Bounce back on the novella. It was my bad for misinterpreting the publisher’s submission guidelines. It’s pretty much writer 101 that when they say guidelines, what they really mean is “rules.” Don’t let The Pirates of the Caribbean fool you otherwise.
I went ahead and inquired if there were any hints about an open call for novellas anytime soon. If an opening might be coming in a few months, why not just wait? I’d rather work with these guys. If not, if they don’t see themselves being open again within a year, I’ll consider whether I should go elsewhere.
But on the brighter side, I went ahead and submitted a sci-fi short story to another publisher. This is a “bigger” catch in some ways.
You see, I usually rate the value of the publisher against what and how they’re willing to pay for your stories at all. Obviously, non-paying publications are the lowest of the totem pole.
Then there are those willing to engage in either a token commission that occurs once, or a sliver of the future profits. The latter of these two is slightly less risk for a publisher, and gives the writer considerably more incentive to promote both his work and the publisher over the course of the contract.
But there are those who pay a better amount for the work on the spot. These particular publishers are a step up from the previous ones. It’s saying, “We like your work enough that we’re willing to take a risk and give you $XXX for it.” Obviously, the publisher expects to make more than the $XXX he gave you, hence your work is (theoretically) profitable and a good investment.
This short story falls into that latter variety. I don’t know whether or not it’s going to make it with this publisher, but I think the story is good enough for someone to publish.
But back when I was busy trying to get The Black Wind’s Whispers together, a few of the guys came forward saying that although they enjoy or don’t mind writing it, horror was not something they wanted to do for their lives.
Now I have higher stamina than they do for writing horror. I enjoyed, and still enjoy, writing it. I will continue to, but I really do want to branch out and try other things. The novella was dark fantasy and this new short story is sci-fi.
But sometimes, it doesn’t feel like writing moves laterally. Sometimes, it feels like you’re back in the small pond again when you switch genres. I’m sure that there are some writers who were told, “Listen, you’re fantastic at (genre they’re done), but you’re not a very good (genre they want to do) writer. Stick to what works.”
And I wonder about that. How many writers thought they broke through the first publication barrier, only to find out that what they really wanted to do still treated them like a beginner?
Would it bug me to spend the rest of my life as a horror writer? … To be honest, yeah. It would. I don’t look down on writing terrifying tales. Especially because it’s a genre that is so poorly portrayed in the cinema (Who knows? Maybe someday my stories will be on the big screen.)
But who wants to create the same thing again and again and again? What I really want to do is be able to talk to someone, almost anyone. And hear what they like to read about, then pick a story of a similar vein from my bag and hope they like it.
People don’t have to like everything I do. I accept that, cause they’re not going to. But I’d like for everyone to enjoy at least one thing I’ve done before.