Tuesday, January 23, 2007
  The real reason to write novels
Because the business side of short stories is a pain in the butt!

I've got a novel I'm working on (one of many) which grew out of what I thought was going to be a short story idea. I like the novel, but I felt there was still potential for the idea as a short story. So I started over with the short story part of it. It came out at about 3400 words. Of course, I need to go back and revise, and send it out for critique, and revise again before I even think about submitting it anywhere.

But once the revisions are done, then the hard part starts... the submission process. It's bad enough submitting novels, but submitting short stories is just a pain. Half the places don't take e-submissions (I can sympathize with that, e-submissions are simply too easy to do, resulting in a billion bad stories flooding your inbox). So you've got to mail off your story, wait two to three months for an answer, and then, if you're rejected, which is a good possiblity, start it all over again. Figure five or six rejections (at least) for one story before you sell it, and you're talking a year and a half or more to make a sale, since no one wants simultaneous submissions either (again I can sympathize, but gosh for any author trying to make a living at this, it is a real pain in the neck).

Of course, you also have to figure in hours of researching good markets for that particular story, and the cost of mailing it out repeatedly (and don't forget the cost of the SASE).

If you're trying to make even a modest income from short stories, you've got to publish a LOT of stories -- 1 or 2 a month. Tracking all those submissions is a nightmare in itself. It's bad enough when you get a response, but some magazines don't bother to send you a polite "no thanks" even though you sent the SASE, so you are stuck guessing, should I send this off yet.

Having been doing this for a while, I lean towards the give them three months and move on strategy.

So, why bother with short stories. Cause common wisdom is that agents and publishers like to see that you've been published before. It gives them a sense of confidence in your writing ability. In it's marketability. Of course, that should be obvious from the writing itself, but if it's going to give even a tiny edge to a novel's chances with an editor or an agent, then guess I'll continue jumping through the hoops.
Per page, or even per word, I'll bet it is more financially feasible to continue pursuing short stories...
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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