Feed The Machine

I’m feeling rotten under a cloud of snot today, so I don’t expect I’ll get too long-winded here, but I wanted to follow-up on yesterday’s post with some more thoughts about the Kindle. The best way to describe my feelings right now about the whole thing is Excitement. I’m excited about the potential, my wife is excited about me being excited. And it’s not really the money, because that’s not a guarantee. As I’ve been working on the covers for the impending publications and then getting them loaded up on Amazon, I think my wife is started to see some tangible results of my work which she’s excited about for me and for her.

Back when we were dating was when I started to appear in print anthologies and I was getting to sign contracts and seeing my books on the shelf at Borders and all of that. but then I went into full on novel writing mode and that’s not exactly a wealth of tangible results. You spend hours and hours and days and weeks, working on a project, without even a stacking pile of papers to show for it. But now, with the glory of e-books, I can see the cover and the final product developing quickly and it’s really very exciting.

But what I’m most excited about is the opportunities. Back in 2004-2005 when I first started making my name online, I wanted to “feed the machine.” As I wandered around blogs and websites and forums I saw all of these writers I admired and wanted to show everyone I was capable of being in their league so I started writing. A lot. I wrote a ton of short stories during that time, many not so good, but some I’m very proud of. I was finding my new voice after writing PI stories for so long, but I was also trying new things. I tried hyper-fiction, and flash fiction, and blog fiction, and everything between. All to feed the machine and fill up my virtual shelf space. That’s where I am now with ebooks.

I don’t want to just dump one book or short story collection out there and let it die. I need some material to back it up and keep readers coming back. I also want to make sure that I don’t get pegged as one type of writer. I was worried that if I just put up LUNCHBOX HERO people would come to expect funny stuff from me all of the time. So by starting off with the short story collection, and then a flash story collection, then LUNCHBOX, you’ll get a good picture of my whole style. Soon after I get LUNCHBOX up, I have another novel I want to publish, RUINS OF DETROIT. This is a darker book than LUNCHBOX, though explores several of the same themes. After that I have two novellas I’d like to write while still working on my current work in progress, the MURDER BOY novel. By the time Bouchercon rolls around in September I’d like to have a good shelf full of works for sale and then I’ll have a hard decision to make.

Until about a month ago, my plan once I finished MURDER BOY was to do what I’d done with every novel I’ve finished and polished, begin submitting it to agents. And then, if no agents bit, start looking at some reputable small presses. But, now, perhaps e-publication? I’d like to say my decision will be based on how things play out with the other things I have for sale at that time. If I’m doing well with all of that, it will be a no brainer to add the new book. But, just because the other books aren’t successful, won’t necessarily mean e-publishing MURDER BOY is a bad idea. That may be just the thing to push stagnant sales forward. Joe Konrath likes to say there’s a lot of luck involved in success in this field, but the best thing you can do is keep buying lotto tickets to try and get lucky again.

This is all in the future of course, and for right now, I’m just enjoying the excitement, which, honestly, is something that has been sorely lacking in my writing lately.