Kristine Kathryn Russch is really doing an extraordinary service for writers. Check out this post on her blog.
Even though I'm a new unknown writer, I still have preconceived notions about things. They're generally based on years of reading puclications like Locus and the SFWA bulletin.
In the 1980s, for instance, new writers sometimes got book advances in the low five figures. Some of them, anyway. It was possible.
I always kind of felt I could use some of that action.
Now, since about 2004, I might as well have been living on a deserted island. I moved to Gainesville from Orlando that year and I could no longer find those publications.
Oh, but I'd occasionally buy a book like The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction. (Seriously--I'm not making that up, there really was such a book. It was a useful, entertaining read, too.) In it I learned that publishers still wanted to see manuscripts that looked like they were produced on typewriters. Which was no doubt true at the time, but I accept it as graven in stone forever.
Another thing I "learned" in those days was that you couldn't make a living with short fiction; it was wise to concentrate on novels.
Many people still think that. The news that it's not true hasn't gotten out yet.
God bless Kris Rusch.
So obviously it's a new ballgame. Many people in the industry are hurting now. Not just writers--editors and agents too!
Oh yeah, that reminds me, another thing I accepted as gospel:
You have to get an agent. Can't get anywhere without one.
Now I'm really quite leery of them.
But the more I think about it, the more I like that I can be my own publisher. It's fun. I can do whatever I want. Release a book of old short stories. Publish that long novella about the amphibious serpent who didn't understand why humans wanted to base a religion around him--some people liked that one, but everybody said the subject matter and the length (40,000 words) counted against it. It's be silly to send it anywhere, they said.
I myself felt it was a little offbeat, and kind of preachy in spots--but if I took that stuff out, I removed the story's heart. So I never wrote the ending.
Well, I'm sure gonna write it now. Because these days, heck, if I released it for 99 cents I'd get something for it--and something's a lot better than nothing.
Besides, I always kind of liked those characters. Now at least a few folks will meet them, and I'll at least get some pocket change.
Maybe a whole lot more.