Hang on folks. Some noodling, thoughts and whatnots.
If you haven’t known me for a long time, in the last five or so years I have been extricating myself from the freelance non fiction part of the lit world because it was bad for me. During the last few years, I haven’t been able to write as much fiction as I’d prefer and things have been changing.
So I’ve been writing more fiction and interestingly I am seeing some things.
There were a few years where I was doing extremely well in the short fiction universe. Not like, well known or a darling but I published a lot. As I go on here please remember this has been my experiences and my responses.
Big decision lately for me is that I think I’m generally retiring from submitting/getting published. Not because I’m not writing, I am. However both my genre work and the lit stuff is all getting a lot of the same editorial feedback. Editors have tended to really enjoy what I’m doing but, not enough to risk publishing. For some it has been subject matter, some a matter of taste. I’ve always gotten a good amount of that sort of feedback so it doesn’t feel bad to me but, it does mean I have to make decisions.
I could write things that are less, me. I could. I have. I did very well with that for a while. I’m not really interested in that at this point in my life.
Here’s the big thing I’ve realized.
I am not really a writer with commercial appeal on really any level. I don’t say that to dig for compliments because I don’t really need that. It is what it is. In the way back before, the most serious agent I’ve dealt with told me straight up that, I would have to make significant changes to my style, voice and general presence on the internet to be more appealing to a “wider” (whiter) audience and thus would also need to take the notes on how to commercialize my work. So the knowledge about my viability as a commercially succeessful author has never been in question to me.
However, at this point I’m seeing that I don’t care?
I’ve really accepted that a lot of work if it comes from me directly, either via me freelancing and it being published or if I put it out myself, meh. Even when it comes to my currently most successful venture (over at Patreon for urban fantasy) when I do the shit we’re told to (marketing classes, instructions etc etc) I lose monetarily, I lose followers etc. This is well documented and yes I have done the analysis and and and and all that for years.
That being what it is and the general sameness of feedback I get from editors/publications I think my time for that has passed. I’ve been nominated for a few things at times, I did successfully push some literary boundaries with some pubs. I have had tens of thousands of words published by other people and sometimes made money for it but, that next horizon as they say, is probs not for me.
I think this is more of me divesting from the Capitalist model of this. I understand that I do not have the resources, support of ability to support my family with this. And I understand and am okay with it.
Would I love to land a book deal and get to wild out and get paid some stuff and hold another book with my name on it? Fuck yes.
Do I believe that will happen for me? Not really.
Lit mags (I include genre mags here) aren’t into what I’m into right now. In terms of the horror I’ve been writing it is not the horror getting published mostly. My small readership tends to enjoy it and folks tell me when they like a thing. My readership doesn’t like it enough to buy it and that my friends is just what it is. I’ve tried a lot of the methodologies taught by various people and it just isn’t gonna be a thing for me.
Going forward, I will likely post work here when I want to. I might do some stuff for self publish because if I CAN make a few pennies why not but, I’m not going to change course in the art I’m exploring in order to get it published.
One of the other main reasons I am not doing the hustle anymore is that there is no social media platform where I can share my work and it doesn’t cause me problems. If it is facebook, if I say anything not glowing about men I get booted. My links get buried. I can’t even share OTHER peoples links, news links nothing. If I share anything directly to fb my posts get shadowbanned for days so that don’t work. Also again, my audience doesn’t like it when I ask for things so if I ask others to share it that doesn’t work either. Twitter kinda works but also not really.
I’ve exhausted all my options for making a few extra pennies with my art. Nothing that a lot of folks do very successfully that I have tried has worked out and 99% of my tries have cost me money I don’t have.
SO things will be changing. I need to redo my official website. Maybe I will do a store and set it and foreget it. Be happy when I make ten cents a year. I dunno. But that’s what it is right now.