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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Novel Ideas to Feed a Starving Artist

Today I received the latest issue of Sirenia Digest. I love this little journal because it's a PDF put together by Caitlin R. Kiernan and Vince Locke. Typically it features two vignettes by Caitlin and artwork by Vince. But the real reason I like it is because by subscribing (via PayPal), I'm directly supporting the creators.

Sirenia Digest is simply designed (it's a Word document with a few images in it, basically, that has been converted to PDF) and the stories in it are always a little raw and personal. There's no editor telling Caitlin what to write; she just writes what she wants. This allows her the perfect medium to experiment and practice her writing.

Often, the stories don't have much in the way of traditional narrative. Such is the way of vignettes. They paint dark, disturbing, usually erotic images, and then move on. Perfect reading for this sound bite generation, methinks.

The power of Sirenia Digest, too, is in what it offers the creator. I'm not sure if Cailtin has any overheads, but writing two vignettes a month should be easy enough and, if she's getting $5 per month per subscriber, it's a decent amount of petty cash. All she'd need is 10 subscribers to pay for satellite. 100 subscribers for a month's shopping. 1000 subscribers for a (cheap) car. That's a nice, easy earner for any writer, for only two stories. To earn the equivalent of a pro sale on each vignette (which are usually under 10K words), she'd only need 100 subscribers. Since most of her stories are around the 2K mark, she'd only need 40. Which doesn't sound so bad. I'm half tempted to do something similar myself. Of course, I'm not Caitlin R. Kiernan and I don't have Vince Locke illustrating my work, but it'd help pay the bills.

Maybe in the future writers will support themselves in this way, bypassing magazines and publishers altogether and selling direct to their readers.

It's a quaint thought, isn't it?

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1 comment:

  1. It's a lovely idea, but what people tend to forget is that such technology/options that remove the middle man (the publisher) actually make finding good literature more difficult for the reader. This will not only impact sales, but reading in general. I'm not remotely interesting in doing the work of the publisher by weeding out all the poorly written garbage just to give a writer an extra buck. If this option were to replace the current methods you can bet I'll stop reading anything new being put out there. I don't have the time or patience to deal with poor writing, which is something that still plagues the self-pubbed world and is a legit reason for its shunning. The publisher is there for a damn good reason. They do publish crap from time to time, but at least you know it's crap mainly because of story, not because of exceedingly crappy writing.

    So, while this is a beautiful thought, if it were to mean that loads of people would start doing this and charging, you can bet people will stop reading. Nobody wants to shell out $5 only to find out they've completely wasted their money on some hack who shouldn't have any sort of writing career in the first place. Rejection is part of the writing game...