What’s next?

Things have been a little quite on the publishing front. Far quieter than I’d like. I haven’t sold much fiction in a while now. Almost fearing I’ve lost my touch. Of course, my energy has been focused primarily on my novel, which has received four partials and one full request to date (which I’m waiting to hear back on). And I’m targeting the pro/semi pro markets exclusively.

However, the nonfiction department has been pretty good. Really, really good. I recently sold to Strange Horizons and Grimdark Magazine in the form of reviews, and I have another review coming out from Fantasy Scroll Magazine in the near future, as well as writing up a article for Grimdark Magazine Issue #4. What about, may you ask? Well, that’s a secret. For now. But all shall be revealed soon enough.

In other news, after several months of holiday, I’m back at uni next week. Sigh. Two 13 week periods of essays, lectures, exams, notes, classes and more. Really exciting stuff. It is my final year, though. And if this whole thing with the agent goes well, I could even leave early and just write full time. That’s just a dream, of course. But it’s plausible.

My first novel had over 100+ rejections. No fulls, no partials, nothing but form rejections left right and center.

The very, very first query I sent out for this second novel received a partial request. Ultimately the agent said no, but it was still mind-blowing. And I’m not giving up. Not by a longshot.

I just hope you’re all there to see it through with me.

Interview: Mark Lawrence- What’s Next?

jeremyszal:

What’s next for one of fantasy’s brightest stars?

Originally posted on The Grimdark Review:

So word has it you’re becoming a full-time writer, are you excited at the prospect? Do you intend to stick with fantasy or write for other genres?

I’ve been writing a book and a bit a year for the past five years or so, and I’m not sure the change will make a huge difference … except I won’t have to cycle five miles to work whatever the weather and ‘do science’ during the day. I’ll probably just get fat and play more PS4.

I don’t plan much of anything. I generally only plan books when I want a publisher to buy them before they’re written, and then I tend never to look at the plan again. So saying what I intend to write in years to come is a tall order. Easier to say that I like variety, so I may well try a children’s book, or a science fiction book…

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StarShipSofa and Hugo nominations

So it’s time of year again when the awards season start opening up, allowing people to nominate stories, podcasts, films, magazines, what have you, for various awards. This time it’s the Hugo award, something that StarShipSofa won back in 2010.

Now, I obviously wasn’t editing the podcast at that point, but even today the thing is a big task to handle. We’re not a paying podcast, and we don’t profit either (in fact it actually costs me cash just for online storage to keep stories and recording safe). Not that it is about the money, of course, but it’s still a hell of a thing to manage, especially as I’m a full time student, have a part time job, and do my own writing in the meanwhile. There’s soliciting submissions, reading unsolicited submissions (you’d be surprised how many I get, and from big, big authors, too) getting the rights to the stories, contacting audio narrators, waiting for them to get back to me, listening to their recordings, working with them to improve their narrations, sorting out files, organizing each and every week’s line up, blah, blah, blah. First world problems and all that.

But you know what? I enjoy doing it. I really do, and I’ll continue to keep doing it for as long as I can.

So what’s the point of this? Well, if you are a listener of the podcast (and why wouldn’t you be?), and really enjoy the poetry, interviews, nonfiction, stories, articles, science news, and all that jazz that we have to offer, I’d encourage you to slot us in your Hugo ballot.

More details can be read here. I’m not legible to vote (I’m not sure if it’s very ethical, voting for the podcast you help run), but if you are, then please do vote for us, or anyone else who you feel deserves your vote. Be fair. There are some fantastic magazines out there, still running strong for decades.

But if you feel that we deserve your vote, then that’s cool as well. But foremost, my goal is to make this podcast the best it can be, for fans of science-fiction, by fans of science-fiction. To have big author, like the ones we’ve had on already such as Sanderson, Moorcock, Hamilton, Watts, Asher, Stross, Lindholm, Levine, Baker, Watson, Gaiman and dozens of others. To introduce new and fresh voices that have never hit big before. To give people countless hours of entertainment and take them to places that only science-fiction and fantasy can take them to.

That’s what I want to do. And I hope you’ll join me and the hundreds of others already on board.

– Jeremy Szal

Sold to Strange Horizons!

I signed the contract this morning, so I presume it’s safe to say that I sold my work to Strange Horizons,named number four on the top ten SF/F magazines around. It’s huge for me, because I’ve been trying to break into this market ever since I started writing short stories back in late 2013.

Is this a story, may you ask? Well, no, it is not. It’s actually a review of the Australia film Predestination. But a publication is a publication, and I’ve officially added Strange Horizons to that list, which is HUGE for me. Really, really huge.

What’s my thoughts on the film? You’ll have to wait and see. The review should be online sometime next week. Make sure to check it out!

New Publication: Grimdark Magazine Issue #2

Issue 2 of Grimdark Magazine was released earlier this month, and I’m super excited. Why? Because I have a publication in it.

This isn’t just any other venue. This a professional venue, one that’s on the standards of the SFWAs. They’ve published incredible authors such as Mark Lawrence, Adrian Tchaikovsky, but in Issue #2 of the magazine they’ve published R. Scott Bakker, Kameron Hurley, Richard K. Morgan, and more. And guess what?

I’m published there too!

Goodreads*sniffles*

I honestly can’t say how stoked I am to have my name alongside theirs. I’ve been a fan of R. Scott Bakker for a while now (reading about the controversy is books have stirred is amusing), Kameron Hurley is a Hugo award winner of incredible work that’s also been “slammed” by a someone we shall call Requires Attention. (That’s all I’ll say. Google is your friend – or in this case, your enemy), and I’m a huge follower of Richard K. Morgan and his work. He’s actually worked on the videogames Crysis 2 and Syndicate. He’s written work that’s considered to be a classic in science-fiction and fantasy. In fact, his novel, Altered Carbon, is getting turned into a film by James McTeigue, the director of V for Vendetta.

And I’m published alongside them. In a professional SF/F magazine dedicated to grimdark.

Even now I’m still busy wrapping my brain around it. Sitting in a boiling hot room, pounding away a cheap keyboard in the summer holidays, I never dreamed I’d be up to this point. And I am.

But I’m just getting started.

You can pick up the issue of the magazine here, on the home website. It’s also on Amazon, smashwords, etc, so pick where you’d like, but remember that this is a new publication that’s going pro straight out of the bat. Do what you can to support them, so grabbing it from the home website would be much better for ‘em.

Also, if you could nab along to Goodreads, give it the appropriate rating, and add it to your list, that would be swell, too.

Thanks for reading, folks!

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2014: A summary

Well, this might be a tad late, but it’s better late than never, eh? You might think that being on holiday gives you more time, but in reality it just frees up the time to do things you’ve been putting off.

Anyway, I’m doing it now. And 2014 was a HUGE year for me. It’s the year I became a published author and sold my first short story to a paying market. I did a lot of things, but it’s best summarized. I managed to do a ton of writing, selling over fifteen short stories, seven reviews, three audio podcasts, four interviews, and was nominated for two awards. I produced two short films and watched over 200 feature length ones. I read 50+ books and wrote one of my own. I’ve had my work stolen and translated into Korean behind my back. Yes, that actually did happen.
I started editing a Hugo award winning podcast and subsequently had the privilege of meeting and working with some of my favourite (not to mention biggest!) all time authors such as Peter Watts, Robin Hobb and Allen Steele. I’ve watched too many HBO shows and drunk too many bottles of beer. I’ve met some incredible people and made friends that’ll (hopefully) last a lifetime. I’ve grown as a person and writer (hopefully for the better!) and I want to thank you all for everything, especially for putting up with me and tirelessly reading my work when it’s been shoved in your faces. So a especially big thank you to all my editors who’ve taken the time to pick up a new writer from the slush when they could have gone for thousands of others.
Being a published author at just 18 years old (I’m 19 now, but I was 18 when I sold my first one) is never easy, nor is it common. The key to getting published isn’t some sort of secret code or manipulation. It’s white paper, black ink, persistence, and a will of steel. I’ve gotten a mountain of rejections and no doubt will continue to receive them. But that one acceptance letter makes all the difference in the world, and that’s all you need. So keep trying, and don’t ever give up.

I hope everyone has a marvelous 2015, one that involves many books being written, sold and read to hungry readers all over the globe. Support your industry, yeah?

– Jeremy