I’m very pleased to announce that I sold two more short stories to Plasma Frequency Magazine and NewMyths.com last week. “Spirals and Starways” marks my second sale this year to Plasma Frequency Magazine, while “Cerebral Vortex” marks my first sale to NewMyths.com.
So far, I’ve sold four short stories this year out of thirteen I’ve been submitting to various publishers, and I’ve noticed several interesting trends about the stories I’ve sold:
- All three stories I’ve written that are set in the San Francisco Bay Area have sold — every single one of them. I’m not sure what to make of that, or if it is even a sustainable trend, but it is nonetheless an interesting data point.
- Stories I wrote after enrolling in Nick Mamatas’ Berkeley fiction writing course have been more than two times as likely to sell as stories I’d written before enrolling in the course (50% vs. 22%).
- 50% of stories I’ve sold have unhappy endings vs. 38% of stories I’ve submitted to various publications. I’m not sure if this is because stories with unhappy endings have more commercial potential or if I just happen to write more interesting stories involving the protagonist’s ultimate ruin.
- 50% of my protagonists are human males, while the remaining 50% are human females. Among all thirteen of my stories, 69% of the protagonists are human males, 23% are human females, and 8% are androids. In essence, my stories involving a female protagonist are three times more likely to sell than my stories involving a male protagonist. Again, I’m not sure if this result is just random chance or if it has any commercial implications.
- 75% of these stories are military science fiction and the remaining story is a police procedural, while only 46% of my overall stories are military science fiction.
- The protagonist is an outsider in 75% of these stories vs. 62% of my protagonists overall.
- 75% of these sold stories occur on present day or near-future Earth and the remaining story takes place off world in the far future, whereas only 38% of my overall stories occur on present or near-future Earth.
They do say, “write what you know,” which would explain why my military science fiction and stories set in the San Francisco Bay Area have been selling. However, it doesn’t explain why my stories involving female protagonists are three times more likely to sell than my stories involving males protagonists (67% vs. 22%). I’m still scratching my head about that one.
Either way, I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts about these trends, and if it spurs a political discussion, I’m even more interested.
Also, once the September 2013 issue of NewMyths.com and Issue 8 of Plasma Frequency Magazine are up, I will post an update.
“However, it doesn’t explain why my stories involving female protagonists are three times more likely to sell than my stories involving males protagonists (67% vs. 22%). I’m still scratching my head about that one.”
It’s because you’re so in touch with your feminine side, Sean. )
Exactly. I’m about as feminine as a rocket launcher.
Maybe the unhappy endings sell well because in this political climate, people tend to have a more pessimistic view of life.
That makes sense. The fact that distopian fiction like The Hunger Games does so well supports your view.