So, I’ve been doing some research into printing and bookbinding recently. (It’s changed a bit since my mom worked in a bookbinding factory before I was born.) And I discovered something. For a case-bound book (read: hardcover) it’s actually a little bit cheaper to produce a full-color cover than it is to produce the cloth-covered style that we usually associate with hardcovers. That means that the artwork could be on the book itself, like we do with paperbacks, and there would be no need for a dust jacket. So why do we still have dust jackets? Continue reading

Free Fiction: Eternal Love

Every so often I have a piece of short fiction that I believe is worth sharing with the public, but which doesn’t find a home with a publisher. I will on occasion publish one of these pieces here, accompanied by a conversation on what I like about the piece and what I think its weaknesses are. You are welcome to join in the conversation in the comments section.

Eternal Love

by Kyle Aisteach

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What Publishers Want

As a writer, I spend a lot of time trying to suss out what publishers are looking for. I read what they put out and try to figure out what characteristics of that book or story prompted an editor to say, “I want to publish this over all the other submissions I’ve received.” I also until recently worked on the editorial staff of a literary magazine, trying valiantly to figure out which stories in the slush pile I should send up to the fiction editor and which ones I could safely assume she wasn’t interested in. I’ve also had the opportunity on many occasions to directly ask an editor or a publisher what they want.

You know what I’ve found out? Continue reading

Why Diversity Matters

I’d like you to imagine for a moment that you could go through your local bookstore and get rid of any book you don’t like. And then imagine you could go through and get rid of any customer you don’t like. You’d be left with your perfect, little bookstore, where every book is wonderful and everyone who shops there is your friend, right? Now, ask yourself honestly, how long would that bookstore stay in business? Do you and your buddies really spend enough on books to keep the lights on, the shelves stocked, and the staff paid? Continue reading

The Three C’s

A lot of people have attempted to define what makes a story speculative fiction. More useful, perhaps, is the attempt to define what makes successful speculative fiction. To my way of thinking, a simple starting point would be to ask yourself if your story has the Three C’s: Concept, Character, and Conflict. Continue reading