Monday, February 12, 2007



WRITING STUFF: EZINES. WHAT ARE THEY? CAN I WRITE FOR THEM, TOO?


From BLUE MURDER, David Firks' ground-breaking classy online mystery magazine from the late 1990s to last year's FLASHING IN THE GUTTERS, Tribe's incredible venue for edgy and raw - beyond noir - flash fiction, ezines have come and gone. These two fine ezines have unfortunately gone. Let's get back to them in a few minutes.

WHAT ARE EZINES? ("eee-zeens")

Ezines are online magazines. They range in visual quality from beautifully-designed and finely-illustrated to very plain to so ornate it's hard to figure out where the writing is. Fiction of all genres, non-fiction, self-help even specialty hobby ezines abound on the net – just Google your favorite phrase and you're bound to come up with an ezine in your field of interest.

WHAT DO THEY OFFER?

Let's take a look at what ezines offer the writer. The most obvious advantage is immediacy. Ezines often have a submissions turn-around time measured in minutes or hours rather than months. No SASE required, just electrons. Usually you can submit via email – and format either in Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) and you can send either in the body of the email – just cut & paste your whole story in – or as an attachment if the ezine permits. Always read the submission guidelines to see what they want.

Archiving is a wonderful thing – most ezines will archive your work online as a matter of routine, allowing you (and your fans) to access your work in past issues.

They also offer one of the widest readerships possible for your stuff – billions of readers from all over the world can access your writing. This is not to say they necessarily will, only that they can. Many have hit counters or readership statistics available, so you can get an idea of how popular a particular ezine is.

The most popular sites, like SLATE (which no longer publishes fiction) are operated just like a print magazine in many respects. Others are the online presence of actual print magazines, and may even share editorial staff, guidelines and publication of submissions with their sister print magazine.

There is a certain amount of prestige accorded many ezines. Literary fiction ezines in particular serve a discriminating community, while many of the genre ezines are also routinely read by prize committees. The Pushcart Prize, Derringer and other prizes have been awarded to fiction published in ezines.

WHAT ABOUT MONEY?

Well, some pay quite well and some do not pay at all. Always check the guidelines for payment.

Some pay in cents-per-word, others in flat rate, still others in merchandise or print copies of sister magazines.

Payment can be by check or through electronic funds transfer. I keep a Paypal account just for this.

WHAT ABOUT COPYRIGHT?

As in print magazines, the ezine usually copyrights your story for the duration of its run (the current issue) at which time the copyright reverts to you, the writer.

WHAT RIGHTS HAVE I SOLD?

Well, as with other magazines, you need to read the contract or guidelines. ALWAYS DO THIS – ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE SOLD! (Back in the late 1990s, I sold several stories to MysteryNet and sold all rights. At the time this sounded good to me as they paid me $100 per short twist story. But last year a film company wanted to negotiate to film one of my stories and guess what – I didn't own it!)

Generally, the rights you have sold are First Electronic Rights and sometimes First World Rights which include First Print rights. This means you have reprint rights still in your bag to sell at a later time, either to a print magazine or to another ezine.

Usually, with an ezine, you have sold your rights for a specific duration, and then allow archiving.

WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE STEALING YOUR STUFF?

Okay, the world is full of nasty people. I write about nasty people all the time in my crime stories, so I know whereof I speak. But plagiarism seems to occur much less frequently than anyone would imagine. In over 50 online stories, I have only encountered one item inappropriately posted to a website. I contacted
the person involved and she took the item down.

I would not hesitate to make a very big fuss if one of my copyrighted items showed up on a website without permission or under someone else's name. I have a hungry (and very good-looking) attorney who would be delighted to sue for theft of intellectual property. But first I would contact the site's owner and try to resolve it that way.

Let me be very clear – publishing your work online in an ezine does not negate your copyright nor does it put your work in the public domain.

That said, I just don't encounter it very often, and I do a regular net search looking for my materials.

WHERE CAN I FIND EZINES?

In order to cut down your searches for ezines, and so you may chooses paying or non-paying, genre or whatever, there are some fine places to look for ezines in which to place your work.

RALAN'S
is one of the best, of course.
http://www.ralan.com/

For Speculative Fiction, you can't beat Spicy Green Iguana
http://www.spicygreeniguana.com/

Preditors and Editors should be in your writers' toolbox anyway, folks:
http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/

NewPages Guide to Online Literary Magazines is a good reference for lit fic
http://newpages.com/npguides/litmags_online.htm

And of course, use your computer search engines to find more. And your forums – many of them have market listings.

WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO WHERE DID THEY GO?

Well, ezines come and go pretty quickly. BLUE MURDER ceased production when the editor, David Firks, suffered a severe illness. FLASHING IN THE GUTTERS was taken down because the editor, Tribe, refused to let the trolls control his webzine. Others come and go as interest sparks or wanes or as editors shift gears or change directions.

Best of luck out there – I love the internet and the world it brings me.


THREE BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Brownies hot out of the oven...






The first little buds on the ends of the apple tree branches, not yet sprouts, but just the little bumps of life

A flock of big brown geese – I thought they were vultures when they flew overhead.







5 comments:

Bernita said...

This shows how dim I am, but - how do you net search for your stuff?
Would not thieves just change the title?

Kate Thornton said...

Bernita, I usually search by a line of the work - my openers are usually a good place to start.

The one item I had a problem with, the person used *my* title too!

Thieves are not always as smart as they think...!

writtenwyrdd said...

Duotrope.com is a good site for looking up publications, too.

Having worked in law enforcement, it is amazing to see just how dumb criminals can be. Leaving id at the murder scene, bragging about what they did in bars where big ears can hear. It's a rare criminal who can keep a low profile longer than that first pitcher of beer or until the statute of limitations gives out.

C. H. Green said...

I love your three beautiful things. And thanks for all the tips.

Talia Mana, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

HMMMM I love brownies, but I've never mastered getting the texture right - a crisp top but chewy in the middle