December 21, 2010

Thanks for the fish...

Fewer than two years after I began writing, this individual is quitting - or at least this named individual is quitting. I have decided to go down the pseudonym route so well trodden by others.

Not only one pseudonym either. I have created 3 for different genres and will be submitting my first story as XXXXXXXX XXXXXX (you didn't think I'd be revealing the one I'll first be using, did you?) in the new year.

Authors take on pseudonyms for a whole raft of reasons. They may have crazy friends and family who wouldn't understand their writing spicy erotica, perhaps they're well known in some other field or have written already in another genre. You can't imagine J K Rowling not taking on a pseudonym if she decided to dip her toes into war novels.

I believe it's going to be enormously liberating writing as "someone else"...I confess to being childishly excited about the whole process, so much so that I question why it took 18 months to reach this point.

Now, obviously I will lose the publishing record of Mr. NC but that doesn't bother me. One of the reasons for this move is that I am going to start submitting to higher markets in 2011. I will undoubtedly fail in that venture but it's the only way to improve. Many of the stories I've had published so far are, to be frank, not things I'm proud of, mainly due to the markets they were subbed to. Others, though, are fine pieces of storytelling. I will still have those stories. They'll never cease to exist, cease to have been written by me.

I will update this blog if I have anything else "out there" accepted but apart from that, this is the end of the line for this blog.

December 10, 2010

Irish Lit Mag publishes two stories

The magazine "The Linnet's Wings" has now published two of my very early stories, The Locket and The Red Couch. They can be seen here:

December 03, 2010

Terminal Earth out!

Terminal Earth, by Pound Lit Press, is out in eBook versions today. My story "Outstanding Matters" is in it and tells the story of the final meeting of an apartment block's resident committee, on the day the world ends. There's even a garden gnome in it! Irresistable!!

October 01, 2010

Bards & Sages Quarterly out

My genie story "The Weight Of The Wish" comes out today in the Bards & Sages Quarterly. This was accepted at the tail end of last year, so good to see it in the flesh finally. Vote for your favourite story after clicking through. Vote early and often.

September 30, 2010

Coming, Ready Or Not finds a home

It's been quite a good week all things considered. Getting back into the swing of the writing and finished a story about a jukebox called "The Mapmaker", a sci-fi horror piece. Hopefully, will have some news about that in next month or two.

And to add to my recent acceptances, The Lowestoft Chronicle today notified me that they will publish my hide and seek light sci-fi story, "Coming, Ready Or Not". I have a real soft spot for this story, which is a fat-free 500-worder, but it's managed to rack up 2 rejections and now this acceptance all in the space of about 2-3 weeks. A fast mover!

September 29, 2010

Two More Acceptances - by The Linnet's Wings

This wonderful Irish lit mag has accepted two of my weekly contest oldies from 2009: The Red Couch and The Locket. Both of those were among the very first 5-6 stories I wrote so it's great to see them getting a home at last. I'll post when they're online.

September 25, 2010

The Bridge Builder Of Arta - now available on Amazon

I learnt early in life that if I want something done (well), to do it myself. My story The Bridge Builder Of Arta was finished, polished and ready for publication in February of this year. Without going into dull details of broken promises and reneged agreements, only very recently did I decide to take things into my own hands and this story has now been published on the US and UK Amazons:

I wrote about this story when I had finished writing it, and it's always been a favourite of mine, especially because of the Edwardian seaside setting. Publishing on Amazon had a few teething problems, but it was far less painless than waiting six months for others to (not) publish it.

August 22, 2010

My first eBook publication!!

With me having just got my hands on one of these bad boys, I thought it was only right and proper to unleash my first ever eBook onto the world!!

This is a story I wrote back in the late winter/early spring this year, got rejected by one or two places and it's been sitting in a folder on my laptop ever since - I've always quite liked it but never thought it "meaty" enough to get published elsewhere, so thought I'd do it myself!!

Who knows, if I get a few freebies up on Smashwords and they do well, I can think about putting a few up on there for a few bucks. That's for the future anyway...

You can download it in about 6-7 different formats including the big two for eBook readers: ePub for Sony and others, mobi for the Kindle.


July 16, 2010

Language(s), Timothy!

With foreign languages playing such an important role in my life for nearly twenty years, I thought it only right I attempted to get some of my stories published in non-English markets. To that end, I've been busy subbing to everything from Catalan to Hebrew magazines, via Dutch and Swedish websites and have already had a hopeful response or two. With any luck, I'll be able to post some updates on here before the end of the summer concerning stories such as The Fisher Men, The Bridge Builder of Arta, Base Liberty Point, Those In The Flames, The Weight of the Wish, Chicago String Quartet and others.

I know from my many years living and working abroad how important the translation of ideas (rather than words) is for successful communication. I'm keen to see what those translators working in languages I'm more familiar with will do with my works.

Right, off to buy my fork handles.

July 05, 2010

Author Page at Amazon

Oooh! I'm far prouder of this than I should be, considering Amazon didn't actually do anything apart from make it possible for authors to create their own author page. I even chose a moody writer photo for the occasion. Look at me, sailing away from a world I've given up on, despairing of its utter stupidity. (As it was, I was off for my usual three-monthly visa renewal in Uruguay and feeling rather chipper, but the emo writer tale makes better reading!)

Currently, there are three books on US and UK Amazon that I'm involved in. The challenge is to expand that list and that'll be my aim between August and Christmas.

My author page

July 02, 2010

Much better this term

Admit it, we're all suckers for reviews. I've had two (that I'm aware of) so far. One for my online story "The Other You" which deals with computer dating a couple of centuries in the future. The story can be found on Rotten Leaves. Pablo D'Stair was kind enough to leave a review, the entirety of which can be read at the Rotten Leaves site:
The thing is, the light hand you give to the sci-fi elements is how such things should work–no big deal, treated as though perfectly ordinary, hints at details of a world that seem to be being told as minutia, from within, the sort of stuff someone there would notice and mention, not the sort of stuff the story itself seems to be pushing out as clever or noteworthy (a tough trick to pull, one that a lot of basically good work gets messy with).
 The only other review of my work is a couple of sentences about "Screen Six" on the SFRevu site:
"Screen Six" by Neil Coghlan features Manny Gibbs who works as a security guard in an apartment building . His job is to monitor television screens that show various areas where there might be trouble. He finds that one screen seems to be showing the future. How this all works out makes for a good read.
  Always good to hear your work has been received well...especially in a week of three rejections! Sometimes you need a few blobs of black text on white screen to get you over the next speed bump.

June 09, 2010

First story in a while

I had an idea a month ago about the effects of a large advertising hoarding, bolted onto the side of an apartment block, one that showed all singing, all dancing neon ads. What would happen to the tenants inside, so close to all that electricity, all that static? What would happen during the day, when the ads were switched off? Ooh...

And so was born "Chicago String Quartet", my first story in three months. I've subbed to Day Terrors, a terrific looking anthology from Harrow Press.

Here's hoping...and waiting.

April 16, 2010

Writer's Block, sort of.

I've been tangled up in a big beefing up of my Under Earthless Skies story for the last month, getting very little done and not being happy with what I did manage to get down "on screen", so I'm laying it aside, snapping out of it and getting on with something else.

I love the premise of UET, the intellectual battle between man and machine, the machine's battle between fake humanity and overpowering automation, but I suspect I'm just not in the right place mentally to write the story yet. It's one of the few ideas I've had in the last year that I've suspected might even be a good basis for a, der der der, wait for it.....novel! *Gasp!*

So, today's job is to line up 2-3 stories from the usual antho/zine market and get started on them, probably Monday.

Will be good to be back in the saddle.

March 27, 2010

Terminal Earth Teaser

This is just a portion of the Terminal Earth cover, where my story Outstanding Matters will be appearing in the summer. Pretty cool, eh? Looks like all of humanity walking to its fate into a lake or something.

Pandora's Nightmare is out!

This is the anthology from Pill Hill Press where my horror desert island story, One Morning, A Chest resides snugly.

This will be its home on amazon:

March 12, 2010

Outstanding Matters - Accepted!

Outstanding Matters, a story about an apartment block's resident committee in the final days of this planet's existence and there's a guest appearance by a garden gnome called Nigel. This will be appearing in the Terminal Earth anthology in the summer of this year. Very pleased with this story and I worked hard on it in the first half of February.

The anthology required people to write tales of "what ordinary people are doing as the sands of time run out" so I wrote about immensely ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances.

Outstanding Matters is my fourteenth acceptance.

February 17, 2010

Stats Check

Stories accepted so far:


One February Evening
One Morning, A Chest
Storm On Fifth Avenue
Those In The Flames


A Long Way To Hope
Five Second Delay
Screen Six
The Weight Of The Wish
Leave In Silence


The Small Town Storyteller
The Other You


The Bridge Builder Of Arta
The Fisher Men

Acceptances: 13
Rejections: 32
Acceptance Rate: 28.8%

Penny Dreadful Chapbooks

It was confirmed today that two of my stories ("The Bridge Builder of Arta" and "The Fisher Men") will be published together as a single chapbook in May by the fantabulous Penny Dreadful Company, headed up by all round good guy Neil Jackson. Being a chapbook means though quite small in size, it'll just be good ol' me.... No need to share the glory with anyone else.

I've written about both of these stories' creation on this blog, so to have them accepted and go into their own little book is superb news.

I should have updates to this soon with the exact publication dates and also the all-important cover!

February 09, 2010

Manny has a home!!

After Screen Six was rejected by some heartless fiends in December, I was worried my favourite security guard was going to be homeless. But tonight I got an acceptance for it from Encounters magazine (Black Matrix Publishing) - should be out in the spring although no definites on that publication date.

Have a real soft spot for this story, maybe because it was inspired by where I'm currently living in Buenos Aires. And I love Manny as a character too. And, it's my longest story accepted so far - 6990 words!

February 08, 2010

One Morning, A Chest - Accepted!

Another acceptance today, which is great news. My story One Morning, A Chest has been accepted for the Pandora's Nightmare Anthology by Pill Hill Press.

The story tells of a dozen English sailors washed up on a Pacific island in the early years of the 19th Century. One morning, one of them discovers a chest lying on the sand. Will he open it, Pandora style? Oh, I think we all know he does - but what happens next forms the heart of One Morning, A Chest.

As you can see, the (provisional) cover of the anthology is great looking too. Looking forward to seeing this one in print!

February 05, 2010

It's official - I'm in a book!

With my copies sitting safely in the damp south of Ireland, it fell to my mate in balmy South Carolina to send me some photos proving I'm now officially in print.

February 03, 2010

The Bridge Builder Of Arta


The Bridge Builder of Arta tells the story of an architect who finds a special, secluded place in the coastal town where he lives, a place where there are two peculiar statues. He discovers that one of them is the bridge builder of Arta, the man who built a famous bridge in the north of Greece, inside which his wife was buried alive in order to successfully bring the project to termination.

I visited the town of Arta when I was living in Greece - a very atmospheric place. My inspiration for the public space that forms the heart of the story was my three windswept years in the town of Aberystwyth.

With any luck, I'll soon have news about this story.

February 01, 2010

The Story With Three Titles

I wrote on this blog in December about a story called The Last Foot - that was the story's second title and it's now got a third!

It began with the title "Beet Surrender" which I was enormously impressed with. I thought that was the cleverest title going and I had a good chuckle to myself as I read it. (For those who weren't following the UK music scene "Beat Surrender" was a huge hit for The Jam in 1982). But I was put in my place by the other writers who told me in no uncertain terms that the title was appalling.

So it became "The Last Foot", which while not as 'clever', was certainly more relevant. The story ended up in the sample of short stories that we sent off for our Fifty Grand project that was ultimately doomed. But it always remained one of my favourites - for reasons I'll explain shortly.

I've now expanded the story to more than double its previous length and it now tips the scales at about 2100 words. The focus has altered and its new title is The Fisher Men, its third ever title.

This story wrote itself. The initial idea for it came to me fully formed and I just needed to keep the steering wheel straight while it got to its destination. Some stories, you have to battle to the finishing tape like a bear, but this was one of those happy instances where I had a few word-choice decisions to make, but little else. I'm almost ashamed to take a writing credit for it!

The protagonist of the story is an A330 Airbus jet that has been frozen in time, just 12 inches above the ground as it plummets to its doom, hence its second title! We pass into the passenger cabin and we meet a few of the passengers who are about to get the big splat treatment, some more distraught about this than others.

In its new incarnation, we discover that there is one person aboard that is going to be saved from the crash. We discover something about why he's being plucked from disaster, but that is not really important to our story. The Last Foot was probably my favourite of the 1000-word stories I'd written last year and I desperately didn't want to ruin it.

It's being submitted to a project I should be able to speak about more in the coming week.

January 26, 2010

My first amazon link

The Love Kills Anthology (Pill Hill Press) got its Amazon page today, so this is the resting place for One February Evening.

A special moment in any aspiring writer's career - their work appearing on Amazon for the first time. Maybe the 21st century's equivalent of the framed uncashed cheque. The framed screenshot of the Amazon listing? Not quite the same romantic ring to it...

January 19, 2010

The Other You - Accepted!

This was always one of my favourite stories of the last couple of months and I beefed up the original 1k weekly contest version to a little over double that and Rotten Leaves picked it up this evening. Unfortunately, their print editions aren't quite ready yet, so I think it'll be only online. Boo!

The Other You tells the story of a less-than-sane man who decides to use cutting-edge (pun!) computer dating which promises to find him "his other half". Is that such a good idea?

January 18, 2010

Retro Spec Cover released

This will be the cover of Retro Spec, where my story Storm On Fifth Avenue will be appearing later this year. Pretty cool, "understated" feel to it. Like it!

January 15, 2010

Stats Check

It's been an insane week or so and I'm now up to 8 stories accepted.

Acceptances: 8
Rejections: 26
Acceptance Rate: 23.5%

That is a crazy acceptance rate and I know it'll fall in the next month or so. Duotrope lists the average at 8.6%. If I can keep mine much above 12-14%, I'll be over the moon!

One reason for the high acceptance rate is that I've been cherrypicking old stories to send off. Once I'm in a routine of only subbing to anthologies or higher level magazines, it'll come tumbling. I'm very aware of that!

One February Evening - Accepted for Love Kills Anthology

Today's been a great day. The Love Kills Anthology should be out in time for Valentine's Day and One February Evening will be part of it.

The story centres around the digging of a hole on the beach. What could be more sweet and innocent?


Leave In Silence - Accepted!

The same day I have a whinge about rejections and Cantaraville Literary Quarterly comes through with an acceptance and Leave In Silence will be in their October edition. Woo!

This started life as one of the entries in our 1000-word contests (grabbed a bronze too!) but I always loved the idea and beefed it up to about 2000 words.

It's the tale of the last silent film made by a major studio in Hollywood in the early 1930s. The studio's main star isn't best pleased by the switch to talkies - but what's he gonna do??

The Art of Rejection

The stats are against us, there's no denying that. You enter this business and you're setting yourself up for a bloody nose anywhere between 70% and 95% of the time, depending on the level of markets you choose to sub to. Write sci-fi exclusively for Asimov and Clarkesworld and the like and you're going to be disappointed 97/98% of the time. Ready for that?

Rejections are awful, obviously. They get you doubting not only a story's quality but even yourself as a writer. "What am I doing?" you ask yourself. "Sending out trite, formulaic crap to be shot down - there must be something better I can be doing with my spare time!"

There are several reasons a story (or even a writer!) is rejected. Editors make a big deal out of saying "it just didn't fit our project" and this is undoubtedly true a good deal of the time. But, but, sometimes the writing is just poor. The storyline predictable, the dialogue wooden, the adjective/adverb dial turned up just a little too much - and a thousand other things besides. In short, it's badly written.

If a writer has a history of publication, they can write, so the problem is more likely the story itself. Good writers write awful stories. It happens. They get an idea into their head and won't be shaken from it, however many times it's rejected and however many times friends brush faint praise upon it with words like "yeah, it's got something...maybe work on the end a bit" which translates as "I value our friendship and cannot bring myself to tell you how Hell-scrapingly bad this is - if you send me yet another, 8th, rewrite, the eye-poking device is coming out of the drawer!"

So then what to do when you do get a rejection. First rule is never, ever reply to the editor. Ok, you can do so but only 24 hours later and only to say something along the lines of "Thanks for considering me." Never ever go into rant mode. I almost did once, then thought better of it. An editor had been ultra uber mega petty and I almost did the same: it's a very strong, satisfying temptation. In today's world of twitter, facebook and endless blogs, your reputation will go down fast than the Titanic should you get into a slanging match with an editor. Remember this: you can't force somebody to like either you or something you've produced. Suck it up and move on!

What about the story, though? Some good stories undoubtedly are rejected because either it wasn't a good fit for the anthology or the editor was having a bad day or has odd tastes or whatever. If you truly believe in the story, it has to be worth at least two or three submissions. After that, it's probably time to get the message!

If the editor gave any detailed feedback, read it, take it on board. Maybe that character is flat, maybe the ending really does suck big balls. If an editor comments on a particular feature that lets the whole down, that's great! You can work with that, make changes. Consider that type of feedback to be a rewrite request, if not for that market, then certainly for another.

There are so many markets out there - you can always sub a story "down a level". If that pro-payment site didn't want it, that 2c-a-word might! And if they don't, wouldn't you prefer that non-paying e-zine to have it rather than it sitting in your "Yet To Place" folder on your laptop for the next six months?

In short, don't give up on a story but don't flog it to death either. Take a step back (with colleagues) and think about what could be improved with it. And if absolutely nobody wants it, well you can always wear a funny Santa outfit and read it out on Youtube. Your mom would watch it. Possibly.

January 07, 2010

A Long Way To Hope - Accepted!

This has been quite a few days....3 quick acceptances. I know there'll be whole months without a single one, so happy to make hay for the time being. This is my sixth overall acceptance.

This story was written for the young adult sci-fi mag Beyond Centauri and while not exactly representative of my normal work, was a quick and fun write.

My long-term aim is to get as many stories published on both sides of the Atlantic as possible by the end of this year with the ultimate aim of getting an agent working for me on the strength of my publishing record. So far, that plan is going very well.

A Long Way To Hope is quite a formula-driven 2.5k piece that follows the fortunes of 30 adults and 5/6 kids as they land on a new planet with the goal of establishing a colony. Only, all their supplies burn up in the atmosphere and they need to show some teamwork and determination to survive the difficult early months on their new home planet.

Definitely one for the kids (it's aimed at a 13-16y.o age group)!

January 06, 2010

On Writing - Stephen King

First things first. I'm not a big Stephen King fan. I find what I've read of his to be a little formulaic and he inhabits a niche of the fiction world (vampires, ghouls, blood vomiting, stakes through hearts, among others) that has never really "done it" for me.

But he's undoubtedly a talented and successful writer and those of us starting out on the trail need all the help we can get and it was with this in mind that I read On Writing, Stephen King's treatise on how to be a better writer, how to come up with the finished product and what to do with it once it's complete.

In fairness, only the middle half of this book was of any direct interest to me. The first quarter was basically an autobiography, how the young King piled up the rejection slips before finally cracking the big time with Carrie. It was interesting to read how even the most successful authors have periods of self-doubt when the going is tough, when the next acceptance seems a long way off, but there isn't really much else of interest in this initial section. The final quarter returns to the biographical tone of the start, this time talking about his infamous accident in 1999 and how he came back from it to produce On Writing.

The middle part, however, contained a lot of useful tips and, thankfully, recommendations I found myself generally nodding along with. This part of the book could have been organised better, King seemingly going for a sort of "stream of consciousness" approach with twenty or so numbered sections existing in a very loose framework that is based evidently upon whatever he fancied writing about that day. It's easy enough to follow though, and never too dense or technical. A pleasant read.

His main recommendations, of relevance to me as a writer just starting out in the world of published stories, were as follows:

Write in a blitz, second draft at leisure. When talking about novels, SK suggests writing as fast as possible while the initial idea is still fresh. Do at least 2-3k words a day. Put the finished draft aside for at least six weeks, then go back to it. I write my short stories in a similar way...get the clay on the table, shape and form later, so I was glad to read this advice. Others craft every sentence as they go along and that works for them. I need to get the story down on paper.

Don't plot. Set the situation and believable characters and let them bring you to the end. The endings should often surprise the author too. This is something I'm doing more and more. I've plotted entire stories, certainly I have, including the very last sentences, before beginning the first draft in earnest. But I've also done it the other way and I think it's something I'll do more and more often.

Simplify your prose. Take out 90% of your flowery adjectives, especially within discourse markers ("he said powerfully"). It's all part of the old "show, don't tell" mantra. Instead of "she said drunkenly", how about showing us she's drunk in any of a thousand different ways. On the same subject, almost all of your discourse markers should be "he said/she said" or not present at all if it's clear who's speaking. All writers, myself included, have gone through phases of using flowery discourse markers: "she retorted aggressively".

Don't overdo the description. King has a great quote about Carrie when illustrating that writers shouldn't go overboard in their descriptive passages. "If I tell you that Carrie White is a high school outcast with a bad complexion and fashion-victim wardrobe, I think you can do the rest, can't you?...We all remember one or more high school losers, after all; if I describe mine, it freezes out yours." I underlined that bit twice. Nothing's as perfect or as personalised as the reader's own imagination....don't go stomping all over it with your own ideas: that's what I took from this part of On Writing.

Cut, cut, cut. The formula King mentions is "second draft = first draft - 10%". This is one I don't think I'll ever have a problem with. He divides writers into two camps: those who add on second draft and those who cut. I'm a cutter from dawn to dusk, every day of the week and weekends too. My fiction writing baptism was in the weekly 1000-word contests we had and with so few words, every one counted. It gives you good habits as a writer and you automatically cut out a lot of the extra fluff that every first draft has.

There were many other small recommendations in the book, but these were the biggies. Sometimes, it's nice to get confirmation that you're more or less on the right road and to always remember that it's a learning process and you must constantly strive for improvements. I think this is a good book for those learning the craft of fiction writing and it's an exercise I wish more big-name authors would undertake.


After the recent two acceptances, time for a stats update!

Acceptances: 5
Rejections: 24
Acceptance Rate: 17.3%

The industry average, according to Duotrope, is around 8.6%. So, I'm pretty happy for the time being, though I know there'll be other bad stretches of consecutive rejections.

Five Second Delay - Accepted

I had my 1100-worder, Five Second Delay, accepted by a UK-based magazine, Delivered today. I made a conscious decision over the festive period to send some of my mixed-genre pieces to UK publications. Stories of mine such as this one, It Goes Without Saying (coming of age over the school fence), A Life Unlived (the baby that never was) and The Full Blown Farce (student meets old, bullied teacher) have a strong, incisive British feel to them and wouldn't go over well in a US market, so it's pretty pointless me sending them there!

Anyway, Five Second Delay deals with a normal suburban bloke preparing for an evening debate on the local radio station. Malcolm Popplewell has not had a glorious life down in the suburbs, but tonight, he has his chance of Warholian glory, just for a while.
Malcolm Popplewell's moment had arrived. Fifty-two years of mediocrity, of not daring to raise his head above the suburban rooftops of Beckenham, of timidness in love and life, would end tonight. Just for a while, he would rule all he surveyed and his existence would mean something and it would be acknowledged by others, at least those listening to LBC on 97.3 FM in the South-East.
This story will appear in the summer/autumn of 2010 and have a readership of at least 17!

January 05, 2010

Friends, Acquaintances, Writers

I was born as a writer in March, 2009. Of course, what makes me a writer comes from a thousand variables in the three decades before that, but that was the date I first tried to "write a bit of make-believe".

That birth took place within the confines of quite a small online writers group, the core of which is still together. The majority of this group is now moving from the weekly contests that tempered them into either putting a novel together or seeking paid publication in anthologies, print magazines or webzines.

Harper Hull (aka Grifter) is my writing buddy operating out of South Carolina. We throw ideas off each other and are working on a big project, which will be revealed on this blog in the spring of 2010. He's had multiple short stories accepted for publication in recent months and I suspect big things lie in his future.

Rob Long (aka Adso) was a stalwart in the group until the summer of 2009 when he disappeared to start work on his novel, which should be completed by this coming summer.

Simon Hood (aka Buttered) has recently had his first story accepted for publication over at Spilt Milk magazine. Simon has also been rather busy in recent months criss-crossing the country on his bike, following his favourite football team and raising thousands for charity in the meantime.

Justin Froude (aka Moist) is our Stephen King, our Peter Straub, our budding Tolkein. If there's a drop of blood to fall, either off the tooth of a vampire or the sword of an orc (do orcs carry swords? this is not my comfort zone!!), he'll be there to describe it in tormenting detail. He has recently begun to sub to paying publications and it's only a matter of time before success comes his way.

I'll keep the blog updated with any other major news about this writing group. We did try and publish a collection of our short stories last summer, but soon came to the realisation that the face of short story publication has changed dramatically in the last decade with the arrival of the internet.

Now, if you want to get your name out there and your face recognised, the path of the anthologies and zines seems to be the right one.