Appropriating and Updating the Race
In this crazy new world of e-publishing, the rules of getting published and making a living at writing are shifting. As anyone reading this blog at all will know, I’m a huge follower of Heinlein’s Rules for Writers. But where does putting my own stuff up without going to an editor who can pay me fall in the mix of those five rules? I’m not sure.
But e-stuff sells. I’m selling handfuls of copies of two literary short stories a month, stories I’ve done basically no marketing for at all. How much better will novels sell? Novels I intend to push in front of people and do as much marketing for as I can handle? Does that count as “keeping it in the mail until it sells”? Maybe.
Dean Wesley Smith came up with a points system called the Race back in the years when I was a wee little girl. The gist is that you get one point for each story in the mail, three points for each novel proposal (only for each novel, not for each editor you send it to), and eight points for each full novel out (again, only counts once per book). Dean explains in his blog here and here much better than I can.
But if I put a story up on Kindle… I lose the point in the Race. I’m sure that Dean will come up with a new Race point system to account for that, but in the meantime, fellow writer Amanda McCarter and I decided on a rough new plan, which we’re calling the E-pub Race (different from the Trad-pub Race). It works like this: (and this is probably way more complicated than it needs to be, but hey… games are fun!)
1 point for each short story. If you bundle shorts, this counts as 1 point up to 4 shorts bundled.
3 points for each short story collection (5+ shorts minimum, repeats allowed with shorts on their own).
5 points for each novel. (Novels bundled in Omnibus form count separately unless they are repeated, in which case you only get the points once).
No points count until you’ve sold at least five copies (the original race has you losing points after getting paid, so we figured the E-pub race should have something opposite of that). Copies you buy yourself don’t count of course. Editions don’t count as separate (so if you do a POD version, you still only get points for that novel once).
Ok. Hopefully that isn’t too complicated. Suggestions and comments are welcome, of course.