If you want to be a writer ...
Write for themed issues
I'm assuming here that by 'writer' you mean what I mean; somebody who makes enough of a living from their words to call themselves a writer - not the other kind of writer, the one who carries a notebook, looks anguished when you ask how their novel/short story/poem is going, and never actually gets anything into print. If you're one of the former, read on, if you're one of the latter - don't. You already know that one day the publishing angel will reach down and make you a best-selling literary genius without you having to do all the soul-destroying actual WRITING that the rest of us are driven to ...
Theme issues are like gym workouts for a writer - they test your imagination, stamina, and flexibility. They tone your style and hone your form and, if you can remember a couple of things, they can be a swift route to publication success.
What to remember
1. You can't shoehorn an old story into a theme - editors, given maybe 400 stories to choose from, will NOT pick the one that is only peripherally related to the subject matter requested. Either write fresh or don't bother, unless the story you've got sitting in your files is that miracle of synchronicity - a story that could have been written for the theme
2. Many entrants will write the 'same' story - I just read for a theme issue about 'blood'(standing in for an editor who suddenly found life got in the way of literature) and over 40% of entrants sent vampire stories, nearly another 40% sent knife/axe murder stories. We took one vampire and two murder stories, leaving the remaining six stories to come from the pool of less than 20% of writers. Either discount your first idea, because it's the probably the one most other people will have thought of, or make sure it has enough spin on it to make it different.
3. Keep your deadline in mind. There's no point writing perfect fiction that arrives when the issue has been put to bed.
Here's a couple of theme issues to whet your appetite:
Theme: Frontier Fiction (deadline: June 20, 2006). This could be old west meets outer space, Dracula meets Wild Bill, post-apololyptic polka ... you get the idea.
We accept electronic submissions only. The required format is RTF. The RTF text can be included in-line in the email message, but is preferred as an attachment.
Please also include a bio of yourself, including references to previously published works, if any. Let us know if you want us to include your email address with the bio. Author pics are not required, but strongly encouraged. Too shy to send a pic of yourself? Then send one of your favorite car / toy / pet / child / object. If we select your story, but you don't cough up a picture of something, we will substitute in an image of our choice, and the choice may not be one to your liking. (that was an idle threat ... we won't put anything up there to embarrass you, really, we promise!)
Emailing Your Submission: s u b m i s s i o n s (at) n a n o b i s o n (dot) c o m
Subject: Submission - Short Fiction (sf / fantasy / horror) - Title - Author - Author email
Payment: Compensation for published works will be $10 per published story or poem. First world English rights reserved by nanobison. A variation of the template SFWA web contract is used. We will by default keep previous issues of the magazine posted on the website in PDF format, content intact. If you wish to have your item discluded from on-line accessibility after the current issue is "expired", please make that known in your cover letter. It will probably not have any effect on our decision process.
Hayden's Ferry Review http://www.asu.edu/pipercwcenter/publications/haydensferryreview/index.htm
Hayden’s Ferry Review is an internationally distributed magazine publishing literary and visual art. Produced twice a year at Arizona State University, HFR seeks work of high artistic merit from emerging and established visual artists and writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Writers are urged to read the magazine before submitting.
Theme: Works of Witness
Poetry, fiction, essays, and visual art that explore social and political injustice on any scale, give a voice to the voiceless, raise a call for awareness and act as a catalyst for change. Postmark deadline: July 30, 2006. Mail to:
Hayden's Ferry Review (SS#39)
The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-5002