Decades ago I started submitting my original stories to the major science fiction magazines.
You know how you experience something painful in your life but over time the painful memories fade?
Well, four times in the last few days I’ve relived the crushing, 1980s style, degradation of receiving rejection slips for my fiction
And I don’t even submit to magazines anymore.
Way back then I used to clown around, trying to hide the pain with the following: “Hey, I’m a great writer. I’ve received
rejection slips from some of America’s finest magazines.”
And now to that age old admonition I can add…Kindles Singles.
Four times, four submissions, four short stories, all submitted, by me, to that special facet of the Amazon marketing, algorithm, juggernaut, Kindles Singles.
I’d already picked out the new Jaguar I intended to buy when the sales commissions started rolling in.
Not to be. Because all I got for my time, trouble, effort, toil, blood, sweat…well, you get the picture. All I got was an e-mail from a Kindles Singles editorial assistant screaming, “YOUR FUCKING STORY SUCKS!”
Actually, that’s not quite true. This is what the e-mail said.
Our editors have carefully reviewed your recent submission, and it has not been selected for inclusion in the Kindle Singles store. Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to consider it.
You're welcome to publish your work via Kindle Direct Publishing at kdp.amazon.com. For information on how to do this, visit:
If you already have done so, your work will remain for sale in the Kindle Store.
Again, thank you for your interest in Kindle Singles.
Associate Editor, Kindle Singles
Some people might discern major differences between the text of the Kindles Singles e-mail and my earlier paraphrase of said. But honestly, I’m not a twenty-something, anymore. I know how to read between the lines. I think.
The thing is, my first submission to Kindles Singles took more than three weeks to be rejected. My most recent submission took three days to achieve the same result.
And the question remains. Am I getting better or am I getting worse?
So what does a writer do when hit over the head with a skull cracking, ego destroying, depression inducing reject slip?
The writer gets back to work on another story. Because a rejection slip from an editor is like a rejection for dinner and a movie from the Homecoming Queen.
You just keep asking until you wear her down and get a, “If I say yes, will you stop pestering me?” acceptance.
All those decades ago my great mission was to break through the plaster walls surrounding the editorial desks of the Ben Bovas and Stanley Schmidts of the magazine world.
Now my great mission is to break through the electron wall surrounding the editorial desk of David Blum.
Hey, I’m a great writer. I’ve received rejection slips from some of America’s finest magazines. And Kindles Singles, too…bitch!
This morning I put two stories in line for formatting. “Stir of Pique” is a cautionary tale of our human relationships with machines.
“The Magic Purse” is a short story about the different perceptions people have about life. The story stars a young girl who might just understand.
I’ll publish these two stories in a single Kindle eBook. While the eBook cover depicts “Stir of Pique” I won’t go so far as to label “The Magic Purse” a bonus story.
Let’s just say I preferred the cover for Stir over the cover for Purse. Case closed.
Right after that, I’ve got two more short stories coming out.
“Asphalt Styx” is a weird way, boy meets girl tale that pushes the boundaries of love and affection.
Okay, maybe it doesn’t push those boundaries, but it questions them.
It’s one of my “experimental stories” that so many people have come to know and say, “What the hell was that?”
The “Asphalt Styx” eBook will include a piece of flash fiction called, “Defining Moments”.
“Defining Moments” is under three hundred words, but I really think these two stories belong together. Because, when you have two pieces of work that readers might misconstrue as misogynist, male chauvinist pig, bull shit, well, you might as well publish them together to get it all out of the way.
I won’t summarize “Defining Moments” because it’s only three hundred words. The summary might run longer than the story.
Finally, I’ve got three novellas done, and lined up for edit. The first one is a Toma Lee story, followed by a D. C. Chester story.
And then, finally, if the editor doesn’t chew my ass for writing crap, the first ever Dillon Chase story. That’s Dillon Chase, the pen name, not Dillon Chase, a protagonist. If you don’t recognize Dillon Chase check out the BIOs page on the
website you’re reading, right now.
That’s all I’ll say on those books, because it’s just not time, yet.
Oh, yeah, I’m working on adding new clickable bibliographies for all the older stuff. Clickable to all the newer stuff, that is.
(The stories aren’t changing.)
Lightly touching on future stuff.
Two series coming up. One each for the D. C. Chester, and Danny Essex pen names.
Paperback books by…Me! Cool. Hopefully, we’re not just for Kindle, anymore.
Plus, well, maybe I’m pushing too far out. Like I said, not enough hours in the day. Not enough years left in my life.
Enough news for now.
Yesterday I finally got fed up with the cover of House with a View. I’ve written before on the trouble I had locating a suitable image for that eBook, and how an old artist friend of mine was going to paint a new, original cover.
It looks as if my artist friend probably won’t be able to work on it. He’s just too busy with other projects.
I’d heard too many publishing experts detail the importance of book covers in attracting potential readers. I had to do something because, as I’ve stated before, I hated the old cover. It was thrown together just to get the book up on Amazon in a hurry.
So, I changed the title. “Wait,” I hear you claim. “I thought we were talking about covers.” We were. But I hated the title, too. And
the new title let me alter my search for a cover image.
Now, “House with a View” is titled, “Rearranged”. Rearranged fits better. The home is being rearranged, the rehab work is being rearranged by the potential buyer, and the buyer is rearranging her life. And the cover is a young woman pondering the
rearranging of her life. Plus, she’s looking out a window…with a view. (Unless she’s a mime. Which she isn’t. Trust me.)
Everything works on so many levels I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it earlier. Like maybe when I was publishing it.
I will point out one caveat here. The face of the model in the cover image is clearly visible. I don’t like to do that. I’d rather have readers build their own images of the story characters based on the limited details I offer in the story.
I had to change the title page and copyright page to reflect the new title. And that necessitated uploading an adjusted, filtered web page to Amazon. I also had to change the book blurb on the book’s Amazon landing page, alerting people to the changes. Didn’t want any confusion with people thinking it was new book. And, of course, I had to upload the new cover.
The total time to affect all this work…about an hour.
So now you can recommend the book to all your friends without the embarrassment caused by that old,
As Dean Wesley Smith asserts, we’re living in the New World of Publishing.
I love the new age of publishing and Amazon is leading the way.
Now if I could just finagle my way on to Kindle Singles.
This morning I happened across a book review of The Martian by Andy Weir. (I won’t go into a synopsis here. You’ll understand why in a moment.)
The review seemed interesting and I Amazoned the book’s listing page and saw No Price Available. After a little research I discovered Mr. Weir had sold some publishing rights to Random House. Don’t know which rights, don’t care. Still, I hope Andy got a
really good deal because everyone knows all the big, New Yawk City publishing houses are run by…well, never mind.
The review listed the eBook originally priced at $.99. I don’t care about that, either. If a Kindle eBook is under five bucks I’m okay with it. But, I’ll be curious to see The Martian eBook price once pricing is under the control of Random House. I’m a betting man – I’ll wager $9.99 Kindle, $8.99 paperback.
Whenever the paperback comes out, of course.
Because Random House is releasing a hardcover first. That’s no big deal.
In February 2014. Now it’s a big deal.
I want to read The Martian now. Not in February. But I can’t unless I pirate it. (I’m not interested in the aubiobook format still available on Amazon.)
This reminds me of J.A. Konrath, a thriller, horror writer I like who blogs about writing and publishing. Konrath says this about
pirating, and I paraphrase. Make your books easy and cheap enough to purchase and you won’t have to worry about piracy.
And even if they do pirate you, so what? That just means more sales down the road sparked by pirates telling everyone about
your great book. And don’t worry, it’s not pirates all the way down.
So, Random House has not made it difficult to purchase The Martian. They’ve made it impossible. Until next February.
And who knows when they’ll finally release it in paperback?
Here’s my point. Andy Weir wrote a popular book that was selling well enough to pique the interest of a major publisher. And
Random House can’t figure out how to strike while the iron is hot.
But don’t fret, Andy. I’m not interested in pirating The Martian. Actually, I’m not interested at all, anymore. I don’t have time to wait. I mean, really, can you imagine how much new Konrath stuff I’ll have to read by next freakin’ February?
Now, I wish Andy Weir all the success in the world. I really do. I want writers to win this publishing game. And honestly, neither Andy, nor Random House, will miss my single purchase of The Martian.
It just pissed me off because I want it all. And I want it now. That’s the whole point of Kindle. I get it now. And if you can’t give it to me now, another writer will.
And even if all the other writers were kidnapped by space aliens and couldn’t write new stuff, well, you should see their backlists.