Apologies for the lack of blogging recently – too many deadlines! I’ll start posting regularly again soon, and I’ve got an amazing batch of SFF Songs of the Week to unleash – including choices from Richard Morgan and Jennifer Rardin.
In the meantime, I wanted to add a few small comments to the debate about Orbit’s digital short story publishing initiative. I met Tim Holman, Orbit’s publisher, last night, and we talked about it a good while. And this is a sceptical if not downright hostile post about it from John Scalzi, with many comments, including some from Tim.
The daftest comment/question is: have Orbit thought about [X,Y, Z]? Well of course they have; whatever your views on this venture, this particular publisher does not rush headlong into things.
I regard the initiative as a wholly good thing. It’s a clever innovation that creatively liberates published Orbit authors – allows us to stretch our wings by giving us guaranteed publication of our short stories. If I had more time, I might self-publish on Kindle; but hey, producing a movie is enough of a headache!
But the key principle is: I do actually make a large chunk of my yearly income from Orbit’s advances for my novels, as do all their authors. So a bit of gratis work is no big deal – in the expectation of getting paid IF the story is popular. If no one reads it, well, fair enough; I had the fun of writing it and that’s enough.
For me it’s a creative challenge – an opportunity to really get to engage with the modern possibilities of the short story format without the irksome horror of having to send stories off and not knowing if they’ll be rejected. Some stories might go viral; has that ever happened yet? Or only to stories published free on websites?
It’s fair to ask questions of Orbit; but trust me, I’ve worked for crooked evil corporations in the past, and will do again; Orbit just ain’t that. Theirs is a genuine attempt to try something new; to create a market that wasn’t there before.
Anyway, let’s see how it develops; and I’m aiming to test it out myself by drafting a few short stories over the coming months, once I’ve delivered the various things I’m writing. (More info soon – once I’ve done the darned work!)
PS I once hid a short story on this website; no one ever found it. Ha! What a pathetic bit of self-publishing, eh?
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