If you follow my blog, or my social media accounts, you’ll know that I self-published my first short story collection, Dark Journeys, late last year. It was a big deal for me. Sure, I’ve had stories and poems published in magazines over the years and I wrote a non-fiction book (as a contract writer), but this was my first book. It meant a lot to me.
I had been on the fence about self-publishing. On one hand, there’s a certain degree of prestige that goes with traditional publishing. You know, having an agent read and like your manuscript, finding a publisher that feels the same way, signing a contract, having people promote your work, seeing it in bookstores…I’m sure it’s a heady experience.
But that’s a long and winding road, and more often than not it ends in a dead-end. From what I hear there’s a lot of frustration and discouragement. I’m sure it’s not much different than submitting short stories to magazines. I’ve send hundreds of stories out into the ether and waited (somewhat) patiently for a response. Sometimes there’s an acceptance, more often there’s a rejection, and on too many occasions there’s been dead silence.
Now that I’ve published this collection and received some nice feedback on it, I’m ready for more. I feel like a junkie in need of a fix.
And it’s not like I’ve sold hundreds of copies or shown up on any best-seller lists. Just the simple fact that people read my stories and responded positively to them is enough for me. I’m satisfied that someone enjoyed my stories, that I entertained them, maybe made them laugh or cringe or think differently about something.
So now I’m working on compiling my next short story collection. I’m obsessed with it. I’ve been working on editing and rewriting these suckers for the past week and I can’t get enough. I’m thinking about them while riding to and from work. I’m thinking about them while I’m eating. I’m dreaming about them at night. This is healthy, right?
I’m sure it is. It’s the type of obsession that’s good for me. Keeps my mind stimulated, keeps my fingers busy on the keyboard.
I hope to have it ready for print in another month or six weeks. I still have a couple of stories to finish, then I’ll get it posted on the usual formats.
I’m also looking at this as practice runs for my first novel. That will hopefully be done by the end of the year. I’ve already worked on two drafts of that beast and I’m ready for the third. But not yet…I don’t think I’m quite ready to fully commit. A first novel is different than a short story collection. I want to make sure I do it right. I owe that to my readers.
I’m excited. This is going to be a good year for me as a writer. I’m not expecting big money or calls from Hollywood, though. I’m just looking to write some good stories and get them published. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake.
Wish me luck!