TSM’s Weekly Recommendations: Art Contests, Blog Articles, and Podcasts

TSM Recommends: Podcasts for WritersIn addition to the normal blog posts and videos that I normally mention in TSM’s Weekly Recommendations, I figured I’d also throw in a bonus announcement. Fantasy Scroll Magazine is hosting a cover art contest and it pays. Artists can win up to $700! You can find more information HERE.

Two articles by Janice Hardy:

This first one looks at the pros and cons of hiring a copy editor for your novel and whether its possible to do it yourself:

This second article looks at how to set your goals for your author business plan:

Patrick Ross writes about using extended metaphors in your writing in part one of his extended metaphor series:

Charlotte Dixon discusses writer self-care in this first part of her Guide to the Care and Tending of Writers:

Jann Alexander discusses how to start writing when you suddenly want to do anything but write. I know we’ve all been there:

A podcast on finding the right editor for your novel:


Ready To Submit your Writing? Get a Submission Tracker

Ready To Submit your Writing? Get a Submission TrackerA couple weeks ago, I discussed the importance of getting your work out there, and a couple months ago, I gave some pointers about submitting to literary magazines. Now that I’ve given you the how and why, you’re at the stage where it’s time to start defining your submission plans. What would I suggest?

Make goals

Aim for one hundred rejections. That’s right. This may sound like a glass-is-half-empty kind of approach, but I’ve put a positive twist on it. If you set a goal of one hundred rejections a year, then that means you’ve submitted your work one hundred times. Think about that for a minute.

But if 100 rejections feels like a little too much your first time out, then lower the goal. Either way, make one. Lay out your plan.

Don’t hang your hopes on one piece

The more work you’ve completed and prepped, the better your odds that something gets published. While one piece is away, don’t stop to wait around for the responses. Put it out of your mind. Work on something else — make it even better than what you’ve sent out. You’d be surprised how quickly time passes when you’re focused on something else.

Track your progress

Keep track of when and where you send your stories. If you’re — like me — ridiculously lazy, then I’ve got great news for you! There are tools out there to help you keep track of your story submissions. Thanks to Robyn, I was acquainted with one some months back, and I’ve been using it ever since, but I’ve since learned of others that I think may be beneficial to share with you all. See below.

Submission Trackers

Sonar: A simple, free program developed by author Simon Haynes. It lets you plug in your manuscript name and when/where you send it. When you get a response, you simply check a box, fill out any relevant information, and Sonar does the rest. It tells you how long the submission has been out, too. This is the one I am currently using.

Duotrope: Not free, but apparently quite extensive. Membership (after a free trial period) is $5.00 a month. They have a search that allows you to sift through the market, which makes finding the ideal submission places much simpler. They also have their own custom submission tracker.

Writer’s Planner: Unlike Sonar, this one is an online tracker. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen it recommended elsewhere, so if you’d rather keep it online, then perhaps this one will work better for you.

The Writer’s Database: This one is also an online tracker, and I quite like the layout of it. In addition to the submission tracker, they have a searchable market database and a word count tracker. It’s free, too.

Matt Bell’s submission tracker: For the Excel lovers, this one is a pre-made template, so if you like Excel, but you’re too lazy to make your own tracker (as I would be), then you’re in luck.

In conclusion . . .

The submission process doesn’t have to be a stressful, daunting task. Using current technology can greatly ease the transition into publication. If you’re dealing with multiple or simultaneous submissions, then tracking your output is one way of ensuring you don’t bite off more than you can chew. And since so much of it is free, there’s really no excuse not to give it a try. So there you have it. Submitting made easy! Get your work out there!

Have a special tracker you use that you’d care to share? Any experience with the ones listed above? Let me know in the comments!

TSM’s Weekly Recommendations: Articles, Videos, and Other Resources on Writing

TSM Recommends: Podcasts for WritersI was supposed to start these recommendation posts some weeks ago, but December ended up being the Muse Month of Hell, and so I put the project to the side. But now that we’ve more or less got our ducks in a nice, semi-chaotic row, I feel it’s time to get back to business.

Each week the Muses read, watch, and listen to a vast amount of articles, YouTube videos, and podcasts. Sometimes we come across things we think are worth sharing with you guys. So each weekend I will attempt to put together the Muse suggestions of the week and post them.

Note: The selections for this week weren’t necessarily written this week.

Blog posts, articles, resource suggestions:

The YA Muses (we’re apparently not the only ones who call ourselves the Muses) wrote a comprehensive list of things to take into consideration when worldbuilding a few years ago. You can find it here: http://yamuses.blogspot.com/2011/12/world-building-checklist.html

Lisa Voisin wrote an article a couple years ago about writing fight scenes, which I thought made some pertinent points. Definitely check it out if you write stories that involve any hand-to-hand combat or warfare: https://lisavoisin.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/fiction-friday-8-things-writers-forget-when-writing-fight-scenes/

Marcy McKay recently wrote a post titled “Trusting your Writer’s Intuition.” Intuition is arguably the number one resource we as writers have at our disposal. Learning to trust it is essential. Read the post here: http://mudpiewriting.com/intuition/

Looking to connect with other writers or find more information on the current writing, publishing, and editing world? The Write Life has compiled a list of the best 100 websites for writers: http://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2015/#f2sStE:nJD

Dani Shapiro talks about how living our daily life (and all its positives and negatives) feeds our creative needs by providing experience we can use in our artistic lives. Read more “On Art and Life”: http://danishapiro.com/on-art-and-life/

This article discusses why writing in general is good for us psychologically: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/01/19/the-power-of-writing-3-types-of-therapeutic-writing/

Short Stories

If you’re looking for a dose of fiction and if, like me, you like trains and the speculative, then I’d recommend this short story by Finnish author Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen at TOR.com: “Where the Trains Turn.”

Also, the online fantasy magazine I edit for recently (last month) published a new volume of short stories. They’re free to read, so check out Issue #4 at Fantasy Scroll Magazine.


And here is a TED talk on how to build your creative confidence:

Did you find any of these useful? What kind of posts/videos/podcasts do you look for?