Tag Archives: publishing

House of Phobos vol. 2 – Call for Pitches

House of Phobos Vol 1 Cover
House of Phobos Vol 1 Cover

Last year I put together a collection of short stories call House of Phobos vol. 1. It’s sold well, as collections go, and I’ve wanted to put out a second book for some time. I want this one to be more of a true anthology (mostly stories from other authors). I’ll be the publisher, hire an editor, and get another amazingly terrifying cover from Scott Pond. I will probably even include one or two of my own tales, but this is for me to showcase the talent of other authors.

So, here’s what I’m looking for:

Flash fiction (500-1500 words) – For these I’ll pay $10. If it’s a reprint, I’ll pay $5.

Short stories (1500-8000 words) – For these I’ll pay $.01/word up to $50. Half that for reprints.

For that I’m asking for an irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to distribute the creative works in an electronic text format. I have no plans to make this a print book or an audio book. If I do that, I would negotiate for those rights separately and pay additionally for them.

What the story needs to be about. Fear. Show me a phobia come to life. Make it as visceral (with little actual viscera please) and terrifying as you can. You can do that in almost any genre, but lets face it, horror is where this would work best. Throw in a dash of romance or science fiction or fantasy if you like, but scare our readers.

My budget has its limits, but I would like to have as many as eight total stories. Carving out one slot for me, that leaves seven. I hope to have more than that number submit. To make life easy one me, I’ll be accepting pitches, NOT COMPLETED STORIES, starting today and closing on Halloween at midnight. Send me an email with “Phobos Submission: Story Title” in the subject to scott@scottroche.com. Include the phobia, your proposed length, if this is a reprint, and a 250 word max. synopses in the body of the email. All of this will help me plan the budget and make sure there’s no (or minimal) duplication of phobias.

I would prefer that you do not duplicate any of the phobias from volume one (spiders, dentists, heights, failure, losing your memory, loneliness, darkness). There will be at least one clown story. There has to be. If you want that slot, you may have to tear it from my cold, dead fingers.

Once my dance card is full, I will contact the selected authors and give them a deadline.

Super Heroic Idea

Every once in a while I get struck with an idea. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it bounces off. Occasionally it sticks. Last week I had the notion that it would be interesting to have a podcast that sought out short fiction (<2000 words) and art. I’m still ruminating over the idea and thought it would be good to lay things out here on the blog and seek feedback.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

On the first of the month I’d release a bit of serialized fiction. This serial would stretch over the course of a year. Each episode would follow a particular hero on a mission. These heroes would have been gathered by an older “golden age” hero and called into action. The heroes themselves would be a mix of golden and silver age heroes. The beginning and end of the arc would be written by me and I’d be the show runner. The other ten shows would each be written by someone different. This would be its own universe.

In the middle of the month I’d run short fiction that’s completely separate from the season/year long arc, but would still feature superheroes of all kinds. I’d like to keep the word count low to make production easier.

This whole effort would be supported by a Patreon campaign. Donors would receive things like downloadable art and a higher quality bit rate, an e-book version of the overall story once complete, and maybe some other rewards.

Please take this short survey to help me gauge interest.

The Many Faces of Publishing

Man-E-Faces_human There are more avenues to getting published these days than ever before. I’ve been through a few of these and I have friends that have been published in even more ways. That makes us “hybrid” authors and it seems to be a good path to pursue since each way comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Traditionally published (large publisher) – There are a few authors I know that have been published by what I would consider large publishing houses. Scott Sigler has been published by Crown, a subsidiary of Random House. Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine have been published by Harper. In watching their careers it seems that first and foremost, the advantages involve mostly things on the book production end. They don’t have to be concerned with getting covers or editing done. The publisher takes care of all of that. There is also the matter of getting their books in major chains. It seems that that’s a given with the larger house. That doesn’t automatically result in higher sales, but the visibility can’t hurt. Depending on how large your audience is, there’s also the matter of larger advances (though from what I’ve heard those are getting smaller unless you’re already very popular).

There are certainly a few perceived drawbacks. It can take a year or more to get the book out. You give up a certain amount of control when it comes to things like the cover. You also give up many of your rights in traditional contracts. Given the number of authors I know who like to do things like produce their own audio books, this can be problematic.

Traditionally published (small publisher) – The above authors also have experience with smaller publishers. Then there are folks like Jake Bible, Paul Cooley, and Nathan Lowell who are making or have made significant strides in their careers by publishing primarily with houses like Dragon Moon Press and Severed Press. This direction can often give you more creative control. You may be able to retain things like audio rights and could have some input on covers and marketing. There’s also the matter of a greater amount of mobility with them. Many smaller publishers can get your book to market more quickly. Paul’s latest book, The Black, was written, edited, and published in about seven or eight months.

Of course, since these houses are smaller you might not get the amount of visibility. You might also have to do more of your own marketing. Then there’s the matter of that publisher surviving in a very competitive market. Small publishers are more likely to fold up shop without notice or not live up to their commitments thanks to staffing or other issues.

I’ve had short stories published by smaller presses in anthologies and magazines. So, I’ve experienced both the above mentioned advantages and disadvantages.

Independently published – This is where I have most experience. Most of the authors I know have done this with varying degrees of success. It grants you the most freedom since you are the master of your own domain. With that freedom comes a greater amount of work. In order to be successful, it’s wise to do things like acquiring the services of an editor, a cover artist, and someone to do layout and design. You also have to figure out how to do all of your own marketing or hire someone to do that for you.

With that freedom though also comes a higher percentage of profit in sales. Whereas someone in the first two instances might earn a royalty from six to fifteen percent depending on the contract, an independent can see anywhere from thirty to one hundred percent of sales. All of that depends on what sales channels you use and whether or not you are doing ebooks only. The margins on paper books can be smaller. Of course, that’s also up to you.

The more I watch the careers of my friends the more I am convinced that there’s no ONE TRUE WAY. Having said that, what makes the most sense seems to be some combination of the three. As an author who’s still largely independent, I do hope to one day be published by both a large house and a smaller one. I want to experience all of the options for myself and see what works best for me.

For those of you who have experience in any of these venues, I’m curious as to what your expereinces are and what advice you have for authors like me and those who have yet to dip their toe into any of these turbid and turbulent waters. And have I left anything out?

E-Book Chat

James Melzer, Drew Beatty, and I have a nice chat on ebooks, podcasting and publishing.


Drew Beatty

James Melzer

Scott Roche

Paul E. Cooley

Zach Ricks

Jennifer Hudock

Critters.org E-book Pricing Survey

Jake Bible