June 4, 2015:
For many years I’ve been interested in making my short stories and novels available to the public, and for many years I’ve obsessed over the best method for making that happen. Like any writer, the moment I decided I wanted complete strangers to visit my brain to see what crazy characters and scenarios I could bring to paper, I wanted to jump right onto the publishers’ desks and say, “Hey, publish this, folks!” And, because what I had was so awesome, according to my own understanding, I thought that I was entitled to acceptance and permitted to make this my rite of passage into the real world.
Reality works at a different speed, however, and I’ve obsessed over the best method for getting my work published because I didn’t channel that desire into actual steps toward getting recognized. Much of my stubbornness to take chances on what I had written I had blamed on perfectionism, and perfectionism I had blamed on unwillingness to fail, and my unwillingness to fail I had blamed a lot on human nature, but also on my many failures at other things. You know, the human experience.
I didn’t want to self-publish because that was “unprofessional” and didn’t actually count as a credited publication in the eyes of publishers and other professionals in the writing business. For any writer who wants to make it in the writing industry, a “fake publication” is about as bad as “no publication” because it signifies a “secondhand publication” or a “failure’s publication” or an “unprofessional publication.” And, well, the quality of self-publishing often enforces those air quotes.
But, as ebooks have taken a sudden rise in the publishing industry, and as self-publishing is becoming a business of faster growth, greater diversity, and total creative control, I’m starting to think that bypassing traditional publishing (for now) isn’t such a bad idea. After all, I can produce books of any length and market them, regardless of whether they are 10,000 words or 250,000 words, and agents and publishers are no longer able to tell me they are commercially unmarketable. If readers want them, they can get them. And now there are e-retailers who are friendly to self-published authors, and will even post their books in their catalogs because why not? It’s only after lackluster sales that the publishers can tell me my book is commercially unmarketable now, and even then, there’s no rule saying that it can’t be rediscovered at a different time when the trends inevitably change.
So, last week, I checked my obsessiveness at the door and posted a short story I finished in 2006 called “Shell Out” as a newly edited ebook on Smashwords (I always want to call it Smash Mouth for some reason), which can now be downloaded as an epub (for Nook), a mobi (for Kindle), a pdf, online reader, and so on. And because I’ve priced it for free, anyone can get a copy risk-free. It even comes with previews for some of my future books.
So, that’s where I’m at today: exploring this new publishing frontier. I figure now is as good of a time as any to see if complete strangers like the stories I have to share.
If you want a copy of “Shell Out,” you can get your copy for free at these online retailers:
And if you’ve found this blog via one of my ebooks or my Smashwords author page, this will probably be the best source for hearing about other releases of mine, present and future. I also hope to get set up on Twitter soon. I’m still trying to decide how I want to handle Facebook.
At any rate, check back often for news and updates on current and future books. I will file them under the category for “Published Ebooks.”
If you download and read a copy of “Shell Out,” then I want to officially thank you for your time and potential future readership. I also hope you’ll leave an honest review at whichever retailer you download it from. And don’t forget to check this blog often for information on future books.