Challenge,  publishing

Fiction Branding… Part 4

Stories Don’t Spoil…

But wow can authors kill them.

I have to deal with this topic before I can move on into branding and how to do it and the reasons for it.

Back in the day (say the 1960s through the 1990s), writers would sell a short story and then toss it into a file cabinet. A lucky few stories got reprinted, but the attitude was that once a story was published (no matter the market), it had spoiled and was no longer of value.

Writers did this with books as well. I can’t begin to tell you about the hundreds of boxes of manuscripts, proofs, and spoiled matter from novels we wrote that were considered spoiled that we had just tossed up into our attic.

That was how traditional publishing thought and still does to this day for the writers stupid enough to sell to a traditional publisher. The book is published, considered spoiled, and the publisher depreciates the asset for the rest of the copyright.

But thankfully for the smart writers, this is 2024. A lot of writers have their own Shopify stores and have reprinted their old books and put up older stories for sale and are making fantastic money both in their own stores and through Amazon, D2D, and the rest world wide.

And series once thought dead are back and new books are being written for fans.

But still that old thinking of books and stories spoil holds the mind-set of many writers. I find it sadly funny that writers who had a story in say Analog in 1994 still think that story has no value. It does not dawn on them that the readers in 1994 could mostly be dead or not remember the story, but in 2024 there is a brand new batch of readers.

Magazines now release stories back to the authors within months of publication. Get those stories up and selling to make you even more money from the billions of readers who don’t read the magazines.

So here is a short list of how writers can kill their own work, mostly by believing this old, dated attitude that stories spoil.

—Not reprint an older book or story for fear it is dated. (Have someone trusted read it, never trust your own opinion.)

— Not give value to short stories that have seen publication.

— Get their work to be “handled” by scam literry agents, both before they die and after.

— Have no imagination on how to get work out to a new 2024 audience. Not be willing to learn indie publishing and modern sales like through your own Shopify store. (Folks, it is not hard.)

And there are more, but no point in beating this dead horse. I will be moving on now to the basics of branding past author and cover branding. But to even begin to understand what I will be talking about, this attitude that stories spoil must be wiped from your mind.

Replace it with “Stories are Gold!!” Every story or novel you write has value, not only in short-term sales, but in long term branding.

Follow Heinlein’s Rules… 1) Write, 2) finish what you write, 3) never rewrite, 4) put it on the market and 5) KEEP IT ON THE MARKET. So few writers trying to follow Heinlein’s Business Rules remember that rule #5. And rule #5 is where branding will live.

And killing the attitude that books and stories spoil will be critical to moving forward in this series about branding.