Tag Archives: Publication


Given I only started sending stuff out in the second half of this year I am pleased to let you know that recently I have had two stories published;

Addiction – Antipodean SF which reflects my view about what direction Facebook is heading toward, and may explain to my Facebook FriendsTM why I never log onto my account any more.

Antipodean SF is a fantastic online magazine that has been supporting the Australian writing scene for years, so I’m glad that one of my publications this year is in this wonderful magazine. My first ever publication was in Antipodean SF and the editor worked with me to get my piece up to scratch –I’ll never forget that!

Jaxon’s Gift – Trembles Magazine. This is the story that got me an honourable mention in last year’s Australian Horror Writers Flash Fiction competition. This story was inspired by a friend’s child who spent most of my visit at his house wriggling his tooth before finally pulling it out to show me just before lunch was served. So gross on so many levels. Parents must get endless inspiration for horror stories… 

Hopefully these won’t be the only publications this year, but I wanted to share them while they were still fresh!

Will they steal my idea?

Something I’ve heard many times from new and would-be authors is the fear that if they send off their work to a publisher or magazine that work will be ‘stolen’. Obviously this fear can prove quite damaging to your writing career given that no-one will actually buy your writing if you never give them an opportunity to read it!

Before I feed any paranoid ideas around this by giving you some tips about how to protect your legally binding copyright, let me first explain why a publisher, or at least a reputable publisher, will not steal your writing.

The writing community is generally pretty tight-knit, even if they don’t physically get together and catch up (which most do, and I highly recommend) they are always connected through email, Twitter and blogs. So if any publisher were to ‘steal’ an idea or piece of work, everyone would know about it, and pretty quickly too! So do a search on your prospective publisher and see what people are saying about them online. Places like duotope and ralan also provide a commentary on what a publisher is like, so use these resources.

For major publishers I would suggest you do not even need to do such a search. There is nothing a publisher would like more than to discover the next fantastic author. A publishing house is also not looking for a great story, they are looking for an author with longevity who can provide them with many stories. So if they see merit in your work they are more likely to sign you for a three book deal than try to lift your idea.

But if this still isn’t enough to convince you, this is five years of your hard work after all, how can you protect your copyright? One of the most basic ways is to save it to a disk or flash drive, seal it in a letter (a line of continuous sticky tape across the top, but under the stamp is a good seal) and post it to yourself. The post-mark of the postal system is a legally provable date. A more modern way (which I am not sure if it has been used in court but would probably have a lot of weight) is to email the attachment to yourself, which will clearly display the date*.

I know there are a lot of places that charge you money to register your copyright, but the fact is that the moment you write your piece you are covered by copyright. All you need to do to protect that copyright is to prove you wrote it first. You don’t need to spend lots of money to register it.

One word of warning for the paranoid before they project their claims of injustice; just because the place you sent your novel to releases one with a similar theme soon after they reject yours does not mean they stole your idea. Often similar themes come through at the same time, so don’t assume they stole your idea. You probably tapped into the collective unconscious and wrote a similar story, after all, there is no such thing as an original idea.

*Please seek legal advice on this matter if you wish to use it. I do not have any legal qualifications and as such cannot give legal advice.

Do you believe in magic?

I am a great lover of magic. You will never hear me beg a magician to tell me how they did their trick; I want to believe they actually did it. I would rather consider the possibility that their years of practice had brought them to an enlightened power over the physical world, rather than a power over every muscle in their body so they can shift, sort and switch things without me seeing.

That’s why I wrote ‘The Amazing Salvador’.

I know a lot of people won’t like this story; a lot of people who beg the magician to tell them ‘how they did it’ and who Google the explanation behind David Copperfield’s amazing walk through the Great Wall of China or Criss Angel’s superb disappearing Lamborghini stunt (so good I’m going to insert it rather than reference it).

So thank you Title Goes Here for seeing the magic in my story, and not telling me magic is ‘so yesterday that it is in the same category as vampire stories’ – I hope you all enjoy it.

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Suburban Cowboys

Suburban Cowboys by Natalie J E Potts
Well I pulled my finger out and finally loaded up Suburban Cowboys, my short horror story which was originally printed in Midnight Echo #1 (the Australian Horror Writers Association magazine) in 2008.

This story was inspired by all my drives between Hawthorn and Hampton where my poor little Lancer had to rough it with all the Toorak tractors. One day the fighting with the four-wheel drives just got to me so much that this story spilled out in its entirety the moment I got home.

I do need to warn you there is adult content insomuch as there are graphic concepts, but there is not really any guts and gore (but don’t let the absence turn you off).

At the moment (due to the way the sites are set up) you can only get it for free on Smashwords, but it is available at Amazon for the princely sum of $0.99, or you can wait about a month and then they will (hopefully) move it over to the free catalogue.

Thank you very much to those who gave me feedback about the cover, it was almost a fifty/fifty split, so I went with the all blue, but I might re-vamp it to dual-tone when it gets onto the free list.

Happy reading,


Rejecting rejection?

I’ve been a bit prone to the feel-sorry-for-myself’s recently. While I’m all for a little wallowing in misery, there does come a point when you just start to annoy yourself with the indulgence. I think I’ve got to that point now.

I got the triple-pack of rejections over the past fortnight, and two were for stories I really like. Usually when these two get rejected (ugh, I can say usually) I get personal feedback about which parts the editor liked, and why it is not quite right for their line-up. These most recent rejections were the stock standard ‘dear author’ generic single-sentence replies, so my joie de vivre took a bit of a beating.

As always happens in the minutes following, I spiralled into the ‘why am I doing this’ and let’s not forget; ‘I’m going to give up on this whole writing malarkey.’ But the moment I thought about quitting writing every instinct within me rebelled. I need to write, if I don’t I get grumpy, not to mention that writing is the only way to exorcise my mind of all those ghosts of stories not yet written.

So really this rejection triple has made me realise I’m not questioning the purpose in writing, but in sending it out to publishers. For now I’ll going to keep sending, while I’m still undecided, but don’t be surprised if in the future, especially if the stories start to pour out like some have recently, I might just post them on line (after peer review and editing) and let the world ignore, love or hate them at their own whim. For me writing is about getting read, and how that happens really isn’t of great concern.

Now I’m stamping out the feel-sorry-for-myself’s, I’ve reworked the rejected babies and am sending them on their way. I’m also starting the three stories that have only got as far as a few jotted notes over the past couple of weeks. Being a writer is about writing, not necessarily about being published. I know millions would argue against me, but I think we all need to find our own path, and more and more I’m thinking this is mine.

Welcome to Midnight

My first ever fiction publication was Random Impulses in Antipodean SF, but my first ever paid publication was Welcome to Midnight, in Aurealis. This also just happens to be my highest paid publication so far as well, and gave me a slightly skewed idea about how much there was to be made in the game of writing. I am cured of this misconception now.

The publication rights have reverted back to me, so as my next foray into the wonderful wide world of self-publishing, I have re-released Welcome to Midnight as a free (for a limited time) ebook. So for those of you who do not want to sign up with any ebook publishers, you can download a copy of Welcome to Midnight no questions asked, just by clicking on the image below.

**WARNING** This story contains adult content!
Cover of Welcome to Midnight

This is a horror/science fiction tale, so perhaps not the most appropriate story to be reading on a religious holiday. But it is Swancon weekend, so there are elements of the speculative about this time of year.

Happy reading,


Flash Fiction

I have had more flash fiction pieces published than any other story format (others of which include short story, novelette, novella and novel). So what is flash fiction? There are all sorts of definitions out there, and basically it is up to whoever is publishing the story to decide, but the general rule of thumb is less than 1,000 words.

You might think that is not many, but it is amazing how much of a tale can be told in so few words. There are even some flash fiction sites where the limit is 55 words, making 1,000 seem excessive!

The great thing about flash fiction is that it is easy to consume for busy people, especially those with small mobile reading devices. As a result there are a lot of websites which provide weekly or daily flash fiction for free. While this leads to many more publication opportunities for writers, it does mean that often you won’t get paid for your work, but getting out there is half the battle, so don’t let that put you off.

If you want to check out some great Australian Flash Fiction so you can decide for yourself if less than 1,000 words is enough to tell a story have a look at Antipodean SF –or just Google flash fiction.

Here’s my 55 word story City Loop, written after a trip into work back in 2007;

     The usual crush of commuters pushed onto the train, their eyes downcast as they pretended to see no-one. The stink of wet wool recirculated through the carriages as dripping umbrellas poked strangers.
     “We don’t have to be part of the system, we could just go home!” a man yelled.
      A small gap opened around him.

Okay, not a story covering the intrigue of three generations of the same family, but it does give you an idea of what you can do with 55 words.

Writing for a good cause


Like many people in Australia, I was shocked by the floods in Queensland earlier this year. Fortunately I have been lucky enough to have one of my short stories (Lounging) selected for inclusion in the charity anthology 100 Stories for Queensland.

This anthology includes 100 uplifting, funny or feel good stories, and all profits will go directly to the flood appeal. Queensland has a lot of rebuilding to do, so they still need all the help they can get!

Due for release Tuesday 3rd May 2011, 100 Stories for Queensland will be available as both an ebook and a more traditional printed version. There are many well known authors alongside some new names, and several different genres are represented.

So as far as supporting a good charity goes, this is a very entertaining way to help out!

For more information visit the website http://100storiesforqueensland.org or follow on Twitter @100stories4qld

Paragon now available on Amazon!

This is my 100th blog post, which I will take as an auspicious occasion on which to announce that Paragon is now available in a kindle edition on Amazon

Amazon cover for Paragon

If you don’t have a kindle you can still buy copies in different formats, including those for reading on your computer, from Smashwords.

Sales are starting to take off, so my sincerest thanks to those of you who have already bought a copy!


When to write the zombie romance

Brains Zombies Love

Something I read over and over in books about writing is the advice that you should write for your market. The suggestion is that you should read your target market and then write a story specifically for them. Or find an anthology and write a story which caters to exactly what they are looking for.

I don’t think this is always good advice.

If you have a zombie chick lit romance story bumping around in your head, and you find a chick lit zombie anthology seeking submissions, by all means write it. But if you force out a story just to get into the anthology, make sure it is up to your usual standard (assuming that standard is good, if you normally write badly then try to write a bit above your usual standard).

If you end up writing a bad (or worse, *boring*) story, and you miss out on the target market, then you may be stuck with an unsellable story. Even if you re-write it to fix all the boring bits, you might struggle to find another market that is looking for a zombie chick lit romance.  

That’s why I think it is much better to write the stories you want to write, and then find markets for them. This is not to say that you should try to squeeze your sci fi story into a fantasy magazine, or to blindly send out your stories without knowing your target markets. Both these moves are big no-no’s in the mission to get yourself published. Rather, after you have finished writing the story that wants to be written, read widely and find the publisher who can give that story a home.

Having said all that, I must confess that two weeks ago I wrote a flash fiction story specifically for 100 Stories for Queensland, and was excited to see that it has been selected for the anthology! But as I said, if the story comes, write it, if you have to force it, maybe look the other way.