That’s probably the best way to describe how and when I have been published. I can stand as an example of what to do and what not to do when getting published. Though these lessons apply to aspiring writers, they will also show readers why they haven’t seen more of my stuff in print.
I have had short stories with Spectacular Speculations, Far Side of Midnight, Writer’s Bump (Vol. I) and SFH Dominion (out of England). I have done the old “self-published” route with my novella Crawl on Lulu.com. Now, I have the novella They Call the Wind Muryah and the anthologies Dark Tidings, Vol. I & Vol. II on Smashwords.
I was sending items out in many different directions to see who bit or nibbled at the bait. People had been after me for so long to get my fiction published that I think I wanted to placate them and not wait a year or two for a major publisher to put my books out.
Maybe that’s how I ended up at PublishAmerica and Mystic Moon Press.
Yeah, I had a contract offer from PA for Hunters. I almost took it, too, until I realized that I’d accidentally sent them my rough draft that was filled with original and rewritten text. It was unreadable and, yet, PA accepted it. I never returned the signed contract and they never missed me.
So, next up was Mystic Moon Press. Click on the above link for this sad story.
(For more on Mystic Moon Press, PA and other publishers, try the “Alerts for Writers” section put out by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America)
Anyway, now on to my current situation.
For me, trying to get published is like Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie) where the cadets’ final passage from boot camp is to go naked out into the wilderness and survive without any help. Most gave up, some succeeded, some died, some needed rescue, and more than a few were never seen again.
It has finally dawned on me that I need to stop firing wildly and take aim at specific targets. So, I’m drawing beads on more thoroughly-researched presses, while sticking with a few steadier avenues like Smashwords and submitting short stories to Far Side of Midnight and Spectacular Speculations. It sounds a lot better than what I was doing before.
Currently, I am polishing Hunters again and I submitted Land of the Blind for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Slow Boat to China awaits a major overhaul and My Dear Mister Shane is like an orphan. With more specific aim now, I must make sure that my finished product is the best I can make it.
I am prepping a query for Leucrota Press. They’re another small press that specializes in science fiction and horror. I’ve done my research and they haven’t had any bad publicity. Yet. They haven’t appeared on the “Alerts for Writers” thus far. I plan to submit Land of the Blind first and then Hunters if all goes well.
I tell you. It’s enough to make me self-publish (meaning publishing it myself versus Smashwords or Lulu.com). Self-publishing worked for Starlene Stringer and the late E. Lynn Harris.
Ah, decisions, decisions.
What do you guys think I should do?
I’m open to suggestions. Otherwise, I’m liable to just get a few books printed and slip them onto the shelves of the local libraries with covers from other books.
Not that I’ve ever actually done that.
Well, time for me to go.