I’m putting together an illustrated omnibus of all my Flash Fiction Month pieces from 2012 to 2017, and I need your help! This thing will include 186 stories – 31 for each of the first six years I took part in the event – and I’d like at least a significant portion to have an image to go with them. Read on even if you’re not an artist: it matters less than you’d think!
This Google sheet lists the full selection of stories, organised by year (as well as a link to each one to refresh your memory). Produce an illustration for any of them – even if it’s just a doodle on a napkin – and I’ll consider it for inclusion in the book. I don’t promise to add in everything that’s sent, but I don’t rule it out either! Here are some tips to maximise your chances:
- The images will probably be included on their own page, which means it’s preferable for each one to be portrait (taller than it is wide).
- Colour illustrations are absolutely fine (and people reading on phones and tablets will see them in all their glory), but bear in mind the interior of the paperback will be printed in black and white. Most e-readers will show the images in greyscale too.
- Bigger is better. I can always shrink or crop a large image to fit the book, but I can’t do anything to conjure more pixels out of a smaller one!
- Scans are preferable to photographs (if you’re working on paper/canvas/whatever). Each of my #draw365 images is just hastily snapped with my smartphone, and they really suffer because of it. If you don’t have access to a scanner, this blog post offers some handy tips on how to get good photos (even on a phone).
If you’d like to submit an illustration, simply add your name and a hyperlink to the Google sheet. That’s all there is to it, but if you’d like to tell your friends too then that would really help me out a lot!
The goal here is ideally to have one illustration for each of the 186 stories in the book. I’d settle for less, and I might consider more, but that one per story seems like something to aim for. Obviously nobody’s had a chance to ask any questions yet – let alone frequently – but here’s an FAQ anyway.
An FAQ Anyway:
Q: Will I get paid for this?
Q: Will I at least get a copy of the book?
A: If I end up using your artwork, I’ll send you a free ebook! I’ll probably send one even if I don’t.
Q: Why should I send you my work for free?
A: Literally the only reason is “Because you want to.” If you don’t, then don’t. Absolutely do not consider doing this for exposure. That’s a terrible idea in general and in this particular case I can’t even promise it’ll get your work in front of a significant audience.
Q: No, seriously, is there any reason I should get involved with this thing?
A: I think it’ll be fun! If you like any of the stories I’ve produced for Flash Fiction Month, this is a chance to engage with them and create something for future readers to enjoy. If you just like drawing and want to get involved with a big project, that’s great too!
Q: What’ll happen if you get more than one illustration for the same story?
A: I’ll probably just choose my favourite and the other(s) will go unused. However, if it’s a long-ish story then I may be able to fit both in.
Q: How should I add my name and link to the spreadsheet if someone else has already illustrated that story?
A: Just stick them in the next available cells on that row. I don’t anticipate that there’ll be too much competition.
Q: What’s stopping me doing an absolutely rubbish scribble just to get a free book?
A: Nothing. Scribble away! But again, there’s no guarantee I’ll use it and therefore no guarantee of a free book. (This is the internet: I acknowledge the possibility that 5,000 people will send me a hastily scrawled dickbutt, but I’m not emailing out books for the privilege.)
Q: Can I submit more than one illustration?
A: Yes, submit as many as you like!
Q: You’ve emphasised that quality isn’t much of a concern, but I’ve got an idea for something really good! Will that look out of place?
A: I certainly hope not! I hope that people will endeavour to produce work of the highest possible quality, much as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories. However, I realise that people may find they don’t always quite manage to achieve their own expectations, as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories.
Q: What exactly am I letting you do with my artwork?
A: By submitting an illustration you are granting me the non-exclusive right to reproduce that image for commercial and non-commercial purposes, which is what I need to make, sell, and promote the omnibus. You maintain all the rights you would have if I weren’t using the image at all (which is actually kind of a grey area when it comes to fan art, but I’m not exactly going to sue people for drawing things I’ve invited them to draw!).
Q: I’ve already drawn fan art of one of these stories! Can I submit that?
A: Yes! I actively encourage it.
Q: I’ve already drawn something that wasn’t specifically based on one of these stories, but might as well have been. Can I submit that?
A: Yes, that’s fine too.
Q: Is there a deadline for this?
A: Not currently, though I’d like to be able to release the omnibus sometime in 2020.
If you’d like to submit an illustration (or a few!) then here’s that link to the spreadsheet again. Even if not, I hope you’ll consider sharing this around. I think it could be a neat project, and I’d like anyone who might be interested to have a chance to get involved.
There’s less than a month to go until Flash Fiction Month 2019, but I’m happy to announce that Blunderball – my anthology of flash fiction from Flash Fiction Month 2018 – is now available in classic dead tree format!
The paperback is available on Amazon UK, as well as basically any other Amazon store you’d care to look for it. You’ll find it in a bunch of other shops too, and usually somebody in Australia starts offering these things on eBay sooner or later, so basically just get one where such things are got. Continue reading
You can download Red Herring for your Kindle here, and you can download Bionic Punchline for your Kindle here. OCR is Not the Only Font is available in exactly the same way. These links all point to Amazon UK, as that’s where the majority of my followers are based, but the ebooks should be available free indefinitely in all territories from now on. If they aren’t where you are, let me know and I’ll do my best to sort it out.
I may write a post on how to organise this at some point. Amazon pushes their (highly inadvisable) KDP Select programme so hard that I didn’t realise there was any other way of offering books for free until I got a tip-off from someone at a Writers’ Guild networking event. Ultimately, however, the process boils down to “ask Amazon nicely, then wait a long time and hope for the best.”
If you’d like to thank me for the free books, the best way of doing that would be to leave a review. Alternatively, the majority of my flash fiction anthologies are not (quite) free, so you might also consider treating yourself to one of those too. Blunderball, the seventh in the series, just came out yesterday. If you fancy something more substantial, there are also Ten Little Astronauts and Face of Glass, both of which have gone down very well with just about everyone who’s read them.
I’ve been so focused on getting the word out about Ten Little Astronauts recently that it’s easy to forget that I’ll also be releasing another book very, very soon. Flash Fiction Month 2016 is over, and all 31 stories are done: all that remains is to collect them together, top and tail them with an introduction and (barely) statistical analysis, and send them out into the world in paperback and ebook form.
And, of course, choose a title for the whole shebang.
Following the format that was established with OCR is Not the Only Font back in 2012, the title of the anthology will be taken from one of the individual stories, and following the trend that’s been established since, the cover of the book will contribute to a glorious rainbow party on the shelf.
In order to continue the sequence, this year’s cover will feature a green object relevant to (though not necessarily appearing in) the story that provides the title. I’m not entirely sure what that’ll be, but I’ve whittled down the title candidates to three stories that I think will work nicely overall: Forwards Doesn’t Count, Beyond the Ken of Man, and Robocopout.
Cast your vote to help decide the title of this year’s anthology! Ultimately I can’t guarantee to use the most popular answer (and indeed last year I didn’t), but on the flipside I will also consider alternative options not listed in the poll. I’m also accepting suggestions for green objects that might look good on the cover: the ones I have in mind so far are green wellies for Forwards Doesn’t Count, a green orb or crystal for Beyond the Ken of Man, and a green folding chair or 1998 Fiat Punto for Robocopout.
It’s that time of year once again! Every single day this month, I will be writing and posting a brand new story between 55 and 1,000 words in length. If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know the drill: this is now the fifth year in a row I’ll be participating.
Last year I was lucky enough to win one of the weekly challenge prizes, and I got this lovely mug, designed by Neurotype. I’m drinking coffee out of it as I write this! If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll also know that “Size isn’t everything” paired a Lovecraftian flasher is about my level of humour.
The mug design for 2016 (this one by Joe Wright) looks super cool as well, though.
Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re already set up to get notifications whenever I post a new story: I’ll be sharing them on this very blog, on deviantART (home of Flash Fiction Month), on Wattpad, and I’ll be linking to those various places through Facebook and Twitter. I’ll also be sending out weekly digests to anyone subscribed to my newsletter and notifications; people who are just subscribed to the newsletter will get a list of the complete 31 stories once the month is over.
If you somehow manage to miss all those opportunities to catch the stories as they’re released, I’ll be collecting them together into an anthology, as I have done every year since I first took on this challenge in 2012. If you want to catch up on my work from previous years, the first three ebooks are permanently free to download:
The fourth ebook usually costs a token amount, as will number five when it’s available, but as Flash Fiction Month 2016 coincides with a site-wide sale at Smashwords, you can now get it free with promo code SFREE. As an added bonus, my prehistoric fantasy novel, Face of Glass, is also currently 50% off with code SSW50.
Clicking the cover of any one of those books will take you to its page over on Smashwords. The books are DRM free, and come in a variety of formats, so you should have no trouble copying them to any number of devices you might want to read on. You’re also welcome to pass them on to friends and family. On the flipside, if you have got your book for free (either from a friend or through this promotion), please consider helping me out by leaving a review (on Smashwords or anywhere else) and maybe buying a copy of something down the line. Alternatively, send a copy to someone else. That’s good too.
Flash Fiction Month 2015 starts today! From now until July 31st, I will be writing, editing and posting one (very) short story every single day. I can’t say what the stories will be like. I can’t say when I’ll manage to collect them together into a book. What I can say is that the cover will be blue.The “rainbow party” colour convention for my Flash Fiction Month books started entirely by accident, and like a lot of things I’m involved with mostly got going because somebody on the internet said “Heh, that’s funny.” Based on the first cover featuring an orange object and the second cover featuring a red one, somebody spotted that it would be possible to make the book covers form a rainbow as the series went on.
That was reason enough for me to go ahead and do it, but the design had the added bonus of making the paperbacks identifiable by their spines, which aren’t always thick enough to have the titles printed on them. It also meant that I could reliably turn one free stock image into an eye-catching book cover, which is really handy because I can’t afford to commission a book cover a year.
The thing is, the colour scheme itself seems to suggest something of a natural end point: orange, red, purple, blue, green, yellow. After that (barring a bold move into the non-visible portions of the electromagnetic spectrum) I’m out of colours. The only way I can really go beyond six books is to start again at orange, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. There may be a limited pallette of colours, but there’s a virtually infinite range of coloured objects. Still, that means that each run through the spectrum will form something of a complete set. Continue reading