A few new things going on since the last update (and a question for the readership at the bottom of the page):
I’m doing a couple of book reviews for Innsmouth Free Press over the next little while (might be more later, we’ll see) and the first of them is up on the website as of the 14th. You can click on the section header above to read my review of James Herbert’s The Secret of Crickley Hall.
And I’m sure that at this point some of you are wondering why I’m reviewing a Herbert novel that came out back in 2006. The reason is that there was a North American re-release back in July (through Tor Books), and it’s the re-release edition I’m reviewing.
You should have a look. I had a good time with the book, and as any of you who have read my articles in Sol Rising already know I have a tendency to digress, sometimes in an academic sense, sometimes in a more trivial one. But, you’ll definitely come out of the experience with something new in your kit bag.
Apparently there’s a website that goes by the name of Free eBooks Daily (yeah, I know, it was news to me too), and on August 20th they put up a link to An End to Dreaming (<- that’s the Smashwords page, ^ the section header above is the link to the Free eBooks Daily page for the novella). The assortment of books listed on the aforementioned website is a little eclectic for my tastes – I’m all for diversity, I’m just not sure I like having my work grouped with some of these other items – but it’s a free boost for a project that is entirely about looking at what happens when you don’t do any promotion of your own.
Actually, I’m hesitant to count this in as an applicable part of the experiment, because it seems rather random, whereas the steady increase in copy sales of An End to Dreaming at the various websites that stock it can be attributed to word of mouth and (very slowly building) sales rankings.
Still, it feels nice to have someone – even if it’s an entirely random act, which this may well be – put up a link to my work. Now if only I could get a full review of the piece …
Incidentally, anyone who wants to do a full review of An End to Dreaming should feel absolutely free to do so, post it, and let me know so I can link to it. I’ve been debating setting up a page on this site for Reviews of my work. But then, of course there actually have to be reviews of my work to make that happen, don’t there?
ChiZine Publications is Awesome in So Many Ways
I was at the Chiarsocuro Reading Series event “A Chill in the Air” last night (September 14th). Helen Marshall (who I’m in the Future Lovecraft anthology from Innsmouth Free Press with later this year), Katharine Govier and Mark Sedore all read from their respective works. In Helen Marshall’s case she read both poetry from her collection Skeleton Leaves and short fiction that may or may not have been from her upcoming CZP produced collection Hair Side, Flesh Side (it was more than eight hours ago and as far as I’m concerned we’re still having the tail end of last night, so I’m a little fuzzy on the minor details). Katherine Govier read from her newest novel The Ghost Brush and Mark Sedore read from his 2009 3 Day Novel Contest winning novel Snowmen.
All in all quite an excellent night. Also, I relish the opportunity to see and engage with friends and other more general acquaintances at the ChiZine events, despite my natural tendency to converse mostly with people I already know.
And being at the event got me thinking about the upcoming Spec Fic Colloquium ChiZine is holding on October 15th. ChiZine will be holding the Colloquium in lieu of their regular monthly reading series event. If this one is anything like the last one it’ll be a huge investment of time and effort to pull it off – absolutely worth it – but it’s simply too much work for a relatively small publishing house like ChiZine to pull off two events so close to each other (the Reading Series events run the second Wednesday of the month).
Any of you who are able to make it to the Colloquium absolutely should come. Mike Carey is the Guest of Honour this time round, and what a guest. What hasn’t the man written? Not to mention the fact that much like Neil Gaiman he’s one of those writers who can actually carry off the black leather coat bit without looking like he’s posturing (’tis a rare and much to be envied skill). And the rest of the lineup is quite spectacular as well, though after one mentions that Peter Watts, Lesley Livingston and Caitlin Sweet are going to be there does one really need additional reason to buy a ticket?
You should come. All the cool people will be there. And, you know, me.
Audience Participation (Sans Screaming)
So, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to writing material specifically for specialty or “niche” markets.
The pro: I love a challenge. I enjoy the test of writing to a specific requirement or guideline – submitted to markets like Short, Fast and Deadly, for instance, where the requirement is no more than 420 characters (including spaces) worth of text. Or Six Sentences, which literally requires one to craft a piece of work in exactly six sentences. That guideline appears deceptively simple (six sentences is easy – actually saying something in six sentences requires a gift for language, not simply being able to clatter away at a keyboard like a drunken mystical-kung-fu wielding monkey [yeah, I don’t know where that came from either]).
The con: I’m a highly esoteric writer. Less “concrete” than many writers tend to be. I’m also a highly descriptive writer, which means that I don’t tend to favour the sparse, almost ascetic prose most editors do except in the form of single lines interspersed in lengthier material in order to create impact. I have been called florid. I have been accused of using “purple prose” (which isn’t at all true – my prose never tints beyond indigo). Mostly, editors just tell me that what I write is exceptionally beautiful but they can’t take it (often, for very valid reasons, but that still means another rejection …).
Years of being told you are an excellent writer and people want to see more of your work but aren’t interested in buying what you are sending them now is both elating and discouraging – often in the same breath.
So, do I have a point? Why yes, yes I do:
Because some of this work is exceptionally difficult to place after it’s intended market says no, I’m debating putting up some original shorter (really micro) fiction, and potentially some poetry (yes, you may laugh now) up for free on the website, probably under it’s own page in some kind of “Free Fiction” section.
Here’s the audience participation part:
Please do answer the poll. It takes but so very little of your time, and you’ll be helping me by donating your time, and you know, saving the whales and … doing other awesome stuff.
Well, I think that’s enough to chew on for now. New updates in several days time (could be longer, could be shorter, depends on the updates really).
In the meantime, the sun is rising here, and I must retreat into the cool darkness to
meditate on my plans for world domi go to sleep. Night all.