A Realistic Look at Indie Publishing

Discussions of indie publishing tend to be pretty polarized. On the one hand you have the folks who insist that New York publishing is dead and that everyone should immediately go indie, which will lead to all of us making the kind of money Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking make. On the other hand you have folks who insist that indie publishing is an over-hyped scam for losers who can’t make it in New York, and that anyone who goes indie is an idiot who’s going to go broke and end up living in a cardboard box.

Slightly more thoughtful writers who’ve been successful through New York for a while tend to give indie publishing what they think is a fair shot. They’ll put one e-book up on Amazon, watch sales for a month or three, then report that they’re only making $12.82 per month and that clearly indie publishing is no way to make a living.

Well, no, not with only one book. The trick is to keep going.

Dean Wesley Smith (who in addition to being a successful writer who lives on his writing income, also owned and ran Pulphouse Publishing and knows that end of the business as well) has been posting chapters of Think Like a Publisher where he discusses the publishing end of the business, and how to make it work on a practical, steps-and-details level. His latest chapter is The Secret of Indie Publishing, subtitled “Why Having More Product Is Better Than Having Less Product.”

This sounds like a “no kidding” kind of thing, but it’s something a lot of folks don’t seem to get.

Dean says: An indie publisher needs a lot of products across a lot of sales locations all selling small amounts.

It’s not about having one huge blockbuster that makes the new NYT electronic bestseller list. It’s not about duplicating sales numbers that’d make a New York publisher happy, because New York publishers want your book to sell out in six months. Indie publishers are in it for the long haul, where even modest sales per book accumulate as you get more and more books up, and add up to a very nice income without your having to assume any luck or miracles or bestselling hits.

Dean talks a lot about the “produce model” of publishing on his blog.

Publishing for the last sixty-plus years has worked on the produce model, meaning that traditional publishers treat every book as if it is a piece of fruit that will spoil if not sold quickly. They made every book into an “event” to help sell the books quickly. And if the books didn’t sell quickly, they were pulled from the shelves like bad fruit and trashed.

The reason for this is actually fairly simple. Physical shelf space is limited and the number of books being produced far, far exceeded the shelf space available. So if a book didn’t sell quickly, it was replaced with one that might.

Now, with electronic publishing and POD publishing, the shelf space is unlimited. And there is no hurry. A book can just sell along at a pace and as readers hear about it and find it, the sales can grow slowly.

Putting up one book and watching sales for a month or three months or six months before declaring success or failure (and usually failure) is missing the point. Indie publishing is not like New York publishing, and if you try to treat it the same or evaluate it with the same measuring stick — calibrated on the produce model — it will look like it’s not working. (Unless you’re wildly lucky, but we’re not going to assume you need wild luck to succeed here so ignore that possibility.)

Dean is very fond of running numbers, which he does here in this chapter. He shows how small numbers add up, even when you use tiny, conservative sales estimates. Anyone who’s even vaguely interested in indie publishing, whether for now, the near future, or maybe some time later on, should be reading Dean’s blog, and not just this one series.

Definitely read this one chapter before deciding that indie publishing only pays peanut shells.

Sorting Through Submission Calls

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at submission calls, particularly for my anthology listing posts but also in general. I’ve noticed a few things that turn me off, that make me less eager to send a story to a given market, and thought it’d be fun (interesting, informative — at least entertaining) to make a list. Stealing a gimmick from one of my favorite review sites…

Dear Editors:

== If there’s nothing in your submission call about what you plan to pay your writers, I’ll assume you’re not planning to pay us, and respond accordingly. Note that I shouldn’t have to click through to some other page to find the pay rate; if you’re paying then that info should be in the main call wherever it shows up, and if you’re not then that should be in the main call wherever it shows up. If you’re doing a for-the-love antho, step up and say so.

== When your list of things you won’t accept includes “anything racial” or similar, I have to wonder exactly what you mean by that. If it means you won’t take any racist work, why not say “anything racist?” Refusing to take any “racial” stories could easily be interpreted to mean you only want stories about white people — is that really what you intended?

== Glitches and errors in your submission call make me wonder about your editing skills.

== If your web site is hard to read because of choices you’ve made (medium to light text on a lighter but not white background, eye-searing colors, text of any color over a full color photo such that random words and letters fade into the background, that sort of thing) I’m going to wonder about what kind of cover you’ll choose, and whether I’d want my name on it.

== If your call is buried in your forum (and nowhere else clearly obvious) where topics churn often and there’s no permanent link to the vital submission info, I’ll wonder whether your records (scheduling, editing, sales, cash flow, etc.) are as chaotically organized as your communication with potential contributors. And about your professionalism in general — is it really not worth it to you to put up a simple web site with basic info in a stable format?

== Everyone’s entitled to their preferences, but if your guidelines page is dominated by an abusive, multi-paragraph rant about (for example [cough]) the stupidity and incompetence of any writer idiotic enough to ever use a semicolon, be aware that I’ll back away slowly and never submit anything to you, ever. And I’d probably do the same even if I didn’t generally use semicolons, ’cause dude, chill!

Anyone else have any to add…?


Anthology Markets

If you’ve just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. 🙂 I do these posts every month, so if this post isn’t dated in the same month you’re in, click here to make sure you’re seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, “Until Filled” markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Non-erotica/romance writers: check out Sword and Sorceress 26, Steampunk Holiday Anthology, Steampunk Shakespeare, Night Terrors 2, The Mothman Files, Horror Library, Mortis Operandi and the Fantastic Stories Anthology.


13 May 2011 — Sword and Sorceress 26 — ed. Elizabeth Waters

Stories should be the type generally referred to as “sword and sorcery” and must have a strong female protagonist whom the reader will care about. See Sword & Sorceress 22, Sword & Sorceress 23, Sword & Sorceress 24, and Sword & Sorceress 25 (or S&S 1-20) for examples. We do not want stories with explicit sex, gratuitous violence, or profanity. We are NOT a market for poetry. We are willing to consider stories set in modern times (urban fantasy), but we won’t buy more than one or two of those for the anthology. We always want something short and funny for the last story.

No reprints. No simultaneous submissions.

With regard to multiple submissions, do not submit more than one story at a time. If we’ve rejected your first one, you may send one more as long as it’s before the deadline. We have occasionally bought someone’s second sumbmission. We have never bought a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth submission. If you send us two stories, and we don’t hold either of them, wait until next year to try again. Please do not re-submit stories we have already rejected (including stories rejected in previous years).

If you have not previously sold to Sword & Sorceress, please read What is a Short Story? and Why Did my Story Get Rejected? before submitting to us.

Please do not explain or describe your story in the e-mail (cover letter). If your story can’t stand on its own, fix the story.

Reading period: Saturday, April 16 to Friday, May 13, 2011. Stories received before or after this period will be deleted unread.

Response time is expected to follow MZB’s traditional standards: you should hear within a week if we’re holding your story for the final line-up or rejecting it.

Length: up to 9,000 words, with preference given to shorter stories. The longer a story is, the better it has to be. Long stories should be submitted early in the reading period.

Formatting and Submission:

Format with one-inch margins on all four sides of page.

Please do not use a header or footer.

Your name, full mailing address, and email address must be in the upper left corner, single spaced.

Skip two lines, center the text, then put the title, with your name (or byline) on the next line. We’re not going to be as rigid as MZB was about pen names, but we expect them to be reasonable, rather than cute.

The rest of the manuscript should be single-spaced, with the first line of each paragraph indented 1/2 inch.

If you need to indicate a break, put “#” on a line by itself, centered.

Do not underline; use italics instead. Do not use bold face. We prefer Courier New font, size 12.

Word count will be determined by our word processor; that way it will be the same for everyone.

Save your document as an .rtf file (rich text format or interchange format, depending on what your computer calls it). E-mail as it as an attachment to mzbworks at yahoo dot com. The subject line should be “SS26, your last name, story title” (e.g.: SS26, Bradley, Dark Intruder) — we don’t want submissions caught in the spam filter.

Rights purchased: first rights, non-exclusive eBook and audio book rights.

Payment: 5 cents per word as an advance against a pro rata share of royalties and foreign or other sales.


15 May 2011 — Steampunk Holiday Anthology — ed. Angela James, Carina Press

Carina is looking for steampunk novellas with a winter or winter holiday theme, to be published digitally both individually and as a collection in December 2011. The novellas should be from 18,000 to 35,000 words and feature steampunk elements as integral to the novella. The stories do not need to be romance, or even have romance elements, but can be straight steampunk, or steampunk with romantic elements, and can also feature elements of mystery, thriller, horror or other sub-genres. Additionally, there is no set heat level for these stories, so they can have no sex, or be ultra-sexy, or anything in between.

Essentially, we’re looking for interesting, creative, well-written stories within the steampunk niche that will appeal to readers’ imaginations and add to our growing catalog of steampunk stories.

The steampunk holiday collection will be supported by a marketing and promotion campaign both online and in print. In addition, though the collection won’t currently be offered for sale in print format, each author chosen to contribute to the anthology will receive a set number of limited edition print copies for their own use.

To submit, please send your completed manuscript and synopsis, along with query letter to submissions@carinapress.com by May 15th, 2011. In the subject line, please put Steampunk Holiday: Manuscript Title and Author

All submissions will be reviewed and final decision made by June 15th, 2011.

For questions about this call for submissions, please email Angela James at submissions@carinapress.com

For more information about Carina Press, and to read the submission guidelines, please visit www.carinapress.com


30 May 2011 — Steampunk Shakespeare — ed. Jaymee Goh, Lia Keyes, Matt Delman; Flying Pen Press

An Anthology of Steampunk Short Stories Inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets:

From Hamlet as half-man half-machine to Henry V at the helm of an army of men in steam-powered mechanical suits, the sky is the proverbial limit for adapting William Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets to the Steampunk aesthetic.

This is not intended to be a series of mash-ups, like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but rather re-inventions of the classic Shakespearean stories and sonnets. You are free to adapt Shakespeare’s language and themes to a Neo-Victorian setting as you will, but unlike the typical mash-up, you don’t have to include every line of original text from your chosen play or sonnet.

We prefer stories where Steampunk elements and themes are thoughtfully applied to Shakespeare’s works. Do not simply throw automatons into Hamlet or Steampunk technology into Richard III; consider how such technological changes may reinterpret the original stories. Saying it another way: What new insight will your Steampunk version of Shakespeare bring to the Bard’s original works?

General Guidelines:
==Send all submissions to submissions@doctorfantastiques.com as attachment in either Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), Real Text Format (RTF) or OpenOffice (ODT) format, with a short introductory letter.
==All submissions should have STEAMPUNK SHAKESPEARE: Story Title/Sonnet Numbers in the subject line. Any submissions without this information will not be considered for the anthology.
==We’d prefer inclusion of Steampunk elements in the title of each story, i.e. “Othello, The Half-Machine Moor of Venice” or something similar.
==We also welcome interpretations with queer characters, characters of color, non-heteronormative relationships, characters with disabilities, non-Eurocentric settings and other traditionally marginalized narratives in mainstream fiction.
==All submissions must be received no later than 12 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on 30 May 2011. There will be no exceptions.

Play Adaptation Guidelines:
==10,000 words or less on one scene, act, or aspect of any play from Shakespeare’s canon.
==Integrate Shakespearean language as best as you can within the context of the story; it’s not required that you include some of Shakespeare’s original lines, but it is encouraged.
==The play that your story is based on must be recognizable within your version; if you adapt Henry V, the reader must be able to tell it’s Henry V as source material.
==Any violence or sexual situations should remain within the limits of general audience acceptability. Let the play you’re adapting be your guide.
==You are allowed to submit multiple short stories, so long as you do so by the deadline.

Sonnet Adaptation Guidelines:
==Adapt any of Shakespeare’s sonnets into a Steampunk version of the same sonnet.
==The original Sonnet must be recognizable inside your adaptation (i.e. if we the editors can place your version of Sonnet 156 and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 156 side-by-side, we should be able to identify the origin of your version).
==You may submit multiple sonnets.

Payment is a percentage of the royalties.

If there are any questions about these guidelines, anthology co-editors Jaymee Goh, Lia Keyes, and Matthew Delman may all be contacted via The Steampunk Writers & Artists Guild webportal.

NOTE: This anthology will be released through the Steampunk Imprint of Flying Pen Press as both a print book and an ebook.

For more information and regular updates, follow the our blog.


31 May 2011 — Night Terrors 2 — ed. Marc Ciccarone & Joseph Spagnola, Blood Bound Books

Like volume I, this second volume will be an open themed anthology of horror. Meaning we want stories from all topics and subcategories of horror. Including, but not limited to: psychological, creatures, paranormal, and gore. Remember, evil has no boundaries and neither do we! Nothing is off limits, so take advantage of the freedom. Science fiction and dark fantasy* will be considered as long as it has a strong element of horror. Try to avoid classic horror conventions/monsters (vampires, werewolves, and zombies), unless you incorporate a unique twist.

Third person stories are preferred but we’ll read first person stories as long as they are well done or integral to the plot.

Stories can range from 750 – 4500 words firm and must be rooted in the realms of horror/dark fiction.

Stories must be formatted in the following manner:
— 12 point font
— Times New Roman or Courier New
— Double-Spaced
— Contact information in the upper left(name, address, phone number, email)
— Word Count Upper Right
— 1 Space after a punctuation
— Underline everything you would like to italicize at publication
— Attach as a .doc file

Submission: Starts March 1st and closes May 31st (2011). Selections will not be made until after the submission period.

We’ll accept stories in any setting or time period, as long as it’s well written, powerful and original. Most importantly, scare us. We want to be haunted by your story long after we put it down. Gore and sex are acceptable, as long as it serves a purpose.

Payment: 1st place- 5¢/word; 2nd place 3¢/word; 3rd place 2.5¢/word. All other stories will receive 2¢/word.

Send submissions to submissions@bloodboundbooks.net. Subject should read:
Night Terrors II: story title/author last name

* Fantasy is always a gray area. Dark fantasy to us is more H.P. Lovecraft than J.R.R. Tolkien. We’d like to see a creepy world you created or a flipside image of humanity rather than Middle Earth type realms featuring wizards and dwarfs.


30 June 2011 — Taken By Force II — ed. Christopher Pierce, STARbooks Press

Return to the cutting edge of danger and desire! In this second volume of Taken by Force: Erotic Stories of Abduction and Captivity, I am asking writers to delve even deeper into their dark imaginations and come back with their hottest stories of men kidnapping other men!

Have you ever wanted a guy so badly that you’d do anything to have him, including abducting him? Have you ever seen a big bruiser and wished he’d just tie you up, throw you over his shoulder and kidnap you away from your dull, boring life? Have you ever plotted revenge against a guy that rejected you and wanted to rip him out of his safe, comfortable world and into one where you call the shots and his very survival depends on you?

Let these scenarios stir your imagination and start writing!

All characters must be men (gay or straight) over 18 years old. Stories can be from the point-of-view of the kidnapper or the kidnapped. Stories can have any setting and be any genre (regular stroke fiction, bondage/SM, comedy, romantic, action/adventure, science fiction, fantasy, horror) so follow your imagination into your darkest and raunchiest fantasies…and be sure to bring your pen or your laptop!

Original work is preferred. There is no limit to the number of stories a single author can submit.

On the first page of your story include all contact information: Your name, your pen name (if using), your e-mail address, your physical address and your phone number. Also include a short bio.

Make sure your story has been edited and proofread. Stories that do not adhere to the guidelines will not be considered.

Send submissions as .doc files to: pierce@starbookspress.com with TBF2 and your STORY TITLE in the subject line.

Write to me with any questions: pierce@starbookspress.com


1 July 2011 — The Mothman Files — ed. Michael Knost, Woodland Press

Format: Trade Paperback.

Payment: five-cents per word (upon publication) plus contributor copy. No reprints.

Story length: Up to 3000 words. No multiple or simultaneous subs.

E-mail submissions to: themothmanfiles at yahoo dot com. We will accept .doc attachments only.

I am looking for fictional mothman stories. The setting is not limited to West Virginia or any other regional area known as mothman territory.

I want tales with a solid plot and good character development. Stories should grab the reader’s attention quickly and hold it until the end. I want powerful and emotional tales that are creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody.

Although stories will mainly target an adult/young adult audience, we DO NOT want stories containing language or content unsuitable for children.

Formatting your manuscript:

Double-space. Use Times New Roman (12). Italicize what you want italicized. Single space after sentence-ending punctuation.

Be sure to include your name, address, email on manuscript.


1 July 2011 — The Touch of the Sea: Mermen & Selkies — ed. Steve Berman, Lethe Press

“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” — Kate Chopin

For The Touch of the the Sea, Lethe Press is seeking fantastical stories that feature mermen or selkies, doomed sailors, underwater ruins, the taste of salt on the lips and in the blood.

Have an idea? Written such a tale? The book will be editing by multiple Lambda Literary Award finalist Steve Berman.

— All submissions should feature gay male protagonists.
— Stories should be between 1,500 and 10,000 words in length.
— While some sexual situations are fine for inclusion, this is not an erotica anthology.

We have already accepted stories from such well-known writers as Jeff Mann and Adam Lowe.

Payment is 2 cents / word upon publication plus a contributor copy.

Email us at editor@lethepressbooks.com. Stories should be sent as RTF files.


UNTIL FILLED — Horror Library, Vol. 5 — Cutting Block Press

Cutting Block Press is pleased to announce an open submissions period for the 4th Volume of its Horror Anthology Series, +Horror Library+, to be published in trade paperback during 2011.

We’re looking for the highest quality examples of all forms of Dark Fiction, running the gamut from traditional horror, supernatural, speculative, psychological thriller, dark satire, including every point between and especially beyond. No Fantasy or Sci-fi unless the horror elements are dominant. Read +Horror Library+ Volumes 1-3 to see what’s already pleased us. Special consideration will be given those pieces that we find profoundly disturbing, though blood and violence on their own won’t cut it. While we will consider tales of vampires, ghosts and zombies, we tend to roll our eyes at ordinary ones. They’re just too plentiful. Your best bet is to surprise us with something that is different, while well conceived and tightly executed.

Guidelines: Stories will range between 1,000 and 6,000 words, though we’ll look at longer works of exceptional merit. In that case, query before submission. Buying 1st worldwide anthology rights. No reprints. Paying 1.5 cents per word, plus one contributors copy. For established authors, rates may be negotiable. Response time: six months or sooner. Deadline: We will accept submissions until filled. All Queries to horrorlibrarysubs@yahoo.com.

Manuscript format: 12 point courier font, standard margins, left side of header: name, contact info, right side of header: word count, top of first page: title, author

Variances from traditional manuscript format: single space, NO INDENTS, ONE EXTRA space between paragraphs, use bold, italics and underline as they are to appear in story

Subject box: Short Story submission – title of story

Attach story in MS Word Document or RTF (only). Please paste your cover letter in the body of the e-mail. Send submissions to horrorlibrarysubs@yahoo.com.

[See the web page for a special offer on copies of Horror Library Vol. 1 for writers doing market research.]


UNTIL FILLED — Mortis Operandi — ed. Kfir Luzzatto and Dru Pagliassotti, The Harrow Press

MORTIS OPERANDI is looking for stories that revolve around the investigation of a crime and in which the supernatural plays a central role. While we’re expecting a fair share of murders, we strongly encourage stories that revolve around OTHER kinds of crime — for example, arson, assault, blackmail, bullying, burglary, dowry death, embezzlement, fraud, kidnapping, larceny, libel, piracy, product liability, slavery, smuggling, terrorism, treason, and toxic pollution are all fair game.

By “supernatural” we mean magic, monsters, and/or miracles, but we don’t consider psychic abilities (although the inclusion of a minor character possessing them will not in itself disqualify a story), extraterrestrial life, or UFOs to be supernatural.

Types of stories may include whodunits, police procedurals, hardboiled fiction, and courtroom dramas. All genres and treatments are welcome, including ecclesiastic, fantasy, humor, horror, historical, military, romance, and parody. Settings outside the U.S. and U.K. are welcome. Settings on other worlds aren’t.

We want well-written stories that demonstrate originality of concept and plot. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves will be a hard sell, and romantically inclined vampires will be staked on sight. Think outside of the coffin.

Stories will be judged exclusively on the basis of their literary merit; a history of prior publication is not necessary.

Get more information about our thoughts on this antho at Market Scoop.
Submissions & Queries: anthology [[ at ]] theharrowpress.com
==No simultaneous submissions. One submission at a time.
==Please attach your stories to your email in Microsoft Word, RTF, or text-only format. Stories pasted in the body of an email will not be read.
==Please include the words “Submission: Mortis Operandi” in the Subject line of your e-mail.
Length: 3,000-6,000 words. Please include an approximate word count in your e-mail submission.
Reprints: No
Language: English
Payment: US $50/story, upon publication, and a free copy of the book
Rights: Exclusive English anthology print and electronic (e-book) rights. Please read our Sample Contract (pdf) for full details.
Submission period: Opens 1.1.11 — Closes when filled.
Publication Date: 2012


UNTIL FILLED — Fantastic Stories Anthology — ed. Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination is a yearly anthology. Edited by Warren Lapine, Wilder Publications Box 10641, Blacksburg, VA 24063

I’m looking for stories that cover the entire science fiction, fantasy, and horror spectrum. I love magic realism (think Tim Powers and Neil Gaiman) and hard sf. I want a story to surprise me and to take me to unexpected places. I love word play, and would like to see stories with a literary bent, though decidedly not a pretentious bent. I could spend some time telling you what I don’t want, but I’ve found that good stories can make me buy them regardless of how many of my rules they violate. Let your imagination run wild, push and blur the limits of genre, or send me something traditional. I want it to see it all. My experience as an editor tells me that over time I’ll develop preferences and that the anthology will take on its own personality. When that happens I’ll change the guidelines to be more specific, but for now I’m going to explore what’s out there before I decide what direction to go in.

Payment: 10 cents per word on acceptance for original stories (maximum of $250.00) or 2 cents per word for reprints (maximum of $100.00). A check will accompany the contract so no simultaneous submissions please. I am purchasing First English Language Book Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights.

Story length, I have no limit on story length but the longer the story is the better it will have to be.

Sorry no e-mail submissions. Why is this? Don’t you know that e-mail submissions is the future? Yes I do know that, but it’s not the way I want to do this. For me the best part of being an editor is having people over to have slush parties and interacting with them during the reading process. Editing on a screen is a thing devoid of fun or joy, I edit for the fun and joy of it.

[Note: definitely click through on this one; there’s some very useful info in the comments.]

March Stuff Plus

A little late, but just as well because it saves me from having to post an update.

Writing: 12,068 words = 5 pts
Submissions: 4 = 4 pts
TOTAL = 9 pts

Originally it was 5 submissions for 5 points, for a total of 10, but then I got that SASE back. [sigh] I’m assuming the rest of the package didn’t make it, so I re-sent the submission, but that’ll count for April. I have one fewer points for March, but I have an April point already, yay.

I’m not terribly happy with the writing total, either. I’ve certainly had months with fewer words written, but I did all of that by about halfway through March, and fully expected to hit at least 20K by the end of the month. I had some medical issues come up at that point, though, and they were pretty distracting. Still are, actually, although I think I’m over the hump now. Briefly, I have a pretty severe edema (that’s Doctorese for “swelling”) that started in my feet last summer and has progressed up my legs to just below the knee. In mid-February, I got this huge blister in one shin that I thought was caused by an overly enthusiastic space heater, but even after we got rid of the heater, I kept getting more blisters. After about three weeks of diuretics and four weeks of steroid cream, plus random foot-elevating and tight wrapping, the edema’s gone down a tiny bit (not nearly enough, though, and I need to get back with my doctor about turbo-charging the diuretic) and I haven’t gotten any new blisters in a few days. I still have open sores all over my legs at this point, but if the blisters stay away, the sores will eventually heal and I’ll have only the edema itself to deal with.

The dermatologist I was referred to was incredibly busy, so on my first visit I saw his PA. Which is fine; I’ve seen plenty of PAs before and never had a complaint. This guy, though, wasn’t a great communicator. He forgot to mention a couple of key facts on that first visit — one, that the edema itself can cause blisters, there doesn’t have to be some underlying condition or disease to do it, and two, that the steroid cream was just for the itching and wasn’t meant to speed the actual healing of anything — which left me thinking the situation was a lot worse than it actually was. If anyone feels like looking up “bullous pemphigoid,” that’s what I thought I had for a while. It’s not as bad as cancer or something, but it’s pretty distracting. :/

I talked to the dermatologist himself for a few minutes on the second visit, and my third visit (yesterday) was solely with him, and he’s a much better communicator. He’s actually able to be thorough in his explanations — and he draws diagrams even, with labels and arrows — without coming across as condescending. Great skill, much appreciated. The fact that things are starting to clear up, at least on the blister-and-sore level, is also helpful; it’s easy to appreciate your doctor when you’re improving, whether it’s actually due to anything he did or not.

The edema has to go down further, though. I can’t wear any of my regular shoes, and can only get into my velcro-strap sandals if my feet are bare. Socks (basic crew socks, nothing thick) add just enough bulk that the straps won’t stay stuck. I missed an evening concert already because of a lack of available footwear, and Jim and I are going on a cruise in early May, and to a convention in late May, and I need to be able to wear shoes at least part of the time at (and on the way to and from) both events. A friend of mine who’s a pharmacist has told me that my current dosage of the diuretic is very tiny, so ramping that up to something effective shouldn’t be a problem.

Meanwhile, I need to keep my feet elevated as much as possible. That’s logistically difficult, given my habit of spending 90% of my waking time on the computer, but I think I have it worked out, mostly. We’ll see.


A New Writer Story

I know I still need to post March Stuff, but this is too good to wait on. [facepalm] Anyone else ever have this happen…?

I sent a story via Post Office to an SF magazine yesterday, 31 March (yes, there are still SF markets that haven’t dragged their butts into the 21st century), and today I got my empty, unsealed SASE back in the mail. o_O I can only assume that my envelope came open (unstuck or torn or whatever) and scattered its contents all over the sorting room. Just as well they sent me my SASE back, or I’d never have known and would’ve been waiting to hear back from the editor for quite a while; even assuming they get the whole story, which is kind of unlikely, they wouldn’t respond without a SASE. So thanks to the PO for delivering an empty, open envelope and clueing me in.

I’ll admit this is a new one on me. I remember back when paper mail was the only way to send stories in. Heck, I remember when your SASE was the 9×12 and the larger envelope was a 10×13, because you were hand-typing your manuscripts and if it was rejected, you wanted that sucker back, rather than just the slip. I never had the whole thing fall apart, or be torn apart, or whatever happened yesterday.

The Post Office is closed for today, but I have a new package done up and will try again tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll get through unscathed.

Angie, crossing a set of virtual fingers