I self-published my first book Secret Things over twenty years ago. It was a wonderful time, full of new people and experiences that have yet to be matched.
My second book Need was to have been published by a small publishing company here in Toronto, but its American distributor closed its doors due to bankruptcy the week the entire print run of Need arrived in their warehouse. After this and various other personal and professional setbacks, I thought I should get out of the publishing industry.
Thankfully I managed to pick up the threads of the abandoned writing career and am once again writing, but mostly, these days, I am rewriting and editing in an attempt to get caught up with all the work I had planned to release but didn’t.
Secret Things was released in an expanded e-book format at the end of July of this year. I was going to re-issue Need in a similar fashion two months after Secret Things, but I’ve had a change of plans. Why? One word: free.
Of all the articles I have read about indie-publishing, the one piece of advice that seems to resonate the most is that if you release a title for free, you will get attention. It’s the one thing in short supply on the Internet, which is where most of us indie-authors try to get our work noticed, bought and discussed. And while I am not a supporter of free giveaways, the more I sat with the concept, the more I wanted to tweak it to my advantage. (Writers have traditionally gotten the shitty end of the short stick, so why oh why would we voluntarily do it to ourselves?) Here’s what I came up with…
Bear with me while I backtrack a bit. In the five years between the release of Secret Things and the aborted release of Need, I had amassed a lot of short stories. A lot. It seems as though I had forgotten just how much material I had written until late last year when I decided to go adapt one of my screenplays into a novel. It occurred to me that I should reissue some of my older work in e-book format, and when I dusted off the backup discs, I was surprised to learn how much I had written.
It took weeks to sort through the material, and when I had finished, I had (in addition to Secret Things and Need) another collection of short stories, one completed novella and two partially finished novellas. I put my novel-in-progress on the back burner and began the task of editing and rewriting, sorting, poking and tossing. The result is Now… Where Was I?
So now that you’re up to date, you’re probably wondering where the free comes in. I thought that instead of giving an entire book away, I would piece together an anthology that would be free to download and had a little bit of each of the titles I would be releasing over the coming couple of years. It would give readers and potential readers a taste of where I started and where I was presently. A sampler. Simply put, I have chosen several stories from each collection of short fiction, sequences from each of the novellas and the first two chapters of my novel. All bound up together and absolutely, positively free.
At this point I don’t know how my strategy will play out. The sampler Now… Where Was I? was released on October 23, 2014. Due to the fact that it is a free, it won’t be available on Amazon, but you can get it from the Smashwords page, or click here for a list of online retailers that carry it.
Secret Things and Need are both available from numerous online retailers as well. Click the above titles for their respective pages featuring story information, reviews, and links on where to buy and/or download.