Noodling A Kindle Collection

Yes, I'm Really Sorry You Had To See This It’s like this, Internets.

I have a handful of short stories that need a home. The problem with these stories finding a home, as I see it, are many-headed, but none of those heads (in my mind) have to do with quality. They’ve been gone over time and time again with picky fingers removing all the ticks, lice, briars and twigs that one must remove to make a work of fiction be presentable and palatable.

No, the issues with the stories are:

a) They’re too long. The short fiction market isn’t necessarily kind to stories over 5,000 words. These are generally in the 7,000-word range, and one of them actually goes to double that (and is my favorite of the lot). On the opposite end, I have a few that are too short — flash fiction is another low-dollar market.

b) The short fiction market isn’t exactly a robust one to begin with. Yes, it’d be great if I could get five cents a word for these stories, but I probably won’t.

c) Submitting to short fiction markets can be a time sink, where time is dropped into a hole with the uncertainty that money will ever float up out of that darkness. Sure, I could take my 14,000 word story and submit it to, say, F&SF magazine. But that’s a challenging market. And might lose two months waiting. Never mind the fact I have to send it out via snail mail, a fact that is somewhat amazing given this newfangled plumbob called “the Internet.” (Do I really have to kill trees to submit a story you’re not going to take in the first place? Do people even know was SASE stands for anymore?) Plus: I am an impatient little chimp. I put two minutes on the microwave, I am going to stop that countdown at 1:50 because GODDAMNIT I WANT MY SPAGHETTIOS. Or however the fuck it is that you spell “spaghettios.”

I re-read these stories. I actually kind of like them. Time has been kinder than expected.

And so it feels confirmed: I want these stories to have a home.

And I’m sensing that short fiction is finding new feet in this mad, mad, mad world of e-books. For example, I downloaded Chris F. Holm’s 8 Pounds short fiction collection for the Kindle (well, the Kindle app on my iPad), and, what can I say? Wow. First, great fiction. Second, great format. It’s making me fall in love with short fiction again. I don’t really like reading fiction on my monitor — something about it feels off-putting. But sitting in bed? The iPad in my lap, a great piece of quick fiction before bed flipping page-by-digital-page? Glorious. I smell a short fiction Renaissance bolstered by work like Holm’s.

Thus, the plan is — I believe — to release a short fiction collection on Kindle.

This is in part, a warning, but also it’s a request for suggestions.

Anybody converted work to Kindle format? Complications and concerns?

I’ll need a cover — I’m probably capable enough at Photoshop to do something that isn’t completely fuck-awful (my clumsy array of Photoshopped nonsense awaits your quivering eye-meat). Nothing I do will ever look as rock-awesome as work done by Will Hindmarch or John Hornor, but whaddya gonna do?

Anybody out there with a Kindle edition? I expect the $$ to be minimal — but certainly looking for experiences there, too. Any information you can punt into my brain, I’ll gladly accept.

I’m tempted to ask, “Would you buy such a thing if it were moderately priced, say, between $1.00 – $2.00?” though I know I’ll probably get someone who’s all like YO I DONT READ EBOOKS SO NO YOU SUCK EAT SHIT WORD OTTER, and I’m all like, “Well, at least you called me a ‘word otter,’ that’s kind of cool,” and then that someone comes back and is like DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT I MENT TO TYPE WORD FUCKFACE BUT IT AUTOCORRECTED TO ‘OTTER.’ And then I cry into my porridge.

One specific question I will ask: the 14,000 word story is also one I adapted to screenplay format. Curious if that would make a cool “value-add” to the collection? That might be a horrible idea. I dunno.

Either way: be advised, this collection is coming (somehow) even if I suck and you don’t read e-books and I am a word otter-slash-fuckface. In the meantime, any advice or data you got, I’ll take it.