Saturday, November 20, 2010

Recycling Is Good

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was a prolific short story writer. I have dozens of them cluttering up computer disks (some of them on those old 3x5 floppies – yes, I am old!) Only about a third of them were published, most in small literary magazines that are probably out of business by now. The other two-thirds I had never even tried to have published. I was more chicken back then.

I’m a better writer now than I was then, but still – some of these stories are really quite good. They just needed a bit of tweaking here and there. (In the eighties there was no Internet to speak of. Few people had cell phones. Mr. Rogers was still alive. It’s surprising how much these cultural changes can impact a story.)

A few months ago I took one of my old unsubmitted, unpublished stories to my writing group and asked for critique. I was amazed at how positive they were, and how many good suggestions they had about how to rework the story so it didn’t seem dated. Suddenly I saw that my stash of stories could come alive again; with just a little work I could send these stories out into the world.

Even more exciting, there are new avenues out into the world than there were way back when these stories were born. Maybe it was time to dip my toe into the world of e-book publishing – after all, why not? Those short stories weren’t doing anyone any good caged on a floppy disk stuck in my desk drawer. If I could get them out there in electronic form, it would be all upside – I might make a few dollars, other people could enjoy them, and I would learn about the world of e-readers.

So now they’re here, alive and kicking, three short story collections reborn as e-books. (You can read the synopses here.) I used Smashwords.com, and each collection can be purchased for reading on Amazon’s Kindle, or Apple’s iPad, or any other e-reader. Time will tell if I’ll get good reviews, or if they’ll sell. But I already know it was worth it because I am a lot smarter about e-books now than when I started. And I brought my stories back to life.

It’s a good thing I no longer cluck.
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Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 6 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 30 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit http://www.primary-sources.com/.
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7 comments :

  1. Great reminder, Kim, to be our own best advocate. If we don't believe in our work, how can we expect anyone else to?

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  2. That's one of the appeals of e-publishing, I think. The chance to resurrect our out-of-print books or pull unpublished work from our files is very attractive. And for the moment, at least, it doesn't look like we'll have to deal with having our "babies" purged. May we all stay in print forever...

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  3. Great that you resurrected your stories into e-books. Good luck with this big project!

    Monti
    NotesAlongTheWay

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  4. The big benefit of my foray into e-publishing is that I finally found a home for my babies. They are no longer living forgotten & unwanted in the orphan home.

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  5. I keep finding some of my older stories (typed - yes even before the computer disk and I even remember the 5 and a quarter floppy). Each time one surfaces I cringe and wonder what to do with it. I think you may have the right idea.

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  6. With all that is happening in the e-book markets, I think it is smart to find ways to reissue work. Lots of authors are putting backlists of their books up for the Kindle and other e-readers and selling quite well.

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  7. I've also found a new home for the short stories I wrote after finishing my first novel--the characters had more to say. Also, I'd written prologues and epilogues that I didn't include in the books. Some are free at Smashwords, others are priced at the minimum both there and at the Kindle store. I agree, it's great to have ways to share these works.

    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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