Surprising Stories

John Thiel

John Thiel
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Seeing as there's a topic on the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I thought I would put up a topic on my own ezine, SURPRISING STORIES. Has anybody seen this? What do you think of it, if you have?

I'm not sure I should post a link to it from this site, but a search engine will turn it up easily enough.
 

Boneman

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Well, since you asked, I went and looked: Read a few of the stories, and some of them were surprising at the end. You seem to have a lot of tales there, but I guess I'd ask you whether you actually edit the stories, or just put them on the site, as submitted by the writers? One or two were pretty bad, I'm afraid, which made me stop reading them within a paragraph or two. That's not intended as a criticism of what you're trying to do, because I think it's an admirable way of showcasing writing. But where the writing is not as good as it could be, it does become a bit cringe-making to see this type of thing:

But her family, including her widowed mother Eileen, as well as many of her friends and co-workers, including Kirsten, immediately volunteered to help during and after the funeral with comfort, food, extra clothes, toys for the kids, whatever money they could afford to scrounge up to help pay for bills and, most importantly, companionship when she needed it most.


I hope the writer will forgive me for posting that here, but it's awful...

I think your site would benefit from some measure of quality control. That way the stories posted would be better, and more likely to attract readers to the site. It would benefit the writers to be told where they're going wrong, and how to improve (and no, I'm not volunteering!). If it's your site, you should control what's put up, because it will reflect on you and your team badly, if you post stories that really wouldn't get a 'D' grade in English class in 8th grade.

But you deserve every bit of luck in doing this - I really admire the fact that you're willing to take the time, energy (and possibly even your own money?) to showcase other writers in this way. Just try and show them at their best...

ps: I'm really not sure of the protocol here, but I think this thread belongs in another area - possibly announcements or Press/Publishing. A moderator will know, because you are allowed to post some links once you've been here a while, but not just for self-aggrandisement. Since you seem to be showing others' work, I'll leave it to the wisdom of the moderators as to the correct action to take. But I found your site on google really easily, anyway.
 
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Teresa Edgerton

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Is this a paying market, John? I googled and couldn't find anything that addressed that question. We prefer to encourage small magazines and ezines that pay their authors something, even if it's only a token amount.

I took a look, and the design of the contents page was so cluttered and distracting, rather than drawing my eyes to the titles of the stories or the names of the authors, it just made me want to close the page.

I'm sure your motives in doing this are laudable, but it looks like there is a lot more you could be doing to lend your ezine, and therefore the authors you publish, a certain amount of distinction -- better editing and more selectivity in what you accept for publication would be a start. You might also want to rethink a design that draws more attention to itself than to the actual contents, particularly if, as I suspect, the only recompense you can promise your writers is exposure.
 

John Thiel

John Thiel
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
81
Location
From Lafayette, Indiana
The stories are edited for typos, grammar and spelling errors, smut and scatology, and not much else. Like Bewildering, we present what an author has to say in the form he wishes to use. I hope to attract readers to the site by the novelty of what the writers have to say.

I wish I could tell the writers how to improve their stories, but there have not been any of them so far that would react well to these suggestions being made. The policy of the writers seems to be "It's this or nothing."

No, it isn't a paying market. I haven't got an email account that would enable me to pay the writers, and don't want any form of mercantile account.

Look up at the masthead on the contents page and you'll find a reference to the appearance of the page---"The magazine that first repulses you, they you decide that you like it." I like a jazzy, blatant contents page. I have had some favorable comments on the appearance of the contents page.

Thanks for the comments on the zine.
 

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