I was thinking yesterday about how I’m too lazy to ever actually succeed at the traditional publishing route. Which is ironic given the amount of additional effort that self-publishing requires. But in a sense I’m also lazy there, too.
I’ve determined it’s because I’m missing the “please like me” gene.
Let me explain.
This week I redid over twenty covers for my short stories and loaded them to five different distributor sites. This was for two pen names so once I had the basic template in place it was relatively easy to create each of the covers, but it was still probably a day or two of design work and a full day of updating and uploading the files.
I had recently bought Affinity and wanted to experiment with it and also have bought over the last year a large, large number of fonts through Design Cuts’ bundles as well as a few fonts that were just really nice, fancy ones.
And it was time to level-up those covers.
When I did the speculative fiction covers, I also decided I’d go ahead and publish a couple short stories that have been moldering away on my hard drive and were doing no good there.
This is where it gets back to that laziness. Because one of the stories (The Taste of Memory) was a semi-finalist sometime recently in the Writers of the Future contest. That means it was top 16 in that quarter’s entries. And the critique I got back on it was essentially you could tweak this one thing, but this story should be sellable as is.
So I sent it out to a handful of pro-paying markets, I think maybe five of them. And then I lost interest and just let it sit.
Because I’d done the part that interested me–I’d written my story and explored the nature of memory and the creative process and how much trauma plays into that. That’s what I cared about, personally.
Which meant that all that was left was to put in a bunch of effort trying to find someone who’d like it enough to pay me for it. And that’s…boring to me.
I know other authors who write to be read. They get their satisfaction from others reading and liking what they’ve done. But that’s not me. I’m missing that gene. I’m like, “Oh, you don’t like it or me? Okay. Whatever.”
So after a little bit of effort to see that the story wasn’t going to sell to one of the top markets, I moved on.
Which is not how you succeed in this business, by the way. If you want to break in with short stories you have to write a story and keep that story going from one market to the next to the next to the next until someone buys it. And while you’re waiting you just keep cranking out new stories.
It can take years for one story to sell. (I once had an almost sale with The Bearer and I want to say that Tor.com held onto it for over six months. Six months for that one submission to finally get a no. Have a few of those on the same story and, yeah, years. I got great personal rejections on The Bearer, but after a while I was just bored with sending it out again.)
But that’s what you’re supposed to do. Keep sending it out until it sells. That’s how the game is played. You keep submitting until someone says yes.
Same with queries, right? You’re supposed to query something like a hundred agents before you give up on that particular novel. And then you write the next novel and do it all again. And again. And again until someone says yes.
(Dating works that way, too, by the way. But this post isn’t about dating.)
It turns out I’m just too lazy to deal with all of that. So I self-publish. Where the work is ten times as hard. And, really, you’re having to pursue the same sort of “do you like it” thing that you do with traditional publishing, but you just do it with advertising instead.
It’s crazy. And honestly it’s a miracle I’ve made any money at this thing given where my particular laziness lies…
So anyway. Look at some of my pretty new short story covers:
(That now won’t sell because I did the fun part already and am now going to move on to something else like writing a new novel instead of doing anything more to promote them. Hahaha. Sigh.)