Ta-dah! There it is: my first short story anthology, available for sale at Smashwords.
Did any of you use to watch the X-Files? I was deeply in love with Fox Mulder for far too long, and watched it without fail. Ah, those were the days before a zillion TV channels and hundreds of chances to see something in case you missed it the first twenty times. Back then (for fear of showing my age here) you had to set a special time aside to watch a program you loved, if only to remember to record it, as nothing did it for you back then.
Anyway, at the end of every episode, there was a little signature sign-off, where a child gleefully said “I made this!”
That’s just how I feel right now; like an excited child returning home with a lovingly crafted project to thrust it in front of loved ones and say “I made this!”
You are my loved ones here. I hope you don’t mind me casting you in that role.
There were many kinds of hard involved in bringing this project to life. Ninety percent was psychological and ten per cent was technical, but I have to say that I’m impressed with Smashwords. It’s easy to use, the guidelines document is thorough and easy to understand and the publishing interface is nice and user-friendly. It also makes it easy to offer an e-book in all formats, ranging from simple PDFs through to Kindle-friendly .mobi and that’s impressive.
Now I get on to the hard part: selling it.
This, my lovelies, is where I need your help.
The most obvious thing for me to say is: Buy it! It’s only $4.95! That’s less than a big cup of posh coffee and will provide a more enduring pleasure.
The next most obvious thing to say is: You don’t just get the stories: if you buy the e-book, you get access to a super secret area on my site that has notes on the creation of each of the stories, and the opportunity for you to ask questions and have conversations with me and other readers about them.
I could also say: It’s DRM (digital rights management) free – meaning that once you buy it, it really is yours. It won’t disappear from your e-reader if someone has a row with someone else.
I could even say: If you help me make a success of this, I can earn money to be able to divert even more time into my creative writing (instead of having to earn it elsewhere) so you’ll get even more stories from me, and I won’t be destitute.
But actually, all that selling stuff doesn’t sit well with me (I should get over it, but it’s going to take time) so I wanted to explore something else with you guys.
Can we do this together?
Smashwords has an affiliate scheme, meaning that if you are happy to big up my book on your site and make a sale as a result, you get a proportion of the money as a thank you. (Apologies to those of you who are already familiar with this idea, but I know many aren’t.) Would any of you be interested in that?
Another option is a free copy in return for a review on your website. And speaking of reviews, if you are one of the wonderful people who has already bought it, if you could take a minute to rate it on Smashwords, nay even leave a little review there, that would be wonderful too.
EDIT: The lovely Heike has written a review on her blog, check it out!
If you are interested in any of these, let me know in the comments and I’ll drop you a line.
But Em, I don’t have an e-reader and I don’t read e-books!
That’s ok, a couple of people have asked if I am going to do a print-on-demand version. My current plan (as yet unresearched and unconfirmed you understand) is to produce 4 e-anthologies of this size a year, and then collate them all into an annual printed version. If you think that’s a good idea, let me know in the comments.
Over the past month I’ve realised that this is absolutely what I want to do with my life, and that I need to start doing crazy, scary things (like this anthology) to make that happen. I want fiction writing to be at the centre of my working life, I want to build my days around it, and I have already started to make changes in line with that. But I also need to keep a roof over my family’s heads and the only way I can do that right now is to make a success of this anthology.
Can you help? Because without readers, writers are nothing.