

A few weeks ago, I submitted a Storm Hamilton flash story to Akashic Books’ “Mondays are Murder” flash fiction series. In fact, I wrote the story specifically for that series. Interestingly, the publisher accepted the story but wants to use it for a band new flash series they are calling “Fri-Sci-Fi.” I’m going to go ahead and take full credit for spurring them to create a new series.

My horror tragedy story “Last Night” will be dropping on Roane Publishing’s Flash Fiction Fridays on or about December 1st. This one has been hard to place, in part because it is not a very happy story. Be forewarned.

Also, my next story with Antipodean SF should come out the month in both text and audio. Like the last one, I recorded the audio myself for their Anti SF Radio Show. This time I sent them a mildly humorous Iric story. The text version can be found here.

Lastly, I have been working hard compiling my “Adventures of Iric” flash stories into a collection, which I will be self-publishing as an ebook (not yet sure if I will bother with print-on-demand with this one). This was, in part, spurred on by Roane asking me for a personal sale link, of which, of course, I have none yet. It would be nice to have something on Kindle by the time the story drops so they can send some business my way.

Well, that’s all for now. I will, as usual, post direct links to all the stories once they drop. Except for that, though, I will likely be away from the blog for some time still. I need to get back to work on drafting the fourth episode of Call of the Guardian (those of you who subscribed to my newsletter have already seen the cover), as my co-authors and I get closer to going live with our StoryVerse. I will also have some edits to do with my novella soon.

No rest for the wicked.

~J.M.

Random Updates

Oct
14

So one of my stories was just accepted for publication in Roane Publishing’s Flash Fiction Fridays. This was a story that I really liked, but I struggled to find a home for it. The story is a very broody tragedy, not my typical heroic stuff.

(Tangent: Is there a story of mine I don’t like? I always have good feelings about things I wrote, even when they are clearly not the best piece of writing, even the horrible stuff I wrote as an elementary student. Maybe it’s because they are mine and are part of me? I don’t really understand folks who hate something they wrote enough they are willing to just trash it.)

Anyways, the publisher has offered to provide a link to one commercial work, i.e. something I am currently selling. The problem is, I don’t have one! So, I need to get something out by December 1st, if I want it linked and promoted.

As you may know, I have been planning to publish the “Adventures of Iric” collection as my first Amazon ebook, though I was not rushing the project. Seems now it would be beneficial for me to have that done before this story goes live. Just like that, my priorities have shifted again. I need to get a cover made, need to withdraw any pending submissions, confirm all rights have been restored for anything that was previously published, edit the manuscript, and reformat to fit Amazon’s requirements. That’s a bit of work to do in the next month or so.

But maybe that’s not a bad thing.

~J.M.

Exclusive Cover Reveal Coming Soon!

Sep
30

I just recently received the cover images for my upcoming epic fantasy series being released by Fiction Vortex. I don’t want to say much before the big reveal. I will offer some details about the series and the story at that time.

Working with Fiction Vortex has been a great experience so far. I work with two other fantasy authors, and together we are creating a shared universe in which all our stories will take place. Fiction Vortex has coined the term StoryVerse to describe this concept, which most of their new content is built around.

The company seems just about ready to explode right now–in a good way. We have something like 80 authors now under the Fiction Vortex banner. The marketing team has promotional deals all lined up. Management has multiple publishing angles worked out. (A fellow author, Jeremy C. Schofield, who I briefly had the opportunity to work with, just discovered his book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.) I feel very lucky to be here for the start of this.

I am going to be revealing a bit about my project soon. But there’s a catch. The first reveal, and first details will be going out to the Rabble. If you want to be in the know, you got to sign up!

I expect to be sending out the first letter in the middle of next week. I was planning to do it this weekend, but things came up and I had to delay. That just means you have a couple more days to sign up!

I am really looking forward to sharing this with you. Thanks to everyone in the blogosphere who has encouraged or supported me over the last year. It took a while to get spun up, but I feel like things are finally moving now.

~J.M.

The Adventures of Iric Collection

Sep
25

If you have followed my blog since the beginning, you will be familiar with my “Adventures of Iric” series of flash stories, many of which have been published elsewhere. This series represents a substantial amount of work on my part, and I feel it is time to do something more significant with it.

I have compiled all the stories into a single document. It’s just over 19k words now, and I’m sure it will break 20k once I add in the necessary descriptions and character development that is required of a novella-length work but was missing in the flash stories.

I plan for this work to be my first self-published book. It will take some time, though–a couple stories are still awaiting external publication, and I will need to get a cover made and do more revisions. Still, I hope to have it done and on Amazon by the end of the year.

The Iric series began as a world-building exercise for my first book In the Valley of Magic, but grew into something more. I still have not received any positive replies from agents on the book, and I am becoming convinced that the unconventional structure of the book is a deal-breaker for them. Agents are risk-averse by nature; they want something easy to sell. They are not looking to roll the dice on innovation. Thus, I may have to go the self-publishing route on that book as well, despite my resistance.

For now, I am going to focus on The Adventures of Iric, as a preview of the world of In the Valley of Magic. I also have my novella, The Nightingale, being released by Fantasia Divinity early next year. We just completed the cover and have to finish editing now. I also have my episodic fantasy series Call of the Guardian, coming out soon on Fiction Vortex. I am three 10k word episodes in to a 10-episode series, so I have a long way to go with that one. Man, I am busy, ain’t I? I think the novel can wait.

I’ve become very fond of Iric as a character, and I hope you will join me in celebration when his adventures are formally released.

~J.M.

Where to Publish? – The Centropic Oracle

Sep
21

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Continuing my series of publisher recommendations, I’ll like to highlight another audio-story venue. The Centropic Oracle is a online publisher who focuses on science fiction and fantasy stories with some sort of emotional depth. On their submissions page they suggest that “good fiction – particularly SF and Fantasy – should challenge us to examine our own lives and beliefs. It should force us to reflect on how we fit into the world and what it takes to make the world a better place by our being in it.”

This is likely the reason I had so much trouble getting an acceptance from them early on. My stories are less thinky and more punchy. But I knew from the first time I came across their page, that I wanted them to audio-ify one of my stories. I had five stories rejected by them–five!–before one finally made it through. I think the trouble was that I did not write the sort of philisophical stuff they were looking for. Most of my stories were, and still are, very pulpy. That is, until on a whim I wrote “A Brief Glimpse of Everything.”

The productions are pretty darn good, and they also are also a paying venue (CAD$0.01/word). Even better, they only ask for audio rights and do not consider works only published in print to be reprints. So you can send them stories from your blog or that have been published in print-only venues. Or you can print publish something they have already published in audio for you.

Speaking of which, I should try to get “A Brief Glimpse” printed somewhere…

Like AntiSF, the editor at The Centropic Oracle is kind and easy to work with. With my last one they accepted, I forgot several times to send them the signed contract. The editor was well within her rights to chew my head off, but she was very patient with forgetful old me.

Right now they only accept flash stories, since they have too many shorts and those take more time and resources to turn into audio productions. Even so, if you have a SF/F flash story that has an emotional or philosophical slant to it, you would be doing yourself a favor by submitting. There are no submission fees and the turn around time is pretty quick (a few weeks at most).

Give it a try!

~J.M.

Where to Publish? — Anti SF

Sep
03

There are quite a few bloggers out there who post links to markets for writers. The trouble is, more of often than not the markets they share are pay-to-submit writing contests. I have voiced my concerns regarding some of these so-called “publishers.” In short, sometimes the math doesn’t add up.

Regardless, there is little reason to pay to submit your work when there are countless paying publishers that read for free. For writers new to formal publishing–like I was not so long ago–it can even be beneficial to send to publishers who don’t pay anything.

There’s a lot to gain from publishing, beyond just dollars and cents. One should not be so short sighted. Publishing in any venue helps build your brand and helps you learn the submission process. You get the chance of working with editors and staff, perhaps even receiving feedback on your work, and in general learning whether you have any writing chops or not.

These benefits come from non-paying publishers as well.  Moreover, while I don’t have any statistics, I imagine you have a better chance of being accepted into a non-paying market. That gets you in the door to learn the second half of the publishing game, the social exchanges between author and editor (and maybe even contracts depending on the pub). Even better, many of these publishers accept reprints, meaning you can send them work you have already posted on your blog. Few paying markets accept reprints, and those who do have brutal standards for anything that isn’t bringing in first rights.

Most of all, getting published anywhere helps you build confidence and establish relations with the greater writing world. To that end, the first publisher I am going to recommend is one whose editor I have developed a congenial bond with.

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Antipodean SF is an Australian non-profit, print and audio publisher. It is managed by a man named Ion who DJs his radio show under the moniker “Nuke.” Most of the authors they publish are Aussies, but they will read English-language work from any which-where.

AntiSF has many things going for it as an online pub. Not only will they publish your work as part of an ezine issue, they will also add the audio version to the radio show (this can either be author read, or read by the AntiSF staff–usually the incredible Marg Essex). Beyond that, they have a more professional-looking website than a lot of free publishers. And most importantly, they accept reprints. Both of the stories I sent to AntiSF were originally posted on my blog.

If that didn’t sell you, the editor is a friendly chap and is more than willing to work with you to tune-up the story, if accepted. It’s a great place to start learning how to work with an editor.

There really isn’t any reason not to give it a try.

They publish flash fiction of the sci-fi or fantasy variety, and prefer quirky stories that are humorous or turn the genre upside down. Their guidelines can be found HERE.

What’re you waiting for? Give it a shot!

~J.M.

*If you’d like to receive even juicier publishing advice, join the Rabble! I will send out one premium market recommendation with each letter.