Exclusivity is a comforting blanket in the deepest, darkest night. You want it, it’s easy, it’s warm, and it doesn’t ask for much from you. But out there, past the fringes of your campfire, you can tell that the world goes on and on and on and there’s no way that one blanket is going to be enough. So you take it, tie it around yourself, then go searching for every tool you can grab to help you explore. Clothes, a flashlight, your phone, a map, a flare gun, and maybe a backpack full of comic books for when the going gets boring.
In this labored metaphor, all of those things, for an author (like me!) are stores. Are elements where books can either be sold or publicized. Where the author’s personality can be cast out, like a flare fired from that gun, into the night in hopes of attracting the attention of readers (or filmmakers, producers, or obscenely wealthy castle owners that would like an artist-in-residence). The point being, while one of those tools may be the most useful, and it might be easier to just use that one tool, you put yourself at risk. What happens if that bear comes and takes that tool away? It’s well-known that authors are the frequent targets of bears. I swear I read that somewhere.
Anyway. As has been noted on this blog previously, I pulled Wild Nines out of exclusivity on Amazon and am in the process of slumming it around to every outlet that’ll have it. I’ve also revised and updated the cover – because branding – on the 40-page short story The Metal Man that takes place in the same universe and set that around too. The Metal Man is free, in the interest of picking up rogue readers. Kinda like food at the bottom of the river for sturgeon – people looking for freebies might suck it up, like the taste, and then spring for the big ones. It’s a bet that may or may not pay off, but we’re playing the long game here, so we’ll see what happens.
One of the strange things about doing this full-time, and by “this” I mean attempting to write words and then pitch those words like so many baseballs at the readers of the world, is that the available work expands to fill the space. I mean, here I am typing this at 10 PM on a Friday night because, you know, there’s always something that needs doing. When I still had the day job, tackling things like rolling the books out to different vendors, revising the cover of a short story, or planning other works, would take weeks. Or would take a single dedicated week to one task. But I did most of that today, and wrote the next 4000 words of Riven (title still in flux). I’ll sample that one next week for folks that want a taste of the dark fantasy/steampunk trilogy I’m putting together.
So what’s the point of this post? Ultimately, it’s that I’m excited to have full control of my material. To be able to do what I want with it, whether or not that makes any money. It’s fun. It’s freeing. And there’s limitless opportunities out there to grab. Now if I could just pick one…
Today’s Opening Lines: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Guy Montag = great name for a character. One of the main themes of the novel is the suppression of creative spirit and independent thought through the removal of books by burning (hence the fire in the image above, cause I’m clever). In today’s world, and I’m evidence of the fact, it’s easier than ever to get words into the public sphere. It’s harder to suppress information, especially in the developed world, than ever before. However, Ray Bradbury’s firemen have their modern equivalents in the people that serve as arbiters of truth – the ones who say, on television, in mass media or elsewhere, what does and does not qualify as fact, as legitimate, or as worthy of attention. Actual book burning may not be a real threat, but the suppression of ideas is still something that is very much a part of our society.
Have a stellar weekend, peoples!