Tuesday, February 1, 2022

In Print, February 2022

New in print is Shelter of Daylight Autumn 2022, from Hiraeth Publishing, in which you'll find my “Tales of the Middle Stars” piece “Windwalkers.” For the first time my piece is the "Featured Story" of the issue, which is wonderful! On the arid world of Susa, a planet-wide dust storm shuts down most of civilization, and woe to those who are caught out in it. A tale of survival, of optimism and despair, the existential dread of the wastelands and a certain, manifested philosophic jousting with that dread as recognized by the earliest settlers...

This is my second appearance in Shelter of Daylight, and my half-dozenth or so with Hiraeth. There'll be a vampire piece or two forthcoming in the not too distant future!

Buy it here: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/shelter-of-daylight-autumn-2021-edited-by-tyree-campbell

There's not much progress to speak of—I've had one minor placement in the last nine weeks, and every day I look for the drought to end...


Mike Adamson


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Looking Back from the Six Year Mark (7/1/22, our side of the dateline...)


Can it be six years since I sent out that first submission in a formal program to crack the writing market? I remember the submission, a ghost story (that hasn't placed to this day) to a magazine that's no longer around...

With all the craziness in the pandemic world, one could understand almost anything, I suppose, and, perhaps oddly enough, 2021 was my best year in terms of overall placements, while the 2020-2021financial year was my best in terms of income from writing. Meanwhile, I've not seen an actual placement since November 23rd, and the new year seems to be in no hurry to open its score.

Okay, onto the data (always the most revealing stuff!)

In six years, I have made 2448 submissions (495 in the last 365 days). I have 162 placements (15.11:1 submission/acceptance ratio, up from 16.008:1 last year), about 95 submission currently in play, including a few on pseudonyms (my record is now 103 total), thus 2192 rejections (13.52:1 rejection/acceptance ratio, have improved for the second year running (up from 14.27:1 last year).

In calendar year 2021, I made 91 more submissions than in 2020, receiving 40 placements, my best year by eight (over 2017). This is an acceptance rate of 12.375%, a major jump up on last year's 7.67% and well above the previous best, 2017’s 8.16%). Maybe folks are reading as they stay in isolation, which might translate into a healthier market—but the number of outlets that have folded in the last year is a clear indication that publishers are having a very hard time as well.

Average time between acceptances in Year Six was down from last year”s 11.7 days to 9.125 days, which is down a full third over 2019's figures. All the same, when you're in a dead patch, it seems to go on forever—currently, I've had 32 rejections in 45 days and I'm starting to forget what an acceptance looks like...

Professional placements are in the dumps for calendar year 2021, just one, “The Apotheosis of Rosie” at MetaStellar (free read).

Productivity has been low, 36 stories this year (down from 36 last year and 43 the year before, and little more than half my grand total of 62 in 2017), totalling 104, 309 words (down from last year's 186, 585, which in turn was down from 214, 998 in 2019.) I have over 260 stories registered at Submission Grinder, and some 290 in my personal list. However, though productivity has been low, marketing has been in high gear (one cannot, perhaps, do both at the same time), thus the better sales figures.

High points of 2021: The standout in this last year has to be my success as a writer of Sherlock Holmes. I now have placed ten of twelve completed stories, and many more in note form to come. In the last two years I have written 105, 363 words of Sherlock Holmes fiction, 85, 240 placed, and have produced 58, 565 words this year alone. I now appear in six anthologies from Belanger Books and will be submitting to a seventh in the month ahead, with every expectation of there being further opportunities. I have placed stories with Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and The Strand, also, and hope to expand on those successes too.

I recently calculated that my total published word count is approaching three quarters of a million, a considerable figure, and my target is to raise that beyond the million mark, if not this year then next. I certainly aim to surpass two hundred placements by the end of this year, though 2022 had better get its finger out, we're a week in and there's been no action yet!

Also accounting for my less than stellar short story production this year, I've been working on a near-future urban fantasy novel set against the background of a climate-ravaged Italy. I have some 35, 000 words to go, then my next book-length project will be my first Sherlock Holmes novel. Period mystery is a most exciting field in which to work, and I have high hopes of launching a career as a novelist in the years ahead.

That's the state of play—so, on to year seven!

Cheers, Mike Adamson

Monday, December 20, 2021


I knew it was a long time since I posted on this blog, but I had no idea it was ten months... Here I am, on the summer solstice in the south, staring at my blog, and wondering where the posts are for most of 2021.

I can only say it's been a busy year in so many ways, and I always meant to get back and post an update, but there was always the next bit of business to attend to, and, after all, it had only been a month or two since the last post—hadn't it?

Well, imagine my shock when checking a bit of info in an old article, to find I hadn't touched my blog in all this time. I have my annual round up of business post due in a few weeks and after that I think there'll be a bit of a gallery post showcasing the new placements, because there have certainly been a lot—2021 has been my best year for placements ever, and I can't believe I wasn't promoting them on an ongoing basis. Maybe that was in a parallel world...

So, rest assured there'll be new material coming, and until then—excelsior!, as the late great Stan Lee used to say!

Mike Adamson

Header image—royalty free art, used to illustrate a recent publication at MetaStellar.

Monday, February 1, 2021

In Print, February 2021 (and Progress)

I should have got this post up before the end of January, but real life intervened in a couple of ways, including a bush fire only about five miles from us last week—talk about heart in your mouth, as you look around at the things of a life and find yourself picturing what that life might be like if the wind changed. And January was a busy writing month too, with some deadlines to meet, especially a Sherlock Holmes anthology to which I provided my eighth SH story, and which drew a very favourable reaction from the editor in a matter of hours—fingers crossed for that one!

New in print at this moment is the January-February edition of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, beginning their eightieth year. This is their annual Sherlock Holmes tribute issue, and features my story “The Shadow of the New.” You can pick it up in either print or digital format, here.

I scored three placements in January. At the beginning of the month, Storyhack picked up “Third Time Lucky,” my second World War II flying adventure, and my third piece placed with the title. It was a lot of fun to write, and I see further outings for my young RAF fighter pilot in future. At mid-month, my Middle Stars/Colonial War story “Elusive Target” gained a home with Spring Into SciFi 2021, and at the end of the month Mythaxis bought my fantasy piece “Zamalek, by the Evening Light.” That's both my “Zamalek” stories in print, the other appearing in Dim Shores Presents Vol. 2, which is going on release any time now. You can pore-order it right here. I must write some more!

I'm currently doing a beta-pass on a novel for a fellow writer, and have a couple of writing tasks for this month, including getting back to my own novel-in-the-wings, so more news at a later date!


Mike Adamson

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The View From the Five Year Mark


As with last year, this review post is coming a day late, as it seems life always has a way of intervening. Last year it was the chaos surrounding the bushfires sweeping Australia, and this year—well, 2020 speaks for itself with a very foul tongue. The world is not improving, to paraphrase Professor Henry Jones Snr.

So, from the five-year-and-one-day milestone, here's the outlook on my pursuit of a writing career!

Overall: In five years, I have 1953 submissions, 122 placements (16.008:1 submission/acceptance ratio), 90 stories on submission at this time (my record is now 101), thus 1741 rejections (14.27:1 rejection/acceptance ratio, slightly improved from last year, though it really doesn't feel like it!). These ratios continue to reflect a down-turn in the activity of the market, which, given the pandemic, is only to be expected

In calendar year 2020, I made 404 submissions (28 less than last year), receiving 31 placements, one less than 2017, my best year (13.46:1 submissions/placements, considerably improved form last year.) This is an acceptance rate of 7.67%, up from last year's 5.78%, and better than 2018’s 7.36%, second only to 2017’s 8.16%). If this is a any sort of measure of market viability, it would seem things are in fact recovering, despite the turmoil of the world at this time.

Average time between acceptances in Year Five was 11.7 days, appreciably better than last year (25 acceptances/14.6 days per).

Professional placements picked up in 2020, five since January last, which is good for the bottom line; I've done okay in the first half of the financial year against previous years and obviously hope the trend will continue.

Productivity is fair, 36 stories this year (down from 43 last year, and miles behind my grand total of 62 in 2017), totalling 186, 585 words, down from 214, 998 words last year.) I have over 230 stories registered at Submission Grinder, and 270 in my personal list.

The general effects of the pandemic and the craziness in the US in the run up to and aftermath of the federal election has more than likely affected the publishing field. Markets have continued to close, some of them professional-paying, while new markets have sprung up to take their place, some of them for-the-love-of-it mom-and-pop ventures, others ambitious pro-paying projects originating in the mainstream of the industry. There seems an indomitable spirit at work, that no matter how bad things get, the need to read and write escapist fiction will always endure, and the darker the days the more people need and want such stories to both ease the gloom, and speak plainly of better ones to come. That is one of the great strengths of speculative fiction, its nature as a pointer of the way.

My record of 101 submissions in hand at one time is a fairly erroneous figure, as there would have been a fair few older submissions either dead or in limbo. I went through and tidied up old subs and guess ten or twelve panned out as deceased—this was three or four months ago and the stories were redirected to other markets. In the last few days I've sent our twelve or fifteen queries against more old subs, and am giving them a week or two grace. Given the chaos in the US at this time—the Capital Building invasion was yesterday—I'm not looking for prompt attention to inquiries.

High points of 2020: My story Sky Tears not only won the Editor's Choice award from Alien Dimensions in 2019, but was nominated for the 2020 Aurealis Awards, in which it progressed to one of the five finalists—that's as close as I've come to a trophy so far! I picked up a second Hugo Awards long-list nomination too. My mystery writing has embraced Sherlock Holmes this year, with seven stories completed and more to come. I placed a Holmesian piece with Ellery Queen Mystery Magaizine, one of America's grand old mystery publications (since 1941) and scored a berth in their annual Sherlock Holmes tribute issue, due out at this time.

If I can maintain my productivity and marketing rates, I would hope to see 150+ placements by the end of this year. Also, I'm working on novels at this time, with a historical adventure in note form and a sci-fi/fantasy noir with three chapters on paper. With eighteen pro placements to date, I would hope a literary agent would be eager to take me on—that's the plan for the future.

Right, let's see what year six brings!

Cheers, Mike Adamson

Monday, December 14, 2020

In Print, December 2020 (and Progress)

Once again, a while has gone by since the last post, which I can only attribute to the general slow-down in the market. That and the fact I'm writing heavens-hard these days, and don't seem to have the time or inclination to produce essays about writing, as I used to in the early days of this blog. I'll be posting my yearly roundup of stats in a few weeks, but for now I wanted to round out the calendar year with a few observations of progress.

First some good news—the cover above is for the new Jay Henge anthology Sunshine Superhighway which is themed on bright tidings for the future, combating the avalanche of misery which seems to characterise today. In this one you'll find my short story “The Gentle Art of Ghosting,” in which I explore the technology required to perform surgery on whales—to save the lives of the most critically endangered creatures in desperate future decades.

To buy on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PHPRYGV

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08PHPRYGV

Since I last posted I've had just a few placements. The pro market Abyss and Apex took my SF flash “Meteor Man,” and Mythic picked up my fantasy “The Headsman of Garth,” both in November. This latter piece is one of my “Avestium” stories, the fifth to find a berth. Then, a few days ago, Jay Henge accepted a reprint of my time travel story “The Winds of Time,” to appear in their forthcoming collection The Chorochronos Archives. It was only the third story I ever placed, back in September 2016, with an anthology titled The Chronos Chronicles, from Indie Authors Press.

Fresh on release today, my “Lemuria” short story “Lord of All Seas” has appeared online, in New Myths #53, which has just gone live. You can find the story here:


Lots of projects are in hand, including new Sherlock Holmes features, and stories spanning the SF, fantasy and horror genres. I can also say with no small delight that I seem to be working on a novel at last, a cycle of tales which I thought were going to be an ongoing arc of short stories, but which morphed very readily into a contiguous long-form narrative. More news later!

Cheers from Down Under, and have a safe and happy festive break,

Mike Adamson

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tough Times for Writers

It's been quite a while since I posted, months in fact, and that's a barometer of how far down things have been. After a really good start to the year, and a good start to the new half-year as well, at least in terms of earnings from prior placements, the wheels seemed to fall off a few months ago.

I noticed the market went very flat in September 2018, for six or more months I was placing in dribs and drabs and I wondered if the global publishing situation was reacting to wider forces. Things improved in 2019, but have gone very flat once again this year. One might readily suggest the pandemic is behind it, but the indications are that people are turning to reading in greater numbers than before as a direct result of isolation strategies... Maybe publishers are being more cautious, or people are reading more for free online, but magazines are both going under and opening on a constant basis.

I recently had my first ever “kill fee” situation—when a story has placed with a market but the market goes under before they can get the edition out. This is a great shame as the market paid very nicely indeed, and will honour their contributors with a 10% gratuity. It's better than nothing, but I'd much sooner have had a healthy market, where publishers, writers and readers all win.

I have just emerged from my second-longest ever dry spell, 59 rejections in 51 days, and this was after two longish periods between drinks immediately previous. Three placements in 110 days is not a lot for a short story writer, and only one of them was with a pro market (which paid nicely, to be sure). In the same period I had 98 rejections, and that does get real old, yet overall, all submission against all acceptances, my figures are still pretty good.

What brought me out of the drought was a story placed with an online pro market being selected to feature in their yearly anthology—not actually a new placement, but a welcome second outing for an existing success.

The industry feels rather precarious at the moment, yet there is plenty of activity, new markets opening up, others forging ahead with new plans and ongoing successes. So I guess one can only stay on the horse, believe in one's own skill and integrity, and do the very best one can.

Normal service will resume shortly—I hope!

Cheers, Mike Adamson