Friday, October 20, 2017

How Do I Get Rich Quick? He Asks the Internet

Posted on a writing forum, an inspired soul asks:

I have a wealth of short story ideas so instead of leaving them dormant in a folder on my computer, I want to start publishing them on kindle.

I'll group 3 or 4 of them together, Use public domain images for the cover, start a website and offer up some stories for free so if people like them they can read more of my work for just 2.99 a month.

My friends also have some ideas so I can work with them and we can create new interesting stories together.

I love old pulp novels and serials and really want to recreate that with my work.

I have a ton of ideas, and I even have a few serial ideas so I can carry them through issues to, hopefully, keep people coming back. If this becomes profitable I may even start buying stories from people to put in the magazine.

I know I'm just an amateur but I've written 2 novellas, I've tried writing full length novels but I just can't get to that 60k word count so I think cutting my teeth on short stories would be a much better fit for me.

Is there anyone else doing something like this?

How much would you pay for one issue a month? The minimum is going to be 2.99 because of amazons royalty structure

What are some good ways to promote my magazine and get my name out there?

What would entice you to click BUY?

There’s a lot of stuff here, so let’s go in order:

I have a ton of ideas… but I just can't get to that 60k word count.

Ain’t it the truth?

A couple of years ago a blogger I love decided to do National Novel Writing Month, but instead of an actual novel, he wanted to do short stories. He failed pretty quickly. The next year, I decided to do the same (unrelated), trying to buff up my Stories of the Wyrd portfolio. I failed pretty quickly, having to speed out a the first 50K of a novel in two weeks.

Writing short stories seems like it would be easier than a novel, however, resetting all of the time can actually make it harder to use the momentum in your favor.

And how many times have we heard aspiring authors say, “I have a ton of ideas, if I could only write them down?”

After I started Stories of the Wyrd in 2014, I began to find it incredibly difficult to get out a story a month. For reference, the year prior I had written a 180,000 word novel in five months, the first 60,000 just that November alone. I haven’t be as prolific as I once was for various reasons, but writing a 2,500 word short story every four weeks can be surprisingly difficult. That’s not to mention quality. Today I still struggle with having the stories represent what I want Stories of the Wyrd to be. I have a reliable editor, but she can only do so much based on what I get her. Finding beta-readers can be a stressor in itself. Sure, you might find that a monthly deadline helps push you forward, but it’s pretty important to be dependable if you want to be taken seriously. You can’t be skipping deadlines due to writer’s block if you want to make a business.

Is there anyone else doing something like this?

There is always someone else doing something like this. In fact, whenever you come up with a ground breaking idea, it’s useful to ask yourself why don’t you see anyone else doing something like this: Either you aren’t informed about your competition/audience (as in, they are, you’re just na├»ve), or people have tried and failed. It is incredibly unlikely—I’d even say impossible—that no one has come up with something similar.

It doesn’t mean you can’t make it work, but it’s useful to understand why it hasn’t been successful yet, as well as be aware if other people are doing it and how they’re making it happen.

How much would you pay for one issue a month? The minimum is going to be 2.99 because of amazons royalty structure

Well, then I’m already priced out.

Market research, my friend. Many self-publishers ask the internet what cost their books should be and are often disappointed in the answers. I know. Your book is different than those “hacks churned out in a week!” but maybe you should just sit back and really make sure you know what your competition actually looks like. Why would I buy your self-published book for nearly twice the cost I could of a successful, vetted novel?

I can get an anthology of 20 self-published short stories for a buck. I can get an anthology of 20 award winning short stories for seven bucks. You’re offering me a 4 stories:3 dollars ratio, which becomes fifteen dollars for every twenty shorts. Depending on how long it is… maybe, but from a man who admits he can’t focus on getting 60K out there easily, I doubt the four stories would equal the nearly 300 pages of the 16 award-winning sci-fi short stories I just saw being sold for the exact same price.

Just shop around. Treat yourself as one of the masses, and be competitive. Truth is, there’s no way in hell that I would buy four electronic short stories from an unknown self-publisher for three bucks unless I somehow know it’s absolutely fantastic.

Which brings us to the problem of this whole suggestion.

While as a pet project, it could be fun and worthwhile, as a business he intends to make profitable, he’s asking the wrong questions.

What would entice you to click BUY?

An amazing pitch with an inspiring cover by a known author at a competitive price of course!

This sort of route (self-publishing) is best chosen for those who want to be creative and in control, not as a means to cut corners. An anthology of short stories is not easier to write than a novel. Hooking readers is not easier than hooking potential agents and publishing houses. If making a successful magazine could be as easy as blitzing out a few short stories every month, grabbing internet images for covers, and charging three bucks a pop, why isn’t everyone doing it?

I’m an advocate for the nonconventional route. Having vision and dedication will get you miles along a wide variety of paths. Most people’s success came from unexpected places. But working outside the system is appealing to a lot of people, so don’t assume that you have to stop being competitive just because the gatekeepers aren’t as obvious.

Good ideas are important, but they’re not the only thing to consider. Execution, showmanship, professionalism, and marketing all play into how well a book sells. You can’t just be slapping things up online and expect them to automatically do better than those who have put their blood, sweat, and tears into it.

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