self-publishing

it’s a book!

A healthy, bouncing baby book. It’s small, as books go, but what it lacks in heft I like to think it more than makes up in personality.

And I have made clones of my book available to you, dear readers, for a nominal fee.

Just click on the picture of my lovely cover below to purchase a paper copy you can hug and squeeze and love and slobber on. If you prefer a more sterile option, just click here to purchase a Kindle version.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m kinda excited about all this. I’ve had my words published in a book before, but only as a small part of a much larger whole. This little book contains only my words. Arranged in sentences. Some of which actually make sense.

And, hey, if you do pick up a copy, could you do me a solid and leave a review when you’ve finished? I’m not fishing for glowing praise, either. I really would love to know what you think.

Thank you all from the depths of my wine-soaked heart!

Front Cover 6x9

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hive mind

This Friday, I should hold in my hands a proof copy of the short story collection I’m self-publishing. It won’t be the first time I’ve seen my words printed in a paper and ink book, but it will be the first time all the words in said book are mine, all mine.

I’m excited. And nervous. Really nervous.

I designed the cover myself and it looks pretty good as pixels on a screen, but I have no idea how well those pixels will translate into a six by nine glossy cover. I’m dying to post a picture of the cover for everyone to ooh and ahh at, but if it looks like crap, I swear I’ll just die. Die! Like, I mean it! You, you just don’t understand! Ugh! Runs to room, slams door, and cries into my Benedict Cumberbatch pillow while The Smiths sing in the background (I know, I know, it’s serious).

Okay. Tantrum over.

But because I am still more excited than nervous, I would like to show you a bit of what’s inside the book. I wrote a Forward where I briefly mention either the origins or the motivation behind each story in the collection. Here is a snippet:

One thing you should never say to a writer is, “I have a great idea for a story you should write.” We hate this. Not because your idea is awful, but because we already have a million ideas buzzing around in our brain like a swarm of angry bees. But even though it’s often hard for us to pluck one of these idea bees out of the air and squeeze sweet story honey out of its ass, they are our bees, we cultivated them in our mind apiary with love. The last thing we need is for someone to thrust a strange, misshapen bee in our hand and tell us to milk it. We can’t work with your weird bee. It’s got too many wings and its stinger, is . . . is that a corkscrew?
All that said, when my sister, Tracey, told me I should write a story inspired by her dream where her Roomba ate everything in her house, I took her little bee and ran with it. What resulted is “Nature Abhors a Vacuum” and I had more fun writing that story than almost any other story in this book. Goes to show what I know.

unnatural birth

I think I have mentioned a time or eleventy that I’m self-publishing a collection of short stories.

Well, I’m not all just talk. I’m also flailing hand gestures and raised eyebrows.

The collection is imminent.

Empty, Not Hollow and Other Stories is due to hit Amazon on September 1st. It will be available in Kindle format or as a paper and ink book you can hold in your clammy little hands.

Kind of exciting, huh?

I am excited, but I’m also feeling like a pregnant woman in her fifth trimester in that I’m more than ready to hatch this damn thing. (I may not know how babies work.)

Writing the stories was hard enough, but formatting them for publishing is like a trial in Purgatory. I think I would rather roll a boulder up a mountain rather than spend another moment inserting page breaks or fixing abnormal spacing due to right justification.

Then there are the myriad of important decisions that need to be made and, once made, can’t be unmade. Permanent decisions. Like choosing a tattoo. A tattoo you give to someone else.

What size do you want your book?
I donno. Book sized?

Design the cover yourself or have someone do it for you?
I’ll take “Whichever Option Is Free” for 200, Alex.

Thank everyone I’ve ever met in the Acknowledgements or limit my shout-outs to a few close friends/family and hope everyone else understands?
But the janitor at my office is super nice!

Number the chapters in the Table of Contents or don’t?
*loads revolver with single bullet*

Which font? What size do you want that font? Different fonts for the chapter headings? Chapter headings in ALL CAPS? THE WHOLE BOOK IN ALL CAPS? THE WHOLE BOOK IN ALL CAPS WITH DIFFERENT FONTS FOR EACH CHAPTER? OR NO CHAPTERS AT ALL? ALL STORIES JAMMED TOGETHER WITH NO SPACES BETWEEN WORDS LIKE THE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS RAMBLINGS OF A STERNO-EATING HOBO? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?

I crawled into a box of red wine and nursed from the bag until the world went black. Days later, I emerged, sloughing off the cardboard and unfurling my damp limbs to warm them in the sun. My new life cycle had begun. I was ready to fly.

Times New Roman, it is.

the long and short of it

So I wrote a novel, as you do. It’s a silly little tale about aliens from another dimension using humans to keep other aliens from a different dimension from killing them. I call it “Monsters All The Way Down” and for almost a year I’ve been trying to find an agent or publisher who loves it as much as I do. Or at least loves it enough to pay me for it. Affection. Cold hard cash. To-may-to. To-mah-to.

While trying to find a home for my novel, I’ve been writing short stories. I also took a few of my robot and zombie stories that I originally posted on my old blog, Fix It Or Deal, may she rest in peace (*crosses self* wait, is it left to right or right to left? what am I doing, I’m not even Catholic), and added to them and generally made them more presentable. I’ve been shopping these short stories around to various places. But trying to sell a short story is a daunting, pain-in-the-ass process. There are thousands of print and web-based publications out there and sifting through them, even with the help of websites like duotrope.com, can take dozens of eye-crossing hours. Then, once you find one that seems like a good fit, you submit your story and have to wait anywhere between four weeks and the heat death of the universe for a reply. And that reply is invariably “Thanks, but no thanks,” so you have to start the process all over again. All this for the chance to get paid a fraction of minimum wage once you calculate the time spent writing/editing/revising the story and searching for a market.

A carousel of insanity, right? Right.

There is another option: self-publishing. Depending on who you are, that’s either a nasty curse you spit out of your mouth like spoiled milk or the ultimate answer to the ultimate question. Like most things, I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Self-publishing isn’t the end-all be-all, but it is a good way to at least get your shit Out There in front of people. Whether they buy it or not, is a crap-shoot, but so is submitting to random e-zines. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take.

I’m hoping to have a select group of short stories all polished up and ready to go by the end of summer when I’ll self-pub them through Amazon. This little anthology will be cheap, probably only about $2.99, but I’d only have to sell a dozen to make more money than I would selling one story individually. I’m not really doing it for the money, however. I know I’m not going to be able to quit my day job any time soon. I’ll most likely end up giving away more copies than I sell. But it will be good experience. If I have success self-publishing a short story collection, maybe I’ll do the same with my novel. Who knows? The most important thing is just to get my words in front of people’s eyeballs. That’s why I write – to be read. If I make some extra wine money doing it then that’s just sprinkles on the cupcake.

All that said . . . I did just find out yesterday that a zombie story I wrote has been accepted for inclusion in an anthology due to come out this fall. Sometimes the carousel is a nice ride.