To be clear(er) Water Dragon Publishing has been developing a short fiction program for several years called “Dragon Gems”. Novelettes accepted for publication get their own individually designed cover and are published as both ebooks and printed books. Shorter fiction is now collected together in quarterly anthologies.
I submitted a novelette, The Third Time’s the Charm, to the Dragon Gems program which was accepted for publication. I then succeeded in persuading my (soft-hearted? soft-headed?) editor to open-endedly serialize subsequent novelettes as Revin’s Heart.
In the end, I wrote seven novelettes with the intention of collecting them together as a fix-up (along with several side-stories.) I did it partly because, like Charlie Jane, I really like episodic fiction. (Tho partly it was also because that’s where I was in my fiction writing at that point — I hadn’t written any longer fiction and I was nervous about taking on longer projects.) It’s worked out well for me as it’s given me a year where every three or four months I could go back and promote something. As a new author, it must be difficult to publish a debut novel and then say, “Well, I’ll be back in two years.”
Now, Water Dragon has asked me to write some new stories extending my Better Angels stories with the goal of eventually developing a collection. So far, I’ve written seven stories (maybe eight, depending on how you count). So I expect you’ll be seeing more of those this year.
I’ve now helped run the dealer table for Water Dragon at Worldcon, ComicCon, and Arisia (and, in a few weeks, Boskone ). It’s been interesting to see the reactions that readers have to the Dragon Gems. A number of people have said that, for whatever reason — pandemic, social media, dystopia, planetary collapse, take your pick — they are looking for shorter fiction and the Dragon Gems are just what they want. Similarly, many authors have stopped by and been giddy to see that Water Dragon accepts novelettes.
In any event, I was very pleased to see Charlie Jane’s post because it dovetails with my experience perfectly. There’s a lot of short fiction out there, but the market for it is broken. And there are too few mechanisms for people to discover it.