Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Stories of the Heart

Back in 2009 I drove 700 miles to go clean out my parents' house while my dad was very ill. On the trip I got horribly sick with the swine flu (remember the swine flu?), and while lying in a hotel room with a fever and wallowing in self-pity (don't ever have the flu alone in a hotel if you can avoid it), I heard the then-breaking news of Jaycee Dugard, the woman who had been kidnapped as a child and held prisoner for 18 years before finally being freed. So I sat around, sick as a dog, watching dvds of vampire shows and pondering the amazing story of this courageous woman.

In the next 24 hours I wrote a story I called "Cat's Blood," a rather fevered stream-of-consciousness tale about a woman held prisoner by evil vampires.

I later tried to turn the story into something commercial--it won a couple of contests, I reworked it as a novel, but the spark went out of it. The story never sold to New York, coming along toward the end of the publishing industry's vampire craze, and at its heart being more a musing about the nature of forgiveness and free will than anything else. So I set it aside and let it go.

But the nature of this new publishing landscape has changed that.

While I'm working on revising my next two novels, I went ahead and published my old story in its original form, and it's now available on the Kindle.  Because it's not at all like my usual "brand" of sweet, heartwarming and G-rated cozies, I published it under the name Barb Lee (not exactly a pseudonym, but a bit different from my full real name).  It's a 99¢ short story in a glutted market so I'm not expecting to really make any money on it, but it's out there now, in the world.  I'm glad, since it was always something that I wrote from somewhere deep inside me, not a story written to be commercial or to impress anyone else.

Do you have any story like that?  Something you wrote because it mattered to you, because you had something you wanted to say? Something you never really thought about as part of a career plan, or publishing strategy, but something you just wrote because you're a writer, and writing is how you work out things in your mind and make sense of the world you live in?


Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Interesting post, Barb. I have bits and pieces of what could be stories someday, but nothing that's a complete story that isn't published or cued up to be published.

Though you've piqued my curiosity now and I have the urge to dig through my "ideas" files to see what's there. I haven't done that for a very long time. However, I'm going to resist that temptation--aka stall tactic--and keep moving forward through the things I need to accomplish now!

Congrats on publishing CAT'S BLOOD! I love that authors have a venue to publish stories that may not be deemed "commercial" by NY, but could touch readers' hearts.

Annabeth Albert said...

I feel similarly about my YA about the girl with diabetes. It is absolutely the book of my heart. But I'm not sure about self-publishing it.

I LOVE your cover!