I am publishing a story!
“Footnotes on a Space Opera” is a humorous first encounter short story, written in a satirical academic voice (complete with footnotes), in which the alien species that lands on Earth is interested in only one thing: opera.
I wrote the first draft of this piece way back in Spring 2015, when I was taking a class on Fantasy at Hamline University for my MFA. I had an assignment to write a short story with an emphasis on voice. As a veteran writing tutor, academic voice was something I knew well. I started writing and the words just flowed.
I remember sitting outside on a patio, relishing the sun after a Minnesota winter, and cackling to myself as I typed. I enjoyed writing it so much, I am extremely proud of the way it turned out after revision, and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you!
Who’s Publishing It?
Here’s where things get even more exciting.
I shopped this piece to many markets over years: established SF/F magazines, brand-new zines, anthologies, you name it. I got personal, positive rejections, but no one picked it up.
I have some guesses as to why…
The footnotes can be a formatting challenge, and they’re integral to the story.
It’s an extremely niche mix of genres. Editors maybe thought the Venn diagram overlap of those who enjoy opera and those who enjoy alien science fiction is slim. (This is confusing to me, though, since almost all of the classical musicians and opera buffs I’ve interacted with have been big sci-fi fans.)
With so many submissions to read, any little obstacle can serve as an editor’s reason to say, “No.”
“Footnotes on a Space Opera” is way too funny and I’m way too proud of it for it to sit alone and unread in a Word file on my laptop for the rest of time. So I said “Yes” to myself. I will be publishing this story as an independent author!
The pandemic has been instrumental in helping me come to this decision.
Like many others, I found myself with a lot of time to reflect. I’ve realized that it’s more important to me to share my work and to use it to connect with you than to receive validation from traditional writing gatekeepers.
Pandemic disruptions to the traditional publishing industry (which extend to smaller online markets) have made it difficult to maintain any sense of deadlines, response times, etc.
Lockdown also revealed that I’m autistic and ADHD. People like me (neurodivergent [and female]) have typically needed to find back doors into traditional spaces. Our voices are underrepresented in the mainstream and undervalued by the mainstream gatekeepers. That doesn’t mean we don’t have important (and entertaining!) things to say.
However, it does mean that if I want to see my work in the world, I need to take things into my own hands.
When Can I Read “Footnotes on a Space Opera”?
The official publication date is Monday, September 6! I’ll be back with info on where and how to read it, updates on the process, things I’ve learned, and a cover reveal as that date gets closer.
This will be my first foray into the world of independent (or indie) publishing. That means I’m coordinating every part of the publishing process myself. It’s amazing how many details there are even for a short story.
But I am so excited to share this story with you.
And, if all goes well, I may have even more independent publishing news for you in the future…!
What if I Don’t Like Opera?
Never fear! I’ve had multiple readers who don’t know much (or anything) about opera/classical music, and they laughed right along with my musician readers. You may miss one or two of the more “inside” jokes, but then, you can always ask me (or Google) to help out. Links to my socials are at the bottom and top of the page. I’d love to connect. Especially over opera.