Five Ways to Spot a Sketchy Publisher

Everyone right now is talking about some sketchy things publishers do when…

Everyone right now is talking about some sketchy things publishers do when putting out calls for submissions for short fiction and poetry, and trying to advise inexperienced writers against those things. I’ve seen a handful of good twitter threads about not paying authors, especially – here, and here. I ran a literary magazine for two years and have done quite a bit of submitting of my own work.

If you are new and worried, here are some ways to spot a sketchy publisher, when looking through a call for submissions, or reading over a market’s site.

MidAmeriCon 2 Haul Review :)

I went to MidAmeriCon this week and it was varying levels of…

I went to MidAmeriCon this week and it was varying levels of exciting, exhausting, traumatic, and fun. As cons often are. Haha.

When I was designing and purchasing my own ~author swag~ I saw a few review posts of the swag they got at conventions, so I thought I would do my own for MidAmeriCon, in hopes my opinions help someone else.

The last big book convention I went to was RT Booklover’s Con in 2013 (in KC, because travel is ew and I only go to cons local to me, lmao) and they had several awesome events throughout the week where authors sat at booths and you could just come interact with them and buy their stuff and check out what they had. I loved that, and loved how showing up at RTCon got you a BAG O SWAG and that there was a goodie room, and etc. MidAmeriCon … was more like a rennaissance fair/craft fair thing? Which I guess is fun for some people? Idk if I’m at a book convention, I want to do BOOK THINGS. So.

They had  “freebie table” which was just a few folding tables full of free books and goodies. But other than that… there wasn’t a lot of interaction with authors and publishers like there was at RT Con, so. I was a bit disappointed.

Anyway, of the goodies I did get… let’s discuss.

Everything’s Hard When You Hate Yourself: Productivity while Depressed

I have a chronic form of depression called dysthymia. It’s described as…

hate yourself

I have a chronic form of depression called dysthymia. It’s described as a long-term, milder form of depression (as opposed to a “Major depression” which is intense and can last from 4 months to 2 years). However, tell someone with dysthymia that their condition is “mild” and you’re likely to get a hearty “FUCK YOU.” The difference between chronic and major depression is the difference between having a hole shot through your hand with a gun, or slowly bored through you with a rusty spoon. Yes. It’s so much milder.

Dysthymia cannot be cured. You learn to treat it, to manage it, but you don’t have hope of someday getting back to “normal.” A dull, low-grade ache of depression is my normal, and accepting that is a big part of learning to live with it.

So, when it comes to approaching things like productivity, writing, starting a business, etc. most of the helpful blogs and books are very discouraging. “Just do it! Just get your butt in the chair and work hard!” seems to be a recurring theme. “Plan your goals, schedule your time, and put forth effort.”

So what do I do when there are days – sometimes even weeks – when I cannot “just work hard,” when getting out of bed and feeding myself is about the most I’m going to get done that day, when that looming schedule of things I Have to Do causes so much guilt, shame, fear, and self-hatred that it does more harm than good?

I ranted about this on twitter recently and was recommended two good articles (here and here) which were a great starting point for me, but it took a lot more introspection and planning before I found something that worked for me. And I’m going to share with you in case someone might also benefit from this.

There’s 7 main parts to this: accept the situation, set (flexible) goals, try things out, keep detailed records, get to know yourself, forgive your failures, revise your plans, and celebrate your successes.