How to Fail, Part 10: The End!

I have to get materials to the PPWC committee by the 13th, so I better finish this up pronto.

I had intended to include how to submit to other types of markets than short story markets, but I am OUT OF TIME.  I had no idea that writing about short story submissions was going to take up so much damned time.  It’s pretty boring, too; important, but boring, so I think my handouts will focus on the short story subs process, so I can stand up and talk about the fun stuff.  Well, what I think of as the fun stuff.

The publishing world continues to change quickly.  I started a small press to publish me, myself, as an e-publisher (for now), and I’ve already had people asking me if they can submit to me, despite saying not to do it several times on the site. I’ve told them to head over to Dean’s site and find out how to Think Like a Publisher, because if I can do it, hell.  It’s just a matter of determination.

I have a feeling that I could make a ton of money setting up people’s ebooks for them.  Charge a fee, they get formatting and cover, I’m gone, they get royalties, goodbye.  I could probably edit them, too, because I’m starting to grasp how to edit people without @#$%^&* up their style.  Except it’s never that simple, and I don’t have the experience to do it right – yet.  I don’t know.  I’m going to keep grinding that learning curve (and mixing my metaphors*) and think about it for later.  I like helping people; I like being the know-it-all, obviously.  But I like writing more.

Here’s what I think:

  • Write a lot.  Think about where you want to go with your writing – kinda good, really good, world famous.  Decide when you want to get there, and figure out how many words per day it’s going to take to get there.  Write those words.
  • Rewriting doesn’t count.
  • Ask other people to read your writing.  But don’t sweat what they say.  Dude, when it comes to matters of taste, we’re all amateurs, except when it comes to our own tastes, which is what you write.  Try to find out who likes your stuff and why:  that’s your market, really.  Your reader.
  • Getting critiques from other writers is almost more of a way to test yourself than it is to find out how you should rewrite.  Can you survive criticism?  Get critiques and find out.  Then work on your weaknesses, both emotional and writerly.  But don’t kill yourself rewriting; you’ll never get your words done.
  • Submit at paying markets that you would like to read and that publish your kind of thing.
  • Track.
  • Keep submitting until you get acceptances.
  • When you get accepted, read your contracts.

I have a contract up right now that I’m not sure about.  They want exclusive ebook rights for 2 years, but may negotiate.  Ahhhh, I don’t know.  I want that story where it is, probably enough to never get it back, so I’ll probably take it and fume over the 2 years.  One year, I wouldn’t think twice about, but 2 seems a lot.

  • If you decide to epublish, do your research.  DO NOT throw yourself at small press publishers who are there to put up their own work.  You can do it.  You can do it ALL by yourself.  There’s a tradeoff between money and time.  I advise learning how to do it yourself, before hiring someone else.  THEN decide.  You will have to check everything they do for you; you better know how to do it yourself.
  • Talk to other writers.  We’re nuts.  We’re OFTEN wrong.  But we’re your kind.

That’s about it, I guess.  Any questions?


*What do you call it when you compare everything to bacon?  A meataphor.




Formatting for Lulu, Part 2 (covers).


  1. I’m stuck in rewritingville at the moment so I’m going to scream, rewriting does count. 😀

    It’s also painful.

  2. De

    Poor thing.

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