The first thing that pops into my head lately is a quote from Wild Palms ~ 'Wake up, your having a very important nightmare'
I don't know if it is so much a nightmare, as an awakening, but even that is not completely accurate. I have been wrestling with many thoughts about publishing and getting the stories out there, or for that matter, getting more poetry out. I have talked to a couple people, read a few blog posts and listened to a couple podcasts. I think I am still swimming in a sea of thoughts.
For many years I slogged along, sending out what I write, and for the most part, collecting rejection slips. I have published plenty of poetry in the small press, mostly for nothing in return or on occasion, for contributors copies. I have not published any fiction. Lately I have been really sending the fiction out to pro markets, those markets that pay a professional rate as determined by SFWA. Yep, mostly science fiction, a couple fantasy.. but all going to the bigger publications, and so far, I have not met with any success. I have been trying that for many years, so either the stories are bad, which they may be, or I get lost in the noise from the slush pile. Either way, the stories are sitting in a briefcase or on a drive.
I can live with that, I am nothing if not persistent. I am a traditionalist. I believe that you can indeed break through into the market going down that path. Almost everyone who is currently writing in the short story market, or for that matter in the novel market, have done just that, with a few notable exceptions. This beaten path is the road to publication, on a regular basis in a career that spans years, those writers follow that path. It works, just not for everyone.
I do know that a lot of good stuff falls through the cracks. I know because I have read these stories. Some recent stuff I have shouted out is a whole lot better then what is in the latest issues of some very prominent, very large, print magazines. What does that mean and how can I, as a writer trying to break into the market, do about it? First thing to do is write better, work on the stories, and for crying out loud, write. After that, there are other paths I could follow.
Should I publish, do an eBook of poetry or sell short stories for a buck? Should I keep slogging along, sending out shorts, trying to follow the beaten path? Should I polish that novel, get it the best I can and go find an agent? A year ago I would have said follow the path, stay the course, keep sending out the short stories, re-write the novel and try to get an agent. Now I am not so sure.
I want folks to read what I write. Getting paid for it would be nice. Making a few bucks selling short stories on smashwords would be fine, but I don't have any illusions about making big bucks selling short stories and that is not why I write them. The key is to get the stories out there. To be honest, I think that about the novel side of stuff as well.
I think I will keep pondering the opportunities and give it a try. Why not? I know no, we are old friends. I think it is time to make a push. I think it is time to self publish a bit and see what I can see. My skin is pretty thick and I will know right away if the stories are good or not, and that is what I need, feedback.
Allow me to open up the trench coat.. wanna buy a story?