Filed under Writing Journal on January 8, 2013
Tagged: ebooks, Revlan's Rescue, self-publishing
I’m not interested in self-publishing. Really, I’m not. And my preferred format for reading is still the mass-market paperback. But I would be a fool and worse than a Luddite if I were to ignore an opportunity that had little-to-no downside and a long, winding tail of upsides. Even so, the decision to reprint “Relvan’s Rescue” as an ebook was not a quick and easy one. There were several checkpoints along the way, and I thought I’d share how I reached them–and how I moved past them–with those who are interested in exploring ebooks and self-publication.
Some background on my efforts to publish “Relvan’s Rescue” would probably help to set the stage. This will just be an overview, as there are multiple posts in the blog archives that provide more depth for anyone interested. “Relvan’s Rescue” was originally written as a submission for a small press anthology way back in 2005. It was rejected, I made some revisions, and sent it back out to several professional markets. There were no takers, so it sat for a few years until I came across another small press anthology looking for stories. Stories like “Relvan’s Rescue.” I dusted off the manuscript, touched it up, and sent it off.
Bam! The publisher, Metahuman Press, snapped it up and published it in their 2011 anthology Pirates & Swashbucklers. Now, I should mention that during the intervening time from when I first began submitting “Relvan’s Rescue” to its acceptance by Metahuman Press, my personal philosophy concerning publication had shifted. Back in 2005, after having a couple professional publication credits under my belt, I believed it was in my best interests to pursue future publication only with markets that paid professional rates. If I wanted to make progress toward my goal of making a living from my fiction writing, this seemed the logical conclusion. Other factors, some under my control and some not, pushed this goal further and further away, and it no longer became an issue of getting paid for my writing, but just getting my writing out in front of an audience. So, small presses like Metahuman became attractive and viable options to me.
I’m telling you this because a similar shift in my thinking occurred with my opinion of publishing my writing in ebook format. Having grown up with the dream of being an author long before e-readers were a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’s eye, publication meant seeing my name printed on paper in ink and stacked on a physical bookshelf. I knew the difference between a real publishing house and a vanity press, and it was the latter who first flocked to the new digital medium, making me leery of the format.
But as I said at the start, it soon became obvious where things were headed, and I consider myself a fairly tech-savvy person. The urge to try the waters was growing, and two events egged me on to jump in with both feet. The first was the publication of the Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology. As I worked with Nick Ahlhelm, the editor and publisher, and observed the process, I thought to myself–and I say this with no disrespect meant toward Nick–this is something I could do myself. Of course, that’s always easy to say, and things tend to turn out different when you actually try to do it, but I’ll take about that later.
The second event was the purchase of a Kindle Fire for my kids this past summer. I’m secure enough to admit that part of my resistance toward ebooks was a fear of the unknown. Now we had the technology in hand, however, and I could see for myself that it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was pretty neat.
With the last of my arguments about self-publishing ebooks crumbling at my feet, I was ready to give it a try. And I had just the story to use for the project. But that didn’t mean everything was smooth sailing. I had three obstacles I had to overcome before I could publish “Revlan’s Rescue” as an ebook, and I’ll talk about those in my next post.