Late last year, I read an article that floated my way on Pinterest regarding Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The article basically set forth that the short story, as a format, was experiencing a glorious renaissance in this grand age of the easily distracted Kindle Unlimited subscriber, so fuck novels just write shitloads of short stories and slap ’em up as exclusives on Kindle Unlimited and WATCH THE MUNS ROLL IN, HUN.
As you’ve probably ascertained, the article was about 25% actual, useful information and 75% hype train.
Obviously, novels are not a dead art, just as short stories were never a dead art—not really. Good fiction is like a comfortable dildo: there’s a snug fit for everybody.
To this end, I knew I wasn’t going to just drop all of my noveling projects. That would be pretty absurd, and (to be honest) I’m a big fan of the novels I’ve got on tap right now. So those weren’t going away anytime soon. However, I did realize that I had this mess of short-short stories, too long for flash fic but not substantial enough for proper shorts, floating around that needed a home. Unfortunately, between the length and the wildly niche content, the odds of me selling them anywhere are pretty slim. Regardless, I had an abiding fondness for those stories, and I decided that an experiment was in order.
Obviously, every additional article I found indicated that, to carry out this experiment, I needed to start sinking money into all the appropriate services for self-publishing—professional copyediting, layout, cover design, etc. If I wanted the stories to look professional and read professional, I needed to invest in those things. Which makes a lot of sense.
Unfortunately, I am, by nature, a cheap bastard.
Fortunately, I was able to indulge my inner miser due to a combination of factors:
- My immediate circle of friends is comprised wholly of wildly talented wordmongers in their own right who were willing to provide thoughts and editing suggestions.
- S.J. Hartsfield (@sjhartsfield), one of said friends, is ludicrously talented with Photoshop and graphic design and provided me with a cover (which you will see later in this post!) created by witching together several images from Pexels.
- Novlr (not sponsored by Novlr) can natively export to both EPUB and MOBI formats, and the EPUB format allows for tweaks to the final product with Calibre before using Amazon’s KindleGen command line tool to convert it to a MOBI.
- I have more than enough experience digging around in HTML, CSS, and XML to feel comfortable making manual edits to EPUB files, so layout can fall to me personally.
- The KindleGen tool is simple to use if you’re comfortable with the command line, so changing the nicely formatted EPUB to a MOBI is a snap.
With all of that pinned down, I was able to move my attention to the stuff that really curdles the blood of any writer aspiring to self-pub: legalese.
I have a degree in theater, and my professional experience is (weirdly) mostly in software, so I had literally no idea what to do regarding covering my ass legally. Luckily, after some Googling, I stumbled across Helen Sedwick’s Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook, which has proved to be full of invaluable information I would have otherwise had to piece together from a dozen disparate and potentially spurious articles scattered across the Internet. It has a slight preoccupation with trying to convince readers that the self-published book was picked up by a “real” publishing house, but I’m mostly ignoring that stuff because, in all honesty, I don’t care if people know that my small collection of short stories is self-pubbed.
So basically, once all the legal stuff is taken care of, I’m gonna be pretty much set to release the collection. So here’s the official announcement that said collection is forthcoming!
Two creatures meet in a crypt to conclude a deal struck decades before…
A caravan guard is delighted to see that the strange rose she carries has been stolen…
An immortal gazes down into a vast chasm full of stars…
A woman must ask the unthinkable of humanity’s last savior…
The world has been ending for a very long time. The sun turns red. Sinister obelisks whisper. Strange beings walk the earth. But love and hope do not die so easily.
Coming soon to Kindle.