Kind of a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I’ve been thinking about another way I might self-publish.
I’ve got an anthology invitation sitting in my Inbox. These days, I rarely write short fiction without an invite. Much as I enjoy short stories, I just don’t have the time. But even with an invitation, there are no guarantees.
I’ve worked on some invite-only anthologies where the approach was, “If you’re invited, you’re in, no matter how much we have to work with you to get you there.” I’ve seen others where a large number of invited authors were rejected. (I remember the outrage from some big name authors who were rejected from Sword & Sorceress XXI.)
So with this invite, I know it’s not a sure thing, and that makes me nervous. I’m planning to do a goblin story, and I know one of the two editors is a big goblin fan, but what if the other one hates my goblin humor?
And then something clicked. Jig the goblin has a good-sized fanbase. I could always set up some sort of crowdsourced funding model online. Maybe micropayments of $1, or I could post the first half and see if people will pay enough to match the 5 cents/word rate for the anthology, or just post the whole thing with a PayPal tips button, or who knows. My guess is, if I do it right, I could probably make as much or more than I would from the anthology sale.
Wait, what? Is Jim C. Hines saying you can make more money self-publishing than by selling to a commercial publisher?
Maybe. In this particular case. And I obviously don’t know for certain. But there are several factors to consider:
- I’ve built up a bit of an audience with my commercially published fiction. There are people who trust me as a writer, and are therefore willing to pay for my work.
- The Goblin Quest books have sold tens of thousands of copies, and a lot of people would love to see another Jig story.
- I don’t have the biggest blog on the Internet, but I’ve built a pretty good following, so I have some means to get the word out.
- I’ve only outlined the story, but if all goes as planned, there will be zombies. And few things pack more messed-up entertainment value than goblins vs. zombies.
I doubt this would work as well if I posted an original story, one not related to my books. I know it wouldn’t work as well if I were an unknown author, or one without any sort of readership. But in this situation, I suspect it could work.
It’s probably a moot point. While I’ve been rejected from invite-only projects before, it’s the exception rather than the rule, which means the goblin/zombie tale will probably show up in a year or so when the anthology hits the shelves. But if it does get rejected, I’m no longer worried.
It could even be fun.
What do you think?