A CUTting Experience

CUTCut A Long Story (CUT) is a website for lovers of short story fiction and a place for writers to sell short stories. It’s run by a team of ten, and was launched in 2014 with the help of the National Association of Writers in Education and Sleeping Giant Media.

CUT’s unique selling points are the ease in which authors can upload their work, the simplicity behind the publishing process and the way payment is calculated and made to the author – without there being any production charge on the author’s side. As well as this, each story is proof read by a member of the CUT team before it is published. I’ve now had my work available on CUT for a few months, and I’m glad it’s there. When I first heard about the opportunity CUT was creating in 2013, I was excited. I submitted a story to help provide the site with content in its initial stages, and over the next year I received a few emails detailing the site’s development, but, after a while, I had forgotten about it, so when I got an email in late 2014 explaining what the CUT team had been up to it took me more than a while to remember what CUT was. Once I did, I became nervous: it would be the first time I had put my writing up for purchase (being successful in a competition or being published in a magazine is different to deciding that your work is good enough to buy, which is how I saw it at the time).

I looked at a few authors’ profiles to get an idea of how mine should look as well as to know what to do and what not to do. Seeing how many authors there were on CUT, and knowing the number would increase, reminded me of how many people want to be writers, or are, and how accessible the form is. The thought “How is anyone going to find my work amongst so many people?” crossed my mind, but it subsided eventually and I began to remember the books, articles and blogs I had read that provided knowledge on how a writer can make their work stand out.

Once I had an outline for my profile, I started to look for a story to upload. I struggled to decide which stories of mine I was certain people would enjoy (which is pointless as you never know until you make it available to the public). I went through everything I had written: drafts I hadn’t finished editing, unsuccessful submissions, successful submissions and stories I had finished but had done nothing with. During this search, I began to scrutinize my work in a way I had never done before. I was more thorough than I would have been had I been editing work I planned to submit or put on Inkposts. This wasn’t a conscious decision as I always edit my work as well as I can, but looking for a story that I was going to put up for sale allowed me to see my work through a different lens. I picked out plot holes, grammar and punctuation errors, typos and other faults in my writing that I hadn’t managed to see before.

After I had found two stories, Stop, Look and Listen and Escape, I proceeded to find a cover for them, which didn’t take too long thanks to the artists and photographers who allow their images to be used freely and for any purpose (CUT also have a useful, short guide/post for authors on image copyright and where images can be found). Once I had added the final edits to my author profile, I began to upload my stories. The process was straightforward, and the only trouble I encountered was that I wasn’t able to preview how my cover image would look against the background colour of the cover I had selected unless I bought the story, but CUT are solving this issue.

Overall, my experience with CUT has been excellent. I’ve learned a lot about selling work and how the process alone can improve writing. It’s a great place for readers to find short stories and for any author who wants an easy way to sell their work or who is new to doing so.

Cut A Long Story: http://www.cutalongstory.com/

CAVe (a petition by CUT to stop VAT on ebooks): http://www.cutalongstory.com/cave-cut-against-vat-on-e-books.html

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