Once upon a time, many moons ago, I wanted to write a novel. A long, gloriously descriptive, terribly interesting book. I didn’t want to muck about with anything less than a couple hundred pages. I wanted room to stretch. I needed pages and word count and space to say what I had to say. And I had a lot to say.
So I wrote a book.
It wasn’t the best book ever. It wasn’t even the fifth best book ever. (Just so you know, the fifth best book ever is Another Roadside Attraction, by Tom Robbins.) It wasn’t even on the radar for anything resembling the best book ever. But it was my book, and I loved it, and I wanted nothing more than a chance to share it with the world.
So I sought publication.
In less time than it takes to reheat a frozen burrito, my fairytale view of the publishing world was dashed up on the rocky shores of publishing reality.
In order to get published I needed a publisher to look at my work. But in order to get a publisher to look at my work, I needed an agent to represent me. But in order to convince an agent to represent me, I needed publishing credentials. But in order to get publishing credentials, I needed to publish a book. Waaa? It seemed crazy. It seemed silly. It seemed impossible.
Then my husband spoke up.
“Why not try your hand at short stories?” he asked. “I bet it’s much quicker to produce shorter pieces, and your odds of an acceptance will surely increase if you have more works tapping the market.” (Yes, he really does talk like that.)
I thought about his advice. It sounded reasonable. It also sounded like a whole lot of work. I looked it up on the internets. He was onto something. Building a repertoire of short stories and hence a reputation based on the publication of said stories wasn’t a bad idea. In fact, much like most of the things that fall out of Tony Brown’s mouth, it was a good idea.
Please note I said most, not all.
So I started writing short fiction, and never looked back. While it held true that it was indeed much quicker to produce a short piece as apposed to novel length work, it was by no means any easier. Quite often, I had to cut the legs off of a story idea, or the arms off of another, or the head off of another, in order to fit the thing into the much dreaded and narrow box they called ‘submission guidelines.’ But I worked hard at it, fitting my stories into specific word counts while still telling the tale. It became a lesson in how to tell a story concisely, without sacrificing all of the details. It was a lesson in getting to the freaking point! It’s also a lesson I am still learning every time I sit down at my computer and write. Writing short fiction gave me the tools to create sharper and quicker paced novels. Short fiction not only gave me the credentials I craved, it brought an audience to my work that I would have never found through novels alone. And that’s more valuable then any credit to me.
The point of this long winded tale is this: over the course of my career I have penned a lot of short fiction. Some of it has found its way into the arms of a number of different anthologies and periodicals. Some found acceptance but then became orphaned later on when publishing projects were cut for various reasons. And some have languished in my ‘writer’s trunk’ for far too long, never making it before the eyes of anyone beyond my circle of beta readers. At last count, I’ve written close to one hundred short pieces, ranging from flash fiction (less than 1,500 words) to borderline novellas (nearing 20,000 words.) That’s a lot of work. I looked over the fruit of my labor and wondered why should I let it sit around? Why not give folks a chance to enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them?
After some thought on the matter, and based on my recent decision to plunge head first into the world of self publishing, I decided to release the best of my backlog of short stories in a series called “Triple Shot.” The idea is simple: three stories that match in theme. For example, the first three releases in this flurry of collections are Triple Shot of Strange, Triple Shot of Werewolves and Triple Shot of Zombies. Three strange tales, three werewolf tales and three zombie tales respectively. See what I did there? I priced these collections at 99 cents through Amazon, though I plan on making each release a free download for a limited time upon introduction.
Is this a good idea? I think so. Will it drive thousands of readers to my work? Possibly. Am I doing it to cash in on the 99 cent craze and try to snag some money for second tier work just gathering dust on my hard drive? No. I can honestly say my intention isn’t monetarily driven. It’s more along the lines of career driven. I write a lot of short fiction, and I want to give my readers a chance to enjoy it. Releasing these short collections is the best way to achieve that goal.
You get a great trio of stories, hand selected to meet an easily identifiable theme, for less than a buck. You can’t beat that.
As always, I really hope you guys enjoy the tales. This is the first light of publication many of them have seen, though there might be a few reprints thrown into the mix. Be sure to hit me back with your opinions. Love a story? Hate a story? Feel ambivalent toward a story? Let me know! As my career blooms and grows, I find there is one thing I now crave way more than publishing credentials.
Feedback from readers like you.