I like to tell stories. I always have. When my partner and children suggested I finally start writing down my stories, well I laughed.
See, back in the 80’s I had delusions of being the next Tom Clancy, James Patterson or even Alan Moore. I have some of the coolest rejection letters from Penguin, Marvel and Dark Horse.
But with this new encouragement to write, I realized something pretty important.
I didn’t want to become famous. I just wanted to tell a story.
Between my change in writing purpose and the fact forty-year-olds tend to finish things they start (back in the eighties a ‘writing session’ turned into a ‘beer session’ very quickly), The Prodigal’s Foole developed very quickly.
While I was writing that first book, I began to look at how I wanted to get my story out there. The query process for both an agent/large publishing house was arduous and frustrating—having gone through that before. Oh, I went through the motions again, mind you. With similar results.
But there was something new to a burgeoning writer out there. Technology, PoD and social media weren’t around when I attempted to be a writer the first time.
Now, the publishing world was very different.
What I found is that there are a lot more ‘wannabe’ writers out there. And that’s not a bad thing as long as what you are submitting to the world is the best quality product you can make.
But quality isn’t always a part of the Indie and self-pub world.
So I began to look for something I really wanted for my stories—a collaborative group of like-minded authors within a small press environment. My criteria was pretty stringent for whom I wanted to work with:
- A small press with a cadre of GOOD authors—maybe 20 or so writers who put out really good stories.
- A collaborative feel—industry professionals and authors who were willing to take time out of their own day to work with a writer—discussions of plot, storytelling, publishing experiences, etc. etc.
- An attention to detail—a desire to produce quality work
- The ability to change business models rapidly to adjust for all the new changes in publishing technology
- Assistance with marketing and modern ‘word-of-mouth’ techniques.
The problem, of course, was not knowing what I wanted, but finding a group of people that wanted the same exact thing I did. To write stories, to be proud of ones words and to expand ones abilities by sharing, listening and growing as a writer.
Let me warn you now, there are a LOT of charlatans out there who are happy to charge you a boat-load of cash for the privilege of producing your book (rule number ONE of being a professional writer: cash flows TO the author). Do your research. Get a lawyer involved once you get some sort of contract. Understand and speak with other writers within a publishing group.
And if your gut tells you something is wrong, it probably is.
The group I ended up with is a small Indie press out of Pennsylvania called Pfoxchase. Before I signed with them, I’d gotten to know the creative director (and fellow author) Diane Nelson for over a year. We’d chatted via twitter, she submitted stories to The Word Count (my podcast, in case you didn’t know) she introdusced me to other authors. Some of which, like me, now write for her Pfoxpub Group.
There is the lovely and talented Bill Kirton, author and voice-over specialist (you’ve heard him if you’ve ever spent time in the UK listening to the BBC). There is Sessha Batto, erotic writer and graphic artist. Robb Grindstaff, marvelous writer and editor. T.L.Tyson, prolific writer and vlogger-she writes more in a week than I have in a few months. I could go on about talent like John Browne, John Booth, Jessica L. Degarmo, Heikki Hietala, Lisa Hinsley, Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova), Kira Morgana, Noelle Pierce, Kate Rigby, Greta van der Rol, Gev Sweeney, and Brian Talgo but you get my point (and besides, all their bios can be found HERE).
I found what I was looking for in a publisher.
You may have different aspirations. You may have different goals. But ultimately, as long as you stick with it, are willing to listen & learn and strive for quality, you will be successful.
Going with an Indie small press has been a wonderful experience so far. I have learned a lot from my association with Pfoxchase. I’ve also laughed, cried screamed and giggled myself into fits.
The end result is that my first book comes out at the end of October. And I’m happy with the story and the people I’ve chosen to work with.
In the meantime, I’m still accepting submissions for the next podcast (see the post below this one for details) and this blog is still in the running for a ‘Most Valuable Blogger of Boston’ award. You can vote once a day until September 9th, should you wish.
To vote, click HERE.