Monday, April 2, 2012
The Short Story
Blackskull's Captive!, has got me thinking about a few things. I have long wanted to be a "published" writer, and I guess I am now, technically (ok, "technically" I have been since about 1996, when I got an article in the then-print Dragon Magazine, but I'm thinking about fiction here). But am I really?
Traditionally, you need a professional publishing in some sort of mass-market publication, such as an anthology or magazine, in order to be considered a "published" short story writer. And there is merit to this view. After all, anyone with a word processor program and an internet connection can be a published writer, thanks to places like Amazon and Smashwords. But, unlike the pro markets, self-publishing has the stigma of being unpolished, unedited, and generally of lower quality.
Now, this is not to say that all self-published fiction deserves those descriptions. But, unfortunately, a large share of what's out there does.
So, the question becomes, how do I make myself stand out? How do I market a story that, despite the rejection notes, is worthy of publication? Or should I even try? Is there a negative side?
It should be noted that, as of this moment, there are a couple of factors that effect this decision for me personally. First off, I am not a full-time writer in the sense that writing is my only source of income. It is primarily a "hobby" with money-making potential. And even though I dream of striking it rich with the next "Great American Novel (TM)" (just like every other fiction writer), I don't expect it to happen any time soon.
The other thing is that I am only looking at publishing the odd short stories that seem to have a hard time finding a Pro Home. I am also working on a novel, with a few others in the wings, and those will all be taking more traditional routes to publication. But I am a whimsical writer at heart, and I will sometimes write a story without any thought as to where it could get sold or published, and often in a little-utilized genre for the medium.
One option I have considered is simply to create a "publisher" for my eFiction. Charles Gramlich has done this with his Razored Zen Press, and I am already beginning to pester him about how that works for him. So, that may be an option.
Anyways, I guess what I'm really wondering is whether there are ways to get my stuff in front of more readers as a self-publisher of short stories. Any ideas?