Publish, Wherever and However
Ya know, if you’re not writing because you don’t know where or how best to publish, I have this to say about that…
Short stories have a long and global history, including penny dreadfuls, dime store novels, pulp fiction, something called blue books (which I still need to research) and more befaceboksides.
It’s been interesting to read about how interest in the anthology medium wilted and died with the invention of television, movies, and the Internet. Cheap printing and mail distribution made them possible and profitable, then the Internet and ebooks came around and blew the whole thing up.
And yet, while the format changes, the short story form never really dies, it just changes venue. People have their reasons for preferring short books, as y'all’s vast and varied answers to my question proved, yeh?
Genres lose or gain popularity, delivery methods vary, pricing models differ, publishing options change, but the words are always, always, always there.
Lately, I’ve been a bit more tuned into the world, and I’m hearing how email is dead, blogs are dead, and Facebook is dead – again. Every freakin’ year, someone picks up that drum and bangs it, and I’ve learned to ignore them all.
Because when a medium is dead, you won’t need someone to tell you. If you read the story about the death (and eventual resurrection) of pulp fiction, you’ll see what I mean. The restructuring and merging of companies at the end of that era was a wild ride as publishers apparently tried to hold the industry together as their competitors died off.
And you may have noticed that when someone says that blogs are dead, it’s because they want to sell you a service for doing YouTube. When someone says that email is dead, the next thing is a pitch for a class on Instagram.
And in the meantime, there are people making a living and even literal millions through their influential blog posts and/or their relatively small but happily engaged mailing lists.
The “Are email newsletters dead?” question just popped up in a group I’m in, and while I only made a short comment there, it continued to nag at me, so I figured I’d expand on it a bit with y'all.
So, I’m saying not to get too wrapped up in how your words are delivered or where they’re presented. History has proven that those things will change dramatically or gradually and constantly, and, in some ways, they won’t change at all.
Unless you’ve sold your rights, you can simply pick up your words and repurpose and republish them somewhere (everywhere!) else in the best way that's available.
Penny dreadfuls sold on street corners, pulp fiction delivered by mail, or ebooks delivered by magic via Amazon, Kobo, and Nook. We’ve been at this mass publishing thing for … what? Two or three hundred years? Long enough to prove that how your words get out there is a technicality. It doesn’t really matter. Like, at all.
What matters is that you get your words outta your head and onto paper – or into your computer or somewhere (anywhere!) permanent and malleable – so you can fiddle around with them until they say what you intend to say. From there, you can do anything.
You can’t do much with words that are still in your head, though.
So, ya know ... get the words out.
After that, you can concern yourself with where to put them.
p.s. This is true for whatever length writing, of course, fiction or non-fiction. I’m just in short-book mode for the moment...