I've been pretty fortunate: I've convinced editors to publish my short stories before. Here, here and a few other places I can't locate right now. All online. And all unpaid. Which, yeah, okay, recognition is nice, but recognition minus actual payment still leaves an amateur taste in the mouth. I mean, your mom could publish your work on a Xerox machine. Getting a total stranger to fork over cash — however small, and it is usually small — for short fiction is a minor miracle.
Today, I can officially say, I am a writer. A Paid Fiction Writer.
There is a qualification.
Well, two. No. 1 is I don't exactly have a check yet. Just a contract offer.
No. 2: I'm getting paid for the podcast of the story. I still won't be a paid, written published author, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Meet Well Told Tales.
So I read. I read a lot of drek. I found a lot of good stuff. And even read one story which the author had copyrighted in 1973. Most of what I've given thumbs up to has ended up on the podcast since, which either means I'm in agreement with the guy who runs the site, or it's just luck. But it's been fun, and hard: I don't like judging other people's writing.
Anyway, reading what I read either got the juices going or made me realize I couldn't do worse than some of this stuff that folks had proudly put forward and I got an inspiration after going to my mom's place in Austin for Thanksgiving. The story popped out shortly thereafter, and after a rewrite or two, voila. It seemed tailor-made for the podcast, so I sent it off.
Tonight I heard back: Yep, they liked it. Yep, they'll pay. Yep, it's a 14-page contract (seriously) that involves two years of movie options, should they want to option. You get paid extra if they exercise the option (they already made one film based on a short they have, and that should be out later this year). Meanwhile, I can send it off elsewhere, should I desire (and I might do that).
The only downside is it's got a holiday theme and I didn't finish it until the first of this year, so it won't be out until December-ish. But I'll be sure to update in this space once I know.
It's a nice, nice feeling!