Tuesday, March 25, 2008


It's been drummed into me since I started into a serious study of the writing craft that money always flows toward the writer--never away.

Self-publishing is a huge gamble that almost always ends in the latter, but every once in awhile you hear a success story. The Christmas Box, for example. The Train to Potevka for another. But for the few success stories, there are dozens of failures, and deservedly so. I have only rarely come across a self-published novel that was worth my time to read.

But there's a new twist in the self-publishing industry. Online publishing that can be done for FREE! I did it here on my blog, republishing an old out-of-print story from a few years ago. I've even heard of self-published online novels being picked up by print publishers, because people who read print media rarely read on the computer, therefore a print publication won't compete with an online publication of the same novel.

Note, I said NOVEL there. This really doesn't hold true for short stories. I don't know of a single publication that says they'd love to have your online self-published stories for their print magazines. But I DO know of several that specifically say that if you have self-published the story online (even just putting it up on your blog, or on an open entry format writer's site for general critique), they consider it published and absolutely WILL NOT consider it for publication.

If you have any hope of publishing a short story, do not post the entire story(or even the majority) online.

In fact, Hatrack.com, an open entry (you can read all you want, but have to be registered to post) writer's workshop peopled mainly by speculative fiction writers, has a rule that you can only publish the first thirteen lines of a story that you would like to have critiqued. Among other reasons, this rule protects the writer's publication rights, while still giving enough of the story that you, as a critiquer, can decide whether or not the story interests you.


Kathy said...

I recently picked up "Valiant Young Men" by Bryce Gibby. Self published. He said it is on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is really well written and has my attention. "Meet three men who would not accept defeat. Each possessed the adventurous dreams of youth, yet faced the realities of global conflict, financial ruin, debilitating injury, and at times their own fear of failure. Although this book examines the character of three heroes, it is not for men only. Every wife, mother, sister, and daughter will find inner application and a deeper appreciation for the men in her life." He also wrote a shorter book, "Valiant Young Women" about three young heroines whose characters we would want our daughters to emulate. It is also self published. Neither have made it to the best selling lists but still are very worth reading.

Suzanne Vincent said...

"Well written" is one of the most difficult phrases to pin down.

I've started a whole lot of books that I picked up because someone told me they were "well written" only to regret the time I spent even reading the first chapter--because I'll always give a recommended book at least the first chapter to prove that it's worth my time.

Kathy said...

It's like everything else. It depends on the frame of reference you are coming from. As a writer, I'm sure you are more critical than most would be who just enjoy reading and either do or don't like the subject.

Suzanne Vincent said...

You said it.

Five years ago I could have read just about ANYTHING!

I read and loved the entire ,Work and the Glory series when it came out. Now, I could't stomach them.

It's almost sad! I can't read a book or story without judging it based upon my knowledge as a writer and editor. On those rare occasions when I can read without paying attention to the writing, I know I've found a gem. A few of the gems I've found are listed at the bottom of my blog.

Thanks for visiting, Kathy!