Looking for a publisher? Here are some independent publishers that accept submissions of fiction. Note that for most of these publishers, you first submit a query, synopsis, and sample chapters. If they are interested, they will ask for the full manuscript. Some small publishers have started hosting contests with substantial reading fees. The winner of the contest gets their book published. I do not recommend this strategy, as odds of publication are low and the fees add up quickly (usually they are at least $25). The publishers listed below do not have submission fees.
For further research, Poets and Writers has a list of small publishers. Writer’s Market (published yearly) is also a helpful resource.
Leapfrog Press (UPDATE 5/1/17: A commenter notes that Leapfrog now charges $33 for fiction submissions, which they’re only accepting through a contest. This is an unfortunate development. Once again, I don’t think writers should pay to submit to contests, as chances of publication are slim.)
My long-anticipated short story collection will be available for sale on Amazon exactly one week from today! The collection includes 15 stories: some that appeared only in print, a few online favorites, and 5 all-new, never-before-published stories. In this book, I explore the idea of crime, from the newsworthy (arson, kidnapping) to the everyday (lies, betrayal). You’ll read about a young girl who poisons her best friend, a college student who steals a classmate’s ring, and a journalist who contacts the girl she once bullied. What causes these ordinary people to make such bad decisions? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Go online with a specific goal in mind. Stick to it and then get off.
Set social media time limits. My goal is fifteen minutes a day or less. That’s enough to post something, check your notifications, and get off. Even better, go on social media only every two or three days.
Turn off email notifications for social media. That way you’ll be less tempted to go on Twitter, Facebook, etc. every time you check email.
Take note of how much time you spent online. Visualize how that time could be better spent in real life (What are the things you think you don’t have time for? Exercise, reading, taking a class, getting outdoors, DIY projects?)
For long periods of concentration, invest in an internet-blocking app like Freedom.
Set aside periods of no-tech time–weekends, or a few week nights. Physically separate yourself from your laptop and phone.
Keep parts of your life offline. Try not posting photos of everything. It’s worth printing out special photos and putting them in a physical photo album that only you can see.
Don’t always reply to emails or texts right away. I know, this is heretical these days. However, I believe this is about habit and culture formation. If you’re in the habit of replying to messages right away, it reinforces the need to check your phone or email constantly (and if you don’t, you become freer from your devices). Reply time is socially enforced. When we reply instantaneously, everyone expects others to reply right away–causing us to become dependent on phones and laptops. By taking longer to reply, we shift the norm and break the cycle.
Consuming one thing makes you want to consume all the things. It’s not enough to read one or two news stories about an event or person; you have to read all of them.
You find yourself thinking about social media even when you’re not it. You think of tweets or pictures to post even when there’s not a phone or laptop in sight.
You’re not on the internet and you’re itching to get back on. The moment you try to do something serious, your mind urges you to take an internet break.
Every time you read a book or watch a movie or do anything at all, you feel the need to know what other people thought about it. You seek out reviews, amateur and professional, trying to find a piece of writing that sums up your feelings about it in an eloquent, satisfying way. These never exist, but you keep searching for them anyway.
You realize there’s an emptiness to the constant pleasure-seeking, scrolling mindlessly through social media feeds–and yet, even once you’ve decided none of these things are satisfying or enlightening, you continue anyway.
I am very excited to announce that my first book, a crime-themed short story collection titled PALE HEARTS, will be released by Insomnia Publishing later this year. Stay tuned for more specific updates!
In addition, I was just awarded my first artist residency. I’ll be spending a month at New York Mills Regional Cultural Center to work on my novel, a story about the rivalry between two teenage classical musicians.
This novel examines the ambitions of Adam and Cynthia Morey, who ascend from the middle class into the realm of the wealthy–thanks, in no small part, to Adam’s adventures in insider trading. The Moreys are narcissistic, shallow, and materialistic, but somehow compelling in their shameless grand devotion to vice. Yet the characters never become caricatures. Despite all their flaws, the Moreys remain loyal to each other as a family. Adam and Cynthia both have opportunities to cheat on each other, but choose not to. Cynthia is a caring mother, not only to her own children but also to her daughter’s troubled best friend. (I found these to be surprisingly touching developments; dysfunction is in vogue as a literary subject, and it was nice to read about a fictional family that actually stays together.) The Privileges is at once entertaining, unsettling, and beautifully written, making for an enjoyable and memorable read.
There were four ways to kill someone with peanut butter. Beth had listed them herself. So it was practically her own fault, Anna reasoned, that the last way was so easy.
Gym was the best time, when she had easy access to Beth’s lunchbox. In the midst of the dodgeball melee, Anna frowned, rubbed her stomach, and muttered to the male gym teacher about a certain time of month, earning a blush and unlimited bathroom rights. On her way to the lockers, she paused to watch Beth run from a boy who slung ruthless dodgeballs at the weak. Beth escaped him, but she wouldn’t escape this.
I have another music-themed story out this week! This one’s about the odd relationship between two musicology grad students who meet at a conference. I am thrilled that New World Writing has posted this piece. I have admired this journal for a while and it is an honor to have my work published there. I also enjoyed the other stories they published this month– especially this one by Anna Hagen, a fellow Harvard grad!
I have a new story, “Counterpoint,” up at Gravel Mag. The story follows a church organist as he tries to win back his violinist girlfriend after geography disrupts their relationship. Check it out here.