I submitted an article to Writing Magazine at the start of the year and received an email back very quickly to say they liked it and wanted to keep hold of it for when they had a suitable gap. And I've just had confirmed that it will be printed in the November edition, which is extremely gratifying.
A lot of my focus so far this year has been on editing my first novel and finishing the first draft of my second. When I completed both over the summer, I planned to take a break from writing altogether for a few weeks, to recharge and enjoy the lack of deadlines. But what actually happened was that I wrote every day for over two weeks and produced a ton of new stuff.
That intensive creativity has dropped off now, and I’ve mostly been writing reviews for the last few weeks, with only bits and pieces of fiction here and there. What I think happened was that, once released from the obligation of working primarily on huge and complex projects, my brain decided to celebrate its freedom by coming up with loads of ideas for little pieces of a kind it hadn’t been able to produce for a while.
This coincided with me discovering Black Hare Press and Fantasia Divinity, both small presses that regularly publish collections of drabbles. Given a theme and a required word count of exactly 100 words, I went to town and produced over twenty of these little gems in very short order. I’m subsequently going to be included in four upcoming anthologies.
When I’m writing short fiction, I do love a theme and a word count, and I’ve got very good and tailoring ideas to specific lengths. It turns out that crafting a story into exactly 100 words comes quite naturally to me, and it’s tremendous fun.
I do now want to start working on some slightly longer stories as well. Finding a middle ground between drabbles and novels would be good! But I’m definitely going to continue producing drabbles when opportunities arise and I’m grateful to have discovered them at the perfect time when I really needed something quick, easy and fun to do after finishing (temporarily) work on the novels.
There was an article in Writing Magazine some time ago about The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, suggesting that all published authors should sign up and log their publications on the website. So I did, not really knowing what it was all about.
The ALCS collect money for ‘secondary uses’ of writers’ work – such as photocopies, cable retransmission, digital reproduction and educational recording. Now, I don’t understand what most of those things are, or why they would apply to the paltry number of publications I’ve managed to log on the site.
Whenever I get something published, one of the things I now do is log it with the ALCS. This requires providing the name of the publisher, the title of the work, the ISBN of the publication and the date it was published.
They then do whatever magic investigations they do and collect fees from people who are using that work for the purposes listed above.
The ALCS website says:
“For many members, we’re a mysterious organisation that sends them a payment every so often. Some even find us secretive. Yet for others, the reality of where the money comes from is possibly too detailed. There are even potential members who think we’re a scam — until their first payment arrives.”
As they were featured in Writing Magazine, I knew they weren’t a scam, but I had no real idea what they did and how it might benefit me as a writer. But it was only £36 for lifetime membership, which would be taken off my first payment, rather than as an up-front fee. So I figured why not?
Then, last week, based on the fifteen works I currently have registered on the site, I received my first statement. And it was over £400 - after the ALCS had taken their 9.5% cut and the one-off membership fee!
I was flabbergasted, not least because this is about four times what I was actually paid in total for the first publication rights of those stories! Even having read the statement, I have no idea where this money has come from (it was listed mostly as “reproduction of journals”). But I’m certainly not complaining.
So, if you’ve had anything published in the last few years (I think it has to be logged within a certain amount of time to be eligible), sign yourself up. You never know what might come out of it.
Mysterious they may be. But the ALCS can have their 9.5% and gladly. Keep up the good work!
I am now officially a reviewer for Fringe Guru, which reviews as many shows as possible at various fringe theatre festivals throughout the year.
My first review is here.
And I'm going to be reviewing throughout The Vaults festival at Waterloo over the next couple of months, with a stint at Edinburgh planned for the summer.