Playing Today’s Game by Yesterday’s Rules


Copyright (C)  David Alexander. May be be reproduced in whole or part if credited to author.


            A new addition to this site is a page with what I call my lost hardboiled stories. They’d actually been on my PC all along, copied from drive to drive over the years with each new upgrade and modification. I’d forgotten about these files in the course of pursuing new writing projects and only stumbled onto them by accident. I thought they were good and decided to rework and/or complete them.

            One of the reasons the stories were lost in the first place was because I hadn’t found publishers for any of them. They came from a period during which I wrote hardboiled fiction out of love for a genre that had fallen out of vogue. In fact hardboiled fiction is still out of vogue, except for a resurgence on the web and in small press print media, as I discovered  when I investigated potential venues where the stories might find publication.

            In the relatively short time since I started up as a way to reach a reading public that I had previously had no way to communicate with directly my efforts have been rewarded by an increasing number of hits on the site. Since a lot of these hits are for stories I’ve put up as web pages I had the notion of simply also putting up these unpublished lost stories and leaving it at that.

By definition written works are published when they’re placed before a public audience, either for sale or free of charge, and judging by the number of monthly hits the site logs I reasoned that the stories would probably get as much or more exposure than they would in many another venue. Yet there’s another aspect to publication to be considered, and that’s imprimatur.

To me it’s also important to have the recognition of your peers before your writing sees print, and so I sent some of the stories to several web and print publications. The result was mixed. Vendetta was accepted by one web publication but within a month or two of its publication the venue had vanished and my story disappeared into the cyber. The rest of the stories were held onto by other editors for months, (and at this writing I’ve not yet heard back from any of them).

In the end I decided to just publish my lost hardboiled stories on this site and damn the torpedoes – and imprimatur right along with them. I realized I was playing today’s game by yesterday’s rules. I wouldn’t let my stories stay lost a minute longer. I’d worry about imprimatur some other time. Traditional publishing has changed radically from the days when stories were submitted on typewritten pages and when writers could count on certain amenities being observed. Today all bets are off. This is the age of no mercy and rules that change from person to person and from moment to moment. There used to be literary canons. Those canons have apparently been mothballed.

As I see the stories up on my site I’m glad I did what I did. Web publishing might not be a panacea, but it sure beats hell out of the alternatives sometimes.