Another of Jim’s Self-Publishing Plans

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:

  1. 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.
  2. The Goblin Quest books have sold tens of thousands of copies, and a lot of people would love to see another Jig story.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?