It’s Not About the Money (The True Joys of being Published)
On August 31, 2011, I officially became a published Author with my Flash Fiction piece “Death Watch” in Liquid Imagination. This was a remarkable thing and such an unbelievable accomplishment. I had not planned to reach the goal of being published so quickly. After all, I had not started submitting anything for publication until March 2011. “Death Watch” is only the second short story I have written, and the first Flash Fiction piece. So frankly, I was over joyed to have it published so quickly.
Okay, enough bragging. Lets talk about why being published is so much joy. Truthfully I thought seeing my name in print would be the coolest part. That seems to just one of many cool things I have found. But first, lets talk about money:
The pay check is not the satisfying part at all. In fact, I was surprised how little I care about it. If you write for money you will be sadly disappointed. At SFWA defined pro rates, you would have to publish eight hundred and forty thousand (840,000) words a year in short stories to make just $50,000. And out here in California, $50,000 year doesn’t go far.
To put that in perspective, that is 2300 words a day with no days off. Now editing, and submitting come into play. Editing takes a lot more time than writing ever does. And lets not forget that some of the most simple of editing changes can cause massive rewrites. Submitting takes even longer. You can usually only submit to one market at a time, and then you are at the mercy of the publication to respond. Some publications take a long time, others are really fast (usually to reject it). From the time I finished “Death Watch” to the date it was published was just over five months, and I am the exception. Many of my fellow authors have waited years to get one story published.
So, assuming you can get 2300 words a day written, and you can get accepted by pro-rate markets, and they accept you fast; then you will make okay money in the writing of short stories. More realistically you will try to turn out one short story a month (a goal I have not even achieved yet). Assuming your short story falls into the normal range of two to five thousand words, you are looking at roughly $1440 to $3,600 a year. This of course assumes they all get accepted at pro rate markets.
So if you are writing for money, sorry to shatter your dreams. However, if you are like most of the Authors I have met you don’t really care about the money. You find other joys in being published. Joys and satisfactions far better than money. For me, my goal was two things: To share my stories with an audience that would enjoy them, and to see “By Richard Flores IV” in print.
I am here to tell you that is just the beginning. In less than four full day since I was published, I have discovered so many other things that are fulfilling to being published:
On the day I was published this site saw a 50% spike in traffic to this blog. The unique views were the second highest they have ever been (the highest was the day I created it). And people were looking at more of my blog then the home page!
WordPress reports that one of the common search terms to get to this blog is “Richard Flores IV”. People are searching for me! People want to find me!
WordPress also reported today that some one searched “Flash Fiction by Richard Flores”. So not only was someone searching for me, they wanted to find more of my work! To that person (and others looking): I have another story due out in October in Cygnus Journal of Speculative Fiction. I find it very inspiring to see that people enjoyed my work enough to want to find other things I have written. That alone could keep me writing indefinitely.
Feedback! I am getting an overwhelming amount of feedback on people’s thoughts about “Death Watch”. People are sending me their praise, and I enjoy that a great deal. I like to know that people enjoyed reading my story. But even more so, I like the emails coming in telling me what they took away from my story. People have sent me a number of interpretations that I had not planned when I wrote it. It gives me satisfaction to know I wrote something that had a deeper meaning to my readers then even I planned.
Inspiring others to write. Two people have told me that my talks about writing have inspired them to either write or resume writing. That makes me feel good!
Perhaps the best part of being published is this (and it ties in all of the above): I have readers! After all, the real reason any of us become authors is to have readers.