When I first started writing I submitted everywhere. It didn’t matter if I would be paid or not, I just wanted to be published. And I was published in many places. Then time passed and I thought I should make a rule that I will only submit to magazines that pay, unless there is some prestige involved. And that’s been my policy for some time. But now I’m wondering what the point is. I write short stories, I send them out and I get paid usually around $25-100 USD. This money is fairly useless to me because to get it to Botswana, most is eaten by bank charges. Nowadays I ask for Amazon gift certificates and then it gets eaten by delivery charges.
I have stories published all over the world and yet it hasn’t led to me getting an agent. It hasn’t really got my name out there in any sustainable way. So I’m not making money and I’m not building a name for myself. But I spend an inordinate amount of time writing and submitting short stories.
I’ll admit I do like to write a short story. There is something quite fulfilling in writing them and I doubt I’ll stop completely. I can’t deny that I have made a substantial amount of money from short story contests, and they actually DO get your name out there.
I guess I’m trying to re-evaluate my priorities though. It’s not really about the money. I just want some sort of sustain success. I’m a bit tired of the rollercoaster I currently ride. My fiction time is limited and I think it’s time I spend it on novels. I love writing books. I love the long term journey and stepping into that other world. Short stories are not long enough to give me that kind of a feeling. Though my books haven’t done so well to date, I do feel part of that at least is bad decisions made by me, mostly regarding publishers. It also has to do with too much time spent on short stories.
So it is time for a focus shift. I’ll still write the occasional short story but they will no longer be my focus. Getting my work out there will mean getting my books published, not forever trolling Duotrope looking for markets. Like most change, I feel scared and a bit sad, but more than anything I’m excited.