Short Stories and Short Term Goals

Last night I appeared on Dead Time Radio with Scotty Tepperman of Ghost Hunters International and some of the guys from ALPHA. Had a great conversation with a lot of curious questions posed throughout the evening, one of which was directed in by a fan who wanted to know about my goals and whether any new short stories will be posted. It made me take a step back. Though most of my plans are all bouncing about my head, and I give out regular clues, it’s all a bit disjointed. So I thought I’d clarify.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m an aspiring novelist. I write horror stories, supernatural stories, and in essence, whatever genre it is that blends the energetic world of the supernatural and inter-dimensional creatures with the intensity of our own emotions. (The same thing I address in my lectures, about when it comes to justification of empaths and psychics and terms of the vertical).

For those who aren’t writers, breaking into the market is a difficult process. I want a career of it, and so I’m trying to find an agent. It’s very hard to get your work reviewed by an editor at a major publishing house without an agent pushing it already, though of course sometimes this works.

To get an agent, one must send out query letters. The agent wants to know two things; if your book is interesting and if you can write well. So, like any job, one wants to build a resume of work to pitch themselves.

This is where the short story comes in. For the beginning novelist, it helps to have your work published in a few larger magazines to tip off agents and publishers that other people like your work enough to publish you, and might suggest some worth to them.

This is where it gets difficult. Two years ago I wrote the short story Dreamland Crocotta, and after getting a few rejection slips, decided to publish it online to cut out the middle man and go straight to my fans to build a readership base. This was last summer. The problem with this is that agents and editors don’t really look to internet success on the query letter. And it doesn’t pay well. Despite my constant harassment, it only actually made me a couple bucks. Which is fine, to start with. I’d rather have readers.

However, in all my time off, I’ve been working on novels and not shorts. But these last few months I embraced the short story for a workshop and turned out a few pieces I’m very proud of. It’s now come about time to release another short story online and keep those few lovely readers I’ve scraped together interested. But I’m still trying to build a resume for my novels, which will go through much the same slow process. (If they are turned down enough that my list is exhausted, I’ll publish them online for a price. I’ve read enough success stories of authors frustrated with the industry finding success with eBooks and die hard fans. And, of course, writing that people want to read, which is the real catch).

And so right now, these short stories are waiting at magazine editors hands for rejection (or the rare publication), and when they’ve exhausted the market will they end up directly in your, the reader’s, hands. But this process takes a long time. (Especially in the horror/supernatural market, which is very very dry and very very selective. It’s dying.)

Around the new year, over Christmas break, I decided to write a short story directly for my online readers, to satisfy them while the others made their rounds. But due to a few projects and job opportunities that came up, I again lost the time. I could probably have just turned a piece out, but almost more important than the editors, I want to impress you guys, and I don’t want to give you anything less than my best. And so it did not happen.

So what does all this mean for you?

Well in summary, it’s essentially this. You will be seeing writing from me in the next month, but in a different form than you expect. Details will come shortly. Do hold your breath.

Also, you WILL be seeing my short fiction, but it won’t be as soon as you like, unfortunately, much as I’d rather have it all out for you now. But I’m trying to build a career. It’s not all talk, it’s just that the wheels turn slow.

And most importantly, I haven’t forgotten you guys and I’m not just teasing. I’m as serious about this as you are, and you humble me by even giving the work a chance, lest of all demanding more.

Without you, I am not an artist.

Most of all, I want to again thank you for your readership and enthusiasm. With all luck, we’ll be seeing some of the fiction in the near future in a very professional format. Fingers crossed 😉

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6 thoughts on “Short Stories and Short Term Goals

  1. Steve Choy says:

    Karl,

    That awesome question came from me. Yes, definitely a fan, however, since your work is in limited release, I believe I am more of a fan of the energy, passion and intelligence you have. Absolute admiration is more like it.

    I’m happy to find this additional response from you. It actually answers a lot more questions I had wanted to email you privately.

    I’ve been around some extraordinarily talented individuals in my life; some of which never managed to find “success” despite their abilities. Allow me to speak from a certain point of ignorance as I don’t “know” you, but I don’t see a similar ill-fated path in your future. What’s the difference?

    You definitely have talent. But you have a work ethic and drive that suprisingly comes through loud and clear on the internet no less. I suppose the characterics are even more pronounced given your age and the sad fact that 99% of our generation would be more than satisfied living their lives at the other end of a controller…ironic.

    Most successful people acheive mostly by persistence and drive, the talent is crucial, but in many cases, secondary. You have both, so it’s hard to see you want find success, though it may never be good enough, which is a similar trait of the company you join.

    I wanted to get in touch with you to discuss potential writing/creative collaborations with you. Perhaps some day, as I know your plate is full. I am in a similar path when it comes to screen writing. Studios don’t want to read unsolicited material so an agent is critical. However, an advantage I believe I may have, is the fact that I write for a visual medium and fortunately (and unfortunately) Americans are more easily reached this way which also means the ability to gain the attention of the establishment significantly faster.

    I like your style. I think we could compliment one another on specific projects I have in mind. But I imagine you get a lot of inquiries. I think what did it for me was your response to being a sidekick on twitter, saying you’d get “all Nightwing” on somebody. I said, “wow, this dude is hilarious.”

    I have my email here. I’ll also try the facebook message when I get a chance.

    Best of luck and definitely drop me a line if and when you are interested. In the meantime, I’ll be on the other side carrying brick after brick as I try to build something wonderful myself. Hope to see you at the top!

    Steve Choy
    Future PRODUCED Screenwriter

  2. Steve Choy says:

    Btw- forgive the ugly errors as I typed this painfully long reponse on my blackberry! “Curse you thumbs!”

    • karlpfeiffer says:

      Steve, fantastic to hear from you sir. Always great to meet fellow artists pushing for that breakthrough. It’s refreshing. Forgive me for taking so long to reply, the to-do list gets shoved around a lot and things get pushed to all sorts of places.

      Really means a lot to hear your words, and it’s an interesting perspective, to consider success on both talent and drive. I hope I have enough of both. Some days
      I wonder.

      Ah, you’d be surprised at the lack of inquiry on most levels, and I’m curious about your projects, despite not having time for even my own right now. Visual media might reach America faster, but it’s no less an industry crammed with unsolicited writers, so I wish you the best of luck; you might even need more than me!

      • Steve Choy says:

        No worries Karl! I’ll most likely need a ton more luck than you as you’ve seem to have accomplished much and have established a considerable fan base. I actually made the film/tv comparison moreso to suggest that YOU could potentially have a faster route to breaking through if you were to venture down that route. Given your current popularity, fan base and involvement in the paranormal scene, it would be a great opportunity to be “seen” and stay in front of the eyeballs that will most likely propel you to even greater recognition. Strike while the iron is hot, haha. So, when you no longer need any more luck, send it my way!!!

        I’ll email/message you on Facebook with additional details regarding my projects. If nothing else, would love to get your feedback and advice when you have the opportunity.

  3. Jenn says:

    Whoa man, now I’m excited. 😀 Do you think if you were to combine your short stories, you could release a collection? Maybe pitch the idea to some publishing companies? Just a thought.

    Or maybe some crazy, die-hard fans can start a petition to get your stories published. 😀 Hmm… I wonder if that could work…

    Anyway,

    Good luck with your writing. 😀

    -Jenn

    • karlpfeiffer says:

      No, Jenn, not enough for a collection yet, and unfortunately I’m not sure a forum would catch a publisher’s eye either. But I’ll take your luck and your enthusiasm with glee. You’ll be seeing the work one day I know. I hope you’re still interested by then! 🙂

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