Sold-Out Print Run at Ad Astra!


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I have been recovering from my time at Ad Astra this entire week… not because it was a chore, but because it was totally amazing! So amazing that I wore myself and my helpers out just drinking it all in, taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities and bringing Love, Time, Space, Magic into the world.

We had an absolutely stellar weekend which tripled even our best estimates. Our book launch was fun, well-received and well-executed, thanks in large part to the support of our authors and convention staff. Props to everybody who pitched in to make sure we were well-informed, the guests were entertained during setup, and that we were stocked with an assortment of wonderful goodies for people to enjoy between readings. Our guests said afterward that the launch was fun, low-key, well-paced, and that the readings were entertaining and of a good length.

The best news, however, is that we sold out of Love, Time, Space, Magic, demolishing all or our best estimates for sales. During the weekend, we sold nearly 50 copies of the book, which given the size of our company, and the convention size, is absolutely through the roof! We are currently out of copies and I am going to be ordering more from the printer this week.

Additional to the commercial success of the book during launch weekend is the positive feedback we have received from respected members of the local industry on our book design and cover standards. We had lots of compliments on the cover, many people stopped to tell us how beautiful they thought it was, and our book design seminars were well-attended by people eager to learn the craft.

The recognition of our design standards is a big victory for Pop Seagull, because from the very beginning we have striven for excellence in all things illustration and design, determined to be the very best we can be and bring world class standards to our books, whenever possible. This time, we really pulled out all the stops, and it’s great to hear that recognition from the community. I really hope that the workshops we did this weekend will be the start of many such events, because I feel there is a big need in the indie publishing community for this kind of knowledge and more people need to be informed about the design choices they make for their products. In fact, that sounds like a blog post in the making…

Right now, I’m out of town and missing my camera cable, so I’m going to do a series on the different days of the convention and some of the highlights, with photos, next week. Until then, I just wanted to announce what a success it has been, and that we plan to build on this success by bringing you more fabulous, beautiful books.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Anthology Advice for Writers from Fantasy Author Deborah Walker — Our first Guest Blog!


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How to Sell Short Stories to an Anthology

By Deborah Walker

‘I sing the Recurring Melody’ by Deborah Walker appears in Pop Seagull Publishing’s Love, Space, Time, Magic anthology. Deborah writes short fiction: fantasy, science fiction and horror. In the last six years, she’s been published in quite a few anthologies. You can check out her bibliography here:


First off, I’ll pepper these words with caution. This is how I do things. You might have a much better way of selling stories to anthologies. And if you do, could you please tell me in the comments.


Sometimes an editor will chance across a published story and decide it’s perfect for their anthology. Make it easy for them! Publish your contact information on the interwebs. A bibliography of your published stories with links is good, too. I speak from experience. A few years ago, I had no contact information on my blog, and an editor had to track me down via Facebook. Thank you so much, Mr. Editor.


Search for anthology calls and guidelines on The Grinder A quick search of paying markets gives fifty-eight anthologies open today. That’s a lot!

But lots of writers use The Grinder. I also use submission call sites, like Horror Tree, Dark Markets and My Little Corner Anthology leads can also be found on social networks: writers passing on submission calls, mentioning a submission or an early sale.


Selling stories is difficult. There’s no doubt about that. There’s a lot of great writers out there and you’re competing on an international stage. My strategy is to make a lot, a lot of subs. Sure not everyone has my time or my enormous bag of stories, but the more subs you make; the more rolls of the dice you make.


Once you’ve found an anthology call you’d like to submit to you need a story to submit.

Consider the stories you’ve already written. When I see an anthology, I go through my list of stories (non-sold and reprint) and think hard about if it could fit. That sounds foolish doesn’t it? Surely it should be obvious. But by thinking hard about the anthology’s theme and thinking outside the box, I often find a story that fits in an non-obvious way. Consider the editor. She’ll receive a large number of stories riffing off the most obvious interpretations of the anthology’s theme. A creative interpretation might stand out. Certainly, I’ve sold stories that I thought were long shots for a theme. Possibly more often than the perfect fit stories!

If the anthology takes multiple subs, consider sending more than one. I’m very bad at guessing what editors like. When I send more than one piece, you can bet the editor takes the story I didn’t think they would.


What you write is your call, of course. But as I mentioned an editor will receive a lot of submissions on the most obvious interpretations of the theme. How about making your story stand out a little?

If you’ve written a story specifically for an anthology, a rejection can sting. After all, you’ve written something new, and now you’ve been rejected it was all a big waste of time. But not so! I find rejected anthology stories sell to other venues just as well as stories written for no particular venues. Sometimes rejected anthology stories sell to different anthologies. Some years ago I did some number crunching, let’s lay aside the fact that the numbers were too small to be statistically meaningful. Stories that I wrote specifically for a themed anthology and were rejected went onto sell slightly better than stories I wrote with no particular theme in mind.


If the guidelines don’t mention reprints, I often query to see if the editor will accept them. I’ve also queried about length and, I just had a bit of flash accepted which I queried about as the guidelines asked for 2000 words +. If you come across an invite only anthology, you can query. Editors don’t bite—most of the time. A word of caution: do query privately, via e-mail. Once I saw a query on Facebook that turned unpleasant.


Anthology editors receive most subs at the start and the end of the submission period. Try not to sub at the end if you can help it. That’s not always possible, I know. Some anthology calls respond to everything at the end of the submission period, and might say so in their guidelines. But subbing early sometimes means that you get a second bite of the cherry and can send in another story if the first one’s rejected.


You’ve sold to an anthology! Congratulations. Now don’t forget to practice good after-sales. I always respond to the initial acceptance letter with a thank you. I respond quickly to queries and copy-edits, always within a week. Once the anthology is out, promote it on your social network to the extent of your comfort zone. Do all these things because they’re good manners, and because you’ve found an editor who likes your work and maybe, just maybe, they’ll buy from you again in the future.


I hope you find bits and pieces of this advice interesting. There’s nothing quite like being published in an anthology. I love the camaraderie between the contributors and love reading the authors takes on shared theme. Anthologies are a lot of fun. Good luck and don’t forget to share your tips in the comments.

Ira Nayman on Interdimensional Travel, and More!


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In the week-long run up to the launch of Love, Time, Space, Magic, some of the authors and I are doing a series of guest blogs around the interwebz. The first in the series is Ira Nayman, guest blogging on Fraser Sherman’s blog about the inspiration for his story in Love, Time, Space, Magic.

Ira’s path to this particular story is long, circuitous and interesting, and we’re proud to be featuring such an important piece of his science fiction universe. Check it out!

Get a free taste of our latest title, today!


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With only a couple of weeks to go until our big launch of Love, Time, Space, Magic at Ad Astra Science Fiction Convention, it’s time to give our readers a sneak peek at the anthology!

As such, we are now open for pre-orders on Kobo and iBooks, and a free sample of Victoria Feistner’s story, Melanie in the Underworld, is now available in our samples section on the top navigation bar.

Victoria’s contribution to the anthology is a daring and adventurous tale of one woman who will do anything to bring back her deceased love. Drawing from roots in classical mythology, Victoria has pulled a timeless tale of love and loss squarely into twenty-first century Toronto, with plenty of cheeky surprises even for the mythology sticklers out there.

So have a peek, and let us know what you think. Let the pre-orders begin!

Come to the Launch… We’ve Got Cookies…


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You know you want to.

When I posted the bounteous mountain of Japanese candy sent to us for the Love, Time, Space, Magic launch party by Pop Seagull author Clint Spivey, you went nuts.

Seriously. I got more hits, and likes, and follows, from those candy pics than I ever would have predicted. So you, the reading public, like candy. I totally get that.

That is why I have upped the ante on my candy. Oh yeah, you read right. Not only will we have a custom cover art cake, and tons of Japanese candy… we will now be giving away home baked cookie prize baskets to a few lucky attendees.

I will post photos of these delicious masterpieces as they are made.

Love, Time, Space, Magic… a super sweet book, with a super-duper sweet launch party.

Praise for Distant Early Warning… Yay!


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So, I know I’ve been posting a lot about Love, Time, Space, Magic, and the launch lately, but during all of the hustle and bustle of getting our new baby ready for the world, we missed some majorly awesome praise for our last title, Distant Early Warning!

Since we’ve been working so hard lately, I thought I’d share some of the wonderful feedback we’ve had lately, from readers just like you, about Distant Early Warning:

“I think this book is well-written and compelling. It uses the “zombie invasion” backdrop for a very different story about family and finding a place where you belong… if you’re looking for a book with a lot of references to Canadian life/culture, it’s great for that! I enjoyed the descriptions of things I could relate you. If you’re also looking for a book with references to geek culture then this book brings that too…thus far it’s the best self-published book I’ve ever read, and I’m really glad I bought it!”


I loved Distant Early Warning! I look forward to hopefully reading more about Denny!


Thanks, Rai and Suzanne! Rai also had some great constructive suggestions that I’m really glad fans are open enough to share with me. I’m just overjoyed to be part of this community of readers, and I can’t wait to bring you more, both from myself and the wonderful selection of other authors that are growing the Pop Seagull family.

Tomorrow… cookies!

Candy Previews (aka Blatant Book Launch Bait)


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I received a package in the mail on Friday from my new friend Clint Spivey, whose story, ‘Faster than the Speed of Sleight’ is appearing in Love, Time, Space, Magic. This picture of what was inside just proves that it pays to have friends in Japan. And that Clint is a total badass.


That’s right… authentic Japanese candy. We’ve got green tea Kit Kats, cookies, chocolate squares, Pocky… and even some things I’m pretty sure are supposed to be pizza flavoured.

I’m not eating any of this goodness, people… I’m passing it all on to you, at the launch for Love, Time, Space Magic! The afternoon of Saturday, April 11th, at Ad Astra!

Be there… or don’t have Japanese candies. It’s not really a choice, in my book.

Cover Reveal: Love, Time, Space, Magic


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That’s right, after a hectic holiday, and more than a few winter cold blahs, it’s finally here… the Love, Time, Space, Magic cover!


This has truly turned out to be a special anthology by a really special bunch of people. We’ve got a selection of love stories, from across the spectrum of F/SF that will touch your heart, and sometimes your funny bone. Far from the old ‘boy gets girl, boy loses girl’ tropes, these are twelve gloriously creative and different stories on the theme of love.

I’m so proud to be presenting this anthology, our longest and most varied offering ever, to our loyal anthology readers. We’ve had people come back again and again, looking for the classic fun of SF/F short stories, and this one is going to be another amazing addition to your Pop Seagull library!

For the cover this time, I used a combination of Maya modeling and Photoshop. All cover elements are by yours truly, except for the fonts. My inspiration was to make something inspired by the anatomical drawings of Da Vinci and other renaissance artists, with a modern twist, and to show the interaction between the elements in the title.

Enjoy! In a couple of months, we’re putting this baby on a cake!

Random Art Post of the Day…

Well, not totally random. This is our first sneak peek at the cover of the Love, Time, Space, Magic anthology!


This (more or less) anatomically correct heart was modeled by yours truly in Maya. This is just the grey skin that Maya puts on the model, and default lighting, but wait till you see what I’m going to do with it!

The whole concept behind the cover is to have an ‘ink drawing’ of a heart, on parchment, that looks eerily 3D. So, to accomplish that, I’ll be using a whole bunch of tricks, such as .png file textures and fancy render layers. It’s so great to have a 3D project again!

More updates on the way as the cover progresses! Wait till you see the font I got… I’m probably more excited about it than anybody else, but it is really, really nice.

Check out our novels for $1.50 with the winter ebook sale!

Since opening up to anthology submissions, we’ve had a lot more traffic to the blog, and I couldn’t be happier. We’ve had a lot of people checking us out, and submitting stories and queries, and it really feels like everything is moving in such a positive direction.

Since we’ve clearly got an influx of new folks discovering Pop Seagull for the first time, I thought it might be a good idea to make some of our current titles more affordable, for a limited time, and increase the sampling size on Smashwords to allow new people to check out our titles with less risk.

So, it is with great pleasure that I announce

Pop Seagull’s Winter Ebook-stravaganza

where, for a limited time, readers will be able to purchase Flood Waters Rising or Distant Early Warning for only $1.50, and will be able to sample up to 60% of the book on Smashwords.

And yes, I’m not going to lie, we left the samples off at cliffhangers. Sorry, just business. :P


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