Strange New Worlds is back... with a catch

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Strange New Worlds is back... with a catch

Postby s_c_baker » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:49 am

Strange New Worlds is basically an official publishing opportunity for Star Trek fanfiction. I know a few people here have published in it in the past, and will probably be pleased to see it return.

But there's a catch, and it's kind of a doozy.

The new incarnation of Strange New Worlds is a contest, not an anthology. On the one hand, this will net 10 grand prize winners $1,000 and publication. On the other, it restricts submissions to US residents. (You can also only enter if you're not a professional author, although there's no real definition of what this means anywhere I can see.)

But that's not the catch. The catch is the first prize:

[url]Two (2) First Prize Winners will each receive the Bookseller publishing package, to publish a book on any topic other than Star Trek, currently valued at $4,999 from Archway Publishing.[/url]

Archway, for those not familiar, is S&S's vanity publishing arm. They charge ridiculous amounts of money to publish authors' work, and are shady for other reasons as well, as summarized here by Writer Beware.

So... Yay! Strange New Worlds is back!

But... Beware of that first prize. As someone who would very much like to launch a career as a writer, Archway is not something I would want my name associated with in any way.
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

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Re: Strange New Worlds is back... with a catch

Postby orbivillein » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:48 am

Simon and Schuster and Penguin have a greater connection than mere "Big Five" competitors' status. Their parent organizations were parts of Pearson PLC after CBS divied up Viacom: CBS Corporation for Simon and Schuster and Random House current owner Bertlesmann for the Penguin Group, merged and split off parts and bought other parts these recent years. The mass agglomeration of publishing culture continues. Agglomeration is one of the main drivers of publishing culture dilution -- that, and industrial mechanization, automation, and labor-producer devaluations driven by economy of scale mass production "efficiencies." The Big Five each now have a self-publication division or two, print as well as digital -- and they are all pay-to-play schemes.

An apparent ploy, though, of publisher self-publication divisions is to contaminate the evolving self-publication field and as well use their divisions to screen out low revenue performance works and writers, all the while raking in revenue anyway. Dirty tricks bureaus -- of a selfish siege mentality -- work hard to separate cash from unwitting writers and gain financial control of self-publication market chaos. Tries, anyway. Corporations and their accountants and stockholders and lawyers wouldn't know a good book if it was in front of their faces -- not that any are readers either. So why not use a pay-to-play scheme to try a work and writer's merits in the public market without risk-one and weed out "unworthies" by the court of public appeal? Again, at no risk to the publisher.

So what's a David publisher before a field of Goliaths to do? The product matters, not the route to publication, the reading public's access. Word-of-mouth buzz is the only marketing strategy that is proven -- as elusive as it is, which publishers also couldn't see if it was in front of their faces. A product's appeal merits recommend it -- nothing else.

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