Behind the Scenes with Lincoln Crisler Pt. II: Pushin’ it Outta the Nest

Here’s part two of my look behind the scenes. I look forward to hearing what you think. This particular essay is loaded with links to essays from my blog because, well, I write about stuff like this all the time on my website. So it’s like getting five essays for the price of one! Enjoy!


So by hook or by crook you have a finished story. Now what? If you’ve decided to show it off to the world, your work has just begun.

Placing a story is a lot of work, but luckily there’s a lot of resources at your fingertips. My two favorite places to find markets for my work are and Editors place the guidelines for their publications (usually magazines or anthologies, but sometimes for novel-length work as well) and writers can search the database by payment, length of work, genre and other categories.

A quick word about payment: money isn’t everything, but a writer shouldn’t give any of it away in exchange for being published. Money, if any is involved, should flow from the publisher to the writer. I cover this and other such matters in this article. I discuss the subject of writing for pay and how it’s affected my career here.

What’s the secret to getting picked up by a publisher? There’s nothing magickal about it; just about every story I’ve finished writing has been published eventually, simply through trial and error. I finish a story, set it aside for a week or two to make the material fresh in my mind again, revise and post it for review by my critique group. I’ll make revisions based on their suggestions and then start sending that bad boy out. Even if an editor rejects my story, life goes on and I send it elsewhere. I’m confident that when I send out a story, it’s worth printing; it’s just a matter of finding an editor the piece strikes a chord with.

If I have any sort of secret weapon at all, it’s that I’m an editor as well as a writer. You could say I’m an enemy sympathizer, sort of speak. But I find that being a writer also helps me be a better editor as well. In my work as editor of The Lightning Journal and the Our Shadows Speak anthologies I’ve identified several peeves guaranteed to grind an editor’s gears. My favorites can be found here.

Other than that, I recommend an objective mind when revising, attention to detail and adherence to market-specific guidelines. And write a good cover letter; my standard letter is something like this:

Dear Editor X,

Attached is my piece, Osama bin Laden vs. Satan, for possible inclusion in Frightening Flash.

I’m a two-time combat veteran, a contributing writer at the Horror Library and the editor of the Our Shadows Speak anthologies. Since 2006 my work has appeared in a variety of print and online venues. More information on myself and my work, should you desire it, can be found at

Thank you for your time.


Lincoln Crisler

Gets ’em every time.

So let’s say you’ve written a story, followed Uncle Lincoln’s suggestions perfectly and after many weeks of sleepless nights, received an acceptance from a publisher. Your work is appearing in an anthology with worldwide distribution. You’re on the map!

Now what?


Lincoln Crisler has a fantastic wife and three children– an infant, a toddler and a teenager– so you just know his fiction’s the product of a mind long since decayed into madness. Check out his website, for updates on his work and excerpts from his books, Despairs & Delights and Our Shadows Speak Volume One!