Free! Awesome! Fiction! Cornucopia!

I’ve got several short stories by awesome authors open in my browser, some of which have been sitting there for weeks waiting for George R. R. Martin to give me back my brain so I can make time to read other people’s stuff for a change (yesterday I finally finished Storm of Swords and started Feast for Crows, so I’m over the halfway mark; meanwhile, husband is reading Dance With Dragons and managing to neither gloat (…much) nor spoil me).

I have actually read two of them, so let’s start with those:

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

A Sudden Absence of Bees by Nick Mamatas (aka )

The others are all by Catherynne M. Valente (aka ) and I haven’t read them yet mainly because her writing is so rich and I’m saving them for a rainy afternoon when I can curl up with them along with my knitting and a cup of tea:

The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland — For a Little While

The Wolves of Brooklyn

White Lines on a Green Field

None of these are indie. They’re just awesome.

Oh, and there’s also this, which is not a short story, but is making me giggle endlessly today (via dooce).

And now I can close some tabs.

Starve Better

I spent most of last weekend devouring Starve Better (see what I did there?) by nihilistic_kid, aka Nick Mamatas, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make money writing. This book is along the same lines as John Scalzi’s …Coffee Shop, in that it’s made up of essays from Mamatas’s Livejournal and various other articles and essays he’s written over the years, but unlike Scalzi’s book, Starve Better is more focused on practical advice on how to sell your work.

It’s divided into two sections – The Book of Lies and The Book of Life – the first of which discusses writing and selling short stories. This section has inspired me to try selling my short stories before self-pubbing them, once I get around to having time to write some short stories after the novel is done, that is. The second section focuses on non-fiction writing and gives a good, unintimidating view of the query process, as well as good advice on which markets to target, coming up with article ideas to pitch, and other useful facts.

I have to say, my favorite part of the whole book was a chapter about Demand Studios. Well, content mills in general, but DS is held up as a prime example. If you know me, then you know I have a love-hate relationship with Demand Studios. I love that they’re a reliable paycheck when I need one, but I hate writing for them, and this chapter outlines a lot of the reasons why. It also confirmed my suspicions that I need to take some of the time and energy that I’ve been giving to DS and instead spend it trying to write for better paying markets who have more respect for their writers.

At any rate, if you’re in pursuit of a writing career, Starve Better is a must-read. So go read it.