Story ideas strike and I worry about what I’ll do with them, partly because the short story market isn’t so hot and one is hard-pressed to find a market for a 15k story. It’s way too long for the magazine market and there are few publishers willing to take on that 15k story, no matter what it offers. Writing is part of my income and, as much as I want to write what inspires me, I must prioritize and work according to what is saleable.
This isn’t a blog post about the evils of traditional publishing and I don’t want to say that small press publishing is a pain in the ass. I want to say that indy publishing has afforded a real opportunity to someone like myself, who has plenty of stories to tell, even if my work doesn’t fall neatly into the traditional mold. I’m also afforded freedoms to tackle topics that interest me, which I hope will interest someone else. For example I wanted to write about a pro wrestler, so I did (The Business). The real question for me was whether or not a bad person can become a good person when his life literally depends on it. This clocks in at about 8k, but I said everything I needed to say. I can’t offer this to publishers, but I can offer this to readers. It might mean something to them.
The same goes for highly controversial topics (The Breeding). Fiction, in my opinion, should be very open, and therefore just about any topic is fair game. I don’t mind giving disclaimers to say that it isn’t for everyone. I won’t lie about or misrepresent my work to make a sale. I do think certain topics deserve to be covered and that we become more enlightened as people by exploring them and considering certain questions. Not many publishers will go for that. Indy publishing is my platform to tame the taboo.
My dad likes to remind me how much of a niche horror and dark fiction is, but I think my work is even more niche still. I do appreciate those who come along for the ride. It can be different, hopefully interesting, and we’ll do it all our way. Don’t worry, I won’t take up too much of your time :)
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