Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page
P&E Top TenP&E Top TenP&E Top TenP&E Top Ten

Hello and welcome to the August 2021 issue of Aphelion!

In this issue, we have our regular run of outstanding stories -- from our 24th year of continuous publication!

Welcome, one and all, to another month of the happiest accident I ever fell into, LOL! There are times when victory is snatched from the jaws of a soul-crushing defeat. February of 1997 turned out to be one of those times. Through a series of unfortunate events, Dragon's Lair Webzine ceased publication. Equally unfortunately, DL had several unfinished serialized stories still running at the time--as well as a small backlog of accepted, but as yet unpublished, short story submissions. It fell to me to rectify this sad situation. And so, with the help of some friends, Aphelion came to be. It hasn't always been easy to keep going. Sometimes we were on the verge of pulling the plug. But with the help of friends both old and new, we've somehow managed to keep this beautiful beast alive for coming up on a quarter century now. I may not know how long I personally have left to shuffle along on this mortal coil, but as long as I am still here, so shall be Aphelion. I can only hope someone will accept the torch when I am forced to pass it along. 

Readers have come and gone. Writers have turned pro and journeyed forth into the realms of paid publications. Many lessons have been taught and learned along the way. And so, the journey continues.

Becoming a writer is easy. Staying a writer isn't always so easy. One has to face rejection slips, editing challenges, preditorial publishing scams, hard work, long hours, and our own fears of failure. The most glorious thing in the world is an acceptance letter. The second most glorious thing in the world is that deathless prose that begins "Pay To The Order Of..." I've heard it said that the first paycheck for a story being published is the greatest hurdle a writer ever faces. You did it, you sold a story, you got paid--now, do it again. It's that "do it again" where some writers fail. Not that they can't write another story, but that the fear sets in about "what if I fail." My answer to that is "so what?" You probably failed a few times before the first time you succeeded. Why should the second success be any easier? The process of doing the work involved with turning in a good story is still the same. Doesn't matter if it is your first published story, or your hundredth, you have to put in all the work to get that newest story accepted.

So, what is the secret to becoming a successful writer? Perseverance! Never quit, never give up, never stop learning, never stop writing, never stop submitting your work.

The path to success is to keep working at it! Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, type those words, tell that story, edit, rewrite, spell check, get someone to beta-read and tell you where you lost the thread as well as tell you what you go right. Keep going! Never stop. That stuff is the lifeblood of being a writer. You also have to learn to put yourself out there in social media to let people know you have something out there that they might be willing to buy. Network with other writers. Go to conventions, appear on writing panels, get yourself a seat on a con's Author's Alley, if you have enough titles to justify it, get yourself a table in the Vendor's Room... Nowadays, especially for Independent writers and Small Press writers, you'll find that you have to be your own publicity agent as well as a writer. Maybe you're shy and aren't comfortable with public speaking. I am shy, but I've forced myself to do it anyway. Another new twist nowadays is to hook up with a group of like-minded writers and artists who are involved with online streaming video shows or audio podcast shows. That's good training for being on a live discussion panel at a convention. The hardest part of that is learning how to be comfortable just being yourself, but in front of an audience. It's not a case of sink or swim. Streaming and podcasting are ways to learn to "dog-paddle" before you put yourself in front of a live audience. It can be scary, but you can do it. Eventually, you can even become comfortable doing it. We're past the age of having a story or book being accepted being the end of a writer's involvement with that particular work. Times have changed, the wheel has turned, and now we have a new normal for selling a published work to our audience--as well as growing our audiences. This is how we engage readers now. This is how we get the word out. This is how we encourage readers to become involved, to want to help us succeed, to change ourselves from a byline on a story into a personality the readers can want to become hardcore fans of us. It's just another facet of the work we all have to do to evolve towards being even more successful in the pursuit of convincing readers to part with their hard-earned cash in exchange for our hard work.

About time I quit talking and let you get to reading!




Title: Flying on planet-forming wings

Courtesy: ESO / Ginski et al,