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New entry Apr 03

Critter Notices

[It's Freebie Friday in the Critters Store...]

Critters is 20!

Yes, 20 years ago Critters was born. Wow! Thanks so much to all of you, who've made it such a resounding success!

I'm being interviewed live on public radio for Critters 20th birthday. For those who want to listen, it's on the 10am (Mountain time) show on Thursday, 11/19, on Colorado Public Radio - has streaming on the site or it's 90.1 FM in the Denver area.

ReAnimus Acquires Advent!

ReAnimus Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of the legendary Advent Publishers! Advent is now a subsidiary of ReAnimus Press, and we will continue to publish Advent's titles under the Advent name. Advent was founded in 1956 by Earl Kemp and others, and has published the likes of James Blish, Hal Clement, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, E.E. "Doc" Smith, and many others. Advent's high quality titles have won and been finalists for several Hugo Awards, such as The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy and Heinlein's Children. Watch this space for ebook and print editions of all of Advent's current titles!

Free Web Sites

Free web sites for authors (and others) are available at

New Book from a Critter Member

**NOW IN PRINT EDITION TOO!** Awesome new book, HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SPECULATIVE FICTION OPENINGS, from a Critter member whose unearthed a shard of The Secret to becoming a pro writer. Really good piece of work. "...if you're at all concerned about story openings, you'd be nuts not to read what Qualkinbush has to say." —Wil McCarthy, author of BLOOM and THE COLLAPSIUM

Space Travel for SF Writers

Hot off the presses from ReAnimus Press! Space Travel - A Science Fiction Writer's Guide— An indispensible tool for all SF writers that explains the science you need to help you make your fiction plausible. (Also via Amazon)

Network speeding up

I'm switching the connection over to a new, shiny 10X faster network because of all the load. There might be bits of downtime as your boxes learn new addresses and things. Should be brief. Let me know of any prolonged outages you see.

Preditors & Editors Changeover

With the very sad passing of Dave Kuzminski, who ran P&E, I've taken over the P&E duties. Lots of what I hope are improvements; check it out at

Critters Server is Dying has been Replaced

See important details here in my blog. Let me know if you find anything that isn't working right. (Manuscripts are now available for this week, FYI.)

Book Recommendation

THE SIGIL TRILOGY: The universe is dying from within... "Great stuff... Really enjoyed it." — SFWA Grandmaster Michael Moorcock

Announcing ReAnimus Press

If you need help making ebooks from manuscripts or print copies—or finding great stuff to read—look no further! An ebook publisher started by your very own Critter Captain. (And with a 12% Affiliate program.) [More]








Atlanta Nights - The Worst Book Ever Written

PublishAmerica Sting

Would they publish the worst book ever written?

To dispel PublishAmerica's statements that they are a "traditional publisher"[*] and claims that they inspect submitted books for quality like a true traditional publisher does, such as--

If indeed you have been dreaming of getting published, and you want us to review your work, please fill out the form below and let us know who you are and what you have written. Your manuscript will be reviewed by our Acquisitions staff, who will determine whether your work has what this book publisher is looking for.


a collection of SFWA authors (and, ahem, non-authors) concocted to write a very poorly written book. Under "direction" of James D. Macdonald, each author was given minimal information from which to write a chapter (with no idea of the chapter's location in the book, time of year, background of the characters, what the plot was, etc.), and encouraged to write poorly. It's a truly awful book, a serious contender for Absolute Worst Book Ever Written. The result was submitted "for review" by PublishAmerica to see if "has what this book publisher is looking for." It did. :-) PublishAmerica offered a contract.

PublishAmerica will publish any work, regardless of quality, despite their claims.

Here's the book, "Atlanta Nights" by "Travis Tea" (say the author's name quickly...) Be aware, as Allen Steele has said, "A note of caution: reading this thing may cause temporary brain damage." :-)

* The business model of Traditional publishers (RandomHouse, etc.) is that they are highly selective in which titles they choose to publish, because they put significant financial resources and take a large risk that they could lose a lot of money if they don't choose books that sell a lot of copies. Traditional publishers bear the entire financial risk—they don't charge fees to authors (or any other forms of consideration). As a result of needing to recoup their cost, they market the books heavily. (Included in this is getting copies of the books onto thousands of bookstore shelves across the country/world, which is a very costly endeavor.) Traditional publishers pay the author large amounts of money in advance for the anticipated number of sales of the book. (Money the publisher doesn't get back if the book doesn't sell well.) The author thus not only has no costs or risks at all, they get paid up front. This explains why traditional publishers reject the vast majority of the books authors submit to them, and is the distinguishing characteristic of "traditional" publishing. Any publisher that calls itself "traditional" but fails these tests is not traditional, and authors should be skeptical of them (if they're misleading about that, they are likely misleading in other ways to the author's detriment). This was the point of the sting operation.

This is not to say that authors can't be successful via non-traditional publishing!—but because the author bears the financial risk, authors should be careful to avoid companies that charge high fees (before or after publication, or pay poor royalty rates, or engage in other author-unfriendly behavior) yet produce results that could have been accomplished for a lot less, or even for free. The goal is to protect authors from predatory behavior.

Tip to aspiring authors: See General Guidelines & Tips on Avoiding Scams.

Also see: The Preditors & Editors web site and Writer Beware.

--Andrew Burt (author of chapter 11 and the software used to machine generate chapter 34, :) chair of Preditors & Editors, as well as author/creator/purveyor of other things you might find interesting)

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