Some of you may already be aware from previous posts that my good friend Matt Hilton began a site for up and coming writers to showcase their short fiction over at Thrillers, Killers n Chillers, a site I'm proud to say that I co-edit.
There's certainly an ongoing debate running among the writing forum fraternity regarding the merits of non-paying sites, like TKNC, A Twist Of Noir and many others, whereby fiction is 'published.' Nearly all of what I've read has been positive, though on a crime forum I recently read a comment which pricked my senses and with which I wholeheartedly disagree. It read: 'I think short, online fiction should be looked at like those free samples they give away in the supermarket.'
Biting my lip till it bled and trying not to shout the B-word describing male genitalia at the top of my voice, I opted to write sensibly about it instead. I don't know what this guy has been reading online, but for some reason he sounds a tad cynical and blinkered as he shouldn't pigeon-hole all online fiction like that. He's obviously not read TKNC!!! I think it can depend on the editors of the site, too, but on TKNC it does have to be of publishable standard. Most, if not all, the sites of this ilk appear to me to be professional with some excellent stories so I suspect this man is being frivolous, or maybe even envious.
Personally, I can't see a downside. And here's why: I received quite a lot a feedback from my short story, The Handshake, on TKNC, which is probably one of the main reasons Matt started the site in the first place; that is, to bring newer writers on. As a consequence of the feedback I rejigged the story, adding a line here and restructuring there, yet maintaining the basic story core, until I came up with a much more polished version.
I've now entered The Handshake into Word Magazine's 'Murder' short story competition. It doesn't really matter if it doesn't win (there are usually hundred's of entries), the fact that an aspiring writer is continuing to improve and learn the craft is paramount.
Sites like TKNC also give the new writer a small taste - after perhaps years of writing without reader-acknowledgement - of what it's like to see their work in print knowing someone out there may just like it, which is the recognition all writers crave and that which spurs us on.
So to that bloke and his 'Supermarket' comment: I suggest he pops into his local supermarket and purchases a large cucumber...
...I don't think I have to tell you where he can shove it!!!
(Sorry, my sensible time has expired.)
Ps. tenacity is key.