Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Seven top resources for finding short story anthologies wanting submissions


Many writers enjoy writing short stories, but they aren't always sure where to submit them. So in this post I thought I'd list a few useful resources for finding out about forthcoming anthologies...

1. Anthologies Online

This well-established site can be confusing to navigate, but it lists dozens of anthologies inviting contributions.

2. Anthology News & Reviews

This blog publishes occasional updates about anthologies and other opportunities for writers, including some that aren't easy to find out about through other sources.

3. Duotrope

Duotrope is a free, searchable writers' resource listing over 3075 current fiction and poetry markets. You can use it to search for anthology markets only if you wish.

4. Ralan

Ralan is a site specializing in speculative fiction and horror. The link above will take you specifically to the page about forthcoming anthologies, but there are other market listings as well (e.g. Books, Audio, Humor) - look for the main 'Markets' menu which runs horizontally across the screen (but disappears when you scroll down).

5. Poets & Writers

This monthly print magazine publishes calls for contributions for anthologies in the 'Classified' section of its website.

6. Absolute Write Forums

The popular Absolute Write forums have a section for paying markets, which often includes information about forthcoming anthologies. There is also a separate board for non-paying markets.

7. My Writers Circle

And finally, I mustn't forget my own forum! The Writers Wanted board regularly includes posts about forthcoming anthologies, including some that I have discovered myself.

So there you are - seven invaluable websites for checking out forthcoming anthologies requiring contributions. Do you know any other good ones? Please do post them as comments below!

Photo Credit: Matsuyuki on Flickr.


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Five Free Online Text-Formatting Tools

I don't know about you, but in the course of my writing and editing work I regularly copy text from one platform to another - email, Microsoft Word, PDFs, assorted websites, and so on.

Formatting is frequently a casualty in this process. So I thought today I'd share a few free online tools I've found useful for manipulating text and generally reducing the time I spend correcting formatting problems.

One task I often have to perform is copy text that has been created in Microsoft Word to a format suitable for publishing online. As you may know, Word includes a variety of characters that don't tend to display well online - smart (curly) quotes, long dashes, ellipses, and so on.

I was therefore pleased to discover this online tool to replace smart quotes with regular straight quotes. As far as I can tell, it comes from a website owned by a guy called Dan Hersam. Anyway, I've been using it a lot recently, so thanks, Dan!

As well as stripping out smart quotes (single and double) and replacing them with straight ones, this web-based tool converts Word dashes to the plain text version. The developer says it also changes other Word characters to standard ones. That may be so (I haven't had occasion to test this yet) - but even if the above was all that it did, I'd still find it extremely useful. It's great for formatting guest posts that have been written in Word so that they display properly on my blog, for example.

Another, similar tool is this one from Hochman Consultants. I slightly prefer Dan Hersam's application, but both work extremely well. Check them both out if you ever need this type of assistance with formatting.

Another task I often face is stripping unwanted line breaks from text. This can happen when you're copying text from an email or PDF. I've found this tool from the excellent Text Fixer website perfect for this. Just paste your text in the upper box and choose Remove Line Breaks Only or Remove Line Breaks and Paragraph Breaks. Click on the Remove Line Breaks button and the text will be copied to the lower box with all those superfluous line breaks removed. This is another tool I use quite regularly.

Another resource I like from Text Fixer is their Remove Whitespaces Tool. This is handy if you're editing text where someone has put in double spaces after full stops (I know typists were taught to do this for many years, and may still be, but it's not required with modern electronic publishing systems). Just paste the text in to the top box and choose what you want it to do with tabs (delete them or replace them with a single space as well). Simple, but very useful.

Finally, I was going to mention the Zubrag.com HTML tag stripper (oh look, I just have), but when I checked just now this service was unavailable. Still, if and when it returns, this is another very useful tool, for those times you want to strip all the HTML tags from a piece of text to leave the words and nothing else.

So those are some free online tools I personally find useful in my day-to-day work. Are there any similar resources you know and recommend? Please do post them as comments below!

* Word cloud by courtesy of Wordle.


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Friday, September 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 - Coming Soon!

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.

It is a challenge to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month, and it comes around every November.

From humble beginnings in 1999, when there were just 21 participants, NaNoWriMo has grown into a world-wide phenomenon. Last year 167,150 people took part, and the numbers this year are expected to be even greater.

There is no entry fee for NaNoWriMo (though donations are welcome), and no prizes either. Essentially, it is a challenge to help you write that novel you had always meant to write but keep putting off.

By registering with NaNoWriMo, you are joining a world-wide community of writers who are all seeking to achieve the same end, and are thus able to encourage and support one another.

This year a few members of my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com have registered for NaNoWriMo already, and more will no doubt follow. If you are looking for some 'buddies' to share notes and compare progress with, check out this forum topic.

Although there are no prizes for completing a novel for NaNoWriMo, if you do (and you have to prove it by uploading your work to the NaNoWriMo site), you will be able to download an official 'Winner' web badge and a PDF Winner's Certificate, which you can print out.

And, of course, you will have the first draft of a novel you should be able to polish and submit for possible publication.

There are lots of useful resources on the NaNoWriMo website, including wordcount widgets, web badges, flyers for downloading, motivational articles, and much more. There is also a busy forum where you can compare notes with other participants.

NaNoWriMo is also, by the way, a great opportunity to apply the techniques taught in WCCL's Novel in a Month course, or indeed my own Write Any Book in Under 28 Days.

I'd like to wish you the very best of luck if you do decide to register for NaNoWriMo. Please let me know if you succeed in completing the challenge!

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Mills & Boon New Voices - A Great Opportunity for Romance Writers


Just wanted to draw your attention to the New Voices Competition being run by romantic fiction publishers Harlequin Mills & Boon.

This contest is open to unpublished novelists in the UK, US, Canada (excluding Quebec), Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. If you're an aspiring romantic novelist, the contest website is essential viewing!

To enter, you have to submit the first chapter of your novel (up to 10,000 words in length) via the New Voices Competition website by 11:59 PM GMT on Wednesday September, 22, 2010.

An editorial team will choose ten finalists, who will be invited to submit a second chapter. The ten authors will then face a public vote to pick four finalists, who will submit the 'pivotal moment' of their novel. Mills and Boon judges and a public vote will decide the ultimate winner.

The winner will have their book published by Mills & Boon. They will also get the services of a Mills & Boon editor for one year, an Apple iPad, and a prize hamper containing 36 M&B books. There are also three second prizes and six third, full details of which can be viewed on the contest's Terms & Conditions page.

Even if you don't want to enter the New Voices Competition this time round, it's still well worth visiting the site to read the chapters that have been submitted so far, and the comments that have been made about them by readers.

Check out also the Top Tips page, with links to articles about writing romantic fiction by established Mills & Boon writers and editors.

Happy romance writing!


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Friday, September 10, 2010

Stories Wanted for New Aid Anthology for Pakistan

Pakistan floods fundraising anthologyGreg McQueen, the author and publisher behind the 100 Stories for Haiti fundraising anthology published earlier this year, has a new project. He is organizing a new anthology to aid victims of the recent floods in Pakistan.

Stories for Pakistan will be a book of 50 stories, each no more than 500 words in length, and contributions are invited now. Any subject or genre is acceptable, but (for obvious reasons) no stories with any violence, death, or mass destruction.

Contributors will not receive payment, but they will get a full author's credit in the book, which is likely to be widely distributed and publicized (the previous Haiti anthology raised over 4000 UK pounds). And they will, of course, have the satisfaction of knowing that their work is helping a very good cause.

If you wish to submit a story for consideration for the anthology, cut and paste it into the body of an email, including your name, postal address, email address, and (if you have one) website URL. Include a short (one or two paragraph) bio as well. Send your stories to storiesforpakistan@gmail.com by the deadline of Sunday September 19th.

Stories for Pakistan will go out as an ebook and paperback, published by Greg's company, Big Bad Media. They are also hoping to produce an audiobook version, as well as a version packaged as an iPhone app. All profits will go to the Red Cross Pakistan Floods Appeal.

For more information on this project, please visit this page of Greg's Big Bad Media website.

As a matter of interest, I'm serving as a volunteer editor for this project (as I did with 100 Stories for Haiti) - so I really am looking forward to reading your work!

Photo credit: Pakistan Floods 2010 by Oxfam International.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

One-Stop Self-Publishing Conference

I was recently asked by Vanessa O'Loughlin of Inkwell Writers if I would mention a one-day conference on self-publishing she is helping to organize in Dublin, Ireland, on 16 October 2010.

Inkwell Writers, incidentally, publish an excellent - and free - email newsletter for writers, which I recommended a few months ago in this blog post.

The One-Stop Self-Publishing Conference is aimed at any writer who is thinking of self-publishing their book, in traditional and/or electronic formats. In their press release, the organizers say...

The One Stop Self Publishing Conference will bring together book business professionals to show you exactly how to get your book into print to an industry standard. Find out why good editing is essential, the key elements of a brilliant cover, and whom to contact to get your book into bookshops. Covering the eBook market and social media and free marketing, this conference is essential for all writers, whether they are considering self-publishing or not.

Organisers, publishing industry analyst and ex-Mercier editor Eoin Purcell and Inkwell's Vanessa O'Loughlin, are both familiar with the struggles of new writers. O'Loughlin says: "Self publishing is a very real alternative for many writers who want to kick start their career, more so if you have a niche book that might not have the mainstream sales appeal needed to attract a traditional publisher. It's vital, though, that you give your book every chance to compete on the shelves, and to do that, you need expert advice."

The One Stop Self Publishing Conference takes place on October 16, 2010, at the Fitzpatrick’s Castle Hotel, Killiney, Co. Dublin, Republic of Ireland. The full price is 125 euro, but if you book by 17 September 2010 you can take advantage of the early bird price of 95 euro. A light lunch will be included on the day.

For much more information, and to register, click below to visit the One-Stop Self-Publishing Conference website.


* Aspiring self-publishers might also like to check out Self-Publishing Secrets, written by my colleague Carol Anne Strange and published by my blog sponsors, The WCCL Network.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Three Great Articles on Mind Mapping for Writers

I wanted to share with you today three informative articles on mind mapping for writers by Hobie Swan, a professional writer and author who has used mind mapping for the past 15 years.

I'm a big fan of mind mapping myself, having used the technique since my student days. I adopted it after seeing the original BBC TV series Use Your Head presented by Tony Buzan (the man generally acknowledged as the father of the technique).

I got a few odd looks from fellow students at the time, but my straggly 'spider diagrams' got me safely through my degree, and I've used them ever since for note-taking and planning large writing projects.

Hobie's articles on applying mind mapping to writing are saved on the document-sharing site Scribd, so I have embedded all three below. If you are receiving this post by email, you will probably need to visit my blog to see them. If you still have problems, this link will take you directly to the first of the three articles on the Scribd site, and you can then follow the links from the right-hand panel to see the other two articles.

Note that, depending on the size of your monitor, the embedded versions below may be too small to read comfortably. In that case, just click on the Fullscreen link at the top of each article. When you've finished reading, you can either click on Exit Fullscreen or just hit the Esc key to return to this blog post.

Mind Mapping for Writers Article 1

Mind Mapping for Writers Article 2

Mind Mapping for Writers Article 3

I do hope you enjoyed reading these articles. I should mention that Hobie uses the ConceptDraw MINDMAP program to create his mind maps, and you can read more about this on the company's website and blog. But, of course, you can create your mind maps by hand if you prefer - I still do this personally - or there are free options such as the Open Source FreeMind.

If you have any thoughts about mind mapping for writers, or additional tips for writers on using them, please do post them as comments below.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered my recent blog giveaway.

Many entrants gave great reasons for wanting The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, and I actually feel quite guilty I can't send you all a copy.

The winners were always going to be chosen at random, however, so I picked them with the aid of this online random number generator.

For those who are interested, I numbered all the comments from 1 to 52 and set the RNG to pick numbers between these limits. I continued to generate numbers until I had winners for both the US and non-US draws (as it happened, the first three picks were all for non-US residents).

So I can now reveal that the winner of the prize for a non-US resident was comment no. 26, from Blessing of Harare, Zimbabwe. And the US prize-winner was Cherie Davidson from Washington State, who was - as it happens - the last person to enter before the contest closed, and was therefore number 52.

Congratulations to both winners - please would they contact me with their full postal addresses (and full name in the case of Blessing) as soon as possible using my Contact Me form, or email if you prefer. I will then ask the contest sponsors, Writer's Digest Books, to send your prizes.

Commiserations to those who didn't win this time round, but I hope you are still successful in your writing and publishing endeavours. You can still buy the book at a discount from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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