Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Lanister always pays his... writers?

One of the challenges with not knowing if I'll be able to find an agent (given how many people are trying to find agents and how few are accepting new submissions) also leaves me with the great debate of how to monetize my writing. I've been doing quite a bit of it in the form of shorts (and the occasional chapter), some for the Queen's Fury series* and just some modern fiction for the practice.

I do plan to publish my shorts in a collection this summer as I finish up a few more stories to round the it out. Ideally I'd like to have 4-6 good modern shorts, and 2-3 short stories set in the Queen's Fury world.

But where I'm a little stuck is on the issue of this website and making these stories available for free.

The first consideration is, of course, that if I do find an agent/ publisher, they want material that's not been published anywhere, including on a website, before. That means the moment the short story hits this page it is un-submit-able to a traditional publisher. On the other hand, as I don't have any publisher at the moment nor any agents, I'm hestitant to panic over this too much.

There is also the consideration that if the stories are available for free here on the blog, can I ethically offer them for sale through other venues? Can I really charge $2.49 for a collection on Amazon when it's all free here? To be true, by having them available outside of Amazon I won't be eligible for the "Kindle Direct Publishing Deal" that gives Amazon exclusive rights to distribute, and with it the heftier royalties (70% vs 30%).

But at the end of the day, the most important thing for me, I think, is buzz. Maybe the stories I write now about Captain Lyons and her crew will never be traditionally sold. but getting people talking about it and commenting on it and thinking about it can't be a bad thing. The most important thing is that they're engaged. To be honest I'd like to make the shorts a "bonus" on the Kindle edition of the book no matter what happens, a "thank you for going paperless" and I believe that having them available for free here won't hurt that.

I also think I'm prepared to defend the "Pay on Amazon/ Free on the web" if the price is low with the defense of "you're really paying for convenience". Sure you can get them there, but for a small fee (and really is $2.49 that much?) you get to have them right on your Kindle rather than having to find the website.

There are still a few stories that might see publication with a friend's imprint so I'm holding those back. And if a story disappears from the site it's because something has happened that requires me to remove them, so I apologize in advance if that's the case. As I am just starting out, it's hard to know what's going to happen when.

So until then look to the top of the page and you'll see tabs. One is specifically for Short Stories, where all of my short stories will be offered. The other is for any and all completed posts related to the Queen's Fury writing.

*I strongly dislike calling it a series given that I've only written the first chapter of the first book. I always found it a little pretentious to say "I'm working on series" before you have the second manuscript in hand. However it seems that the series is a popular model and given where I want the story to go, there will decidedly be room for a sequel or two.

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