1. Murkie
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    Murkie Member

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    I have a plan.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Murkie, Aug 8, 2012.

    I've set myself what I think are reasonable goals as far as writing is concerned and I'd like to get some feedback on how attainable they are.

    I'm new to the writing scene and I'm certainly not expecting to craft the next best seller anytime soon, so starting with what I think are achievable goals gives me something I can aim for.

    My first goal is to write and self publish a short story. Probably through Kindle. I'm planning on doing this a number of times as a way of establishing myself. Obviously what happens after this is an unknown.

    Is this an acceptable way into the business, or do people generally dive straight in with novels and hope to get published?
     
  2. Murkie
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    Murkie Member

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    I've just noticed this is probably in the wrong forum. My fault for writing it whilst i was in a rush. Sorry about that.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    wrong forum or not, writing and self-publishing short stories won't 'establish' you as anything but a self-publishing writer of short stories... it will be counterproductive to establishing you as a serious writer of anything marketable by paying publishers, unless those short stories sell off the charts and are noticed [and publicly praised] by professional literary critics...

    the way to establish yourself as a serious writer of marketable material is to be paid for what you write and have it appear in respected venues, or have a well-received and decently selling book published by a traditional publisher [one that pays you, not v/v]...

    if your goal is to be a novelist, writing short stories won't help you there, other than as good practice to bring your skills up to publishable levels... and if you can show paid credits for some in your query letters to agents, for your novel/s...
     
  4. moscowwoah
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    moscowwoah Member

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    Start a website, and give your stuff away for free. Seriously.

    But yeah, having a self published short story on Kindle isn't going to do much for you, unless you've got an established fan-base, and since you're new to the writing scene, I doubt you do.

    Just write. Get a website, give it away for free. If you write well, they'll come.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not even sure you can self-publish short stories at places like Amazon. I may be wrong, but I seem to have read somewhere that they don't accept them. You should check the various places (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, etc) to be sure of length requirements, if any. If you want to start with shorts, I'd go to Duotrope before self-publishing. I agree, however, that if you want to write novels, that's what you should concentrate on, although there are writers who have been successful with both.
     
  6. Cherrera
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    Cherrera Member

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    Taking a few English classes wouldn't hurt. Then three years of creative writing. In between classes pen your short stories and send them out to various magazine publishers. And despite the nay-sayers about self-publishing, the practice actually helps build a fan base and gets your name out there.

    Right now you're probably not looking for wide name recognition, but to build a reputation for the work you produce. At the moment, don't worry about 'traditional' publishers as the publishing industry is changing. Pretty soon we won't have many traditional publishers. It will all be digital. Look to the future, because it's right around the corner.
     
  7. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    You can self-publish pretty much anything you want at Amazon, with a few exceptions for illegal or highly dubious content. The real question is whether anyone will buy it.

    Some people make a reasonable amount of money self-publishing shorts there, some people make a pretty good amount of money self-publishing shorts there (particularly erotica), the rest of us make enough to buy a few cups of coffee a month.

    I would agree though, if you think the short might sell to a magazine or other paying market, submit it there first. Once you self-publish a short story you're unlikely to sell it to any other market because most want first publication rights.
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry about three years of creative writing. It probably won't hurt, but it won't necessarily add to the chances of success.

    A) trade publishers aren't going anywhere because B) they also produce ebooks (digital) as well as print and audio, and they've already weathered a great many changes in publishing.
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay. I wasn't sure because on another board someone had said they wouldn't take them, but then it got into the different programs Amazon had and I was totally lost :p
     
  10. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Yeah, now Amazon are a publisher as well as a retailer the situation is increasingly complex :). They do have their own short story publishing program but I don't know much about it; I believe they pay better royalties on any story they accept than they would for self-publishing it at $0.99.
     
  11. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Barnes and Noble also has a one-stop option for e-publishing your book. As to the NYC houses disappearing, it's a distinct possibility because e-books are outselling the hard cover now. As they become more prevalent (and I predict B&N will eventually become a seller of e-books instead of a brick and mortar company) the playing field between the NYC publishers and the average Joe will level out.

    Amazon pays you 70% royalties on each book sold. So, for every 1 dollar (or euro) you sell, you get 70% of that back. In the USA, that'd be 70cents, with them keeping the other thirty. Apple pays you 40 and keeps 60 to be listed in Itunes. For anyone wanting to ebook their own book, the only cost, really, is the ISBN you need to purchase before selling your item, and the necessity to register it with the Library of Congress.

    The times, they are a changin' and there is still major upheaval going on in the publishing world too. We shall see how things shake out.
     
  12. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    For self-publishers, only if you sell it for $2.99 to $9.99 and only in a limited number of countries. Otherwise you get 35%.

    Amazon don't require ISBNs. And here in Canada, they're free if you register as a publisher.

    Some third-party sites will distribute to retailers who do require ISBNs and provide one for you, but then they'll take an extra cut of the royalties. For shorts that's likely to be a better idea if you do have to pay for the ISBN because you probably won't make a lot of money from a single short.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Traditional publishers also publish digitally. Digital publishing and self publishing are not the same thing. The advantages of using a traditional publisher don't start and end with paper and bindings.
     
  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Source? Because I've seen articles about Amazon's sales being more ebooks than print - but Amazon isn't the only retailer out there. Not to mention, Amazon is a haven for self-publishers, so obviously there will be more sales from them. And once again - trade publishers also publish ebooks (it's only a different format), so whether ebooks outsell print really has no bearing whatsoever on the future of trade publishers.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The e-books that are outselling print editions are electronic editions of traditionally published works, not digital self-publishing.
     
  16. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Well I'm new to the game myself, and I have my own plan. But I do have some thoughts on your post.

    I'm not sure if publishing short stories is a good idea, because who buy's short stories when they can buy an entire anthology of short stories? Also if you want to get good, write write write! and read too! Get critiques and reviews on your stories to improve yourself too. I'd say that you should enter your short stories in some contests. If you can win or get in the finalist selection then I'd say you might have decent skills.
     
  17. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Not sure why anybody needs to spend their hard earned money (which many people don't have enough to spare) on going to university to take creative writing courses. There's loads of excellent books out there that have been written by well established writers on the craft of writing fiction. Everything you learn at a university on this subject can easily be gleamed from these books.
     
  18. Murkie
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    Murkie Member

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    Yep, a Uni course would be pretty much out of the question for me. I'm already doing a distance learning course in computer game design. That a full time job and now writing pretty much fills my day. I did have a look for night school classes, but everything on offer seems to be pretty much the same as what's offered on these forums.
    I have taken everything on board and decided that there is more to be gained from posting the finished piece up here for critiquing than I would get by self-publishing it. Novels are what I want to be aiming for so I'll be using the feedback from the short story as a guide to improving my writing skill.
    I'd dare say that your feedback and advice has saved me an awful lot of wasted time and effort! Thank you!
     
  19. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If one wants to write short stories, one can write them and attempt to sell them to ezines, magazines and anthologies. That's an option.

    As was stated above. The best way to learn to write is to write. While there are lots of 'how to' books on writing out there, but best way is to read quality works published, ones that the writer enjoys reading. But don't read them for pleasure. Study them. Pay attention to characterization, dialogue, pacing, description, word choice, etc. Learn how those authors accomplished writing novels that are enjoyable and interesting. Then, when writing, modify and apply what was learned to the writing project.

    When a novel is finished, and edited and revised to the best it can be, send it to agents for representation or directly to editors/publishers (after researching and targeting appropriate ones for the genre/contents of the novel). And while waiting for rejections or acceptances, write another novel.

    Keep writing and submitting work until it finds a home or reputable agents/editors have all been tried for that particular novel.

    The other option is to self-publish, after the skills have been developed (see above) to write an excellent novel that readers will enjoy. But there, the writer will have to find/employ editors, cover artists, layout, etc., unless the writer is skilled in any or all of those areas as well.
     

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