Writing a serial: Nickel and dime-ing your way through fiction publishing

On the way to pick up one of my kids at school on Friday afternoon, one of the other moms pulled me aside.

“We’re really enjoying your new serial in Binah,” she said.

I got a little extra bounce in my step. “Thanks!”

“But getting just one chapter a week is driving us crazy! It’s so hard to wait for the next one!’ she added.

“Sorry!” I replied.

There really isn’t anything I can do to help her, but I feel her pain. Usually, I’m the reader throwing my arms up in frustration at the end of a serial episode screaming, “I have to know what happens next! Argh!”

What’s really funny, is that now as a writer, Continue reading

Passover looming ahead: Not quite panicking yet

Due to the onslaught of housework, etc., that Pesach entails, as well as some nifty work assignments, I’ll be posting less for the next month or so. However, I do want to share with my readers several bits of good news: Continue reading

I hit a double!

Let’s see if we can bat Mrs. Klempner into home plate!

For the first time, I’ve had two stories published in one week. For some writers, this is nothing, but for me, it’s a real accomplishment. The first story appears in the October 22nd Binah BeTween; the second, in the October 24th Binyan. I just turned in another piece to Binyan yesterday. G-d willing, you’ll find it in print in about a month.

Establishing myself as a career writer as opposed to a hobbyist is a big struggle, and sometimes I feel like I’m floundering around a bit. It’s been comforting the last couple weeks to touch base with other writers, some of whom ARE making a bit of money. So I’m chugging along, praying for success. Not big name, big money success, just enough to cover a medium-sized chunk of day school bills. Is that so much to ask?

I’ve been spending a lot of time this week on career-building activities, trying to solicit writing gigs, adding onto my Goodreads page, hunting for an agent for the novel that I’m STILL revising, that kind of thing. I’m planning a writing workshop that I’m hoping to test out in December. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sharing a new story, a suspenseful sci-fi short story for adults, with my writing group. With a little Heavenly assistance, I’ll be able to sell that one, as well.

I’ve also been revisiting the whole issue of self-publishing, or possibly, starting a small press through one of the POD publishers, which some people have found to be a successful model. A little creative thinking might make the difference in me being able to do what I love vs. drop writing and having to find a decently paying job.

Ooops. I’m hyperventilating again. Too many visions of desk jobs dancing through my head.

Good news and a helping Hand

Great news! My short story, “What Do You Really Want?” appears in this week’s Binah BeTween, the tween supplement of Binah Magazine! It’s available at Jewish bookstores and newstands nationwide. This is my first appearance in that magazine, making it especially exciting for me.

It’s also the story I’ve written on the shortest deadline (other than an academic paper). It proved quite harrowing, because the six days I was given included both Shabbat and the time difference between L.A. and Israel. However, baruch HaShem (thanks to the Source, G-d), the delay ended up working in my favor. Because I started work before the editor got back to me about what genre she preferred (it was Shabbat in Israel, but not here)…the resulting fantasy story was not what she planned, and at first I panicked. Thank G-d, the editor ended up thinking my unexpected approach worked out beautifully and accepted it after all. I hope all of you like it, too.

This leads me to contemplate how much I owe to Heavenly Assistance. When I was offered that piece on a short deadline, I had no idea where I wanted the story to go until an idea “just popped” into my head. Likewise, I was offered another job more recently. The deadline was much farther off, but I still needed to get an idea and get cracking. G-d aligned all sorts of experiences and conversations on the very theme that the editor had selected. Other times, I’ve awakened at 5 o’clock in the morning with the perfect solution to my stalled Work In Progress.

A rabbi once explained to me that the reason people like Dovid HaMelech (King David) were able to accomplish so much was because they knew their own limits and that their ultimate success depended entirely on G-d. They trusted in His assistance and the endowments He gave them (acknowledging the Source of those endowments) to accomplish things most people would give up on. I’m not on that level, but there are times when I look back and go, “How did I do that!” and know I didn’t do it on my own.

Does anyone else out there feel like G-d gives them the final push to get them to their goals?