How to Get Published: Why Submissions Aren’t the Only Important Step

Over the years we’ve evaluated thousands of manuscripts in our various editorial endeavors, from The Dream People magazine to numerous anthologies and our publishing imprints. One thing we realized is that as editors you are never merely signed an author, you are entering into a business partnership.

We also learned the hard way that when investing a book it’s best to meet the author first. That way we ensure everybody is on the same page, so to speak, concerning the publishing process. We also make sure there’s no issue with personality conflicts, or any other potential problems.

Likewise, we feel it’s a good thing for authors to vet any publisher they might work with, and do so by meeting them in person. Second-hand accounts are great, but you know best what you want and need. If something doesn’t click with the publisher you’re better off knowing prior to being locked into a multi-year deal.

One function our yearly DogCon event serves is to provide a platform for authors to meet us. There’s still time to get tickets and join us. Of course, if you can’t make it to the Broadkill Resort you can join us for the highlights online free of charge.

You don’t absolutely have to attend DogCon5 in order to get to know us…instead you could be patient and come to one of our workshops, but they have a higher price tag.

KW Taylor came to our second Bourbon Ridge retreat, during which she had a sit down with us to discuss her writing. The result? A year later we published her novel The Curiosity Killers.

Jessica McHugh was awarded the scholarship to attend our first Bourbon Ridge retreat after we ran a successful crowdfunding campaign. The result? Next year her novel Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven will be published by Raw Dog Screaming Press.

Jim and Janice Leach also attended our first Bourbon Ridge retreat, and their collaborative poetry collection all soon be published by us.

We’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with many others at our events, many of whom we’d like to work with at some point. Some we don’t, and others still are uninterested in working with us. Not everything is about signing contracts—there is such a thing as just having a good time.

horror-workshop-skyscraperMaria Alexander? She was one of those people we just hung out with back in the early 2000s. Over a decade later her debut novel Mr. Wicker came our way, and when we published it she won the Bram Stoker Award.

Lucy A. Snyder? She was somebody who happened to be at a bookstore where we were doing an event. She asked if she could read as part of our lineup, we said yes, things were cool. Years later she put together her collection Soft Apocalypses, which won a Stoker Award when published by us.

You never know where just being cool and hanging out will lead.

The next similar opportunity is our From Concept to Market: Create a Horror Book in One Week workshop in November. While it is an online workshop, the best way to take full advantage of getting to know us is in person by reserving your room with the on-site upgrade.

What is included? You learn the secrets of the most prolific writers, editors, graphic designers, and publicists in this week-long workshop. From coming up with your idea, writing and editing, to cover design, interior layout, uploading your files, and executing your PR plan, we guide you step-by-step through the process.

This workshop has a total value of $1,356.68…but you get $774.68 in value free when you act now! We hope to get to know you better in the Create a Horror Book in a Week workshop.

2 Ways to Save Your Future Self – Today

You know what I regret?

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We played hard at our Bourbon Ridge retreats

I missed –––––– when it happened, even though I was involved in the scene at that time. Why? There were people to take care of, although in retrospect it’s clear I could have called on others to cover for me while I took a weekend to be part of that event.

I didn’t ——————— even though I was invited. Why? There was work to finish, none of which was so important that I can actually remember them now.

I wasn’t part of –––––––– because I wasn’t born yet. That’s the cause of me missing so many other cool things.

[Names and dates have been redacted to protect the innocent.]

There’s a real science behind happiness, and the role of experiences in your happiness. As it turns out that experiential investments–time, money, effort–bring long-term happiness by becoming part of our identity, while material purchases only bring short-term happiness.

Shared experiences also bring greater happiness by providing deeper connections with people. Some of my best friends are people I’ve been on the road with at book signings and conventions. One reason I lament missing so many of those aforementioned events is that I’ve missed even more bonding moments.

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The hot tub is always a hit at our Bourbon Ridge retreats

You’ve been at ground zero for something that turned out to be a big deal, right? Either for your personal circle, or people you are connected with on the internet, or for the public at large, you can list at least one great thing you were a participant in, a witness to. Hopefully more than one.

Do you really want to settle for “hopefully more than one,” though?

There are plenty of instances where I should have taken advantage of an opportunity. Or, better yet, created the opportunity for myself. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I don’t believe it is egotistical to assume other people are like me and have similar regrets.

Save Yourself

So, let’s save our future selves a bad case of hand-wringing and indigestion. We can get ourselves to DogCon5, and wrangle our friends and associates into coming along for the ride. I’ll sleep better knowing I spread the word, and you won’t have to hear about the news on the internet after the fact.

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Tattoos were given on site at the first DogCon

The news? Yes. There will be several new developments unveiled at DogCon5. What constitutes a new development or big news for us? Well, we have been steadily launching or acquiring new imprints, winning awards, publishing international music stars, and having movie deals and foreign translations. I won’t reveal details here, but those in attendance will have the opportunity to be beta testers.

Other than being an early adopter getting in on the ground floor…at a secluded, pristine beach…what else is scheduled?

What if you can’t attend? Well, you can still have access to:
•    Simulcasts of select event programming
•    Free downloads
•    Post-event videos, slideshows, and more
•    A total lack of all the cool things you would get in person

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Goth industrial music star and author Steven Archer reads to kids we steampunked at DogCon2

I feel as though I’ve missed it all, even though I have done a lot of things. And, realistically, nobody can do everything. However…you can take this one action:

Imagine your future self asking Do I regret being part of a cool indie publishing event on the beach?

In your mind’s eye do you see yourself angry and depressed by memories of bonfires on the beach, meals and games with artists, and swag?

If not then visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dogcon5-tickets-26847672110?ref=estw to learn what all the various ticket levels offer you.

Oh, and we’ll be debuting new books during the event. Will you have a new product? Maybe you’re excited about what somebody else is doing? Whatever it is please bring it along and share it with us in person. Thanks!

Upcoming Workshops and Events

Catch me at the Baltimore Book Fest this weekend!

September 25, 2016, 5-6PM
Horror, Dark Fantasy & Paranormal
If it goes bump in the night then it probably belongs here. Join us as we talk about our deepest fears and learn how authors catch just the right feeling of dread to keep you up all night.
Authors: Jeremy M. Gottwig, Richard Groller, John Edward Lawson, Emmie Mears, Damien Angelica Walters.

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September 30-October 3 • DogCon 5

DogCon is a big shindig RDSP holds every year to celebrate books, authors and all our supporters. It’s a chance for the RDSP family to get together, meet each other, show off the latest works and begin new creative ventures. Activities will be running Friday to

Monday but Saturday, October 1 & Sunday October 2nd will be the main event. Each DogCon is different and this one will be more about strengthening the RDSP author community than having public book events. Activities on Saturday & Sunday afternoon/evening will be aimed at the public but other times will be more for the authors. However, anyone is still welcome to hang out the whole time. Plans are evolving but here are some of the things we will definitely do:

  • ticketGuest speaker publicity expert Beverly Bambury will give two workshops on book promotion techniques
  • Group meals/snacks (likely a shrimp boil, s’mores, Gooey donuts and a cookout)
  • Readers Choice Award winner announcement, presentation of the championship belt
  • Beach bonfire (weather permitting) sponsored by Carrion Blue
  • Instigation workshop by Michael A. Arnzen
  • State of the Dog Address, what does the future hold for RDSP?
  • Visit to Dogfish Head brewery (tours are available but are 1st come, not guaranteed)
  • One-on-one sessions with Beverly will be available for a fee
  • Story Swap: authors will swap short pieces & perform each others’ work aloud
  • Thunderdome death matches (just kidding…maybe)
  • Readings by RDSP authors

Book Here


Also, mark your calendar for the very first event organized by the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, free to the public at the Long Branch Library in Silver Spring, MD on Saturday, October 22.
There will be four workshops and panels covering a wide array of subjects, from Imagery in Film to world building. More details to be announced!

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November 5-12 • From Concept to Market: Create a Horror Book in One Week

broadkillcourselogoHave you ever wanted to take advantage of a great idea? Have you wanted to get a book into the marketplace quickly to take advantage of a holiday season, current events, or just plain beat a competitor to your audience’s wallet? Learn the secrets of the most prolific writers, editors, graphic designers, and publicists in this online workshop. You will receive daily training and personal attention, have access to a members-only online community, learn how to save thousands of dollars by doing your own book design using free online tools, compose a manuscript in days, and initiate your publicity campaign. Hosted by John Edward Lawson.

Book Here

Mary Robinette Kowal to Teach Free Workshop in Ferguson, MO

Author Mary Robinette Kowal
© 2012 Rod Searcey.

Award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal is somebody I’ve always supported, and a big part of that is her dedication to not just helping other writers improve, but ensuring all voices are heard. Please take a moment to read the information below and share it far and wide. Also: if you are in the area and interested in writing I urge you to sign up at the link below for this writing workshop. It’s not every day one gets the chance to learn from successful authors free of charge.

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[taken from http://maryrobinettekowal.com]

Everyone has a story they want to tell, whether that’s from fiction or from part of your life.

As I’ve been watching the news roll out from Ferguson and then in waves across the nation, I’ve been struck by how much grass-roots reporting has differed from the mainstream media narrative.

While facts and data are important, we respond most to the anecdote, to the personal story. This is why, anytime someone says, “But it’s just fiction” I want to laugh and laugh at their naive little brains. Stories are what shape the world.

For some people, getting a story out is more difficult than for others. This isn’t about talent, it’s often about opportunities and privilege. Because of the intersection of class and race in the United States, many of the people whose stories are the ones we most need to hear, are also not in a position where they can afford the time and money to take a writing class. So, I’m partnering with the Ferguson Municipal Public Library to offer a free writing workshop.

When: Saturday, January 24th 12:00-4:00pm CST
Where: Ferguson Municipal Public Library
35 N Florissant Rd
Ferguson, MO 63135
What: In this 4 hour workshop, I’ll use a combination of lecture and in class exercises to walk you through how to write short stories. The session will cover economical prose, effective use of point-of-view and how plot works in short form.

To sign up for FREE please visit http://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/im-teaching-free-writing-workshop-ferguson-mo-jan-23/.