How to teleport a publisher

ComputerScreenBefore the sun peeks over the horizon, a glow illuminates the computer screen in my office. Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I sift through submissions, waiting to be reeled into irresistible tales filled with fresh surroundings and rich characters. Once I confirm that the author followed the submission guidelines, I dive a bit deeper into the first fifty pages. After selecting the polished gem that caught and held my attention, I turn to other tasks for the morning. By lunchtime, when I’m still wondering what happens next, I ask for more. Then I wait, savoring the possibilities until the full manuscript arrives. I love to find talent, and you may think the ball is in the publisher’s court, but the power is with the author.

EyeballSoupSubgenre soup. There are so many ways to approach science fiction, a world of possibilities. I am always a sucker for a military hunk or a kick ass chick. Heroes are great! Toss them into a post-apocalyptic world or medical disaster, even better. Throw in a new galaxy or introduce a few aliens, I’m in. Is technology the real star? Is our journey through time? You’ve got my attention. Which one is my favorite? It doesn’t matter. If you love your work, your passion for it will breathe life into the manuscript and that excitement will be contagious. There has been some buzz recently about whether publishers accept humorous science fiction. Really? If you have written a well-crafted work that holds a publisher’s attention, and can effectively conceptualize the right audience, subgenre takes a back seat.

SickCarjpgI get car sick. Don’t sell me in circles, just speak from your heart. I want to be as excited about your work as you are. Take a break from writing and really think through the materials for the submission requirements. Polish your pitch and short description, so that you will catch my eye. Imagine yourself walking down a long line of publishers. There are a hundred other authors walking beside you and each of you has thirty seconds to speak to each publisher before moving to the next. How will you use those thirty seconds to compel that person to fall in love with your story and request more? Don’t be shy or cryptic in your synopsis. Share the vibrancy of your characters and plotline, and don’t leave out the ending. Then, close your eyes and envision who is reading your book. Share that image with us. We don’t expect you to be a marketing expert, but you should be able to tell us who your readers are and why they want to read your book.

DucksInARowOCD ain’t all bad. Polish your entire manuscript, not just the first fifty pages. Yeah, I know, contest deadlines and project target completion dates don’t always match. You can still rise to the top on my desk, but the best way to get there is to be honest. If you are still completing your final pass when you submit the first fifty pages, just say so. We want you to succeed. There are a few specific things you can share with us to forge that relationship. Read and follow the contest rules and submission guidelines completely to catch our attention. First impressions are lasting.

HairyEyeball

Assent Publishing’s Farther Books is accepting submissions. Capture our minds and take us on a journey with you. We are accepting STELLAR SCI-FI Contest submissions until March 15, so fire us up with your manuscript and teleport a publisher!

CONTEST RULES

  • STELLAR SCI-FI Contest submissions accepted from January 15, 2014 through midnight (U.S. Eastern Time), March  15, 2014
  • All subgenres of science fiction accepted including hard, soft, medical, military, utopian, dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, contact, space opera, time travel, horror, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic
  • Manuscript must be complete
  • Word counts accepted – full length (70,000 to 120,000 words)
  • You must note “2014 STELLAR SCI-FI Contest” and book title in subject line of submission email
  • One STELLAR SCI-FI contest submission per author
  • Follow ALL Farther Books Imprint Submission Guidelines http://assentpublishing.com/FartherSubmissions.aspx
  • All submissions will be judged by Assent Publishing Imprint Editors and Acquisitions Editors

“STELLAR SCI-FI” Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • Assent Publishing Contract including all benefits offered through Assent Publishing – professional editing, professional cover design, print and ebook formatting, distribution, intense marketing training through the Assent Academy, and the unparalleled Assent Publishing commitment to author success
  • A STELLAR SCI-FI GRAND PRIZE WINNER Promotional Announcement Blitz promoting the winner and their book ($1,000 value)
  • 50 FREE print copies of their book
  • 10 Months (a total of ten two hour sessions) of One-on-One Author Marketing Coaching with Author Success Coach and Dean of the Assent Academy, Deborah Riley-Magnus ($1,000 value) 
  • An Opportunity to Speak as the Sci-Fi Expert in their own Assent Publishing STELLAR SCI-FI GRAND PRIZE WINNER blog for one full year
  • $100 toward membership in a writers organization or guild of the winner’s choice
  • A Kindle Fire

 “STELLAR SCI-FI” Top 5 Finalists will receive:

  • Assent Publishing Contract including all benefits offered through Assent Publishing – professional editing, professional cover design, print and ebook formatting, distribution, intense marketing training through the Assent Academy, and the unparalleled Assent Publishing commitment to author success
  • STELLAR SCI-FI WINNER Promotional announcements for the author and their book ($100 value)

Contest submissions can be hard, soft, medical, military, utopian, dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, contact, space opera, time travel, horror, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Assent Publishing’s Farther Books Imprint is currently accepting science fiction submissions in addition to contest entries. Send your submissions and “STELLAR SCI-FI” contest entries to editor@fartherbooks.com. Good luck! Please visit us at www.assentpublishing.com.

Posted in Alien Invasion / First Contact, apocalyptic science fiction, cyberpunk, cyberpunk science fiction, dystopian science fiction, horror science fiction, military science fiction, Post-apocalyptic science fiction, Science fiction, soft science fiction, space opera, steampunk, time travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Announcing the 2014 Assent Publishing “STELLAR SCI-FI” Contest!

scificontestHave you imagined possibilities beyond our wildest dreams…or nightmares? Here’s your chance to share them with the world. Assent Publishing’s Farther Books imprint is announcing the 2014 Assent Publishing “STELLAR SCI-FI” Contest. Review and follow the rules listed below to take advantage of this great opportunity. Our bags are packed and we are ready to travel with you to strange new worlds.

CONTEST RULES

  • STELLAR SCI-FI Contest submissions accepted from January 15, 2014 through midnight (U.S. Eastern Time), March  15, 2014
  • All subgenres of science fiction accepted including hard, soft, medical, military, utopian, dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, contact, space opera, time travel, horror, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic
  • Manuscript must be complete
  • Word counts accepted – full length (70,000 to 120,000 words)
  • You must note “2014 STELLAR SCI-FI Contest” and book title in subject line of submission email
  • One STELLAR SCI-FI contest submission per author
  • Follow ALL Farther Books Imprint Submission Guidelines http://assentpublishing.com/FartherSubmissions.aspx
  • All submissions will be judged by Assent Publishing Imprint Editors and Acquisitions Editors

 Creatures“STELLAR SCI-FI” Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • Assent Publishing Contract including all benefits offered through Assent Publishing – professional editing, professional cover design, print and ebook formatting, distribution, intense marketing training through the Assent Academy, and the unparalleled Assent Publishing commitment to author success
  • A STELLAR SCI-FI GRAND PRIZE WINNER Promotional Announcement Blitz promoting the winner and their book ($1,000 value)
  • 50 FREE print copies of their book
  • 10 Months (a total of ten two hour sessions) of One-on-One Author Marketing Coaching with Author Success Coach and Dean of the Assent Academy, Deborah Riley-Magnus ($1,000 value) 
  • An Opportunity to Speak as the Sci-Fi Expert in their own Assent Publishing STELLAR SCI-FI GRAND PRIZE WINNER blog for one full year
  • $100 toward membership in a writers organization or guild of the winner’s choice
  • A Kindle Fire

 “STELLAR SCI-FI” Top 5 Finalist Submissions will receive:

  • PrettySpaceAssent Publishing Contract including all benefits offered through Assent Publishing – professional editing, professional cover design, print and ebook formatting, distribution, intense marketing training through the Assent Academy, and the unparalleled Assent Publishing commitment to author success
  • STELLAR SCI-FI WINNER Promotional announcements for the author and their book ($100 value)

Contest submissions can be hard, soft, medical, military, utopian, dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, contact, space opera, time travel, horror, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Assent Publishing’s Farther Books Imprint is currently accepting science fiction submissions in addition to contest entries. Send your submissions and “STELLAR SCI-FI” contest entries to editor@fartherbooks.com. Good luck! Please visit us at www.assentpublishing.com.

SciFiChick

Posted in Alien Invasion / First Contact, apocalyptic science fiction, cyberpunk, cyberpunk science fiction, dystopian science fiction, horror science fiction, military science fiction, Post-apocalyptic science fiction, Science fiction, soft science fiction, space opera, steampunk, time travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Science Fiction and its Subgenres: A World of Possibilities

AuthorPicIanKaneI was thrilled when Assent Publishing asked me, Ian Kane, science fiction author for Farther Books, to write their welcome blog. Science fiction has come a long way since it was originally conceived. Science fiction, which is founded in science, now encompasses many subgenres. The narrative can take place in the future or in other time periods and usually involves some sort of looming calamity or catastrophic event that is either caused or thwarted by the use of scientific fields or advanced technologies. The term sci-fi was popular in the ’50s, though SF began to gain usage in the late twentieth century.

Many science fiction stories cross over into other mainstream genres, such as romance, scifiromancefantasy, horror, even western. Subgenres sprout up and occasionally contain the unusual ingredients that necessitate the birth of a new cult classification. So, with such a broad spectrum of possibilities, what is Assent Publishing looking for in science fiction submissions? Creating a list of all of the subgenres would be impractical so I will cover the most viewed and read ones.

Apocalyptic
Civilization as we know it is about to end! In this subgenre a disaster is happening or is about to happen as the story is being told and the impending catastrophe that is approaching must be avoided somehow, usually through the use of science or technology. Apocalyptic events can include nuclear wars, global viral epidemics, and sudden catastrophic natural disasters or climactic shifts. This type of plot favors a fast pace as the event is either unfolding or is about to. Examples are Max Brook’s World War Z, George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides.

Alien Invasion / First Contact
silhoetteThese two elements are usually intertwined. They involve the discovery that humans are not alone in the universe and contact with aliens has occurred either on Earth, in space, a distant planet, or even an alternate or parallel dimension. These encounters can range from benign to a horrific full-scale alien invasion and alien abduction. Government cover-ups and conspiracies may also play a role in these narratives. Examples are H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds, Carl Sagan’s Contact.

Cyberpunk
A more recent subgenre of science fiction, Cyberpunk centers around gritty, futuristic universes with apathetic overtones and a heavy dose of high-tech. Mysterious megacorporations, virtual realities, hacking, androids, cybernetic implants, and omniscient artificial intelligences may all be found in these tales. Settings usually describe a reality where advancements in technology have not been accompanied by similar improvements in the quality of life. Examples are William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

Dystopian
The opposite of a beautiful and harmonious utopian society, dystopian science fiction is characterized by a highly oppressive police state, which instills fear in the populace to enforce conformity. Corporate state fascism runs amok. Human greed is at an all-time high, while human rights and individuality have greatly diminished or have vanished altogether. The nail that stands up gets hammered down. Examples are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

Hard
Science and technology, described with accurate detail, are prominent in hard science fiction. History has revealed some of these hypothetical outcomes to be surprisingly accurate, and many not so true. The real protagonist is science, with much less emphasis given to the characters. Examples are Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.

Horror
This subgenre combines the realms of science fiction and horror. Many of these tales are scifihorrorfilled with a sense of isolation and being cut off from the rest of society and safety. Supplies such as food, weapons and ammunition, and other resources are frequently scarce, and the characters are usually facing insurmountable odds. The plot usually revolves around fighting off alien life forms, genetically engineered entities, or other superhuman characters. Examples are Alan Dean Foster’s Alien, Michael Crichton’s Prey.

Military
Military science fiction is where futuristic combat and advanced militaristic technologies play center stage. Duty, honor, and sacrifice are on display. Combat can take place in any number of futuristic battlefields such as alien worlds in far-away galaxies. The scale is usually larger than that of other subgenres, and it features different types of high-tech adversaries, including genetically altered super-soldiers, alien warriors, and power-suit-wearing infantry. Examples are Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War.

Post-Apocalyptic
A catastrophic event of some kind has taken place resulting in a sharp decline of the human race, and small groups of survivors struggle in the aftermath. These worlds are characterized by a bleak outlook and the grim possibility of an early death due to starvation, disease, radiation, and other horrors such as roving bandits, mutants, or zombies. Examples are Stephen King’s The Stand, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.

Soft
Character development and interaction play a stronger role in this brand of science fiction. The intricacies of technology take a back seat to the deeper implications of its effect on society overall. Sociological and psychological questions are pondered and investigated in great detail, and the plots are largely character-driven. Examples are Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, William F. Nolan’s Logan’s Run.

Space Opera
SciFieThese sweeping epic sagas are large in scale and feature interplanetary travel on star ships. Conflicts between various factions can range in scale from a couple of planets to full-scale colliding galactic empires. Space opera is usually serialized with large numbers of characters that share a narrative. Fantastical science and technology is rarely explained in-depth, but used more as a means to an end. Popular themes in this subgenre include colonialism, exploration, human-alien interaction, rebellion, strategy, and heroism. Examples are Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Time Travel
When are we? In this type of science fiction, characters can travel either forward or backward in time—sometimes back and forth—usually by some form of technology, either built or discovered. Alternate histories and universes frequently arise. Examples are H.G. Well’s The Time Machine, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

My personal favorite subgenre? It’s kind of a blend and could range from Dystopian to Apocalyptic, with a heavy dash of good old duty, honor, and sacrifice, and a healthy sprinkling of monstrous entities added to the mix. My new series Fading Empires just launched, with Rising Storm still hot off the press. Established empires are fading and altered realities embrace a sinister future. Fading Empires is a time and place where unlikely heroes, scheming villains, monstrous entities, and ruthless super-gangs clash for dominance. Fasten your seatbelt!

Ian Kane

Author of Rising Storm: Fading Empires Volume I

FERisingStormCoverWeb

Posted in Alien Invasion / First Contact, apocalyptic science fiction, cyberpunk, dystopian science fiction, horror science fiction, military science fiction, Post-apocalyptic science fiction, Science fiction, soft science fiction, space opera, steampunk, time travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment