Feet, Meet… Wet

So after a lot of thinking about it and some very good discussions with people at the workshop this last weekend, I’ve decided to get my feet wet with the whole electronic publishing thing. I already had plans for an experiment with longer fiction, which I’m going to talk about closer to the things happening date (not for months… stay tuned!). But I hadn’t really thought about putting up short fiction yet.

However, I do have a few literary stories that have made some submission rounds (you think spec fic mags are slow to respond? Try the lit fic world, whew). A couple even got nice rejections from what I think are prestigious literary magazines (and certainly ones that pay fairly well). Two of my stories got me into graduate school (MFA program which I then dropped out of…). So I know the stories aren’t horrible, they are just hard to place.

And now they are available online. I bundled two surreal shorts together, and then put up the longer ones separately. Will I sell any copies? Who knows? But I haven’t resubmitted them in a bit (even though it would have increased my race score I guess) and so they weren’t doing me much good sitting on the computer. If you want to read them, they are cheap (inexpensive?) and found here for Kindle and here for other formats (the sidebar there has the other two stories).

So I’ve decided to change my submission habits a little.  I still intend to submit every story I write to every pro-paying magazine and to the handful of good semi-pro zines that I love.  If a story then doesn’t sell to those magazines, I’ll put it up online.  It’ll take a while for each story to make those rounds (looks like about a year to two years so far), but at least there will be no trunk.  I’ll also probably (depending on if/how well anything sells online) put up stories of mine that I have sold and then gotten the rights back from.  This ebook stuff is a brave new world and interesting changes are coming for everyone, and damn but I want to be a part of that.  I think it’s good to stay on top of the changes and for me to get my feet wet learning how to put things online.  There are readers out there and they’ll vote with their dollars on the quality of things.  Plus it is good practice for writing blurbs, right? *grin*

Anyway, as other stories finish the submission rounds, I’ll be slowly putting them online.  I have a great friend doing my covers and I spent quite a few painful hours learning to format for Kindle.  It’s a fun new thing to try at the very least.  And as I said, I have a crazy/awesome idea for an experiment starting up in a few months, so eventually I’ll post a nice long thing about that.

Meanwhile, I am running into my own writing deadlines full speed.  I signed up for another novel workshop in October and haven’t even started the book I want to workshop.  So I guess I’d better stop blogging and go (have my characters) kill a few people and wrap up the current novel.  Lots of work ahead, but I feel good about.  I’m so busy between writing and Starcraft 2 that I’m (mostly) not even stressing about WotF results.  Crazy 🙂

11 Responses to “Feet, Meet… Wet”

  1. josh1340

    Good luck on this wild new writing frontier. Let us know how it goes. I checked out your amazon links. Nice cover art.

    • izanobu

      Thanks, Josh, if you end up reading the stories, definitely let me know what you think! And I hope your daughter feels better soon 🙂

  2. thomaskcarpenter

    Nice work on the covers. They look really professional. And the snippets you can read for free sounded nice.

    I’ve been debating the same thing for quite some time, but the part I can’t get past is how to decide if something is good enough to put out there, if it didn’t get interest from a publisher.

    Most of my stuff is still making the rounds at magazines or pub houses, so I’m spared the really hard decisions on that. But it’s certainly in the back of my mind. Usually I just tell myself “not yet, keep improving first.”

    So good luck on this and keep us posted on how many you sell. 🙂

    And are you going to the Dean workshop in Oct?

    • izanobu

      yeah, thomas, I’m planning on the Oct novel workshop, will you be there? Would be neat to meet more online writer peoples in person 🙂

      I figure at this point I’m getting more personal rejections than form letters, and lots of nice comments on my writing, (and sold a story already to semi-pro zine) so I’m probably at the least past the “everything is crap” stage (hopefully?). Two of these stories I posted for sale got me into graduate school, so I figure they aren’t terrible. We’ll see. When you post things online, readers get to decide 🙂 I’m definitely not going to stop submitting stories and novels for publication at pro magazines/with big publishers, I just now have a plan for if a story doesn’t sell or whenever I get the rights back to hopefully help my magic bakery grow 😛

  3. thomaskcarpenter

    Yes, I’ll be at the Oct novel workshop and that’s great you’re going. I can’t wait to receive everyone’s submission packages in September. I think I’m looking more forward to reading everyone else’s stuff rather than getting my own read, because I think I’ll learn more that way.

    Plus I feel like I’m *kinda* getting the query/synopsis thing and want to see if I’m progressing (well, I know that’s true to a point, I found my first query letter from fifteen years ago and it was awful.)

    • izanobu

      Sweet, Thomas 🙂 I did the workshop in Feb and it was super-helpful. Got me on the right path, I think. I’m definitely looking forward to reading everyone’s stuff, that was one of the best parts of the last novel workshop. (and making more writer friends out of it, writing can be pretty lonely) 🙂

  4. A.R. Williams

    Cool! Congrats and good luck 🙂

    The covers look great and the samples were well done. Good job.

    I plan to do some type of self publishing in the future. I want to learn how everything works. I’m thinking more novellas/novellette sized stories and enter them in WOTF, although I do have some short stories ideas that because of the sub-genre have little markets to submit to.

    I’m not ready to make the jump just yet because there is still a lot to learn. But it is definitely a path I want to journey down.

    Oh, and before I go one question. I notice on Amazon that a lot of the e-books do not have the look inside feature to the book. I’m not sure if this is true for all e-books or just the self published ones. Was there a certain size the e-book has to be in order to let someone read a few sample pages?

    • izanobu

      the Kindle does let you sample, but you have to click the “download sample” button on the side (and have either a Kindle or Kindle for PC or your phone). So it takes one extra step, but you can sample things (unless the author turns it off, which in my opinion would be silly).

      I wanted to start getting my feet wet and learning this stuff now, because I think that e-books are going to just keep getting bigger and bigger and I feel my writing has at least hit a level where I’m not embarrassed for people to read it 🙂

      • A.R. Williams

        Thanks for the info. I didn’t know that’s how you had to find the sample chapter since I’ve never poked around with downloading.

        I can understand the desire to get your feet wet. I have a secret fear that publishers are going to get their act together and find a way to push out people who publish e-books independently.

        Crazy I know, but still I think it.

  5. Brad R. Torgersen

    I think everybody is going to be getting “e-wet” over the next few years. Some people, like Joe Konrath, are very aggressive about it. Me? I’m going to add it as a “lane” of opportunity, alongside New York novel houses, and the usual short story markets. And yes, the lit mags can take forever to get back to you on a story. I sub to a select few, and they take two to five times as long as the genre mags. But some of them offer very good money and/or exposure, so it seems worth it to throw some stuff their way. I think Dean nailed it, in the comments of one of his recent posts, about how to know if you’re ready to do e-publishing. I am going to pointing at that when talking to people at cons, because this subject is going to keep coming up.

    • izanobu

      Yeah, Dean’s comment was pretty much spot on as far as I’m concerned. I do think it is good to have multiple plans/streams of income and ways to gain readership and that this whole e-book thing can only be good for us as authors. I do love and hoard my paper books, however 🙂

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