A bit of self-indulgence

(Image by Anrita1705 from Pixabay)

I’ve pretty much set my mind on writing a bunch of short stories. For me, aside from the initial spark of an idea, this also means market study.

Now, I’m actually moving away from traditional short story submissions and towards indie publishing.

So the market study isn’t actually studying the market in the usual sense of seeing who’s buying what. Instead, it’s to study the actual format and see if I can come up with something useable.

With this in mind, the first thing I did was load up my Kindle with a load of short story examples. These consist of:

  • the latest anthologies of stories written and published by my womag friends and associates
  • an anthology of short stories by Val McDermid
  • an anthology of short stories by Sue Grafton
  • a Christmas anthology of mystery stories
  • two collections of ‘dark’ stories
  • a collection of regular Christmas stories
  • a collection of stories that feature cats
  • a handful of books on how to write short stories

The one by Val McDermid is one I bought today. All the others were already on there, I just had to download them.

I’ve also loaded the Kindle up with the following magazines:

  • the current issue of Writers’ Forum
  • three issues of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
  • three issues of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  • two issues of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine
  • one issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine (hands up everyone who can see a theme here…)
  • three issues of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine
  • two issues of Smith’s Monthly

I’ve paid for the current issues of Writers’ Forum and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, I’d already bought the Smith’s Monthlies and two of the Pulphouse Fiction Magazines, and the third Pulphouse Fiction Magazine was my reward for backing a kickstarter.

For the other three mystery magazines, apart from the previous issues I already had, I’ve taken out a one-month free subscription too, so they haven’t cost me anything extra as yet. If I like them, I’ll either continue with the subscriptions, or I’ll just buy the current issues as and when they’re published.

All of these lovely books and magazines on my Kindle truly are a bit of an indulgence, but that isn’t what I meant by the title of today’s post.

Today’s true indulgence

I mentioned above that I backed a kickstarter for Pulphouse Fiction Magazine. I’d never done one of these before, and so I approached with caution and only pledged $5. (That’s about $3.)

For my five dollars, I got issue 13 (I think) of the magazine, but as it was a kickstarter, I was also rewarded every time the campaign hit another milestone. Here are my ‘rewards’:

  • one electronic issue of the magazine
  • a Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Zoom background
  • six collections of short stories
  • five (FIVE) pop-up workshops worth $180 each (EACH!) – for FREE

All of that for only five dollars. I was already impressed.

However, I thought I’d have a look at the pop-up workshops to see how they worked. My intention was only to have a look… but I ended up enrolling in the first one (for free, remember, as I was sent a code).

Pop-up workshop #40 was ‘When They Do It Wrong’ and it consisted of 12 videos, including an introduction at the start and a prompt at the end as well as ten ‘lectures’. My new intention then was just to have a look for half-an-hour, but by the end of session #1, I was hooked and I’d even started a notebook off.

Now, I’m not about to be a ‘jerk’ (as Dean Wesley Smith would say – it’s his workshop) and reveal what each of the lessons consists of. However, I did find it quite useful, especially when I didn’t know what to expect. The best bit is that at the end of the workshop he throws out a prompt for you to write a short story and then invites you to send it to him. Then, he or his wife (an award-winning author in her own right) will have a look at it.

Taking a couple of hours out of my generally busy schedule is quite indulgent, but hopefully, it will pay off. And, if it does, I’ll be taking out another couple of hours to do the next workshop.

If I earn anything off any of the stories I write, then I might try one of his six-week three-hour workshops. But for now, I’m just mulling over what I learnt and the prompt he tossed out. I’m also feeling positive.