Thursday, January 23, 2014

Publishing on Ether

Yesterday, I got published by Ether.  Yay!  This is actually the first time any of my original stories have been published.  Although Ether is not a traditional print publisher, I'm still excited that my little short story can now reach a global audience.

My Story

"The Necklace of DuChelle" is a fantasy-romance flashfiction (less than 1,000 words) with a twist. Two passionate lovers grapple with a magical necklace that strangles the unfaithful.  "The Necklace of DuChelle already has a 5-star review.  Maureen Scott writes: "WOW. I loved this story. It captures the insanity of lust and love with this brilliant short story."

You can find "The Necklace of DuChelle" here:  I'd be grateful for any reviews you can spare.

What is Ether?

Ether is a free app that contains short works (less than 6,000 words) in all genres, by all manner of authors.  Some stories cost money to read, but many (like mine) are free.   My friend Ned introduced it to me.  He told me he enjoyed skimming through the stories and quickly reading whichever looked appealing.

For anyone interested in Ether, the website is:  You can also download their free App for your tablet and/ or smartphone.

Ether for Writers

Those who wish to submit their work to Ether will need to go their website (not the App) and hit the tab marked "Writers."  Before they tell you anything, they make you create an account and log-in.  I, personally, hate giving away my email address, but to be fair, they didn't spam like some other sites I know.

Writers can choose to have a Bronze or Silver membership.  Bronze members are allowed to post 5 approved works each year, while Silver members get to post 10--but they have to pay an annual fee of 25 pounds.  (Apparently, Ether is UK based).  Bronze members do not have to pay.

Before you submit, you have to create an Author's profile, which includes your name, your pen name (if any), a photograph of your face, 6 words to describe you, and a longer Author's Bio.  They are very picky about the photo and the six words, an they WILL reject your story if you mess these parts up.  Fortunately, they give examples of what is and what is not acceptable. 

This is the photo I used for myself. 

Basically, the photo should clearly show your full face (and only your face) with no distraction from the background.  The 6 words should work together harmoniously, like the line of a poem, not just be descriptors you spit out at random.   Mine was "lover of fantasy, inspired by Japan."

When your profile is complete, you can submit your story.  A normal Word document works fine, but make sure you check the spelling and grammar, because they won't do it for you.  You select the genre for the story, write a brief summary, and throw in some tags.  You submit and wait for them to get back to you.

It can take Bronze members up to 90 days to get their story approved/ denied.  Silver members receive a response in 14 days.  However, I signed up for a Bronze membership and I got my approval one week later.  (Update: my next two stories, however, took a month and a half for approval.) It came as an email, which helpfully provided me with a link to my story.  I was also notified by email when I received a review.

I'm not sure what they're looking for.  Are they just screening to make sure you don't commit the grossest violations of spelling, grammar, storytelling, and word count?  Or are they judging the content?  All I know is that the first story I submitted made it in.

When your story is published on Ether, you retain the copyright of your work.  In the Terms and Conditions, it states, "This agreement provides Ether Books Ltd with the non-exclusive global right and license to publish the submitted content [...]"  This means if you want to publish elsewhere, you can.  The writer also has the right to remove their content, if they so desire.  Just send them an email and they'll remove your story within 90 days.

Ether will offer your story as free or paid, and I don't think you get any choice in the matter.  Certainly, your first few stories will be free, as you are building an audience.  Once they do start pricing your story (usually for 69 pence UK or, I believe, 99 cents US) Ether will pay you "20% of net receipts." They will accrue the royalties and send the money to your Paypal only "when an amount of 25 pounds has been reached."

My Thoughts

But for me, it's not about the money.  It's about getting the work out there for others to read.  Building a reputation is key.  I want--and hope--my stories will serve as positive examples of writing so that in the future, people will remember my name and give my longer novels a chance.

There are a couple of things I like about Ether.

1. You Control the Copyright

One of my friends told me how she published her short stories in a famous magazine.  Years later, produces were eying her character for a movie.  However, since she sold the copyright to the magazine, that magazine controlled her characters and so she had to turn the producers down.  I'm not sure if that's still how copyright works, but it gives room to pause.  The more you can hold onto the rights of your work, the better.

2.  The Brand is You

If you submit to a normal magazine, your work will get tossed into the general mix.  Even if someone likes your story, they may forget your name.  But here, your face is selling the story.  If someone likes one story, they'll check out others--which are conveniently listed right there for them to read.  If you write enough good stories, you can build a reputation for yourself--which might carry on outside of Ether.  Eventually, people might read your novels.

At least, that's my theory.

Granted, I've only been looking at Ether for two weeks.  So anyone more knowledgeable than I, please feel free to respond.


  1. Congrats on your first publishing victory!! I have to read the story now!

  2. Becky, congratulations! That is very nice news! A coffee cup salute to more of same! d:) Thanks, by the way, for the information about Ether. d:)