All-Purpose Writing Thread!

Nice work!

You’re rolling, dude! Congrats!

It’s now been two months since I started sending out a backlog of short stories, mostly flash fiction, that had accumulated over the years. Random notes:

  • I switched from the Grinder to Duotrope to track submissions and study open markets. Duotrope is $50 a year, not free, but much more up to date and I find it easier to use.
  • I’ve sent out 15 pieces over the two months, ranging in length from 100 words to 3700. Most are under 1000. Since a few had quick rejections, I’ve done 21 submissions of those 15 pieces over eight weeks. All of these were pieces I’d had laying around, and previously done nothing with. The proverbial trunk.
  • Most of the submissions are sf but some are general, contemporary fiction.
  • So far I have five acceptances, two 1000 word stories (one of which was already published, noted upthread), and three 100 word stories (drabbles). I have no idea when the other four will appear.
  • Two of the 15 pieces have been rejected three or more times. Once was later accepted on the fifth try, and the other awaits a response.
  • I submitted four non-sf drabbles at once to a slick virtual magazine for mainstream lit (that permits simultaneous submissions). Two days later I received a nice acceptance email from the editor for one of the four. He praised the piece as “wonderful, clever and biting.” I was thrilled – for about two minutes. Then I started fretting that the other three had not been accepted. It’s hard to be satisfied. It’s easy to dwell on the glass-half-empty. (Though to be fair, those other three have not been rejected, at least yet).
  • Through one of the sites I have joined a small Discord community where they’ll chat and do beta reading, and I’ve already received very construction feedback on a couple of stories I posted. I have also editing stories posted by others, which is helpful to sharpen my own editing skills. Finding this group may be the single biggest success for me of the past two months.

Onward!

That’s great. It’s hard to find a good writing group on the same wavelength, but it’s super helpful to find one that clicks with you.

I’d never heard of a drabble before! I’ve done flash non-fiction of 750 words or less, but 100 sounds though.

Hey that’s really cool. So what is the hope here? You build up a portfolio of acceptances and start hitting bigger markets with submissions? Is that how it works you think?

I haven’t done submissions in a while, but when I was doing it, I was mostly just thinking it would be fun to get one past an editor. I can totally relate to loving what an editor said about a submission and then like 10 minutes later fretting over something that hadn’t been acknowledged. The praise feels good and then it’s gone and I need more… Always seemed a little dysfunctional, and I always tried to just stay focused on the work, whatever I thought about the work, but of course, it’s tough.

I think when you write and edit your writing, you are always very tough on yourself. When I had things published decades ago when I was active with this stuff, I really couldn’t even read my published work. If I did I always saw stuff I wanted to edit and no longer could, so it was difficult.

I think my hope is simpler, and threefold. One, to find an audience for pieces I’ve written over the years and never sent out. Two, to use the encouragement of acceptances to write more regularly. Three, perhaps most importantly, to improve the self-image I have of myself as a writer. To stop thinking of myself as a pretender/imposter. An occasional acceptance of even a 100-word piece can help.

Sort of a writing post. My wife and I do a number of horror conventions every year. It starts this coming weekend in Dallas at Texas Frightmare at the Irving convention center. This will be my tenth year doing Frightmare.

My wife Katie just released her third book, and I just dropped my 26th. Anyway, for book authors I can’t reccomend conventions highly enough. Getting your books in front of people, and just talking to them, helps build word of mouth. Plus, she and I hate leaving our house, so it’s good to get out and about. We’ve already booked 4 cons this year.

Here we are 2 years ago in Texas.

I’m familiar with this feeling. It’s rare that I read anything I’ve published, but that’s also a time thing. Who has time to read their own stuff after it’s published? Plus, yeah, if you see anything it’s just something that will make you feel bad, either because it can’t be fixed or it slipped through the cracks.

Great reason. I am sympathetic to this. I have things I think are good and interesting and might be entertaining, and I’d love to share them.

God knows we need some encouragment.

Another great reason. I like it that none of your reasons are about making money, because that’s the most difficult part, especially for those of us a bit older. Write because you enjoy writing. Write because you want to share with other like-minded readers. Write because it’s what you want to do with your time.

I always thought Stephen King’s idea of write it, throw it in a drawer, and don’t come back to it until you forget it was good advice. When you’re churning it out your brain loves it no matter what, it’s always a good idea to wait for fresh eyes, even if they’re your own.

Honestly, earning cash on this would really not have occurred to me as a motivator. It’s all about the other reasons you listed.

This is hard to stop. I know NY Times best sellers who have this. I have this! It sucks. BUT, it’s okay to recognize. I wish there was a button we could push to get this out of our system. For me it’s dumb self doubt, and can lead to procrastination in my own writing. Or worse, judging my sales or success against other authors. Every writer is on their own journey. I’m comfortable taking the slow bus around the country while occasionally seeing really cool peaks.

Which leads to:

To be faaaaiiir… Nothing squashes imposter syndrome quite like getting paid to write.

Speaking of getting paid to write. What should I do with my sudden royalty windfall? I was thinking about Europe. Maybe I can afford a map.

acrued royalties

I have three little toddler books self published on Kindle Direct:
image

I feel like with this revenue growth, I should be doing an IPO :)

Excellent work!

Ha, that’s more than I make from my one self-pub piece, a novelette that’s confused about whether it’s a military aviation thriller, political demagoguery, or an AI romance. Speaking of which, there’s something all you rich writers can do with your royalties!

This discussion made me look at sales of the novel I self-published in 2016. I have it for $1.99 on Kindle and $14.95 paperback. I sold about 25 copies in 2016 with some actual promotion, and then stopped promoting and stopped paying attention to sales. Looking now, I realize I’ve about doubled that since, with a total 47 sales, including (oddly) seven in 2020 and four this year. Purely organic, no promotion, no new titles. This must be people interested in this convergence of steampunk and baseball stumbling upon it and giving the Kindle edition a try. There’ve been no new reviews, so ‘giving it a try’ may consist of purchasing and adding it unread to the backlog. Who knows.

Boughtened! I used the aforementioned royalty goldmine on it. I like the fact that it is only 35 pages – look forward to reading it.

You should try running a Facebook and Amazon ad, just to see what happens. It’s probably a money loser, but it could be interesting.

Nice cover @Miramon. Do you do your own art or hire out?