I’ve been writing novels for… well, a long time. In that time, I’ve concentrated on the novels, as I considered them my best product, the best thing I could create with words. Unfortunately, they’ve been markedly unprofitable. And in my search to attain said profit, I’ve had some people recommend I try writing shorter form content instead.
Anthologies, short story collections and articles are supposedly still decent business, a way to get exposure and cred for your writing, and they pay by the word or by the submission besides. A lot of people have made this business their full-time job, and there’s a lot of material out there on how to do it, just waiting for a rube like me to swim up and bite. It’s been suggested that if I build an audience for my shorts, they will make up the beginnings of an audience for my novels. And even if not, I’ll still get paid for the short content.
But I have real doubts about that. Why? Well, I never felt short stories were my—pardon the pun—long suit. I’ve written a few, but I never received much of a response from readers about them. Even when I’ve offered them up free on my blog (don’t bother; they’re not there now), I saw little evidence that they were even being read, much less enjoyed by anyone, and I never got a single comment about them on the site.
I wrote a comedy-adventure novella that my stepmother loved the hell out of… and no one else. I contributed a short to an anthology a few years back. But the book fizzled and disappeared, the publisher dissolved, and I received nothing beyond a tiny initial “thanks for playing” payment. I try to remind (convince?) myself that my involvement had nothing to do with its failure. And as far as my articles, opinions or critiques—in other words, the contents of this blog—the silence is deafening enough to make my ears bleed.
So, do I consider this idea a slam-dunk? Well…
But hey, it’s not like I’m working on something else and don’t have time for it, right? So I’ve decided to approach this like an assignment, a task to accomplish. I need time to research potential publishers, prepare accompanying content (bios, whatever), prepare to deal with contracts and legal documents, and put together a system of keeping track of it all. And after all that is done, I need actual content to submit to whomever is willing to take it. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t be a walk in the park. But after over two decades of effort trying to write and sell the books… it can’t be much worse. I’m pretty sure.
Am I concerned about all this work? Yes, as I don’t know if any of it will bear fruit. Do I doubt myself? Sure, I’ve never tried this before. Am I afraid of rejection? Of course… it’s stupid, but yeah, I have an ego, and I hate the idea of failure. Again.
But… am I afraid of making money if it works? Not so much that I won’t give it a shot.