In which I demand answers to important questions


I’m going to find out in about three weeks– “by February 21,” the website says– if I got that teacher creativity grant I applied for.  You may remember me talking about this; my grant basically boiled down to “give me money so that I can write this summer instead of working,” except, hopefully, a bit more compelling.

This is no secret– if I could quit my day job and do whatever I wanted, I’d write.  And getting paid ten grand to sit down and write a novel would be amazing.  There have been periods in my life– I’m in the midst of one of them now– where I was writing fairly intensively and periods where I was writing very little, and without exception I have always been happier when I was writing a lot.  I can handle writing nonfiction easily; witness, oh, about 315 of the posts on this blog, daily or damn close to it for the last six months.  Fiction is like pulling teeth.  There’s nothing like the feeling of finishing a story; the process of writing a story is pure pain.  I remember seeing Richard Bach say once that he was only able to write fiction when the pain of not writing fiction became greater than the pain of writing fiction.  Which is a fun way of thinking about it.  Of course, Richard Bach also said this:

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.

…so maybe I ought to shut up and just write fiction instead of complaining about how hard it is.

I don’t know how many of you stuck it out through all eight or nine or however many parts there were of The Benevolence Archives 5.  Maybe starting with the fifth story wasn’t the brightest idea I ever had, but it at least convinced me to finish it, which is why I put the first part up in the first place.  The installments are averaging eight to twelve Likes each, which isn’t as many as I generally pick up on posts, but that doesn’t bug me much; not everybody comes to WordPress to read fiction– I’ve skipped over short stories myself on any number of blog posts, so wtvr– and even those who like to read short stories aren’t always into science fiction.  If those Likes are evidence that anyone at all is reading it, I’m gonna take that as a win.  Then again, there are already (checks) nine Likes on the post previous to this one, which basically just says hey this isn’t a post but maybe there will be one later, so maybe y’all just click on stuff sometimes.  I dunno.

So… (deep breath) serious question:  Let’s say, hypothetically, that I knock BA5 out of first-draft status (which I’m gonna do anyway), bundle it with three of the other four stories (one’s not done, because I realized I needed to write this one first) and then put it up somewhere as an ebook, for, say, like, $2.

If, hypothetically, I were to do that, is there anybody out there who would be willing to buy it?  Hypothetically, of course.

Just wondering.

Published by

Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

13 thoughts on “In which I demand answers to important questions

  1. Yes, fiction is a lot like pulling teeth. My preferred simile is “Like wading through mud.”

    For $2? I would download that all day long, but don’t attach too much weight to my opinion. I am biased, because I am a fan of your blog.


  2. I can really relate to the first portion of your post. I love when I’m moving along with a story. It makes my workdays brighter, knowing when I get home, my story will continue. I’ve also had periods of my life when I wasn’t writing nearly as much as I’d prefer, and those are the worst times in my life, almost depressive.

    As for your question, bundle them up, sell for $2, that’s an easy hypothetical purchase.


  3. If you put in the effort to take it all out of “draft’ status and bundle it, I’ll kick in my 2 cents (or was that 2 $). My 2$ aside, you should do it, for you, and you pay 2$…you’d be a professional fiction writer 1st day out and you’re a success.


  4. I loved the opening where you explain the boiled down reason for your grant. Honest and hilarious. It’s real. Wished I had something like that available. I can’t complain. I have a job where I work about 12 days a month. I should be banging out novels left and right.

    Likes. Sometimes I use the like button to let you know I was here and read something. It always means I enjoyed what I read. I figure it beats writing in the comments, Winter wuz here.

    I have not read your short stories from beginning to end. I’m one of those that typically doesn’t come to Press to read stories. I don’t mind reading rough drafts and such because I like seeing the writing evolve over time. To read stories though, I have a to read list a mile long. I feel like I’m betraying my books if I sneak and read stories online. Don’t argue the logic. There isn’t any.

    Your Stories. Yup, I’d buy it. Before you set a price point, make sure you research it. Make a profit of some sort. While I adore that people will suffer for their art, it pains me at the same time. I’d buy your work to support you. I do like Sci Fi. Plus, I’d spread the word in my limited capacity. There are plenty of facebooks, good reads, forums, and sites that help promote indies for free. Look into those.

    It amazes me that you are brave enough to display a rough draft (freakin’ terrified of that myself) but hesitate at asking for a very small payment for the pleasure of reading the polished story.
    Go for it and stop stalling. You will never, ever know if you don’t put it out there.


  5. You should do it, if if only for the experience of putting your finished work out there for others to read. What was the quote again? “If you build it, they will come.” Yeah something along those lines.


  6. If you go through with it, make sure you blog about it. I’m interested in self-publishing, but frankly it’s like an entirely uncharted territory for me. I’d love to hear how it goes.


  7. “Runnin’ Off At The Mouth” is a blog where Dorchak has chronicled his self-publishing “lists” of things he’s learned in the process (amongst a lot of other random topics). You might want to peruse through those posts – no sense in reinventing the wheel if someone has already done all the work for you.

    As for publishing – if you think you’re ready, then do it. I haven’t yet because I’m such a slow writer, and I know that I have to get to a certain point in my series before I can start pushing things out.


  8. Reblogged this on The Writing Catalog and commented:
    I’ll have a post of my own here soon, but in the meantime, be sure and read the question at the end. I answered yes the other day, but reblogging here for anyone who hasn’t seen this.


  9. Just a couple of thoughts. Without knowing anything about publishing downloads or anything about the work other than what you just shared. I would not start at $2. If I were able to change the price later, I would start it at $3.99 or $4.99 and see what happened the first month, then mark down from there. If you start at $2, and it’s a modest hit, you’ve sold yourself short. If it doesn’t do what you want the first month, you can lower the price and see what happens. The prices are based on what I might pay for the download if the blurb were good and the subject matter interesting. And big retailers use one-point-off pricing for a reason.

    If, hypothetically, you decided to do it, I might, hypothetically, give it a review on Sourcerer or Part Time Monster and run said review as our main post for the day. It would be an honest review that began with the things I liked best. That’s the way I always do reviews – talk about the good stuff first. If I liked it personally – if I found the artistry, or emotional content, or structure appealing enough, I might even recommend it to my friends, most of whom have e-readers and are connected to either academia or creative arts, but for me to do that, you definitely have to knock it out of first draft status before you publish it.

    I tend to not read fiction on blogs myself. If the BA5 drafts are here, I’ll find them and take a look at them in the next week or two. And yes, we click for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes we read the beginning of the post in our readers to make sure it’s not objectionable, and like just to say, hey, I saw it and I like what you do. We only comment when there’s something going on we care about, or when the blogger is someone we know. (That’s what I think, anyway.)

    Congrats on the grant! 🙂


  10. Hmm, I like your posts, but haven’t read the fiction (I’m not a Science Fiction fan). On the other hand I will start the self-publishing process for my novel and my non-fiction project in April, finishing up around Christmas. I am planning an e-book and print version of both. So yes, I will buy your BA5 as support – and maybe even get converted.


  11. good luck on the creativity grant! I’ve been sifting through your work. I”m fairly new to this, but I’ve liked what I’ve read.


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