Years ago I remember reading an article in Writer’s Digest encouraging writers to find places to sell second rights to their articles and stories. And thirds. And fourths. The whole point was to get as much mileage out of your hard-earned words as you can.
I’ve kind of lost sight of that advice. But going into indie publishing and seeing how things work (and often how they don’t) makes me see things differently.
Last summer, before I had given up on traditional publishers, I had a backlog of novel ideas (pun intended) that I wanted to do something with. And rather than investing time that I didn’t have into each one making them into novels–which still could happen, mind you–I decided to try to write a short story from each of the novel premises (premisi?). That worked pretty well for a couple of reasons. First, it got them out of my head so I could concentrate on other things. Two, if they turned out pretty well–if I could see the situation and characters vividly and liked what I saw–I felt it would help me someday turn them into something longer. Finally, it gave me an actual story I could share and get feedback on.
Some of the stories got a lot of feedback, and I have gone on to write novels from them. The Kiss of Night was one of those. Others receive positive feedback still, and I have hopes of turning them into books someday soon.
In the meantime, I continue to encourage student writers. One colleague, who is no longer one of my students, but who is a gifted writer, is Edward Cheever. He has several wonderful short stories written, and I encouraged him to combine them into an anthology, and I would help him get them published, albeit under my own Prevail Publications banner.
This weekend it occurred to me that I could do the same thing with my own short stories. So for those who read the recent blog about my summer activities, add #6: publish short story anthology.
I don’t intend to publish it with expectations of making a heap of money. But I can and will use it to build up my name and my following as a writer. At least, that’s the plan.
I even have a name for it already: “The Second-Best Stuff I Ever Wrote.”
Catchy, isn’t it?