Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Demand

I just read these two great interviews on PopMattters with a couple of cutting edge Print-On-Demand publishers . One of the companies, Publication Studio, is run by is a group of ex-punks in Portland who put out hundreds of cool titles for a diverse group of authors. Instead of marketing books, they say they “tend to their social life,” which  is wonderful because it shows they think of books as living things, not just numbers on a spreadsheet. The other interview is with a small reprint press—and I didn’t even know they did this with POD—putting out cool, old, pulp novels from the ‘50s and before.
I think POD really is the future of publishing, just like small record labels that help bands cultivate niche audiences  are the future of the music biz. Anyway, it sure looks like where I’m headed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Company

As some of you know, I wrote a novel. It’s a modern retelling of Treasure Island, with Jim Hawkins recast as a homeless kid hunting the loot from an armored car heist. I’ll be sharing chapters online soon.

Anyway, I’m sitting here thinking of ways to get my book “out there” and I remember reading part of a modern sequel to Treasure Island in the library. I was thinking of writing the author and see if he had any insight to share, so I looked him up and was surprised to find he wasn't the only writer to try a Treasure Island sequel. There was another. And another. And another.  

Robert Louis Stevenson
Amazon has 19 books that appropriate Treasure Island. These include six entitled “Return to Treasure Island,” plus four prequels, an account from Long John Silver’s point of view, and one called “Treasure Island: a Novel” in which Jim Hawkins is a teenager in the 1950s, the treasure is Nazi gold and Long John Silver is an American vet who left his leg at Iwo Jima.

I have to say, my mind was blown. I knew from the start I didn't have the most original book in the world, but I had no idea I was working such well-tilled ground.

Robin thought it was a disaster and that I would freak out. But you know what? I love it! It proves there’s a market, however small, for RLS wannabes like me. And my book won’t be lonesome on the shelf.

I’m especially intrigued by this other retelling! I ordered a copy and can’t wait to see how a more established author handled the same challenge I had—to bring the Treasure Island myth alive in the present day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Weird Turn Pro

H.S.T., an early hero of mine.
A few months ago I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and he recalled seeing my byline at (I think he read this book review.)

He said the writing was really good, and I was happy to hear it, but something in the way he said it bothered me. It was like he was surprised! So instead of just being glad that someone, anyone, had read and remembered something I worked hard on, I shipwrecked on the fact that my byline didn't automatically translate to "Excellent piece! Read now!"

I wallowed around in it for a while, blaming my lack of recognition on the fates who ceaselessly scheme to ruin me, but in the end I realized it was my own fault. I’ve published hundreds of stories, won journalism awards, appeared in lit journals and recently completed a novel. But my efforts to promote myself have been halfhearted and lame.

That changes today. I’ve got a lot of published work out there but it’s scattered to the winds and floating around on the web. My goal for this blog is to gather those stories and corral them in one place so when people ask me what kind of stuff I write, I can point them here and let them figure it out for themselves. 

I also hope to connect with other writers, develop my publishing platform and tell the world about my latest projects.

So there it is--my mission statement. Thanks for reading, and please, please, please share your thoughts and reactions to my work. Just don’t act so surprised if you see something you like!