Now a story from my writing past…
When I started writing, I only wrote novels. I’d written ten or twelve of them when I started seriously querying publishers. After a LOOOOONG stretch of nobody interested, I heard people say sometimes you can break in by writing short stories and publishing those first to build up a writer resume. So I tried my hand at shorter form fiction.
I entered the Writers of the Future contest a few times and submitted to the big sci-fi magazines. Even those were a little above my level at the time. Eventually, I found some “for exposure” anthologies and managed to get three stories in. Soon after, I sold my first steampunk story for money ($20.00). And “won” a contest that included getting another story published and fifty bucks.
With this new resume, I began querying again. I saw Curiosity Quills calling for subs on Twitter, and they accepted my first book. That book, Theocracide, is GameLit. Only, at the time, nobody used that label.
The first label I heard of was LitRPG. My publisher caught a trend and wanted to brand the Actuator series accordingly. It worked well, boosting sales. But as the fans of LitRPG fleshed out what that really meant, the definition didn’t really fit my work. To be LitRPG, having a role-playing game the books are set in and including scenes where people go into video game realities isn’t enough. They wanted actual game statistics in the book. So my publisher re-branded the Actuator series as GameLit, where it belongs.
I wasn’t excited by LitRPG books I read where they say things like, “Adarian leveled up when he killed the troll, gaining 6 hit points and better fighting skills.” It just pulls me out of the story. Clearly a lot of other authors felt the same way. So, they created a label to separate game-based literature from stories that literally describe the game terms. The new subgenre, of course, is GameLit.
As I talked with other authors interested in these themes, and supported their facebook pages, Indie Illuminati issued me an invitation to put a story into an anthology designed to raise awareness of this new genre. Several authors writing in that field were each preparing novelettes (15,000 – 20,000 words) to go with GameLit books they’d written. One of the contributing authors dropped out and they asked me to fill the void.
It just so happened that my current work in progress, Virtues & Virtual Reality, is a GameLit book. If not, I probably wouldn’t have agreed to such a large side project on such a short deadline. Anyway, I immediately knew what story I’d tell for this antho, and I’m over 10,000 words into it now. That story: Pre-screening Test.
Since the rest of them are ahead, they already started advertising. The cover (top) is out and they have it available for pre-order on Amazon. When I looked it up today, I saw it’s already ranking on the Amazon charts! You should get it now while it’s cheap, BTW. Only 99 cents!
What struck me about this situation is how everything fell into place so neatly. After years spinning my wheels and never getting any kind of interest from publishers, I’m now to the point where invitations come to me. It feels pretty great.
So, if you’re an aspiring author, keep at it! Write a lot of books and stories. Write what you love. Submit like crazy. Most of all, keep writing. Once you break in, things get a lot easier. 🙂