I come to you with a question. A few years ago, I had a short story published through an e-zine. Since then, the magazine ceased to exist, although the site is still up. My story was featured in the last issue they published. No one could access the story unless they paid to read the issue. That was back in 2014. Pretty much what any print magazine does. Pay to read. As far I know, even today, one can only read an excerpt of that story, but needs to pay a subscription to read the rest.
The story is related to my upcoming debut novel, The Darkening. In fact, they are so closely related, they have the same title. Yeah, I know it’s not a good idea to do this in general, but I suck at coming up with titles.
Anyway, now that I’m redesigning my newsletter, I was thinking of using that short story as part of a reader magnet that will also include the first four chapters of my debut novel, and access to a short interactive story I designed. So three items in total.
But here’s the problem. My style has changed significantly since 2014. I improved considerably in these four years. As far as I’m concerned, that short story is not as good as it could be. It was good then, when I only had a year or so of writing experience. But if I were to write it now, it would be different. The story doesn’t resonate the same to my ears. I’m worried that if I let people read it the way it was published then, readers may get the wrong impression of my current writing skill and style. Of course, as I’ve told you before, I’m a perfectionist. Never satisfied with the quality of the material I produce. So it may all very well be in my mind.
So here’s the question to you, the more seasoned and knowledgeable writers: Have you ever had to rewrite a previously published story of yours for a new publication or to give it away to new readers? If so, how far is a writer allowed to go with new revisions/edits? Would such a thing create problems for the publisher of the original story? Would you even consider reusing or repurposing older material for new readers? Ultimately, am I right to be worried or am I worrying too much?
It’s a Christmas horror story (as always, not the splatter type) about Ian, a middle-aged loner who lives with the memories of his daughters and grandson, rather than with them, a man who lives on the hope that his loved ones will remember him during the holiday. In the meantime, his nearly paralysed arm starts twitching uncontrollably. A couple of weeks before Christmas, his last friend leaves the country, and Ian finds himself with no one in his life. Day by day, he feels life ebbing away from him.
And this is the cover
The story was originally published on 9Tales Told In The Dark issue 12, literary magazine on April 2016 and it’s the third and last story I’ll publish this year. Like the stories I published before, Wisps Of Memory costs $0.99 and is available worldwide.
I hope you like it. If you read it, consider reviewing it on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other site you frequent.
As an added note, if you like free books, have a look at this giveaway I’m hosting on Instafreebie. Myself and more than forty other writers have teamed up and are giving away some of our horror and thriller stories (click on the image below to go to the download page). Not a bad gift for the holiday, right? What have you got to lose? They’re all free 😉
Confession time folks. I haven’t submitted a new short story to any literary magazine since Xmas 2016. At that time, I submitted a cyberpunk short story which, as of writing this, will be the basis for a future novel. The story is still under consideration by that magazine (yes, it can take this long, and sometimes even longer), and it’s officially the story that has taken the longest to get a response. The fact remains though: since then, I haven’t submitted any other short story nor have I written a new one. Now, I’m about to submit two: a flash fiction one and a short one, both written more than a year ago.
The reason? I was too busy editing and revising my novels. Too busy submitting my first novel to agents. Too busy wrapping my head around promotion and marketing strategies for my self-published work. Too busy with a new job. Too busy with parents’ health problems. Too busy in general.
I started drafting both stories way back in 2016. Late spring, if my memory serves me. Nothing new since then. I don’t think I’m going through a dry spell (God, I hope not). It’s just that I’ve focused on longer stories than short ones. I don’t know if I’ll work on another short piece any time soon (at some point, I probably will, perhaps a teaser prequel to one of my novels), but for the time being I feel I should focus on novels. Especially now that I’ve had a taste of the turbulent waters of self-publishing.
So for me, submitting these two stories is a big deal. Wish me luck, folks. I’ve set the bar high for both.
Many thanks to all those who read earlier and badly written versions of this story, and provided me with precious feedback.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I intended to publish some of my short stories on Amazon. Some are previously published on literary magazines, some are not. I was hoping to start my career in self publishing with a science fiction short story I wrote a while ago, but it’s still under consideration (I submitted it around last Christmas) and it seems it won’t be reviewed for at least a few more months. Last time the magazine updated their twitter status as well as their online tracker, they were still reviewing submissions from August 2016 and there are about 500+ submissions before mine. So, I guess I’ll start with another story instead.
Which brings me to my question: would you like to see the cover for the story before I hit the publish button? I know cover reveals are usually for novels rather than short stories, but I’m learning things as I go along about Amazon and self publishing, and I don’t know if revealing a cover for a short story is something people would like to see. However, I’d like to know what you think. In the meantime, I’ll start creating some advertising images about it on Pinterest (you can follow me or any of my boards here) and see if I can
generate some traffic and hype. Because, you know, marketing demands it.
I’ll be honest with you, it’s moments like this that the dreaded beast of Marketing rears its ugly head. In all my academic years (and they were plenty), Marketing was the only subject I failed and had to resit the exam during the summer. Its concepts simply eluded me at the time, and, quite honestly, I doubt it will be any different now. I hoped I’d never ever have to hear the word Marketing again. Bet that beast is having the laugh of a life time right now, huh?
Today also marks the anniversary of my first story that got accepted for a magazine. Needless to describe how excited I was when I got the email. I remember I read it four or five times to make sure I didn’t misread it. Three
years later and four more publications in various magazines, and the feeling of being accepted, of knowing someone out there not only read my story but also liked it still makes me elated.
I wonder if this new endeavour through Amazon will be as exciting.
I got published for the first time in 2014. That year was great for me, and totaled three short stories published in webzines. Loved them all, and it saddened me when two of those magazines ceased their operations. I think there’s a kitten whimpering with its head hung for every literary magazine that closes. For some of you, three short stories are nothing. Okay, maybe most of you craft that many in a day or so. But for me, short stories aren’t all that easy. I prefer coming up with longer narratives, stories where I can delve into some world building, deeper character arcs etc, so three were just fine 🙂 Lets not forget I had only started writing a year before that.
I had high hopes for 2015, and I kept whoring my stories left and right, as Faulkner once said. Alas, 2015 sucked! I probably collected more rejection emails from that year than a seamstress has pins in her arsenal.
2016 on the other hand, seems to be a promising one. “Seems” is the keyword, as always. Bride of Chaos will publish a short story of mine for its 9Tales Told in the Dark series, sometime around April. Have a look at them, and if you like horror, fantasy, or sci-fi consider supporting the magazine. I’ve already stated my opinion on literary magazines in a previous message, and I stand by what I had said back then.