29 August 2021

The Good, The Bad, The Lemonade


 If you're writing short stories, I assume you have some sort of business plan for them. In which case, your plan may be as simple as:

Plan A: submitting only to prestigious and high paying markets. (Hey, you'll probably get more money this way, but your overall published stats won't be very high.)

Plan B: submitting to as many markets as possible without regard for pay or prestige. (In this case, your published stats will probably be up there, but you may not make much money.)

Plan C: this one is also known as a portion of the John Floyd/Michael Bracken Plan where you work frequently, write prolifically and submit enough stories in a year that you can do both Plan A and Plan B at the same time.

Now, let's go one step further. Don't some of your stories deserve a second life?

Plan D: keep your eyes and ears open for any reprint markets that accept previously published stories. My bank account knows I miss Great Jones Street, a short story on your cell phone company, which was conceived before its time. I received $500 for eight previously published short stories. There was also a nice chunk of change for a reprint in an Otto Penzler anthology about villains. You could probably get more information on how to find reprint markets from John  and Michael, but you generally need to know about these markets as soon as they open. Many of them are a limited time offer.

and, it's just possible that some of your short stories should get one more chance at a first life.

Plan E: gather your, preferably related, stories into collections. Submit them to a traditional publisher and see if you can get a contract. Of course, if you're in a hurry, or can't find a traditional publisher for your masterpiece, or don't like the terms of a potential contract, you can always put out your story collection in e-format or KDP Paperbacks,

BEST PLAN: if you are dedicated enough, creative enough and have enough time in the day, then combine all of the above plans and keep on going. Success for you as a writer may be just around the corner.

so, where am I at in all this?

The Good:

"Gnawing at the Cat's Tail" will be published in the Sep/Oct 2021 issue of AHMM. This is the 7th story in my Shan Army series set in the Golden Triangle of SE Asia during the time period of the Viet Nam War. It involves two half-brothers vying against their surroundings and each other to inherit their warlord father's opium empire. One brother was raised in the British education system of Hong Kong, the other grew up with the hill tribes in the mountain jungles.

The Bad:

It was a good run with seven published stories in the series. Unfortunately, Stories #8 and #9 were rejected. The reason given was that the stories were good, but the editor thought both stories worked better as part of a novel or in a serial rather than as standalone short stories. Since the editor is the boss, that is that. I will now go and make lemonade.

The Lemonade: 

I currently have six story collections out in e-format for Kindle and other e-readers, plus they are in KDP Paperback form at Amazon. So now in about March 2022, I will release 9 Tales of the Golden Triangle in e-format and KDP Paperback. This collection will include the seven previously published stories and the two rejected stories. It will be book number seven. Book number eight, to be released later that same year will be a second collection of historical mysteries, most of which were previously published in a magazine or an anthology.


and, that's part of my plan.

Tell us about yours.


  1. Thanks for the encouragement and info!

  2. Good advice. We're hunkered down for the hurricane. Catch you later.

    1. O'Neil, depending on where you're at, it looks like you're getting 70 - 1000 MPH winds and lots of rain. Stay safe and put your frog feet on.

  3. My admittedly brief experience with e book collections suggests that unless you have a very good means of promoting your work the profits will not be worth the effort. I suspect marketing is absolutely key and must require a big commitment.

    1. Janice, you are correct, and I have no idea who are the ones buying my books. My marketing consists mainly of attending writers conferences (which I'm going to attend anyway) where I network plus get on various panels in order to get my name out there. For someone trying to make a living writing short stories, it is not a financially efficient situation. But, for a secondary income every dollar adds up, especially over the years. and, since many of the stories in these books were previously published, it allows them to keep on earning. It also seems that the more books an author has out there increases the rate of sales.
      In past years, I made as much money from Smashwords as I did from Kindle/Amazon, but for the last two years little money comes from Smashwords while more money comes from Kindle and KDP Paperbacks than before. That 600 pound Amazon gorilla must really be taking over the reader market. I looked into Kindle Select, but not sure yet that the extra restrictions are worth it. Let us know if you find out anything.

  4. R.T., it sounds as if your plan is working great! And congrats on yet another sale to AHMM--your track record there is fantastic.

  5. Congrats on the acceptance, and I like how you laid out the ABCs. In this construct, I'm an A with bouts of B. I've not spent much time figuring out D, though it's worth doing.

  6. Congratulations on the AHMM sale. After reading your list, I'm exhausted just thinking about all that I'm not doing. But I like seeing the path laid out, so I may give Plans C, D, and E a shot.

  7. I've followed the Shan stories and enjoyed them. Congratulations.

    But oh man, I need a business manager.

  8. Thanks all for chiming in. It made for some interesting comments.


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