As an independently published author, I feel the need to try and support other independently published authors. For most people, this means doing cover reveals or blog tours or promo pieces or whatever... all for material they have (usually) never actually read. And, while I think it's great to support your buddies, I can't actually bring myself to support a work that I haven't actually experienced. It's one thing for me to say to someone, "Hey, I read this and really enjoyed it; I think you should try it, too;" it's another thing entirely for me to say, "Even though I haven't read this [and probably never will], I think you should buy this book." This is nothing against those people that do host people and books and stuff; it's just something that I can't do.
So I try to read as much "indie" stuff as I can and post reviews. I feel, for myself at any rate, that that's a more honest way of dealing with the whole situation. Of course, then, I won't give a good review just to give a good review, which has meant that I've made more than a few people less than happy and feeling rather unsupported. The thing is, though, I feel like honest reviews of indie works are the only way to strengthen the indie book market overall, so that's gonna keep happening. But I can also understand how some people can get upset by it, and I sympathize, BUT...
Well, a few weeks ago I went to this presentation about indie publishing and the woman speaker, who was part of this group of indie authors all working together to get their books out, said that the practice of this group is for each person to 5-star any work that comes out of the group. No matter what. It's required. And, well, that upsets me.
But I digress...
Anyway, it's hard to be supportive when you have people emailing you to ask that you not review their books. Which tells me two things:
1. They don't believe in the quality of their own book, which means it probably shouldn't be out there anyway.
2. The book is probably going to be something I won't enjoy for whatever reason, so, hey, thanks for saving me the time, because I can just take that off of the reading list.
As contrary as I can be, I don't actually like reading bad books. Though, you know, I will if asked to review them.
It still leaves me with the question of how to be supportive of other writers, especially other writers that I like. One review only goes so far, and I can only read so fast, which isn't that fast at all with all that I have going on. I have read a disappointingly small amount of books so far this year, a fact which is greatly distressing me, and I can't just read indie stuff, because there's traditionally published stuff I want to read as well.
But I did have an idea. Some of you may remember that back around the beginning of the year I held the Great Chocolate Contest. The idea was to have people write short stories based on The House on the Corner, and I did have a couple of great entries (one from Briane Pagel and one from Rusty Webb), but, as I said later, I don't seem to be all that great at running contests, even when they involve chocolate (and, Rusty, I just realized I haven't sent you your chocolate, yet, so don't let me forget about that when I send you your book). There was one other entry that didn't make it in on time, because, well, it was just finished recently, but it was from talking to Bryan Pedas about his story that I got my idea: why not feature the story at the end of one of my books.
So that's the big news. Shadow Spinner will be out as a physical book before the end of the June, and it will feature Bryan Pedas' short story "Like An Axe Through Bone." For the time being, this will be exclusive content for the physical book. I'm very excited about this inclusion and that Bryan wrote this story for me. I'm very pleased to be able to be showcasing his work like this if for no other reason than that he wrote the best book I read in 2012: Demetri and the Banana Flavored Rocketship. Seriously, this is a great book, and you all should read it. Well, go read the review and then go read the book.
I'm hoping to feature a "special edition" short story from another author in all of my full length works from now on. I can't actually think of a better way to support the indie authors that I enjoy reading than to say, "Hey, I like this author so much, I'm putting a story by him/her in the back of my book, because I want all of you to read it, too." That's the plan, anyway. And I have some other ideas, too, but that's what I'm working on at the moment. First up is Shadow Spinner with Bryan's story, and, then, hopefully, before the end of the year, there will be a revised edition of House out correcting some typos I've rooted out with a story by someone else. And, if I'm really good, Brother's Keeper will also be out before the end of the year with another story in it. If I have enough interest from people, I may even have different stories for the different types of publication, but I haven't decided that one for sure, yet.
There you go: My Big Idea.
But wait! Before you ask! No, this does not mean the end of the serialization of Shadow Spinner. The book will only be released as a physical book for the time being. The e-format book is on hold until the serialization is complete. For the time being, though, I'm going to be working on collecting the existing parts into collections, because, as Briane Pagel was pointing out recently, for anyone stumbling across Spinner on Amazon, it could be rather daunting to get into seeing as how there are currently 22 released parts, which would mean spending $22 for anyone that doesn't know I run as many as I can for FREE! on release days. And that's not what I want. I've actually been intending to do this for a while, but I was just too busy to take care of it with editing both Spinner and Charter Shorts, Too at the same time. Over the course of the summer, you should see things like parts 1-5 disappear and become just section one or something of that nature.
As with so much of what I did, this whole thing is kind of an experiment. It's certainly not something I've ever seen done before, having someone else's work sampled in the back of a book. I hope it's a good thing. I mean, I hope it works out to be a good thing for everyone involved. Of course, it's not like my sales are setting in charts on fire, BUT every little bit helps, right? and, if I can introduce even one or two readers to another author that I think people should pay attention to, then I want to do that.
[If you think you might be interested in sticking a story at the end of one of my works, let me know.]