Matthew D. Brown (Author)


Rewarding good RP: Player Karma

June 11, 2018 in tpk by Matthew Brown

I’d like to introduce you to an idea I have been toying with that could, in theory, be used to shape player behaviour in and out of the game – the idea of player karma. “Player karma” is a system that can run on top of almost any other Table Top RPG system that has a single GM, DM, or Narrator in charge.

Why would you need Player Karma (PK)?

Before we look into what exactly player karma is, we should know why we need it.

Player Karma is training wheels for groups that feature new or easily distracted players. PK is something a GM can say they are using (even if they are not) when they want to be clear that they are only interested in running a game for people who want to be there.

Dealing with “poor” players

Good RP is easy to reward. Some extra gold and a little bonus XP and the player should feel suitably rewarded. But, in some games, you may find that one or two players slow the game down.

Maybe they are a bit too prone to browsing Facebook while other players are taking a  turn in combat. Maybe they are more interested in discussing the next seven feats they have planned out than dealing with the goblins in front of them. Or maybe they just refuse to take their chosen alignment seriously. For example, a Paladin played by someone randomly doing mean and evil things because that seems like it would be “more fun”.

There are a lot of little things players can do which stagnate and spoil a game. As one-off moments, they are no big deal. We all have “off” moments. However, if these off moments are happening too often, it is time to make that crap have in-game consequences.

The whole PK idea came up as I considered what the ultimate Evil GM would do to player characters whose players were too busy gossiping about what they watched on TV last night. Rocks would probably fall; people would probably die. Satisfying as that might be, it would not be much fun and would almost certainly result in hurt feelings. RPG games are about fun not crushing beloved characters.

people arround a camp fire

A fun answer to reward good play

I wanted instead, something that would be fun but would keep the players guessing. Something that would make bad luck and good luck become something that my players obsessed over endlessly. That was where I came up with the idea that I could tell my players that I was tracking (with points) good and bad play. When it came to edge cases and near misses (or near hits) those points could, maybe, sometimes, tip the balance. You will never know for sure but good players have luckier characters.

The goblin fruitlessly hitting you with that stick suddenly crits. You take damage and are knocked prone. It could be that the “gods of the dice” just did not favour you at that moment. On the other hand, it could be that the GM had some of your negative Karma points he chose to spend.

Should I, as a player, have been trying harder to bring my character to life? Have I been joining in the game or have I been going off to make drinks during my turn? Hmm… I think I have been doing okay so maybe that was just bad luck. Just to be on the safe side, I should probably be on the lookout for a good RP moment. Maybe I should get around to writing down my character back story for the GM?

Player Karma is, therefore, a carrot and a stick to reward good behaviour and “punish” less desirable behaviour. It will always arrive in the form of story moments and players will have to guess when it and if it has happened.

narrative

How does Player Karma (PK) work?

How PK works

Player Karma is a tool for GMs to use. You use it to simply track the balance of good and poor engagement. What earns a player +1 or -1 on the secret stat is entirely up to you. Whatever those things are, if the players know about them they will be more mindful about avoiding or doing those things.

Tracking Player Karma

Mechanically, Player Karma is a very simple concept. As the one running the game the GM simply keeps track of a single number. This number starts at 0.

When the players do things that you think count as “good play” – RPing instead of dice rolling, bringing their character to life, interacting with the group in character, contributing to the session, supporting each other, etc. etc. – those things earn a +1 (or sometimes +2). I would almost certainly reward a little bonus XP in such cases just to let the players know that this is good stuff.

Anything else you want to encourage more of should likewise have a score.

On the other hand, if the player slows battle down because they were not paying attention; should they start ignoring their chosen alignment for no good reason, or anything else that spoils the game for others, well, that’s a -1. Phones out during play is a -5 each time it happens. Other infractions would be rated in accordance to your own view of negative player behaviour.

You have to tell the players about Player Karma

One more thing is needed. You have to tell the players that you are using a Player Karma system. Define for them what earns good or bad karma (but not how much). Explain what that karma can do to their characters. You should also be firm about the fact that you will not let players know if they were lucky (or unlucky) or feeling the result of their karma. Be decidedly unclear if good karma cancels out bad (it does unless you track the two separately).

That is the evil bit – random chance should now feel like it is something the player has brought on themselves.

You want the players to think of good things that happen – the dragon fumbles an attack and they live to see the next round – as something they earned through good play. Good luck moments should feel like the result of personal skill.

Likewise, you want the players to see misfortune in the game as a result of personal failure. That moment the level one commoner got the better of them at cards, for example.

In short, playing well should be like a new player religion or at least a superstition. For players that are already over the top worried about things like warming up the dice and other superstitious quirks, this should really get them right where they live.

fantasy in the clouds

How to apply Player Karma

There are two ways you can apply player karma to the game. As long as the players do not know which it is the results should be the same.

The not actually doing anything approach

There is no reason why you need to actually act on the karma value ever. If the players think that you are – or might be – they will still behave as if you were. Remember, GM fiat outcomes and dice roll outcomes are functionally identical if the player is none-the-wiser. As long as players think that by putting down those phones and joining in properly is better for them, that can often be enough.

The active approach

This is the way that I first envisioned Player Karma being used. In this mode, you are looking at ways to trend the PK score for each player towards zero.

Every arbitrarily mean thing that you make happen to a player should be worth a proportionate number of positive points. Likewise, any moment of generosity should be worth a few negative points. In other words, you spend the positive or negative balances with in-game actions.

When asking the player to make a save, perhaps they fail by a point or two. You check their Karma and see that they have a +12 balance. The gods have smiled on them, and either you let them “pass” or the failure results in some good fortune. For example, they fail the climb check and fall from the tree but their clothes catch on the branches and they can scramble to safety. Apply a -1 to their Karma and move on.

Treasure is another area to repay Karma. Cursed items could show up for players with negative values while really good magic items could show up for a player with a positive balance. Perhaps a player with +11 Karma might find a magic item that is +2 instead of +1 in exchange for four karma points.

Who the enemy NPCs target is another function that could be decided by Karma. Maybe the characters whose players have the worst scores just seem that bit more threatening and get hit a bit more often. Maybe this reduces negative Karma or maybe it does not. Your players will have no way of knowing.

It is up to you as a good GM to decide how and when these little moments payout. The players themselves will never know if fate adapted to repay their good play. All they know is that they did not just take fall damage and alert the guards.

The one thing Karma should never do is unbalance a game. PK should, however, make players that are contributing feel like they are just a touch luckier (sometimes).

Make them pray for good karma

Using Player Karma to avoid favouritism

There is a third use of Player Karma. The PK could just be used as a secret GM metric to track the number of generous and punishing moments each player has received from you. In this case, you are just looking to keep the player values about the same.

Favouritism is a huge GM taboo. In almost all cases, it is something to avoid. Nothing ruins a game group quite so fast as knowing that one player is getting special treatment.

If you want a mechanic that keeps a check on how evenly you are treating players, this could be the tool for you. The only difference is that you would keep the PK secret as it is being used to track your behaviour and not player behaviour.

When not to use Player Karma

PK is basically training wheels for a new group. It is just a way of saying that there is an ideal way to play that is maximum fun for everyone. You would like the group to aim for that maximised fun zone.

Player Karma (PK) would be a pretty terrible idea with a consistently amazing group of players. The sole purpose of PK is to keep players focused on really contributing. If the whole table is fully engaged, PK is just one more stat growing and growing that you have to track.

PK is utterly useless if you suck as a GM. Players can only be as engaged as you enable them to be. If you GMing style is hard to engage with, no amount of threats and rewards will help fix your poor GMing skills. Which is why, if you even suspect that your players might not be fully engaged because of your GMing, work on your GM style before you reach for this system.

If your players start demanding special treatment after a session where they are sure they did well, you have either made the Karma system too obvious or the players are a bit too attached to it. A quick fix could be to say that talking to the GM about karma is worth negative points but you may need to sit down and just talk to your table about what they want from the game.

At some point, the training wheels have to come off. My approach would be to just phase out the use of karma points without telling the players. Maybe I would tell them one day, maybe I will not. As GM, this too comes down to judgement and knowing your players.

d6 Dice

Would you use Player Karma (PK) in your games?

Give me some feedback on this idea. Would you apply player Karma in a game you ran? Should excess PK carry over from one game to the next in the form of starting bonuses – wealth and stat re-rolls?

Is this a very bad idea? Is it the work of evil genius?

How would you feel if your GM was doing this? Have you (as player or GM) used a similar system before in a game?

Talk to me and let me know what you think in the comments below.

What to do with a rusty lock?

June 1, 2018 in reflections-and-thoughts by Matthew Brown

What can you do with a rusty lock? If you are a writer, almost anything.

At a local writers’ gathering this week, a friend challenged us all to take an item home and use this item as the foundation for a story. I chose a rusty lock.

Now, of course, I have to put my money where my mouth is and write a story. There are six days remaining for me to come up with a minor epic.

I would like to explain not only why the lock is rusted and how it is significant but what happened prior to the rust. Google has been far more boring than usual. All my searches have resulted in results that are far too practical for me. You know, useful stuff like how to deal with a rusty lock, how to get the rust off, and so forth.

So I am going to go away and decide if I am writing “magic and fantasy”, “science and adventure”, or a horror story.

Until then I have a rusty lock to look at.

What would you do with a rusty lock?

rusty lock

The cult of no disagreement

May 28, 2018 in reflections-and-thoughts by Matthew Brown

I have always found it disturbing when I encounter groups that suffer no disagreement with their ideas. The obvious example of this sort of dictated thinking are cults but it is no less unhealthy when found in other circles.

Disagreement and debate are, on the whole, a sign of a healthy community. Disagreement for its own sake (especially trolling) less so but a community or scene where there can be no deviation from the prescribed norms worry me.

Suppression of dissent is undesirable in all aspects of society and for a variety of reasons. Not least of which is that the ability to question things leads to change, improvement, and correction of errors. However, I have seen too many attempts to suppress dissent recently to not be worried by the trend.

The cult of Brexit

see no evil

On the national stage, anyone expressing doubts over Brexit is harassed by parties that stand to gain from the Brexit process. When I wrote for Author Buzz about reports of Brexit’s risks to authorsthe backlash was nothing short of alarming. Nothing on the level of certain tabloids calling for the hanging of judges for upholding the law, but alarming nevertheless.

It is a short path from suppressing those you disagree with to the kind of oppressive regime where journalists are rounded up and shot for daring to hold opinions. If art has always done one thing well, it is to question society and hold it to account. While I do not know if what I do is good enough to be called art, it is what I aspire to.

Should any cult like the Brexit one took control of the country, I have no doubt I’d be one of the first in front of the firing squad.

The case of price per story

pounds, moneyMore recently, I finally got round to finishing one of the many draft articles I have on my todo list. This article was about how to work out the minimum price per story when selling your work. The article makes passing mention of a writer’s group that I feel takes advantage of people by paying too little for work. It compares the £10 per story to the actual amount you should earn just to be on an equal footing with people serving fries with those burgers (ten times more).

Almost right away, on multiple social media channels and here on my blog, the foot soldiers of this cult showed up not to rebut my logic but to castigate me for daring to disagree with the tiny clique. What really disturbed me is how it seemed that they had gotten together beforehand to determine the line their response would take.

While many comments were taken down quickly the effect was nevertheless chilling.

The trolls of the cult of Thanet Writers

Just like the Brexit extremists, the trolls of the cult in question had nothing to say about my main point – that a 1200 word story should earn over £100 – but were full of indignation that I dared to disagree with one small group’s pricing policy. I was left wondering what they stood to gain from such an aggressive response unless the truth was just too uncomfortable to face.

Maybe like the Brexit extremists, these trolls had an agenda and the truth threatened that agenda? Who can say for sure?

Yes, I dared disagree because “for the exposure”, and “well it’s better than nothing” are blights on the artistic community. I will not be silenced just because this tiny outfit uses the same questionable bullying tactics as UKIP. If you want to write to build links (a perfectly valid marketing technique) then go for it. If you want to write for free – perhaps because you just want to get your words “out there” – again good for you. But do not for a minute try to suggest that an hourly rate of a few pence is anything other than exploitative.

I refuse to stop objecting to something I see as bad for the community because you do not like it. Freedom of speech is a cardinal rule for a free society. If that freedom is to be suppressed, liberty means nothing. As George Orwell wrote, “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

The truth – like it or hate it – is still the truth. There are only a few reasons why you should work for free (or very cheap). Here is a flowchart to help you work out if you should.

should I work for free?

(Infographic from shouldiworkforfree.com)

Facts not fakes, please

I am quite prepared to read any well-reasoned objections or counter-arguments. Please go head, if you can, and try to explain why Brexit is good for authors despite the evidence otherwise. Feel free to explain why you think £10 for five days work is a good thing. I do not think you can, but go right ahead and try. Seriously, give it your best shot.

Chimpanzee seated at typewriterI have no problem with the idea I could be wrong. I’m only human and so cannot possibly be right all the time. But a wall of suspiciously similar comments only proves that you know how to use proxies. It says to me there is but a single mind hiding behind others to try and push an agenda. With both Brexit and with local publishing, that is just not healthy. If you have something to say, say it yourself. I may still disagree but at least I could respect you.

These latest attempts at suppression of dissent have, if anything, strengthened my resolve to keep talking about these subjects. Not necessarily here – this blog seems to mostly be about roleplay and fantasy fiction. But I will keep speaking up. My message will remain the same – Brexit is bad for authors and £10 a story is an insultingly low price. If you think me wrong – show me facts. Present your evidence.

Shouting me down does not change the truth of what I have to say. Getting a bunch of lackeys to all come to me with the same message does not convince me of a strong consensus. A debate is never framed by monkeys at keyboards. That’s what cults do, not artists.

This behaviour simply shows me that a dangerous cult exists. Cults must be challenged.

True Love’s Kiss in an RPG

May 27, 2018 in tpk by Matthew Brown

true love's kissTrue love’s kiss as a power to break a spell or curse is one of those fairy tale elements that has become engrained in the modern psyche. I thought it might be interesting to explore it as a curse breaker in an RPG setting.

True love’s kiss is one of those cure-all superpowers. It can fix pretty much anything. Not so much in an RPG setting, it seems. Seriously, there may be a reason games masters tend not to use it in adventures. And not just because this trope signals to the players to expect a “happily ever after” end game.

According to TV Tropes, this troperiffic story element has seen little action outside of the D&D supplement, “The Book of Erotic Fantasy”. Not really what I was looking for. At all.

True Love’s Kiss as an RPG curse cure

As cures go, this one can be applied in almost any setting and with any system. The reason being, it is almost entirely story driven with no real need for dice, states, or lookup tables. From a game running perspective, all that is needed is to establish a romantic connection between player character and NPC prior to the discovery of the curse.

In all likelihood, True Love’s Kiss would work best as a hero’s finishing move. You know the kind of thing – this adventure focuses on the bard who must kiss his love before the full moon. The kiss itself is mechanically negligible – what makes the adventure are the hurdles the party must overcome on the way to uniting their bard and the princess.

Run the other way around, True Love’s Kiss becomes an adventure to sort out some sort of encumbrance effect by tracking down an NPC. In that way, the NPC becomes little more than the McGuffin that drives a not-so-optional subplot.

Ways to play with True Love’s Kiss in an RPG

family kissSo you have decided to add a little “Disney” to your RPG, eh? Great, more power to you. That does not mean you cannot play with the trope in many different ways. You know your players will try to.

If you add True Love’s Kiss to the usual trifecta of ways to remove a cursed object in, say, Pathfinder, you had better have a solid idea as to what counts for this kiss.

For example, what about the gentle kiss on the forehead from a close friend? Can any party member (that you get on well with) provide the kiss? Do they have to be the opposite gender? The players will want to know. You will have to know.

What about a peck on a cheek from your mum? Likewise, what about the innocent kiss of your son or daughter? Do they have to be innocent or can an evil character get the same effect by manipulating an innocent NPC?

What about a sloppy lick from your faithful doggy, mount, or animal companion? In which case, druids and rangers just got a whole lot more powerful.

All of these examples could, from a certain point of view, count as “True Love’s Kiss”. In doing so, they set a standard as to how the world works. Which could, for a canny GM set a benchmark for working out a future plot or – for a foolish GM – a standard by which players will try to find loop-holes. 

The limits of True Love’s Kiss

ropeIn Pathfinder – given that we are using that as our example – the three ways to remove a curse are the dedicated remove curse spell, a wish, or a miracle. All of those are powerful magic in their own right. Remove curse is a third or fourth level spell (depending on class) and quite an expensive (but plausible) thing to go and pay for. The same is true in D&D 5th Edition rules (3rd level spell).

That’s magic on a similar level with walking on water, animating the dead, or summoning a Dretch demon to fight for you. The only difference is that it is entirely circumstance based. Once a player character has a true love hanging about, you can be sure they will keep them handy for future curses.

You had better believe that players will remember such potent non-caster magic in the future.

Which is why you will need to know the limits of the kiss in breaking curses. In your game world can True Love’s Kiss break all curses or just this specific one? Either way, you will need a good answer as to why that is the case.

I would strongly suggest using a cursed item backstory of unrequited love or some similar tragic history. Make sure – with, say a low difficulty Knowledge (History) check – that the players understand that this get-out-of-curse-free is a one time deal. Otherwise, you could risk trying yourself in knots dealing with players trying out every mushy trope.

Is True Love’s Kiss right for you?

I think True Love’s Kiss is a fine trope to introduce to most RPG settings. Remember to make the trope fit with your setting and introduce it as a story in a way that seems natural to your players. A kiss to break a spell might, for example, have limited application in a Call of Cthulhu game.

Remeber Sanderson’s First Law of Magic – make sure the use of the kiss is well understood beforehand.

Your ability to solve problems with magic in a satisfying way is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic.

I would probably try to set this up with a minor quest giver NPC who needs help from the party to get to his “princess”. Once the party sees True Love’s Kiss break that curse, when you spring the curse on them after a boss battle later, they will remember.

In a setting like S£: Mad Science, the kiss is quite likely to be the only way to solve that problem. On the other hand, in D&D or Pathfinder, a party with access to third and fourth level spells might not bother. If they have a caster that can prepare “remove curse” your romantic plot will come to an untimely end. So be prepared to establish this as a particularly powerful curse or just spring it on them super early in the game.

If you use True Love’s Kiss in your RPG setting, let me know how tht works out for you. I’d love to hear about it.

Use maths to find your minimum price per story

May 26, 2018 in reflections-and-thoughts by Matthew Brown

Can we use maths to work out the minimum price per story that a writer should accept? After all, writing “for the exposure” does not put food on my table.

This post was inspired by an offer from a group calling themselves Thanet Writers (not to be confused with Thanet Creative Writers) offering £10 per story. I feel that this is too low in value to be worthy of a writer’s time. I’ve talked about fair payment for writers on Author Buzz UK before.

How much is your writing worth?

When you price work for sale, in any industry the maths is fairly similar. Costs plus the price of all your time. If you work in a creative field add in the value of your talent. If it took you ten years to get as good as you are now, those ten years should be reflected in the price too. That price you work out is the minimum price per story – the least you should expect to earn.

To work out the value of a story I created the following equation.

E((TW)+C)+I

E is the editing factor or number of draft revisions you will make. T is the time it takes to physically type the words multiplied by basic minimum wage (W) or some hourly rate you consider to be worth your attention. C is the cost of your computer time and electricity. I is the value you place on your ideas. In other words, the total cost of your time, multiplied by the number of revisions you will need to make plus the cost of your skills.

How fast do you write?

The average person types at about 40 words per minute. So a 1200 short story should mechanically take 30 minutes to physically type.

For a person aged 25 or over, the national minimum wage is £7.50. Thus, the Thanet Writers offer of £10 for a story exactly equates to one and a half hours of serving burgers and fries. To be worth your time, from start to finish the story should take you less time than this.

Additionally (back on topic) the physical act of typing the 1200 word story accounts for £3.75. This gives us our first constant T for typing which is half the national minimum wage. T=£3.75. (At the very least).

However, we also need to add to that the computer cost.

A computer’s running power varies greatly so to simplify we will assume 100 Watts. We said 30 minutes of total typing time, so that’s 50 Watt-hours. The average household pays 14.37p per KWh. After rounding the typing time costs you 1p.

The computer itself will last on average three to five years. Let’s assume that you paid £250 for your computer and you use it an average of 4 hours a day over the five year period. Your computer will last 7280 of usage time. Just typing the story cost you 2p of the lifetime value of the computer.

Thus, C must be at least 3p. It’s hardly big potatoes but these things add up.

Now we get to the draft factor, E.

It is largely assumed that revisions and edits consist of the bulk of the work. As a rule of thumb, it seems seven is a reasonable factor. Seven reviews and edits to get it right.

7(\pounds3.75+\pounds0.03)+I = \pounds26.46+I

That’s £26.46 plus inspiration time – assuming that your time and your ideas are pretty much worthless to you and that you worked non-stop and banged the whole thing out in under four hours.

Assuming that thinking up the idea is something you are willing to do for free, a story of 1200 words must net you more than £26.46 to avoid being slave labour. I find £26.46 to be an insultingly low offer but it is the least amount that could be classed as a living wage.

Given how many stories I would have to write to pay the rent and feed myself, you can expect the quality of my stories to sit somewhere between laughably low and non-existent. In other words, the minimum price per story should be greater than £27.

By this measure, if you accept payment of £10 for such a story, you are offering at least £16.46 in kind for someone to take your hard work away from you. Why would you do that to yourself?

3.5 hours just the physical typing

That above formula is just the value of the physical act of mindless typing. Actual story writing is much harder. I can write the first draft pretty quickly but I doubt I could work that fast.

Talking to a lot of people who attempt NaNoWriMo, I have come to the conclusion that the average beginning writer finds 1666 words in a whole day to be a huge challenge. 1200 words through seven drafts seems like an unreasonable demand for one day. Maybe you can do it but I doubt that I could.

If we use NaNoWriMo as a benchmark and assuming exactly seven drafts – that’s just over five days of working. This roughly fits with my earlier experiences of writing. Writing is a time-consuming process.

Let’s assume that the writer is pretty good and can come up with a first draft story in two hours. Working three hours a day over the five days, they might get all seven drafts done. That’s 15 hours of work and a lot of assumptions.

Factor in that this writer is going to need to attend a writing group for feedback and assuming that they are so good that one round of feedback is all they need, the writer can produce one story a week. Account for computer cost too, and the minimum price per story is at least £113.40.

How to top £113.40 per story

That might sound like crazy talk. Who would be willing to pay more than £100 for a short story? The truth is no one might be willing to pay – author earning suck. But there are ways to break things down and make the story earn for you anyway. There are ways of reaching your minimum price per story.

There is another factor to take into account. The hours you will spend selling the story. That minimum price per story of £113.40 will increase as you invest time selling stories instead of writing them. This is a business, you do not work for free.

Selling serial rights to achieve your minimum price per story

£113.40 is not unthinkable. Top end payments for short fiction is about £500 but £15 per thousand words is common. Magazines paying at that rate will offer you somewhere between £18 and £30 for a 1200 story depending on how they work out the sale price.

However, with those sorts of offers, you can earn that sort of money with one short by selling First Serial Rights in different countries.

  • First British Serial Rights
  • First Irish Serial Rights
  • First Canadian Serial Rights
  • First North American Serial Rights*
  • First New Zeland English Language Serial Rights
  • First Austrailian Serial Rights
  • First Europian English Language Serial Rights

That should net you £126 to £210 at the very least. And we are still not done selling that one story. After all of the serial rights have been sold, Anthology Rights (with or without royalties) should be easy enough to sell – the serial rights sales will actually make that easier. Only then should you consider selling First Internet (World) English Serial Rights. At that point, the story is pretty much dead in terms of resale value.

Watch out for the North American market, they can be really demanding. US publications often ask for world English rights but they pay very well. One publication in the US offers up to US$3,000 per story. That’s roughly £1,600. Sell your country-specific rights first but don’t be afraid to counter offer with First North American Rights. If they say “no” you can always let them have World English rights when you are done selling the story.

You may also be able to get a few bob for Second Serial Rights. To be honest, most magazines turn their noses up at seconds. The best you can hope to earn for second serial rights is about £10. Little independent publications struggling to fill their pages might be willing to give you a small sum for a worldwide successful short story.

The chances are that you will see more value writing another story than you will squeeze from trying to sell second serial rights. If you suddenly get famous, an agent will be able to do that for you.

Other approaches to earning a decent wage from short stories

Another approach would be to chuck the story into a competition. Prizes can exceed £1000. You are going to be up against good writers so expect to enter more than a few before you win.

As soon as you win one competition you may find the rights issue becomes so sticky that you literally have to hire a legal expert to figure it out. Skip to anthology rights and use the win as details in your next short story’s cover letter. That or get an agent that specialises in short form fiction.

Once your story has done all that it can for you in terms of earning does not mean that it has stopped working for you. I assume that you own a website. If not get one. UK writers can get a free website from Author Buzz UK. I know because I set it up that way.

Your short story can then be added to your website. While no one is going to give you a tenner for publishing it, Google Adsense may pay you a tiny amount over time. Furthermore, your fans may be willing to support you with a few quid each to see a new story published each month. Even if those two earning options fail to pan out, at the very least you will be building a platform from which to lunch your first novel.

Ideally, what you do not want is other websites and blogs competing for the same traffic with your content. Not when you could be enjoying the traffic yourself.

There is a lot to be said for displaying short stories and listing all the prizes they have won and any magazines that they were accepted to. Don’t give that away too easily.

How much are your stories worth?

That’s why so much of what I write never gets published on this or any other blog. I want to have the option of selling that work and getting paid one day.

Over to you, now. How much do you feel your short stories are worth? What is your minimum price per story? Would you be willing to work on a 1200 word story and accept a lifetime total payment of £10 for it or do you feel your work is worth more than that?

Is a minimum price per story of £113.40 (plus the cost of your time selling the stories) worth your effort? Should magazines pay writers more? Are we writers crazy for trying to earn a living selling our writing?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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