Positive exposure or professional suicide?

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Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Watcher55 » 03 Jun 2011, 20:20

Is it wise for an unpublished author to share/enter/publish short stories and flash fiction separate from, but in the same universe as the arc of the main work (ala Asimov)? Most of the stories will be heavy on the metaphysics (that’s such a cool word for imaginary science) of dimensional manipulation and back-story on the power behind the throne, so to speak.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Mira » 03 Jun 2011, 20:22

Do you mean using someone else's universe?

Or writing something along the same lines as other people?

the first one, I really don't know. You may need permission of some sort...unless it's public domain. I'm not sure if Asimov is public domain yet.

the second one is almost unavoidable. There's only so many ideas, and it's all in the presentation.

Am I understanding you correctly?
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Watcher55 » 03 Jun 2011, 20:32

Mira wrote:Do you mean using someone else's universe?

Or writing something along the same lines as other people?

the first one, I really don't know. You may need permission of some sort...unless it's public domain. I'm not sure if Asimov is public domain yet.

the second one is almost unavoidable. There's only so many ideas, and it's all in the presentation.

Am I understanding you correctly?


Ooops, talk about being clear as mud. I should have prefaced: The main arc consists of multiple planned volumes set between 3500 BCE and 64AD (with sidetrips to the 18th - 21st Cents.). The short fiction pieces would be set in that universe, but the story lines would be separate from the main arc. The problem is I wonder if the collection of stories (and lets say the stories are actually good) will impress agents or make them squint before saying - "Naaah," to the novels.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby polymath » 03 Jun 2011, 20:41

I presume you mean the same arena as Asimov's, the Golden Age master of science fiction. If so, there's a lot of interest in that niche. Asimov's glories are psychohistory and robotics philosophy. He doesn't dwell into metaphysics the way I assume you mean. Asimov tested his concepts out in the marketplace with short stories. The ones that stuck he followed up on. Same with Clarke, Heinlein, Bradley, Bradbury, McCaffrey, Anthony, Cherryh, and so many other popularly acclaimed science fiction writers.

Short story publication success while not especially profitable is a traditional and longstanding pathway entrée into traditional novel publishing venues. Also, short story publication of accomplished authors feeds the digest marketplace and provides platforms for new entry debuts. Also, short story publication by accomplished authors keeps them fresh in readers minds between eagerly anticipated novel releases. And short story publication is very emotionally rewarding. It is a form of proactive promotion for all parties concerned. And there's nothing more valuable for testing one's writing against the competition and for testing reader interest than short story submission.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Watcher55 » 03 Jun 2011, 20:59

polymath wrote:I presume you mean the same arena as Asimov's, the Golden Age master of science fiction. If so, there's a lot of interest in that niche. Asimov's glories are psychohistory and robotics philosophy. He doesn't dwell into metaphysics the way I assume you mean. Asimov tested his concepts out in the marketplace with short stories. The ones that stuck he followed up on. Same with Clarke, Heinlein, Bradley, Bradbury, McCaffrey, Anthony, Cherryh, and so many other popularly acclaimed science fiction writers.

Short story publication success while not especially profitable is a traditional and longstanding pathway entrée into traditional novel publishing venues. Also, short story publication of accomplished authors feeds the digest marketplace and provides platforms for new entry debuts. Also, short story publication by accomplished authors keeps them fresh in readers minds between eagerly anticipated novel releases. And short story publication is very emotionally rewarding. It is a form of proactive promotion for all parties concerned. And there's nothing more valuable for testing one's writing against the competition and for testing reader interest than short story submission.


You've got a good line on my initial rationalization, but should I make it consciously make it obvious that the stories have a direct relationship to the arc or should I downplay the connection?
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby polymath » 03 Jun 2011, 21:07

One thing all the masters do, did, is let each short story or novel stand alone. Even their saga installments stand up on their own. They are complete actions in and of themselves. Yet entice readers to follow them to their final outcomes. The power there is from dramatic irony. Let readers be in the know and project and imagine and want more just to see if their suppositions are accurate. Let readers make the connections. They'll find them regardless, and in the process generate buzz, Buzz, BUZZ.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Rosie Lane » 04 Jun 2011, 09:13

I can't honestly say I have a huge amount of experience to say whether agents/publishers would consider it a no-no, but it seems like the beginning of a good platform to me. If your shorts are interesting, they would hopefully drive interest towards sales of the longer works. Also, I have found writing short stories to be a really good way to get used to submission and rejection. On the con side, and something that I am twitchy about at the moment, is whether stories sold and out there on the internet perhaps aren't a good advert if they come from your early career and aren't as good as the novel you intend to sell.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby hektorkarl » 04 Jun 2011, 10:04

I don't think putting quality work out there will hurt you. The industry punishes obscurity far more than any supposed sins.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Watcher55 » 04 Jun 2011, 10:12

Thanks y'all - another thing to appreciate about Bransforums. They're just as much sounding-board as they are message-board.

Rosie Lane wrote:On the con side, and something that I am twitchy about at the moment, is whether stories sold and out there on the internet perhaps aren't a good advert if they come from your early career and aren't as good as the novel you intend to sell.


I have the same worry since the short pieces are going to be told by the same narrator telling the same story. It's a risky strategy, but I figure if I maintain the same voice and style throughout, I can attain to a quality that comes close to that of the main arc. It's an all-or-nothing proposition; I guess that's why I'm so circumspect about it.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby hektorkarl » 04 Jun 2011, 11:13

You can always take them down if you decide they are not representative work.

Even if you decide it's a mistake, it'll be far less serious than "professional suicide."
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Watcher55 » 04 Jun 2011, 12:15

hektorkarl wrote:You can always take them down if you decide they are not representative work.

Even if you decide it's a mistake, it'll be far less serious than "professional suicide."


Except that I'm looking toward getting published in traditional magazines and anthologies - can't take those down.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby hektorkarl » 04 Jun 2011, 12:46

If they're respected publications, this should help you. Just be careful not to sign away rights.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby hektorkarl » 04 Jun 2011, 12:51

Ender's Game started out as an award-winning short story. Same thing with Michael Cunningham's first novel. It seems pretty common in the sci-fi and literary fiction communities. Other genres may differ.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby Watcher55 » 04 Jun 2011, 13:34

hektorkarl wrote:Ender's Game started out as an award-winning short story. Same thing with Michael Cunningham's first novel. It seems pretty common in the sci-fi and literary fiction communities. Other genres may differ.


I loved ENDER'S GAME. As a matter of fact, I was just going over the the lists of publishers that qualify writers for membership in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and Orson Scott Cards InterGalactic Medicine Show is one of the more promising venues. It's only fair since EG had such an influence on me.
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Re: Positive exposure or professional suicide?

Postby polymath » 04 Jun 2011, 14:23

L. Ron Hubbard's Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest is the top of the market in Science Fiction and Fantasy and Dark fantasy entrées. And highly competitive. Word has it they receive about 2,500 narrative entries per quarter year. It's an international venue for unpublished writers and illustrators to test their mettle against the best up and coming unpublished fantastic fiction writers and illustrators. Winning, placing, or showing in the contest is the best positive exposure a fantastic fiction writer or illustrator can get, bar none.

Three writer winners per quarter, first place $1,000, second place $750, third place $500. The four first place quarterly winners are then eligible for the $5,000 grand annual prize. All are published in an annual mass market paperback anthology. There's a week long intensive writing workshop and an awards ceremony for the quarterly winners, where the annual grand prize winner is announced. Travel and lodging expenses paid by the nonprofit contest administrator, Author Services, for winners. Galaxy Press is the parent publisher of Author Services, both wholy owned by the Church of Scientology. Above board contest and no proselytizing for contest entrants or winners that I've heard about, though the Church has come up against a few hiccups in the past.

Contest rules, Submission guidelines;
http://www.writersofthefuture.com/contest-rules

Home page
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