I’ve got around to making a mailing list, which can be found on the right sidebar of this site (click the big blue envelope). If you would like to follow along with my publications I will be using this list to send out emails on the publication days of my new works only. I don’t like spam and I’m sure you don’t either so I promise to use this list only for the announcement of publications on publication day and that’s it. With my current rate of getting into magazines and indie pubbing short stories, I expect there to be only one email or less per month. A typical email would be “Hey, this is in this magazine today if you’d like to give it a read” or some such thing. Feel free to join up and thank you for your support.
I picked up Playing the Short Game by Douglas Smith and I’ve already read it twice. Despite the fact that there’s a vast number of books on writing, I’ve not really found many on selling short fiction in modern markets. What this book offers is a valuable resource on the methods of publishing short fiction at the professional level in modern markets as well as information on licensing and relicensing your works, cover letter creation, and how to leverage your short fiction career into a novel career. Douglas Smith has an encouraging and conversational tone that I enjoyed and as one of the more prolific modern short fiction authors out there, his experience is invaluable.
One of the most important things this book taught me was to not sell myself short. Many times I’ll polish up a short story and be rather proud of it and sell it to a semi-pro magazine. Now there’s nothing wrong with semi-pro magazines and I have sold things to these venues before, but I never really try to give the ‘big dogs’ of the industry a chance. I often feel like I shouldn’t even try because who gets into those magazines anyway, right? Well, this book really has shown me how writing short fiction in today’s world is a numbers game more than anything else, that is, writing quality stories and getting as many out in front of editors as possible. It sounds like obvious advice, yet I really hadn’t been following it too well. Often times I would send something out and wait for it instead of immediately beginning work on another piece. My mindset has shifted quite a bit and now I am aiming high from here on out. By the end of the year, I want to place a story in a professionally paying science fiction or fantasy magazine. It’s worth a shot.
Check out Douglas Smith’s Playing the Short Game if you have an interest in writing and selling short fiction at the professional level. This is a book that I’ll have close to my writing desk for a long time.
So here’s a little update on my current writing projects.
- I have one sci-fi short story out in the slush pool right now. It’s an odd story, and I have my sights set on a couple of small presses whose work I enjoy. I think it will be a good fit at one of those.
- This week I wrote two sci-fi micro-flash stories, each is just less than 300 words. They are both pretty well contained, and I’m working on editing them until I’m happy and sending them out to appropriate markets. I’ve been enjoying micro fiction lately, and it’s been both hard and enjoyable to write the little tales.
- I’m working on a fantasy short story now that I hope will turn out. Unlike a lot of the other stories I’ve been working on, this one lands solidly in the short story length. I like the concept, but it is a challenging sort of story, so there is a lot of work ahead.
- I’ve got quite a few other ideas in various phases. Since I’ve been pushing myself to work on at least one story a week, it’s resulted in me getting a lot done on multiple stories. I’ll continue to write these, edit and send them out.
I’m pleased with my current output. The more I write, the tighter the stories get. I plan to write update posts like this every few weeks as my project focuses change. I’ll also update if/when I place a story.
Thanks for following along!