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The Importance of Being Trunked April 22, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, death, e-books, science fiction, VIPub, westerns, writing.

A friend commented a long time back about a writers conference where one attendee showed up year after year with the same ms, never rewritten, never altered but dusted off from where it had been kept under the bed during the prior year. Why not write something new? Best speculation was that the person liked being around writers (obviously a minor neurosis on its way to being psychosis) and meeting the big names the conference drew. Might be worth brandishing an unpublished ms to meet James Michener at the time?

The writer as celebrity has been pointed out as fallacy in many ways. Scott Phillips has a great story about being script writer on Drive and what happened when he had his picture taken with one of the minor starlets. The blonde joke about Hollywood and writers has been around for, I suspect, a long time.

So why bother with stories “in the trunk?” The world has changed, that’s why. We get rejected all the time. I had a novel proposal rejected at one house and it is currently at another. If it is bounced there, it has likely reached the end of legacy publisher submission since…there isn’t anywhere else to go with it. The story is fun and I will VIPub it if it doesn’t find a home…after its 2nd submission. Mighty small universe, that. And a mighty wide one with VIPub.

Short stories hardly have a market now, unless you put them up on Kindle or Nook yourself. Go through the trunk, dust off the ones that haven’t found a market and consider publishing either individually or as a small collection. Why not? Because they didn’t sell doesn’t mean they aren’t good (but, conversely, it might!). Just about everything has a market out there somewhere. VIPub is letting us put together small projects with small audiences. And that’s good, from the numbers viewpoint. You don’t have to reach 50k readers, as a print magazine might have to. If you get 500 readers, you’re likely ahead of the $ game. If you get only 1, you’re *still* ahead of it sitting unsold.

In today’s publishing world, even good stories can be rejected. Mike Stackpole has a fine novel in In Hero Years, I’m Dead that couldn’t find a legacy publishing home because it didn’t fit into any particular niche. It’s doing fine VIPub. Check it out in the usual e-venues.

So, never throw out those unsold stories. Those trunked stories might be good for something more than gaining entry to writers conferences to meet James Michener (though talking to him today might be interesting and worthy of a long novel about channeling).



1. bridgesburning - April 22, 2011

So many changes in the world of publishing. Like music on line according to a recent article. The audience seems more personal, may be smaller, but the outcome more profitable.

2. bobv451 - April 22, 2011

The big difference is that bands make the big money touring now (give away music online, rake it in with appearances). Not sure that’s possible for writers, at least for anyone not Stephen King or JK Rowling.

But these are fun times rife with opportunity. Just a matter of finding how to seize the day.

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