the long and short of it

So I wrote a novel, as you do. It’s a silly little tale about aliens from another dimension using humans to keep other aliens from a different dimension from killing them. I call it “Monsters All The Way Down” and for almost a year I’ve been trying to find an agent or publisher who loves it as much as I do. Or at least loves it enough to pay me for it. Affection. Cold hard cash. To-may-to. To-mah-to.

While trying to find a home for my novel, I’ve been writing short stories. I also took a few of my robot and zombie stories that I originally posted on my old blog, Fix It Or Deal, may she rest in peace (*crosses self* wait, is it left to right or right to left? what am I doing, I’m not even Catholic), and added to them and generally made them more presentable. I’ve been shopping these short stories around to various places. But trying to sell a short story is a daunting, pain-in-the-ass process. There are thousands of print and web-based publications out there and sifting through them, even with the help of websites like, can take dozens of eye-crossing hours. Then, once you find one that seems like a good fit, you submit your story and have to wait anywhere between four weeks and the heat death of the universe for a reply. And that reply is invariably “Thanks, but no thanks,” so you have to start the process all over again. All this for the chance to get paid a fraction of minimum wage once you calculate the time spent writing/editing/revising the story and searching for a market.

A carousel of insanity, right? Right.

There is another option: self-publishing. Depending on who you are, that’s either a nasty curse you spit out of your mouth like spoiled milk or the ultimate answer to the ultimate question. Like most things, I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Self-publishing isn’t the end-all be-all, but it is a good way to at least get your shit Out There in front of people. Whether they buy it or not, is a crap-shoot, but so is submitting to random e-zines. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take.

I’m hoping to have a select group of short stories all polished up and ready to go by the end of summer when I’ll self-pub them through Amazon. This little anthology will be cheap, probably only about $2.99, but I’d only have to sell a dozen to make more money than I would selling one story individually. I’m not really doing it for the money, however. I know I’m not going to be able to quit my day job any time soon. I’ll most likely end up giving away more copies than I sell. But it will be good experience. If I have success self-publishing a short story collection, maybe I’ll do the same with my novel. Who knows? The most important thing is just to get my words in front of people’s eyeballs. That’s why I write – to be read. If I make some extra wine money doing it then that’s just sprinkles on the cupcake.

All that said . . . I did just find out yesterday that a zombie story I wrote has been accepted for inclusion in an anthology due to come out this fall. Sometimes the carousel is a nice ride.


  1. Put me down for a copy. Um. One of your free copies, please. Hahahaha! Oh, I really do crack myself up. Sha’woo. It’s hard being me.
    Amy, if you’re publishing I’m buying. I don’t want to wish summer away, but I look forward to its end and the release of your short stories.
    And, congrats on the score with one of your zombie stories. More to come, I’m certain.


  2. Wine, and cupcakes, and sprinkles, and short stories sold, and one novel OPTIONED!
    I call that a win, win, win, win, OH. MY. GOD you totally nailed the crossing yourself thing.


  3. You are my mentor and my hero and I think I accidentally just gave you a venereal disease from all that messy love. I’ll do anything and everything I can to help and I will promote the shit out of you because you are a glorious friend and the most talented sci-fi writer this side of D.A.


  4. Congrats on getting a story accepted in an anthology!
    Whatever you do don’t give up on your story! If you can’t get it published the traditional way then self-publish it. Make sure your eyes aren’t the only ones who get to read it!!!


  5. Congrats on both anthologies!

    Keep us posted on your self-publishing. I’m interested to hear how it works out for you and to see your finished product. I like short stories — especially for horror/fantasy/SF.


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