Paul Levinson’s Experiment with “The Other Car”

Paul Levinson headshotHere is a repost from Paul Levinson’s blog on March 31, 2015. I enjoyed “The Other Car” as an inspiring break from working on my taxes. Since I’m writing a novel about alternate realities, Levinson offered another view of how characters/people could become aware of them. The story is available on Amazon for $.99. The year-long experiment he describes below will show income comparison results between selling a story to a magazine as he usually does and self publishing directly as an ebook on Amazon. The link to his blog follows:

Paul Levinson’s Infinite Regress: The Experiment with “The Other Car”: Hey, I don’t usually talk much inside baseball here about my science fiction writing  – how and why I make decisions to get my stories published in this place or that, or try to get them published – but I thought you might enjoy a little of the story behind the story of my recently published The Other Car, which I put up as an ebook on Amazon about two weeks ago.

First, as some of you may know, this is the not way I’ve ever published my short stories.  All of the 40 short science fiction and fantasy stories I’ve published since 1991 – you can see a list of most of them here, at the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base  – were published the good old-fashioned traditional way.  I sold the story to a magazine – whether print, or more recently, online, or both – for a payment per word, usually 5 to 10 cents per word.   For example, my most recent sale of this sort was for my 5500-word story, “The Wallet,” to Sci Phi Journal #4, which was just published last month.   The Sci Phi Journal paid me 5-cents per word for this story.
THE OTHER CAr without look inside_zpsq8abky65
“The Other Car,” which I just wrote a little over two weeks ago, is coincidentally almost the same length, and is in the same slipstream, new weird, science fantasy corner of the science fiction genre.  I describe it as follows:

James Oleson is beginning to see everything in perfect duplicate – two identical models of cars which are the same down to scuff marks and license plate, two old philosophy books with the same torn pages and inscription in old ink, and twin mail men. Is he losing his mind, or experiencing the birth of a new alternate reality via binary fission?

I decided, as an experiment, to publish this right away as a short story ebook on Amazon Kindle.  I got my friend, world renown illustrator Joel Iskowitz, to do a cover – see below.   The satisfaction to an author in getting a work immediately out to the public is enormous.   But would I make anything close to the money I would have made had I sold “The Other Car” to a magazine?    I priced the short story at $0.99, and as an author I by no means see all of that money, but so far “The Other Car” is off to a pretty good start.  Here’s where it was about a week after its publication on Amazon, on its Top 100 science fiction short story list: …

But the story still has a long way to go to reach what I would have earned had I sold the story for 5-cents a word, let alone 10-cents or more a word, to a magazine.   I’m going to give this experiment a year, and see where I stand then on the story’s earnings.  I’ll be sure to report the results right here.

In the meantime, I’ll list reviews and any other good news about “The Other Car” that may come along, right here as well:

  • 28 March 2015: 1st review of “The Other Car” on Ignite Books – “the end was stunning”
  • 28 March 2015: 2nd review of “The Other Car” on Amazon – “my draw dropped”
  • 28 March 2015: “The Other Car” on SFSignal‘s “140+ Excellent Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror eBook Deals – All Priced Under $4 Each”
  • 31 March 2015: “The Other Car” on Speculative Fiction Showcase‘s “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for March 2015”

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