My little bookshelf of publications has always been my most prized possession - the first thing in the house I'd save in a fire after all the living creatures were safe - the only tangible evidence of my years of hard work.
My first published story was in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. It was available on my local newstand plus several others in town. I think I bought six copies. Holding it in my hand gave me something much like a new car feeling. Sort of a "new me feeling."
That natural high lasted for a week.
When I sold a story to Pulphouse The Hardcover Magazine issue 1 and appeared alongside Harlan Ellison, Ed Bryant, Kate Wilhelm, Charles de Lint and Michael Bishop, I bought at least four extra copies, gave some away and sold the other two.
Despite more than half a dozen fiction sales over the past three years, my bookshelf has stopped growing.The bookcase contains very little printed since 2010. Now everything is virtual. And I do hope people discover and read these publications - even though my only evidence they ever appeared is my bibliography coupled with my increasingly leaky memory along with an e-pub or pdf in some subfile of a subfile. Somehow, it doesn't sound like much of a legacy anymore. I guess it's more important now than ever to point readers to those publications, so...
I'm proud to say, that The Colored Lens #23 (Spring 2017) contains my story, "Ladder of Ashes" - a ghost story set in an old British settlement in Myanmar.
(Read my story, "Along Dominion Road" from issue #17 free here)
As of February, my story (with Sally McBride), "The Birthing Blades," is in the anthology Unbound 2 - Changed Worlds. (This one has a POD version available, but doesn't send authors hard-copies as part of payment)
In Winter 2017, my story "Two Yurts" will appear in Hidden Animals: A Collection of Cryptids from Dragon's Roost Press.
None of those are in my bookcase (although as soon as my Pal Pal account gets reloaded, I will buy a copy of Unbound 2). Nor are they at risk in case of fire. They exist only as virtual entities. I have to confess that the internet has taken away something very precious to me.
I've read quite a few books on readers and tablets. Most I happily release back into the electrical field. But when I like them, I almost always want to reread them in hardcopy.
That's not a point of view that gets expressed often, because we all want to be seen as forward thinking, environment friendly and responsible.
But, I have always been a very tactile person, which explains why I was drawn to sculpting. Online art is hard to appreciate - since my mind can't put a value on it and my material self can't pine for it - I can have it whenever I want it.
So, as much as I am proud of my recent and upcoming story sales, I am wishing that modern publishers still gave writers and artists something to hold in their hands. It is lovely to get paid, and Pay Pal is handy when I feel the urge to go music shopping. But I would take a single samisdat assemblage of staplebound pages - with my story inside as payment - rather than cash. And if I thought your publication was cool enough, I'd buy copies for friends, family and self-promotion.