Friday, February 18, 2011

Guest Post: Doom and Short Story Collections

Today I'm honored to have Andrew Jack from Andrew Jack Writing. I follow Andrew on twitter (@ajackwriting) and was delighted to hear that he was writing this post regarding changes in publishing. Below, Andrew delves past the abstract and recommends independently published books for your consumption. Without further ado:

Doom and Short Story Collections

I'm gonna sing the Doom Song now. [singing] Gir: Doom doom doom...

  • GIR, Invader Zim (2001)

Are we all doomed?

Listening to the news and various writing blogs it certainly sounds like it. Book sales are down, major book stores are going out of business, I can’t find my shoes…

It’s like the world of publishing is falling down and it’s falling on authors. How can we expect to make a living slinging words when the publishing world is heaving like a dragon in its last throes?

I’ve spoken about this before but the myth of publishing’s demise is a persistent one. Publishing isn’t dying, but it is changing.

Sure, if you’re determined to cling to the ideal of doing nothing but writing, and leaving everything else to publishers and agents you might be in for a hard time* but it’s not like people have stopped reading, it’s just that the way books are read and sold is changing.

No force in the ‘verse can stop it.

But we can ride the wave. We are already seeing a major shift towards authors being the primary promotional force behind their work and that’s going to become the norm. Not that publishers won’t market your stuff, but if you can successfully build a following before you’re published it will make your book more attractive to publishers.**

As authors we can also look at the emerging opportunities offered by e-books. I’m not saying you have to rush out a fifty book back list or devote your entire soul to self publishing, but at least check it out and see if the time and the toil is something you’re prepared to do.

One way of dipping your toe in the black waters of self publishing is by putting out a book of your own short stories.

Making the massive assumption that the stories are good, and you pay to have the cover designed by someone who knows what they’re doing, it can be a positive step for your career.

I plan to do this later this year, but for now if you’d like to look at a couple of excellent collections I have two you can’t go past (especially since they’re $2.99).

I’ve ranted on about Chuck Wendig’s excellent Irregular Creatures as a good example of a well done self published short story collection. I can also highly recommend James Melzer’s horror collection The Other Side as a great example of just how good a self published collection can be.

It’s worth noting that James and his wife Jenny are two of the nicest people out there in publishing, they both talked to me a lot on Twitter when I was a complete newbie and asking stupid questions, so anything you can do to help them out I would appreciate immensely.

You’ll get a damn good book too. Melzer has real skill when it comes to the rhythm of his stories. If you can’t wait you can pick up The Other Side from Amazon here and from Smashwords here.

The Other Side isn’t for the faint of heart. If you and the macabre don’t get on this is probably not the book for you.

That said, it’s macabre gone awesome. In fact I like it so much I’m going to give away a copy. Tell me, what are you afraid of? It can be in real life or in fiction. Let me know in the comments.

I’ll pick a winner in 24 hours and that winner will get their choice of format of The Other Side.

* Write a really great book and you might still be okay, but this is starting to look less and less likely.

** Bear in mind that your book still has to be good, a great platform but a terrible book is probably not going to make it. There are exceptions but why not have everything working in your favour?


To enter the contest, comment on this post here at Andrew Jack Writing.

1 comment:

  1. It is, indeed, looking more and more as though the market is going to overbalance toward indie publishers, especially with corporate giants such as Borders crumbling. While I'm still the type that can't consider myself "really" published until I'm on the shelf at Barnes & Noble (even if I consider other indie published authors "really" published), I'm definitely in full support of it.

    I agree that a solid platform is important. I read in an agent's blog recently that she always googled the manuscripts she was considering, to see what kind of platform the author had in place. If that platform was already decent, it might actually decide her on taking on the manuscript.

    Nice post!