I made a bold decision this month regarding my writing, one which I hope I won’t regret. I’ve gotten so frustrated at not finding markets for some of my fiction and essays that I’ve decided to self publish them. I’ve published them on Hub Pages – first my short story, An Ancient Gift, and today, an essay entitled The Fox.
I wrote both stories in the early 1990s. The incident in The Fox actually took place sometime around 1989. I’ve lost track of how many anthologies, literary magazines, and whatever I’ve submitted both works to. Sometimes I get back notes saying “Nice but not quite us – try again” or “Keep submitting” – and although I know, based on countless books on writing I’ve read over the years, that these are meant to be encouraging, at this point I’m just discouraged. Yes, I’ve had plenty of essays, stories and articles accepted for paid publication, but these two works I felt deep in my heart were good enough to be read by others, but I just couldn’t find them a home.
Elizabeth J. Andrew is a writer whose work I admire, and last night I finished reading her book Swinging on a Garden Gate. One thing in the book that really struck me was that she wrote that stories aren’t stories until they’re told – and that sharing our stories is a gift we give others. She was talking about a pile of manuscripts that she’d lost to a fire, and she mourned their loss because now she could never share them with others. I thought a lot about that last night. It’s not as if my works are lost, but aren’t they, if they’re just sitting on the computer? It’s unlikely a new print publication is going to launch and clamor for my type of stories. And I think I’ve tried every single one in the Writer’s Market by now.
I’m tired of having wonderful stories stuck in limbo because there just aren’t publications out there these days buying them. Traditional tales, or uplifting essays. It seems as if every short fiction market these days wants people to write like Hemingway or have some sort of vague, quasi literary ending. I hate stories like that. I want to be entertained when I read a story. I don’t want to have to reach for my dictionary or pretend I am uber-hip because I get the nihilistic meaning of the deep thinking writer who doesn’t punctuate properly. I’m tired of bad art, bad music, and bad writing masquerading as brilliance.
So I have decided to go the way of many…self publishing. I am grateful for the internet. It’s really given control of content back to writers. Sure, readers have to find your writing, whether you’re penning a blog or a book. But once readers find you, it’s up to the READERS whether or not they like you – not one editor making decisions based on profitability.
If you like these works, please leave a comment on their pages on Hub Pages (or here if you prefer). And if you like them, I will share more.
Because a story just isn’t a story until it’s told…and someone like you is there to read it.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.