Source

“Eighty percent of U.S. books are produced by the Big Five publishers, but with each passing year — and with a stable small number of annual releases — independent presses are earning more of the literary conversation, gaining frequent articles and reviews in the New York Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker, and more.”

- The Atlantic.

In 2017, according to bookstr.com, the most profitable book sales genres were:

· Romance & Erotica: A staggering $1.4 billion.

· Crime & Mystery: $728.2 million.

· Religious & Inspirational: $720 million.

· Science Fiction & Fantasy: $590.2 million.

· Horror: $79.6 million…


Time for a chat

Growing up, like many people, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I just thought, hey, I’ll go to college and everything will work out. That’s what my parents told me, anyway. So I did, and things sort of did. I partied a lot, studied a bit, and made some great friends. Graduated. Then came the real world. Ugh. A failed stint in financial planning. Retail banking — disgruntled customers and high-pressure sales. Shove the loans down their throat if you have to…

It was terrible.

I fired off hundreds of resumes and couldn’t land another job, so…


Source

Dear Writing,

I hate to be dramatic, but we need to talk. There are some things I need to get off my chest, things I’ve been meaning to share with you for some time now, but haven’t had the balls. The truth is, I’m afraid it will run you off, and I can’t imagine my life without you in it. Just the thought of that scares me to death. Seriously, please know everything I say comes from a good place, and that I really, really care about you — enough that I’m willing to share the truth, even though it makes me…


Don’t do this to your readers!

As the Assistant Editor for Hinnom Magazine, a bi-monthly publication of excellent weird/dark fiction, I get the pleasure of reading a lot of short stories.

One of the benefits of so much reading is learning to spot the little things that hold a story back. Things that, if corrected, can take a story to the next level. And they often really are the little things — just enough clutter to send an otherwise great story to the rejection heap. In today’s post, I’m going to discuss the dreaded info dump.

Most of us have heard the Thou Shalt not Info…


Source

I’m sure many of you are familiar with this term. For those who aren’t, imposter syndrome is the deep-seated feeling that you are a fraud, that you are faking it in some, or all, aspects of life.

I’ve been struggling with a bad case of imposter syndrome lately. It’s crippled my ability to come up with fresh post ideas and delayed progress on my novel. It’s a voice in my head blaring away like an over-caffeinated bully with a little megaphone glued to his lips — Hey, you! Yeah, you! What are you doing? Giving writing advice? Ha! Are you…


Source

Show, Don’t Tell

You hear it a lot as a writer: show, don’t tell. It’s one of the first things you learn. It sounds easy. It sounds straightforward, right?

It’s not.

There are nuances with our old friend, Show, Don’t Tell. He’s actually kind of a bastard. He’s hard to get to know. Hard to figure out. You have to spend a lot of time up on the porch listening to him ramble on and on when you’d much rather be hanging out by the fence with Cool Plot or Brooding (but deeply layered and loveably flawed) Protagonist.

There are a million-and-one ways…


Source: TheWriteConversation.com

As the Assistant Editor for Hinnom Magazine, a bi-monthly publication of excellent weird/dark fiction, I get the pleasure of reading a lot of short stories.

And I do mean A LOT.

One of the benefits of so much reading is learning to spot the little things that hold a story back. Things that, if corrected, can take a story to the next level. And they often really are the little things — just enough clutter to send an otherwise great story to the rejection heap. I want to share a few of these little things in this series, ways you…


Take a seat. It’s time for class. Image by Element5 Digital

So, in August of 2016, after five long years of slogging through the barren wasteland of my first novel, I sat down at the kitchen table and actually read it cover-to-cover.

And nearly passed out.

Several critique partner reviews confirmed my fears. The novel was an unsalvageable wreck. Sure, the writing was good enough, even great in spots, but the nonsensical plot and bland characters made for a smoldering dumpster fire of a book. A hot mess I promptly banished to my desk drawer before indulging in copious amounts of alcohol and self-pity.

Fast forward a month, and I decided…


Source

Picture this: It’s been a stressful day at the office, and you’re out for drinks with a couple of co-workers, chatting about what you’d be doing if it weren’t working. There’s talk of golf or starting a business or moving to a ski village and bumming around for a few years. Maybe a trip or two to the beach. Then the conversation reaches you. You don’t want to say it, you’ve been here before, you know how this goes, but it bubbles out anyways.

“I’m an — I’d, uh. I’d be an author.”

Cue the awkward silence. The glazed looks…

Caleb Stephens

Still chasing my imagination. Assistant Editor Hinnom Magazine. http://www.calebstephensauthor.com

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