Friday, May 22, 2009

Taking a New Direction

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.

12 comments:

Danny BaGucci said...

Hmm.. Nice.. will be watching to see what directions you fnally go in.. I'm still veeeeery far from getting published so I'm not rushing it just yet..

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Danny- Thanks for stopping by. Anyway, I'm still starting out in my new direstion and you know how these paths go, they often meander. :)

Selma said...

I am feeling exactly the same way. I like the short story format but it often leaves me unsatisfied.

I am so pleased you are going to get your teeth into a novel. I just have a feeling it will work out for you. Go for it, Lauri. You certainly have the skills!

Anonymous said...

Now what? new inspiration. Its always good to try new things. its a challenge that creates fear. but what harm can it do really. go for it.

Helen said...

It's good to proclaim your plans. Sort of makes it official. Now we all share expect to hear progress reports on your book, donchaknow.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Helen, yeah.... maybe this wasn't such a good idea afterall- the proclamtion that is.. :)

Thanks Selma, you always have so much faith in me- did you ever think about becoming an agent?????

SueG said...

A hard decision, and frustrating that it seems to be one that must be made. Of course, the short story format is always there for you. You know it and know how to do it. But I actually feel the same way as you about the sustained effort of novel writing. For me, I need a project. A big project. Something to live with and hold on to for a long time. That's why I find novel writing more satisfying (not novel reading, just novel writing). But the reality of the marketplace gets to us all, and unless you have a collection that you are willing to publish with a small press (and the recent fate of Salt adds more discouragement to this) the short story form is usually not compatible with a desire for wider recognition. Of course, the chances of getting that recognition from a novel is slim too, but at least it's a chance.

Robert W. Kimsey said...

Lauri,

Well, good luck. I think you made the right decision. Follow your heart.
I have asked those same questions about my poetry, but it is the way I am, and I can’t fight it. I love the poem, and the process in getting it down on paper. It was never about the money, and I have decided to do what makes me happy. There is a novel in the works, but when there are to many words on the paper, I stop and come home to the poem.

Good luck again

Robert

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Sue, you're right- few are going to get rich writing and that's not why I do it. I just am a bit tired of two steps forward three steps back. For my psyche I need to at least be making progress in a forward direction. I think that's really the crux of it.

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

Robert- poetry even more that short story, I think, requires a passion for the form. You must love it and that kind of passion is commendable too- intrinsically.

Selma said...

Hahaha. I don't think I have the gene necessary to be an agent. However, I wouldn't mind being a publisher. Do you remember some of those independent publishers from the 70s and 80s? We had a good one in Australia called McPhee Gribble. Published a lot of women writers. It is my dream to be like them. One of my dreams.Sadly, they were bought out by one of the majors....

Ivor W. Hartmann said...

I say go for it, there is more long term gain (both monetarily and perhaps in satisfaction for you), in writing novels. But for my part I love short stories, and use them as a welcome break from writing the novels. In the short term for me short stories have been very useful for getting my name out there, (magazines, competitions, etc). But ultimately I am a novelist, and this is where I find my greatest joy in writing.