After several months of my Pulp Speed writing experiment, I have gotten a good feel for my current capabilities as a writer, and my current limiting factors, both internal and external.
There are internal areas that need work, some dealing with the writing process itself, others in terms of organization and time management. I am working on improving my work habits in these areas.
There is also an external limit to my career that I think I can help to ease, although it is not under my control.
I need more opportunities to sell my work to publishers.
Now, one could argue that the reasonable strategy would be to increase my existing client list, and I am not entirely neglecting that. I have sold to several new markets this year and have queried several others.
However, there is also an unreasonable strategy I intend to pursue.
See, there are several small publishers with whom I have worked that I very much enjoy working with and would love to do more projects with–if they could do more projects.
The limiting factor on the output of these small publishers is profitability. In short, most of them have to juggle their publishing schedule to accommodate working day jobs and funding their efforts out of pocket.
But what if they didn’t?
Right now the thing that would most positively impact my writing career is for the small presses I work with to become profitable enough that the publishers could quit their day jobs and just publish full time.
I can’t make that happen. I can’t even make publishers want to quit their day day jobs and publish full time. For all I know everyone I publish with is content to remain a hobbyist–I haven’t really discussed the matter.
However, I am going to treat every market that accepts my work as a potential full-time professional fiction outlet, and that means offering more than just my stories. I need to ramp up my promotional work, offer what editorial assistance I can, in short, do all within my power to get these outlets over the hump and into the business of delivering short fiction to customers.
The market is there. I think I have a realistic view of my own talent and my own productivity. The bottleneck is publishers who are hampered by lack of cash flow.
That’s where I need to focus my efforts–not at the expense of writing, which is still my primary career–but my ancillary promotional work online.
Small presses are the future of indie fiction–I’ve believed that for years, and the more I dig into this writing gig as a career the more certain I become.