Two Struck Images, short story launch

Thanks to the new ePublishing paradigm, where publishing something someone somewhere might want to read, the short story has been given new life where previously it might only be found in zoo like anthology collections in or in subscriber periodicals. Getting a short story into one of those periodicals was just as difficult as landing an agent and then selling a manuscript to a publisher; and far less lucrative for the author.

When I first took opportunity to evaluate my own writing I did what every aspiring author does, purchased a copy of publishers weekly and a copy of Writers Market for Fiction to find magazines who bought and published short stories. If you can be discovered in one of these, you might be on your way to some notoriety and have some publishing credits to your name. What did the author make on that short story sold? Depended on the magazine and the author. Maybe fifty bucks? Usually you were giving the rights to publish the story away for free and an exclusivity agreement that the story will not be published by any other entity for a year or more and they also had the rights to archive that story as it appeared. You might be able to get the rights back eventually and sell that story somewhere else. You might never get the rights back. That was then, around the 2001 time frame when I was shopping for someplace to publish my short stories.

Now, enter today where a short story can easily be published on KDP or in SmashWords and find someone willing to pay to read it. It means much more than money but meets the same discoverability goals that one might have hoped for if they publish their short story in a mag. They can be stand alone titles, though I know of many who publish theirs in anthology format, and they can be a consumable means to introduce yourself to a wider audience.

At 35% royalty over the lifetime of the product (much, much better than a one time publication in a monthly even if that monthly is available online) and a reach that is really unlimited, the advent of the new eBook publication and distribution streams make dusting off old material an option where they may have never had an opportunity before.

Two Struck Images is just such a story for me, written seven years ago based on an experience I had with my brother at the 135th Chickamauga Reenactment in Georgia, it has become a method of introduction to my other work and a small showcase for me as a writer/story teller. I won’t claim special genius for it, just that it was a joy to write and now a joy to publish.

Two Struck Images

And a few other recommendations of my own:
The Red Pond At Shiloh: A short story

The Red Badge of Courage and Four Stories (Signet Classics)

What’s in a title?

I suppose not in a title, but behind it that I mean. What does the title say to the reader? I know what it tells me as the writer and the creator of that title that houses the innards of a literary jaunt into fantasy (not Fantasy, I enjoy watching it and occasionally reading it but do not write it) I called Two Struck Images.

First, some background.

I had the treat one fall weekend in 1999 to host my younger brother at the 135th reenactment of the Civil War battle of Chickamauga. I had enough uniform parts and an extra rifle to fully outfit him (save for the shoes, I to this day still apologize for having to wear my old, worn out brogans that need re-soled). I was always the history buff and he went along for reasons of his own. I’d been away to college and then permanently settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico afterwards and married while he was in Atlanta, Georgia. I think he was glad for some company.

With my reenacting battalion, the Army of the Pacific, we portrayed Heg’s 15th Wisconsin as our guiding impression and for the first day’s scripted battle. The 15th Wisconsin was part of the bloody action that took place on the Viniard Farm and suffered heavily on that first day’s combat. At the event was a period photographer and he and I sat for two images to be struck. Two different poses, two different images and we each kept our favorite to take home. Some time later I was looking at my own image and penned this short story of two brothers and the images they possessed. I titled it Two Struck Images for the story told of the battle and the tie one boy finds with that past when found he finds one of the images 150 years later.

Today I have commissioned someone to edit the story and someone else to do the cover image and for the first time I was confronted with the difficulty of my title. I conceived of it and titled it and to me it ties things together. From here on out, however, I need to step away from it as the writer and approach it as a reader who knows nothing of what I know about the two images and the role they play in the story. Hard to do. I only get one shot to appeal to someone, I want to toe that line between engaging mystery and confusion.

Two Struck Images, original title but brightened

Image in Time title, brightened

Please leave other thoughts in the comments section. If you have other title suggestions leave those too. Short story to be released on Kindle in May.