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Old 01-01-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
bhartman36
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Question about Smashwords and short stories

Hi, Everyone.

I'm starting to write more, and interested in getting my short stories published. I've got one published in an online lit magazine, one that I self-published on Amazon, and one that I sort of dashed off on Wikinut (that I've since been editing to clean it up). I've also got a bunch of unpublished material and I will probably be putting the whole thing together into a compilation soon. Is it worth it to wait around for the submission process to take its course w/ various magazines, or should I try to publish the stories to Amazon/Smashwords? And what do you think the effect of doing that would be, if I was to do a compilation and seek either to put that out electronically myself or seek a publisher?

Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:59 PM   #2
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Depends on what you think you need a publisher for. I don't think magazine editors will turn a story down just because it has been self published on Smashwords, though they will most likely insist that it be removed while they hold the rights to it.
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bhartman36 View Post
Hi, Everyone.

I'm starting to write more, and interested in getting my short stories published. I've got one published in an online lit magazine, one that I self-published on Amazon, and one that I sort of dashed off on Wikinut (that I've since been editing to clean it up). I've also got a bunch of unpublished material and I will probably be putting the whole thing together into a compilation soon. Is it worth it to wait around for the submission process to take its course w/ various magazines, or should I try to publish the stories to Amazon/Smashwords? And what do you think the effect of doing that would be, if I was to do a compilation and seek either to put that out electronically myself or seek a publisher?

Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!
It depends a lot on the path you want to follow. What you'll need is readership and, unless you already have a built-in market, it's difficult to gain a readership in the self-publishing arena--especially for short stories. Getting published in known publications with existing readerships allows you to build a following which you then might be able to transition out of the traditional publishing arena.

As to collections, almost no publisher is going to consider a collection from a new writer without a really good reason. Winning a major prize like a Pushcart or a Stoker or a Hugo (just to spread it around the genres) might get a publisher's attention. Sometimes a publisher will publish a collection from someone they just bought a novel from, especially if the author has a following in the short story market.

That's not to say it's impossible to succeed by going the independent route. It's just really difficult and requires a lot of time dedicated to promotion.
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:05 PM   #4
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Depends on what you think you need a publisher for. I don't think magazine editors will turn a story down just because it has been self published on Smashwords, though they will most likely insist that it be removed while they hold the rights to it.
Okay, well that makes sense. I guess I could always unpublish from Smashwords and/or Amazon.

If I was going to publish a compilation, I would think I'd need a publisher for exposure/promotion purposes. I'm new at promotion, and the one thing I have on Amazon doesn't see a lot of movement (which may be because it sucks, but I'm hoping not ).
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:15 PM   #5
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It depends a lot on the path you want to follow. What you'll need is readership and, unless you already have a built-in market, it's difficult to gain a readership in the self-publishing arena--especially for short stories. Getting published in known publications with existing readerships allows you to build a following which you then might be able to transition out of the traditional publishing arena.

As to collections, almost no publisher is going to consider a collection from a new writer without a really good reason. Winning a major prize like a Pushcart or a Stoker or a Hugo (just to spread it around the genres) might get a publisher's attention. Sometimes a publisher will publish a collection from someone they just bought a novel from, especially if the author has a following in the short story market.

That's not to say it's impossible to succeed by going the independent route. It's just really difficult and requires a lot of time dedicated to promotion.
Okay, so from what I understand you saying, the path of least resistance is the literary magazine route, if I want to build a readership and get some credibility for a publisher. (Hope I got that right! )

Thanks for your advice.
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:37 PM   #6
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Okay, so from what I understand you saying, the path of least resistance is the literary magazine route, if I want to build a readership and get some credibility for a publisher. (Hope I got that right! )

Thanks for your advice.
No problem. Additionally, here's a list of literary journals and writing contests you might find useful.
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:30 PM   #7
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No problem. Additionally, here's a list of literary journals and writing contests you might find useful.
Thanks! I appreciate your guidance.
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:01 PM   #8
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One thing to keep an eye on and research is copyright laws. Make sure you have legal copyright to all your published items so they cannot be used without your permission. This also means that if a publisher comes along, you can have more power over their usual "we will give you 10% of profits" or "we retain copyright for 50 years" crap that many of them try to pull.
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:12 PM   #9
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One thing to keep an eye on and research is copyright laws. Make sure you have legal copyright to all your published items so they cannot be used without your permission. This also means that if a publisher comes along, you can have more power over their usual "we will give you 10% of profits" or "we retain copyright for 50 years" crap that many of them try to pull.
The only way he would lose copyright to something he wrote would be if he signed it away to someone else (publisher/agent).
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:23 PM   #10
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One of the things Smashwords requires is that you have a copyright page, so there are no worries there. But I think you achieve copyright by the very act of producing a work, don't you (as long as you can prove when you produced it)? As far as signing my rights away, they're going to have to pay me big bucks for that.
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