Today, I am announcing that the “Petunia’s Peculiar Particulars” series is officially on hiatus.
I want to thank those of you who have purchased stories in this series and to my fans, I just want to say that I adore you for loving Maven, Alan, Elvis and most especially, the ever weird and wonderfully wacky Petunia. These characters are not dead to me and I will complete the series in my own time and may eventually publish an omnibus of all of the stories. I am nearly finished with “The Dapper Dog” which is the fourth story in the series, but it saddens me to tell you all that I will not let this story see the light of day in the format in which the other stories have been published.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that the series costs me more to publish than it will ever earn. There have been five (5) sales of “The Drunken Dragon” and those were all to people that I know personally. I’m not complaining about this. It’s what happened.
I accept that the responsibility falls on my shoulders. I cut the price of “The Problem with Pixies” to free the same week that I launched “The Drunken Dragon.” I hoped that this would translate to follow through sales, but at 1.99$ the story does cost a lot for a short piece. Even though it cost me double what the other two stories cost to put out on the market because it is twice the length of the previous two entries in the series. The price did not resonate with readers and I cannot afford to cut the price when I have had no follow through sales at all. If I thought that people would pay a buck to read my short stories, I would continue writing them and drop the price on “The Drunken Dragon,” but they just don’t or won’t or I am not marketing them well, which is very likely the case here.
These are the facts of my situation. Even at a hobby level, I would like my writing to pay for itself. Right now, it does not do that.
My feeling was that Petunia would resonate with readers, that her story would be strong enough to overcome the challenges that face short fiction in today’s market and my complete lack of knowledge on how to market fiction. I learned some things over the course of the last year. People do not want to pay for short stories. They want to read them for free and I can’t really blame them for that. Each of the stories in this series takes less than one hour to read at an average reading speed. It’s a blip on the radar for most people.
Unfortunately, the series has some issues on the development side too. It takes me three months to write one story in the series. Editing is not free, nor is my time. I can spend these three months writing stories that I pay for, or I can spend them writing stories that readers want to pay for. As a creative, it pains me to say that. I hate that it’s about money, but it is about money.
This writing career of mine has to go somewhere. I need and want more from it than I have earned in the last year, which to date has been eighty nine cents, and I hope that all of you will support me.
I have some new things in the pipeline. I have a novel in progress. I have two short fiction pieces that I have earmarked for some writing competitions. I am planning to begin submitting sample chapters to editors and agents to see if anyone is interested once I have the novel at fifty percent completion.
I’m not done, but for now, Petunia and her unusual clientele are taking a break.