Vision: A Resource for Writers
Holly Lisle's Vision
Epublishing as the Middle Ground
By Lazette Gifford
2002, By Lazette Gifford
is a scenario many of us know too well: The
rejection slips have piled up, and there is no longer room on the wall to post
the latest. You cherish the ones
that say things like 'send more' or 'great story, but not quite for us.' And you keep trying. The
problem is that there is a very limited number of print venues, whether you
write novels or short stories. At
some point you're going to run out of places to send some of those manuscripts.
writers, we all end up collecting trunk stories that never sold, though not
always because the stories were bad. In
many cases, they just didn't fit into any of the publications that are available
at this point. The print medium is far more limited than it might sometimes
appear. The big-name magazine
publications have to appeal to the broadest number of people possible, and that
means even a well-written story has to be on a subject or in a style that they
think will draw a favorable response from the most readers. The same is true in book publishing, where the genre editors
may want to take chances, but have the heads of the publishing company to
contend with, and who are looking at the bottom line of cost versus number of
buyers. It's a hard barrier to
cross, and all serious writers will continue to push at it and try to find that
little chink where they can fit in.
there are still all those trunk manuscripts.
Short of new print publications, there may be no future for those poor,
rejected stories...unless you turn to the Internet and e-publication.
As someone who has published quite a few stories in ezines and one novel
at an epublisher -- but hasn't been able to sell to paper publications -- I find
myself standing in the middle of 'not quite a hobby' but 'far from a
professional' -- at least by the current standards.
is the point where you might want to examine your reasons for writing. People have many different ones, and most braid together in
different levels of intricacy. For
some people the only really satisfactory goal is to see their name on the cover
of Analog or a Del Rey hardbound. There are others who write stories and give
them to friends to read, and finally a group that finishes the work and then
drops it into notebooks and is happy to leave them there forever.
for many writers there is a blend of wanting to be published both for the fame
and to share the stories with others. That
leaves those people in a precarious balance when one side or the other is
lacking fulfillment. And here is
where publishing on the Internet may step in to fill the void.
problem is that most ezines and epublishers do not pay enough money (when they
pay at all) to be considered as professional publications.
So does that mean if you go that route you are writing strictly as a
really. Although some people don't
take those publications seriously -- both writers and readers -- that doesn't
mean that you cannot be very serious about the work and put just as much effort
into the writing as you would if it were going into a print medium.
So what's the payback then, if you aren't going to get the money?
Why work that hard?
are you writing for?
your name on the cover of Analog is a great goal.
I wouldn't mind it myself, but it's not my only goal.
I write to share my stories with others.
More than anything else, that's my real purpose in writing.
So Zette, you say, why aren't you just publishing them on your web
are two important reasons -- first, because no one would see them there.
But second is a reason that is far more important for any serious writer.
I submit stories to ezines and epupblishers because I enjoy the process
of submitting stories, of working with editors, and of learning to fix the flaws
in my writing. It's a proving
ground and a learning experience. I
also get paid for the work, and I find people who enjoy reading the stories.
to the Internet may seem like a last ditch move of desperation for a failing
writer, but that's just because so few of them look to the Web before they run
out of paper publishers. Many of
them aren't aware of the quality of many of the epublications or that there are
far more available than there are paper venues. There are also several that cater to very specific niche
markets, and well-written stories that can't find a place in the limited fields
offered in paper can often find a place in an ezine.
are dangers in leaping into epublishing. If
you write short stories, read the ezine before you submit to it. Make certain you want to be associated with the type of
stories they publish. And don't
believe that just because it's an ezine they're automatically going to take your
story. Any good publication
has a dedicated editor who is looking for excellence. The same holds true for
ebook publications. Expect
rejections even here, especially if you are not willing put in hard work on your
the problem, however. Even if you
put just as much work into this material as you would for paper publications,
and even if you get numerous people reading your material and emailing you about
how wonderful a writer you are, you will still not be considered professional
because the story appeared on the Internet.
publishing on the Internet can't quite be considered as a hobby either, not when
the work can be just a grueling as it would be for the old-fashioned world of
paper printing. The work is just as hard, but there is still going to be a step
higher for the recognition.
you try your hand at epublication, welcome to the middle ground.
The footing is a little precarious, but it is a step up from that trunk.