Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writer, thou shalt not live by indie publishing alone

I’ve been working on the indie publishing thing now for a few months, and overall I’ve been pleased with what entering this world has brought.

First, I’ve met some wonderful people – a few readers who’ve contacted me to talk about my work and a number of writers who have been wonderfully supportive and helpful as I learn the ropes.

Second, I’ve managed to see a few sales along the way. My debut novel, CLAIMING MOON, has done okay, though I really seemed to hit on something with the release of several of my horror shorts last autumn and a mini-collection of holiday-related horror shorts in December.

Since then I’ve been concentrating on writing, doing a little marketing work along the way, and interacting with other indie writers, to watch and learn from what they do. I’m also working on a longer collection of horror shorts I plan to release in a few weeks.

While doing some edits on a few of those stories this past weekend, I realized something – I haven’t submitted to a publishing market in a long time. Probably not since 2011. A big part of that is because I’ve been so focused on indie publishing.

But I miss subbing. So I sent out four shorts on Sunday, and I have another handful I hope to send out to various markets over the next week.

I know in many ways indie publishing is a better long-term business model. While the millions of stories and ebooks floating around out there stack the odds against me in terms of getting my work noticed, there is still a measure of control, the ability to generate at least some level of income, in this brave new world of independent publishing.

Still, there are very few thrills for a writer that measure up to getting an acceptance from an honest-to-goodness magazine or website. One of the few thrills that does match that is getting paid. I’ve never subbed to anything other than paying markets, and over the years I’ve been paid as little as $10 for a story and as much as $150, mostly for stories in the 2,000-word to 5,000-word range (unfortunately, most markets won’t take anything longer).

I miss that thrill. Both of those thrills. So I’m taking a slightly different approach over the next few months. I’ll continue working hard at publishing more original novel-length work this year, and I’m still moving forward with the short story collection, but a lot of my as-yet unpublished short fiction will be finding its way into the slush piles at various publications, and hopefully, eventually, find their way into publication.

Who knows, I might even query an agent or three for a couple of my novels.

I’ll keep you posted.

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