D.M. Atkins (Editor)

Protecting Your Creative Work
Written Agreements

by D.M. Atkins

Anyone who is buying rights to your art, photography, writing, or any other creative product, who doesn’t exchange a written agreement with you defining the limits of that agreement is, at best, ignorant and reckless and at worst, extremely unprofessional and probably taking advantage of you. Agreements do not only protect the publisher, but they also protect the creators of artistic products as well. If a publisher uses and/or distributes creative work without checking for creator’s identity and rights, they may inadvertently enable plagiarism.

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A Long Tale of Short Stories
How Amazon strangled the short story, and why we have to try a different strategy to revive them.

How Amazon strangled the short story, and why we have to try a different strategy to revive them.

by D.M. Atkins

Most publishers, no matter their size, primarily sell novels and sometimes anthologies. Stand-alone short stories are rarely salable to customers.

We wanted to see if short stories—as their own art form—could be given the same intensive care given longer works. This would also help us create a range of both authors and genres, allow us to develop relationships with authors, and help promote the careers of those authors. We had hoped that if those short story authors also wrote novels, they would bring them to us. It can be quite a disappointment when an author we have worked with on short stories, turns and gives their novel to another publisher.

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ForbiddenFiction’s 1st Year of Publishing

It was on this date a year ago, Feb. 11, 2012, that we launched our first ebook. In that time we have published 71 ebook stories (15 novels, 13 novellas, & 43 short stories) and released two anthologies. We have also produced twelve print books (and two more will be ready this month). Check out our full catalog. Our works are not only sold through our site at FantasticFictionPublishing.com, but also at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and Smashwords. It’s been exciting, frustrating, scary and hopeful. It’s been an odd, up-and-down trip. We hadn’t imagined that we’d be blessed with so many submissions, and so many wonderful authors. We wouldn’t have stories without you, so thanks for bringing us nearly two million words […]
 

The Real Difference Between Professional Writing and Fan Writing

by D.M. Atkins There are lots of small ways fan writing and professional writing differ. The obvious ways come from the difference between working with a shared canon and creating an all-new story. For example, with fan works, there is less pressure to develop backgrounds and minor characters, or to spend a lot of words detailing people and places. These are easy for authors to spot and deal with when switching from fan writing to pro writing, but the real difference is context. Writing for your friends and fellow fans is a different context from writing for paying customers who may or may not be friends or fans. Fan writing is different from pro writing in much the same way cooking a meal for friends […]
 

What do you mean by plot?

The single most common reason for not accepting a story submitted to us is the lack of plot. So, here’s just a quick response to the question of what do we mean by plot. The question I would ask in reading is, when I’m finished, was I able to identify the conflict and see it resolved? Conflict, internal or external, is one of the primary elements in plot.  Characterization is another. Is this a person we can recognize, rather than the fictional equivalent of a blow-up doll? If it could be anyone, then it’s generic. Generic is boring. D.M. Atkins  
 

The Trouble with the May/December Story

by D.M. Atkins The number one fantasy that has come through our submissions in the last three months is of an older woman, usually also having been a high school teacher, who seduces a young man who comes over to do yard work and/or is the son of a friend of hers. This seems that it’s an important fantasy for many male readers. And yet, every one of these stories has been so shallow, so lacking in heat or depth, as to be mind-numbing boring. I don’t believe the problem is the subject matter, but the way it has been handled. Do writers lack the courage and imagination to really explore this powerful dynamic? If you search the web, you can find a lot of […]
 

Birthday Promises

by D.M. Atkins Today is my birthday! I have travelled around the sun on this planet fifty times. Other folks make “New Year’s Resolutions.” I make birthday promises to myself. In February of 2009, I started working on the business model for a new kind of publishing. My partner registered the domain name ForbiddenFiction.com as one of my birthday presents. In February 2010, I sort of did a “what have I been waiting for” birthday – dyed my hair purple (my favorite color) and changed my first name (the old one never suited me). Rylan Hunter and I outlined the original plan for ForbiddenFiction.com. In February 2011, we launched the early version of this site and sent out the first invitations to some of my […]
 

Slushpile – Wading thru Muck or Panning for Gold?

by D.M. Atkins Let me tell you a true story about finding gold. Slush pile is the term usually used to refer to “unsolicited manuscripts” sent to publishers. The ratio of good stories to bad stories is usually very low and that can make reading them a difficult chore. Yet, both then and now, I always found the chance to find new authors an exciting one. To me, it has always felt like panning for gold. And yes, it can feel like dirty work as well. My first introduction to the joys and pains of reading “slush pile” came when I was only seventeen. I started a fanzine which transitioned into a semi-pro magazine. (We actually paid for submissions by our fourth issue.) Even then, […]