1. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    What to do with a Short Story?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by colorthemap, Mar 10, 2012.

    Although I understand the publishing process itself, I find myself at a loss on how to go about dealing with the actual publication of a story. In theory(because I don't think I am even close to good enough yet) what would one do to get a story published after it was written and revised and revised?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Duotrope.com is your friend!
     
  3. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Yeah I guess I just have to refine a story and find a good publisher for it, how hard is it to get a short story published. I mean a novel is incredibly hard but I wonder if stories are any easier.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It really depends on the market. Generally, higher paying magazines are harder to get published in. Look for magazines that publish stories similar to the one you've written. Start by submitting to the highest paying market and work your way down.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto both replies!
     
  6. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the advice I think I'll follow it. As soon as I can get a story worth a dime.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    The other alternative is to self epub them. People have had mixed success with that, because you can keep the price at 99 cents readers don't mind the smaller word count and will consider buying a serialisation that way.

    My husband's sci-fi gets a few buyers that way and he has never marketed it.
     
  8. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    It depends on what you want. If you just want people to read your stories self-publishing is a good option, as the previous poster said. After you publish with Kindle Direct, you can also apply to publish a Kindle Single which are for works between 5,000 - 30,000 words - you have to be accepted into this program so it's much more prestigious than just being published through Kindle Direct, which anyone can do.
     
  9. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    Put 'em up at Lulu.com! That is where I'm taking my stories after a final round of rejection and failure to get back to me from the realm of magazines.

    So far as I'm concerned, the magazine market is dying even with the advent of e-zines; by self-publishing your stories individually, in my opinion a writer can make their own version of that magazine "One Story."
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'm less than convinced about the self-publishing of short stories. Particularly with vanity presses like Lulu.

    There may be a chapbook-like market with Kindle publishing and the like, but it's as yet untested (though I have been considering doing an experiment in putting one of my own short stories up for a minimal price on the Kindle store).

    But I would echo minstrel and say that you'd be best off looking at the markets (magazines and anthologies for the most part) on duotrope.
     
  11. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    Lulu.com is not precisely a "vanity press" IMO -it's a print on demand establishment which means that supply and demand can be equally met without publishing houses having too much -or too little- of a certain author's book on hand.

    Quite frankly, I personally find Lulu liberating: at last I don't have to sweat the whims of editors and the long dragged out waits before the inevitable rejection slips or personalized polite rejection notes from editors and get my voice heard in the realm of fiction at last.
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Just a quick thought here. As a reader, I'm much more likely to spend my money on a magazine than on a self-published short story or collection of stories. I like to think of editors as sort of a screening process, and seeing a story in a magazine lets me know that someone enjoyed the story enough to publish it.
     
  13. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    How is Lulu not a vanity press? You send them what you want printing, and they print it. They don't apply any quality control or editorial process, they would print anything for you.

    And to me that's the value of a traditional magazine. That quality control aspect. As thirdwind says, the stories in them give a guarantee that they have at least been through some sort of screening process, whereas all that you get with a self-published short story is an assurance that the write liked it (maybe). Which is hardly cast iron, you just have to look through some of the crap on the Kindle store to see that.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree completely with banzai on the 'vanity press' issue... any company that puts everything people send them into print, or releases it in e-form, regardless of how badly written it might be, is a form of vanity press... and that's exactly what lulu and all the other pod outfits that don't care what they put out are...
     
  15. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    Well, be that as it may, I personally am out of patience with magazines, ezines, etc. There is simply too few of them to go around for the mass of submissions they get, IMO, which means many good writers see their stuff tossed out due to sheer volume alone, which has compelled me to finally strike out on my own and say to heck with the "waiting game" and the whims and quirks of editors.

    Also, publishers can -and often do- publish junk as well. I once read this dumb (IMO) novel called "1901" whose plot, in a word, sucked ... and it had been put out by a major publisher, not a vanity press.

    What is more, a good writer always makes sure their work is the best it can be before it is published in any way via any publishing medium; self-publishing is not a license to be sloppy, IMO, but, rather, quite the opposite!
     
  16. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Hmmm. It could be argued that any scarcity of markets only forces writers to improve in order to get their work published. Which doesn't sound like an altogether bad thing to me. I didn't go into serious writing expecting to be published the next day. In fact, it took about a year of writing, editing and submitting for me to actually get an acceptance, by which point my writing had improved drastically.

    I know that there is a lot of- for want of a better word- crap published, but that is quite simply because a lot of mainstream publishers are looking for something completely different from what writers are aiming for in their stories. Publishers are businesses, not artists, so their primary concern is making money. If they think something can sell well then they'll publish it, regardless of whether it's good in artistic terms (see Twilight and co). This, I think, is why many writers start in the small presses, building up a name and a publishing history for themselves before they go onto major publishing houses. That way they have built up the kind of reputation that reassures major houses that they are worth investing in. This in my opinion is the advantage of "traditional" venues over vanity presses, etc. There is no reputation attached to self-publishing with vanity presses, and indeed possibly the opposite, for the reasons I laid out in my previous post.

    I agree that this is what writers should be doing, but it's quite a stretch to say that they will be doing it. And there is such a thing of being too close to your work, and being blinded to its flaws. The problem with vanity presses and self-publishing is that it in many cases is the choice of the impatient and those in a rush to see their work in print. In those cases there has been no external editorial process, and often not even an external eye cast over it- so the only view on it is that of the writer.

    I'm not saying that this is what you would do, but rather that it is what many self-publishing authors do do. And, since there is no way to discern the two without buying and reading the book, a lot of readers would give a wide berth to any book or story published in such a way.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all too sadly true...
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is possible to judge the book before you buy in exactly the same way you would a published one. Publishing with kindle/Amazon has its downsides but it does allow for a view inside.

    I judge a traditionally published book by cover, blurb, first few pages, and the same for a self published book/story. Part of having a free or 99 cents book to start with allows me to judge a self published book at relatively little risk to me as a reader.

    About a year ago I was alone online (or felt like it) with saying it was a great way to find the very best literature available today, because in amongst the crap is the truly innovative gems that the modern publishing industry won't touch, because they were too risky: that can be anything from well crafted literary fiction to an easy going, gentle historical which would be at home alongside Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott etc

    In the past six months I've noticed people who held the view all self publishing was rubbish are now considering it more. Buying the 99 cents, loving the author and buying the next one.

    A cover is a very good way to tell a good self pubbed book as if someone has paid for the cover, they have probably done the same for the editing.

    It doesn't take me any longer than going round a bookshop used to. (sorting the traditionally published crap from the good stuff - it is actually easier to tell self published crap from the first page). These days I have several self pubbed authors on my favourites list. Also choosing that way I have yet to have one that has disappointed me several chapters in.
     
  19. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    I'm going to have to agree with you there. I have found quite a few good self-pubs just going through the free and low prices on the kindle. Saying that, I have found quite a few bad ones as well. I also look at the reviews, though. I go directly to the lowest then move up.
     
  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do similar with the reviews. They are no less accurate than a newspaper.

    But then going through a bookshop I'd find books I did or didn't like. Although they might be better edited, they are not always better written. That goes right back there are some classics that make me scratch my head.

    It is just a similar process, but looking for different things I guess. Poems and short stories are an area I often find some really good stuff.

    Moriah Jovan is my favourite - her subject matter and book length are why she struggled with mainstream publishing. However for me her 200,000 word + epics are way too short lol. They are better edited than many traditionally published and her ability to format the work is stunning.
     
  21. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I have some short stories up on e-book retailers (Amazon, Smashwords etc) and the best one sells a few copies a month; not a lot of money but better than having it sitting on my hard drive.

    But I'd agree with your other point and that of other posters; only upload it there if there's no obvious pro market for the story or you've already been rejected by all the relevant markets. A single sale at $0.05 a word will easily beat months of a few e-book sales at $0.35 each.
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Were you rejected because your brilliance is unappreciated by the dinosaurs in the traditional publishing industry, or because the industry experts have accurately predicted your book would sell at a substantial loss, if at all?

    Maybe your writing just isn't as good as you believe it is. You're doing everyone, especially yourself, a disservice if you don't even consider this possibility. Not to hang your head in shame, but to evaluate how you can improve your writing.
     
  23. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I believe we're talking about short stories, not novels. The pro magazines I've been submitting to accept less than 1% of the stories submitted, so I wasn't entirely surprised that they didn't take that one; I wrote it years ago and it's still my favourite short but it does have some problems and I wouldn't have written it the same way today.

    In the meantime it buys me a couple of coffees a month and hopefully when I get an SF novel out there some people may remember my name after reading the short.
     
  24. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I read a lot of self-published e-books and I've yet to find one that I didn't want to finish if I liked the first two pages. I haven't found any yet that I would compare to the best of trade published novels, but I have found a number that were better than the worst trade-published novels I've read in the last few years.
     
  25. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    I did several drafts of the 18 page project I just published in print and e-form at Lulu.com; no stone went unturned, and I wrote until something inside me clicked that said "There, it is done."

    Thank God I no longer have to deal with submission guidelines, rejection slips, etc. Now the only challenge is promoting the fiction I publish (but that, as Edward E. Horton used to say, is another story.)

    A final word about self-publishing: you can get your voice heard quicker, especially if time is of the essance. My first Lulu publication is a WWII short story I was trying to shop around to magazines and e-zines, but when I read of the death of a WWII vet I'd just interviewed on the telephone as part of researching a project for my history blog, I ran out of patience with the traditional stuff and decided to blaze my own trail before the last WWII vet was gone and they would not know that a young person (I'm 31) was taking up the crusade of remembrance via non-fiction ... and fiction done in the manner of The Killer Angels or Gods And Generals. Sober, clear-eyed stuff that did not varnish the past but rather let it speak for itself in a creative way.
     

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