It was a good while back, around the time I started this blog, that I decided it made better sense to build a name in this industry writing short stories before I started writing books. That way I could hit the publishers and be like “Hey, James Beamon here… you know me, the guy with the fan base a legion strong… the dude who hasn’t quit because the world’s decried he’s too legit. Attached is my debut novel. Since your submission guidelines said nothing about simultaneous subs, I’ve also sent it to three other fairly large publishing houses. I look forward to hearing back from you. Sincerely Yours (for a price), James”
I mean, it makes sense right? The thing is writers don’t actually listen to business sense so much as the story that’s beating in their writerly hearts. And so while I was working to get into the biz one short at a time, the big story… the novel story that’s currently spanning trilogy lengths was beating in the heart. So I’d take time out of the story game to write the novel, going back and forth and back again. I finished the first novel without making too much of a splash in short stories. Same went for the second novel. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve acquired a healthy number of people who dig what I write along the way, love you folks and your awesome sense of taste and style. I’ve gotten to SFWA recognized pro status, a mountain of an endeavor, at least I think so. But the novel writing was definitely messing with the volume of stories and hence my takeover of the game via shorts.
Flashback to August of 2015. I had gotten zero short story sales for the year, I mean zero with the hollow circle, one less than the loneliest number. We were getting into the “-ember” part of the year, you know, the ass end. And the last sale I had was back in August of 2014. So the business sense kicked in, along with a healthy dose of fear that this would be the year of the goose egg. I basically mothballed third novel and got a LOT more shorts written out. And many of them sold, Daily Science Fiction, F&SF, Apex, Sci Phi Journal, and more. At the end of 2015 and going into 2016 I got 11 short stories accepted, published or both depending on the speed of the venue. I made the Nebula Awards Recommended Reading List… twice.
It’s April 2017 and the smoke’s cleared after my writing/submitting blitz on the marketplace. More to the point, I feel really good about where my stories landed, the viewership I attracted, and my visibility. And while I don’t think I’m in any position to send that ultra-brazen letter to the publishers I posted above, I do think that I couldn’t ask for a better year in terms of how I hustled.
Since I’m not about going through 2017 with more of the same, I figured it was time to do the full switch of gears. It’s novel finishing time. I still have some stories out there, waging war with the world’s slushpiles, but I’m not looking to write write write more stories this year. I plan to finish the third novel, put some honey glaze on the whole trilogy, and send it out to you guys for your consumption. Granted, I may pen one short or two if the distracting pull is strong enough, but I’m fairly focused, like a laser pointer with only one bad battery.
The last part of this post involves my serious pursuit of the nonserious. April is Unidentified Funny Objects month. This year we’re on the sixth volume and I’ve been an Associate Editor ever since the first one. If you’re a writer then we need your funny. I’d love to read what you’ve done… as long as it’s funny. So if you wrote something that makes you laugh and/or makes others laugh and everyone laughing is laughing for the right reasons, send it to us. Guidelines are here.