a few more thoughts on technopeasantry

If you are not a writer, but you wish to celebrate International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, then may I suggest this? Post about a writer whose work you originally found unline and then subsequently searched out more, or an online magazine you particularly enjoy, or similarly related topics. You see, one of the big arguments against Dr. Hendrix’s conviction that we’re all stabbing our industry colleagues in the back is that by posting work online, we may well reach readers who would never have picked up an issue of Asimov’s or Realms of Fantasy, who may then go looking for more of our work, which may lead to them buying things that aren’t posted for free — in other words, that we’re trying to increase the size of our readership by doing these things. So if you’ve ever experienced that effect, tell us about it!

Also, since I was in a hurry to post about “Calling into Silence” this morning before going to class, I didn’t get a chance to expound on one of the things I said, namely my reluctance to post stories I haven’t already sold.

I want to talk about that more because on the surface, it seems like I’m saying such postings aren’t a good thing. Not what I mean, though. Partly it’s a matter of my current status: putting a sale to the Intergalactic Medicine Show on my cover letters does me a lot more good than saying I posted a story on my website would, and it’s true that sales breed more sales. So I’m trying to make as many sales as I can, not because I disapprove of offering work for free, but because I’m trying to build a base of credits for myself.

Having said that, I would post unsold stories . . . but all the ones I’d be interested in posting are currently under submission at a variety of markets. Had this been announced with more lead time, and they had come home in the interim, I might have kept them here, and today you would be reading an online version of my ludicrously-titled story “Letter Found in a Chest Belonging to the Marquis de Montseraille Following the Death of That Worthy Individual.” But according to papersky, “Today is Sant Jodi, when people in Catalonia give each other books and roses. It’s also Shakespeare’s birthday.” So today’s the day, and “Letter Found” is not at home, and I don’t want to irritate any editors by e-mailing them to ask they root through their slush and pull one of my stories out.

The other thing I might have posted was a Doppelganger novella that’s too bloody long to sell anywhere, but the thing needs substantial editing, and I didn’t have time to get it done by today. But I probably will at some point, and that will go up for free, and then we will see that every day is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day.

0 Responses to “a few more thoughts on technopeasantry”

  1. calico_reaction

    Actually, you posting the sample of DOPPELGANGER on your website was what inspired me to pick it up. Granted, that’s a case of the book already being published and you just providing a sample, but I think I think that method better: offering potential readers a sample so that if they like it, they have to buy the book to see what happens next. 🙂

    • Marie Brennan

      Offering a sample is becoming a pretty common practice, and one that’s even covered in the contract. Hendrix is complaining more about entire works being offered that way. In a grander scale, though, offering an entire short story or even an entire novel is still a sample — of the writer’s work in general. If they like it enough, they’ll look for more.

      • calico_reaction

        I figured as much. Paolo Bacigalupi has an interesting angle on the whole diatribe in his blog (windupstories.com), and he brings up some very interesting points.

        I personally wonder how offering whole works online would effect newer writers versus more established ones. I can see the sense in offering a published short story or two for free on your site, especially if you’ve got a book out or on the way. It’s another way of giving a sample. But the other way around… hmmm…

        Course, that’s how Cherie Priest was discovered, wasn’t it? By posting her book chapter by chapter in her LJ. After a rough start, look where she is now! 🙂

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