AMAZING PEOPLE: Extending a Helping Hand

My wife is one smart cookie (even if she did exhibit the poor reasoning skills in marrying me).  She encouraged me to start a feature on my website called “Author’s Helping Authors”  and while it is still in its infancy here are some of the posts we’ve done so far:


She also came up with a great idea. “Why not include a short story of a new or lesser known author’s work with my next novel?”  Brilliant!  So, I’m going to do exactly that!

Here’s how it’ll work:

  • Each entrant will submit a query and a short story.
  • I (or Robin) will provide a critique of each query submitted.
  • If your query is intriguing, it’ll move to round two.
  • People in round two will have their short story read and critiqued.
  • One person from round two will be the winner, and they’ll receive…well, check below.


Some additional details

  • Maximum payment is $750 ($0.15 for up to 5,000 words)
  • 5,000 words is not the “preferred” length; it’s the length I selected for a decent payout. You can certainly submit less.  You can even submit more, but 7,500 words is the absolute maximum word count.
  • I’ll accept work in any genre. The most important aspect is a compelling, well-written story. Now, that being said, keep in mind the audience will be readers of my books. The Riyria tales can best be described as fun, fast-paced classic heroic fantasy with a liberal dose of humor.  NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with my writing, you can get some free short stories when you sign up to be notified of open submissions. (You can also read on right here on Amazing Stories – The Jester.)
  • Sorry, but erotica probably wouldn’t be a good match with my readers, so no explicit sex scenes, please.
  • The contest is open to people regardless of locale, who will be responsible for taxes based on their country. US residents must provide a tax identification number (social security or business FEIN). A 1099-MISC form will report income to the IRS.
  • The contest is open to all writers regardless of past publishing history.
  • While I would prefer a never-previously-published piece, I’ll consider all works.


What the winner receives

  • More than twice the pro rate for short stories ($0.15 a word for up to 5,000 words).
  • Structural editing of their short by Robin and myself to polish it to a professional level.
  • I’ll pay to have it copy edited by a professional (maybe two!).
  • A brief introduction in my book about them and their works to promote other stories they’ve written.
  • The inclusion of the story in all print and ebook copies of The Death of Dulgath.  Based on current sales that means an exposure of 30,000 – 100,000 readers.
  • Author retains all rights and can publish the work elsewhere and earn whatever income they can outside this contest. NOTE: If the work hasn’t been previously published, you’ll lose “first-publication rights” but there is nothing I can do about that.


Submission details

  • I don’t know exactly when submission will officially open, I suspect it will be in July or August.  But the window will be very short (probably a week or two).  The reason I’m announcing the contest now is so people can start working on their stories and queries.
  • Click here to sign-up to be notified of the open submission period.


About the book the short will be included with

The winning short story will be included in my next published novel, The Death of Dulgath, the 9th novel starring Royce Melborn (a cynical ex-assassin) and Hadrian Blackwater (an idealistic ex-mercenary). Because of contractual issues with my new series, The First Empire (coming next summer from Del Rey), I MUST get this book on the market before the end of this year.  As I’m still writing it, the only way to accomplish this is through self-publishing. Don’t let that worry you though. I’ve had plenty of experience in self-publishing and sold more than 70,000 copies. The cover is being created by famed artist Marc Simonetti, who has crafted books written by myself, George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Pratchett, and dozens more.  Also, I’m going to be using the same copy editors that work for the big-five (Tor, Del Rey, DAW, etc). So it’s going to be a high-quality production. There are plans to provide a hardcover edition (if a Kickstarter funds), which should be carried by bookstores. But even if the Kickstarter flops, the book will be released in trade paperback and ebook forms. NOTE: You don’t have to contribute to the Kickstarter to enter the contest.

For those who want to know a bit more about this book, here is the “back of the book marketing copy.”

Three times they tried to kill her. Then they hired a professional. She hired Riyria.

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and a cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start their thieves-for-hire enterprise. Things have gone well enough until this odd assignment to prevent a murder. Now they must venture into a forgotten corner of southern Avryn—a place whose history predates the First Empire. As usual, challenges abound as they try to anticipate the moves of an unknown assassin before it’s too late. But that’s not their only problem. The Countess of Dulgath hides a dark secret she’s determined to keep hidden. Then there’s the little matter of Riyria’s new employer…the Nyphron Church.

Wrapping up

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. If you have questions, feel free to add them in the comments section or write me an email ( I hope you are as excited about this as I am. I think it’ll offer an excellent opportunity to piggy-back on a known brand, get your work noticed, and earn a bit of money while you are at it.  Here’s hoping for some great entries!


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