And frankly, my dears, I'm ready to have something out there.
If that means waiting and working until my novel is done and ready to be sent forth, then that's that. But I couldn't sleep last night because I had this idea come to my head that I couldn't stop thinking about and over-analyzing and wondering why I hadn't thought of it before: why not take the stories I already have and publish them myself as a collection?
I would love to have even something small out there, as sort of a calling card. I would love to have something to offer all y'all so that you have some idea who I am as a writer. I would probably keep two or three stories back for further lit mag submissions, and then publish the rest (at least the ones that fit together) as a collection. I definitely plan to go the traditional publishing route for my novel, but best case scenario doing a short story collection now would get me readers and connections that would only help with that. And I could maybe even start making a little cash selling words, which would be fantabulous.
But. But. What if it backfires? What if people don't take me seriously afterwards? Is it a bad idea to start this way, and should I wait for the traditional route? I know short story collections never do particularly well, even traditionally published ones, and I'm okay with that because this would be more like a calling card, beginning sample type thing, like I said. I know, too, that self-publishing means doing my own marketing, and I feel like I'm ready, or at least anxious to try my strength as far as that goes. But what if I, heaven forbid, lose readers or potential connections because of it? I do have every confidence in these stories, and believe they represent my best work and who I am as a writer. But going without the traditional publishing filter still feels risky, no matter what I'm putting out there.
Perhaps it feels more risky because with self-publishing, whether it goes extremely well or extremely not, it all comes back to you. And with these stories and at this point, I feel like that's a risk I'm willing and ready and anxious to take...but I thought I'd get your thoughts first. I want to make sure I'm thinking this through thoroughly, seeing it from every angle, taking the most positively calculated risks.
So. A self-published short story collection. Good idea? Bad idea?