The Journal, Saturday, October 13

Hey Folks,

I set out to do nothing yesterday, and I almost succeeded. I wrote a short blog post for the big blog, but otherwise played with old stories.

One of my favorite short story collections (of my own) is Mobster Tales. I don’t know how many other readers enjoy those, but I do. (grin) And that’s important, for reasons that will become clear as you read on.

Yesterday, while browsing files, I remembered a story I wrote titled “What Happened That Day.” It’s high up on my list of favorite stories, so I read over it.

Then I realized I probably have a lot more short stories of that kind and about those kinds of characters.

So I started searching titles. I often don’t remember what a story’s about from only reading the title, so most often I had to open the promo doc and look at the Internet search terms.

The upshot was that I found over 20 short stories of the “mobster” type that were not included in Mobster Tales.

So I dediced to put together Mobster Tales 2 and Mobster Tales 3. Each will be a 10-story collection, and each will provide yet another stream of revenue for me from those stories.

Today I plan to find cover art and publish those collections. Or at least one of them today, and maybe the second one tomorrow.

Topic: The Heirarchy of Publishing

There are actually two heirarchies writers should be concerned about. Naturally, both are based on sales.

The first is commercial genre.

It’s common knowledge that some genres sell better than other genres.

Romance is at the top of the heap. If you’re a Romance writer (and if you can tell a good story), you’re pretty much golden.

After Romance comes Thriller, then Mystery, then Suspense. Crime is in there somewhere too. I forget some of the others but toward the bottom (for written works, not film) are SF and then Western. And then Literary, which apparently includes Magic Realism.

But the thing is, the smart writer writes what s/he wants to write.

For example, despite its top-selling status, I have zero interest in writing bosom-heaving romance. I have friends (male and female, from best-sellers to some-sellers to some-dayers) who write Romance, and many of the stories probably are great. Just isn’t my cuppa tea.

And yes, there are dozens of subgenres, and yes, elements of one genre often cross over into other genres.

For example, my own 10-novel western saga contains many elements of romance, psychological suspense, Latin magic realism, etc. (If I changed the setting from 1880s Texas and Mexico to 1000 years in the future, the stories would be firmly in the SF genre. Same characters, same situations, ray guns or pulse emitters instead of Colts and Remingtons.)

And my Detective and Horror and Crime and War and SF novels and novellas almost always contain psychological elements and so on.

So again, despite what you learn about which genres sell better than other genres, the smart writer writes the stories s/he wants to write. The stories s/he is passionate about. Because that’s where we tell our best stories.

Then there’s the second heirarchy.

Even with everything we hear about the “new” limited attention span, blah blah blah, the fact is, within each genre, novel series and novella series sell better than anything shorter.

One-off novels and novellas (again, within each genre) come in second in sales. Coming in third are the longer (10-story) short story collections. Then the shorter (5-story) collections.

And finally, individual short stories.

My point is, the writer (if s/he’s smart) can’t really manipulate what s/he wants to write. You can’t really manipulate where your passions lie.

But you CAN manipulate what and how much you write within the genres you love.

I’ve written a 10-novel western saga. (I call it a “saga” instead of a series because really it’s one long story.) I’ve also written a several-novel and novella Detective series. I’ve written an SF novel with a sequel and several other one-off (so far) SF novels and novellas.

I’ve never written a Crime novel, but I’ve written at least thirty short stories in the genre, and soon I’ll have three 10-story collections of those works available.

I did all of that and more without giving a moment’s conscious thought to this second heirarchy (what sells better within the genre).

Now, as I’m passing from having writte a war novel with a sequel to a series with the third book, I’m giving it a lot of thought.

As a result, once this novel is finished, I might write a fourth in the series. And I might also revisit some of the other genres/worlds in which I’ve written and add to those as well.

I suggest you do the same. Especially if there was a story you wrote in which you really enjoyed the world and/or the characters, I hope you’ll return to that world or those characters and give us more.

The readers are waiting for you.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “When the web started” at

See “Science Fiction and Reality” at Of course, there is also “science fantasy,” in which the science goes beyond the boundaries of physics as we know it.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 870 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 870

Writing of Nick 3 (novel, tentative title)
Brought forward from September………… 21695

Day 10… 1736 words. Total words to date…… 23431
Day 11… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 1736
Total fiction words for the year………… 338462
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6120
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 139216
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 477428

Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 7
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 2
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 11
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 33
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 6
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………………… 193