I am going to gratify you instantly

First, I’m going to dance a jig.

My story, Before There Was a Benjamin, placed fifth (out of 387) in the November 2015 Sixfold competition. This is the fourth time I’ve entered Sixfold, and it yielded the best results so far. (See my previous thoughts about the competition.)

Sixfold ranking, November 2015
Sixfold ranking, November 2015

Previous rankings

2013 – 170 of 282 (round 1)
2014 (May) – 82 of 480 (round 1); 79 of 125 (round 2)
2014 (Nov) – 112 of 369 (round 1)

This makes me happy for many reasons, not the least of which is that the story will be published in the next edition of Sixfold Journal. I am even happier because a couple of clicks will bring readers right to a published story.

Flush with excitement, heart pounding from my jig-dancing, I’m trolling Duotrope for more submission possibilities. As I do, I find myself shying away from publications that categorize themselves as PRINT ONLY.

Even a few years ago, I would have preferred seeing my work in print. Now I’d rather be online. Why?

Print is too much trouble—for readers and for writers.

Many authors use social media to excite readers readers about their latest story or book. But, especially for short stories, being in print diminishes the potential audience. Unless you’re published in The New Yorker (lucky you), the audience you will garner in a literary print publication probably ranks in the thousands, or even hundreds. Moreover, it’s unlikely that someone who isn’t already a subscriber will buy a copy just to read your story. Whereas if you can entice a potential new reader to click a link, that reader arrives immediately at your work. Instant gratification.

Oh paper pages, we hardly knew ye.
Oh paper pages, we hardly knew ye.

This sums up how the world of reading, writing, and publishing is changing, as so many pundits have pointed out.

We writers can moan and groan about the death of print (which may or may not be happening). We can argue about whether the cultural shift toward preferring instant to delayed gratification is a good thing or a bad thing. Yet I can’t muster too much nostalgia for the old order, for a time when there was little possibility of having your voice heard by more than a few people, the days when gatekeepers controlled everything the public read, saw, or digested.

The floodgates have opened. It’s our job now to direct the flood—or build a boat to ride the waves.

The payoff

Now, please gratify yourself instantly with some of my previously published stories.

If Only You Weren’t So – Mash Stories Competition
Put the Sweater on the DogSand Hill Review 2015
Back After a Break to Discuss the Decline of Civilization (Podcast) Bound Off
Skyping With the Rabbi  The Jewish Literary Journal
Tiny Shoes Dancing Sand Hill Review 2013
Now You Are a Public Nuisance Every Day Fiction
Bad Luck With CatsEvery Day Fiction
Forget Me, Forget Me Not  Punchnel’s

And please share the gratification on whatever is your preferred word-spreading platform.

Happy holidays!

10 thoughts on “I am going to gratify you instantly

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        1. I promise I don’t receive any kickbacks… but Duotrope literally changed my life when it comes to submitting short fiction. Highly worth the $50 a year if you have more than a few you want to submit!


        2. Raised on short story authors like O Henry and Poe. Always seems to be my niche. And maybe the genre’s time has come again – we used to grab short stories since you could sit down and read those when you had a spare minute. Not like a novel where stopping and starting and remembering can be problematic. Today’s world is rapid, so maybe…
          Thanks so much for the shove in the write direction. Merry Christmas and jingle on.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Congratulations on your story’s placement. That’s wonderful! I don’t write short stories, but I agree–I think the readership pool would be greatly reduced without the wonders of the Internet.

    I’ve got “Back After a Break to Discuss the Decline of Civilization” bookmarked on my phone so I can listen to the podcast while I drive long distance in a few days. Looking forward to it! And I just read “Now You Are a Public Nuisance.” Loved it. Pruning gone wild. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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