A Publishing Challenge of Sorts

In today’s Journal

* A Publishing Challenge of Sorts
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

A Publishing Challenge of Sorts

Heinlein’s Rule 4, You Must Put It On The Market (Publish), has always been the most difficult of the Rules for me to follow.

To get your free, annotated copy of Heinlein’s Rules in PDF, click here.

You can also download, free, What Heinlein’s Rules Mean to Me, an essay I wrote awhile back.

For novels (and a few omnibus collections of novels) I have my Rule 4 problem pretty much under control now. But it wasn’t always that way.

At one point a year or two ago, I had four or five unpublished novels sitting in my laptop waiting for covers and waiting for me to publish them. This lack didn’t stem from a fear of what readers would think. It stemmed from laziness.

I eventually bit the bullet and caught up over a period of a few days, and now I take a couple of hours to do the necessary work involved in publishing: I find cover art, create a cover, write a promo doc, and upload the novel for pre-orders to D2D and Amazon.

Then I upload two sizes of covers to StoneThread Publishing (a thumbnail at 180 x 270 and a larger “book page” cover at 300 x 450), update the genre page, write a new book page, and upload to my site on Payhip. (That’s all part of publishing.)

But that’s only for my novels. Not so for my short stories.

In a comment during the recent short story contest, KC Riggs, one of my longtime friends and an excellent storyteller, left a tongue-in-cheek comment saying what she really needs is a publishing challenge to motivate her to publish some of the stories she’s written.

I too fall far short on Rule 4 when it comes to publishing my short stories. Admittedly, I don’t write short stories as much as I used to. These days I’m primarily a novelist.

I’ve written only one short story this year, but I didn’t bother publishing even it. I only added it to my list to be published to the readers of my Stanbrough Writes substack.

For those, I don’t have to create a promo doc, cover, etc. or even add them to my individual Short Stories page.

Putting them on the Substack is still “published,” but it doesn’t make the story available for the general public, which is what we usually mean by publication.

So here’s a publishing challenge for you.

  • No reporting to me required.
  • This is completely self-administered and self-monitored.

If you’re a short story writer, I challenge you to write at least one short story per week and publish at least one short story per week.

You could do both in the same week (write and publish Story A in the same week). Or you could write Story A this week and publish it next week, during which you would also write Story B, and so on.

I’ve adjusted my annual goal to alleviate my own shortfall in publishing short stories. I won’t necessarily write more of them (or I might), but I have plenty that are not yet included in collections.

So I plan to compile at least a few more short story collections before the end of this year to again “catch up” on Heinlein’s Rule 4. I’ll collect 5 or 10 stories at a time, then put them on the market in a collection.

I would state a specific number of collections, but at the moment I’m not sure how many short stories I have that are unpublished or uncollected. (grin)

Note: I’m not ignoring fellow novelists. I simply can’t levy any sort of similar requirement on you. Most of you have far less time to write than I do, so you’ll have to continue that on your own.

I do recommend setting a daily word-count goal (or weekly divided by 7 or monthly divided by 30) to drive you to your writing each day. For the days when you have time available to write, of course.

I can only advocate that you write when you have available time, continue until you’re finished, and then publish it. In other words, don’t “trunk” it or slip it into a desk drawer or let it languish in a file on your computer.

Put it out there and let readers be the judge. That’s their job, not yours.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

Fiction Branding… Part 12

The Numbers

The Journal………………………………740

Writing of Blackwell Ops 25: No Name Yet

Day 1…… 3243 words. To date…… 3243

Fiction for May…………………….….… 12977
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 316762
Fiction since October 1………………… 619820
Nonfiction for May……………………… 14760
Nonfiction for 2024…………………… 169100
2024 consumable words……………… 485862

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 8
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)……………… 90
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……… 239
Short story collections…………………… 29

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing are lies, and they will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

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