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 duotrope.com, 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.