Thoughts on Self-Publishing

My good friend (plus excellent writer and God-pimp) Maurice Broaddus recently wrote a nice essay on why he hasn’t self-published.  Go read it.  It’s a good essay, and every part of it is true, especially the “Money should flow to the writer” bit.

After reading the essay, it got me thinking about self-publishing and the different ways it can be used and abused.  See, it’s a different evil depending on the type of work.

For prose, self-publishing should be avoided at all costs.  If you want reasons, go read Maurice’s blog.  Sure, it’s fine for hobbyists, but it will not make your career.  Every once in a while I see some talented writer pushing some half-pro/half-trash looking thing, and it makes me want to throttle somebody.  They’re making themselves look like a joke.  Instead of realizing this, however, they consider themselves mavericks of the publishing field.  Gah!

Which is not to say self-publishing your prose can be all bad.  I’ll add this exception to the rule: free promotional items.  The little “A Team-Building Exercise” chaps I’m putting together for STAPLE! are an excellent example of this.  I’d never dream of charging somebody for these things, but they do make for a rather cheap way of getting my name out there to 100 lucky folks.

Now, I tried the same thing a few years ago with some other stories, but I sold them for one dollar.  A year later, I recycled about 94 of them.

Then there’s comics. Self-publishing is often a badge of honor in comics.  A lot of incredibly talented people started out that way (and a few stayed that way).  Hell, when I pitched one of the major comics companies back in 2002, I was told, “We usually only published people who have self-published before.”  True story.

But you know what?  Self-publishing comics is no business for a writer.  Hell, I’ve found over the years that pitching comics is no business for a writer.  If I were an artist I would have self-published a book years ago.  Instead, I’ve spent the last three years going through the same pitch, waiting for various artists to turn in pages for a year before they either get their own deals or decide they want to self-publish their own books.

It’s a vicious circle of sorts.

So there you have some of my own thoughts on self-publishing.  Feel free to send comments and/or hatemail.

Bracing for Impact

Three days left until STAPLE! and the official start of my convention season.  True, I don’t have a big convention season.  I don’t know how I’d ever afford one.  Truth be told, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to do STAPLE!  I inch farther away from comics each and every day.  I guess we’ll see, but I know I don’t want to be that guy still trying to sell the same three graphic novels four years from now.

Tonight, I have to finish putting together the “A Team-Building Exercise” chaps.  I hate to put things off to the last minute like that, but a family emergency has left me a little aimless for the last month.  Between that and working feverishly on rewrites for several projects, I’ve barely kept myself from spinning off into orbit.

With any luck, STAPLE! will change that and I’ll feel some return to normalcy.  Even if it doesn’t, I have to hit the ground running.  It’s impact, and another stretch of conventions follows along behind it.

Here we go.

Another Year Older… Not Bad

I turn 31 tomorrow. Now, before you run for the hills, let me assure you this is not one of those “I feel old” posts. Nope. I like turning 31. No problems with it or the aging process. Balding at the tender age of 17 will have that effect.

Okay, so I wasn’t happy about going on cholestorol medication this year, but I can deal. I’m a big boy, now. Fuck, I’m 31!

The last year has been a good one. I built on the career, and actually made it to the point where I can say cool shit like “Important announcement coming soon!”

I became a home owner.

I dropped twenty pounds. I put a lot of it back on. I started exercising. I kinda stopped exercising.

I wrote seven drafts of three different novels. I wrote four drafts of the same novella. I sold five short stories. I was invited to two anthologies. Invited! Me!

I had a beautiful baby girl.

I made that last one up. Never happened.

I reconnected with all of my brothers after several years.

I killed a bear with my hands.

Made that one up, too.

I had a lot of sex. Sometimes with a partner!

I ate both scallops and mussels for the first time, and I loved the hell out of both of them.

I broke a lawn mower (actually, we don’t know who broke the lawn mower, but we assume it was me).

I did not, at any time, wash my car. I did, however, get a tape stuck in the tape player. All class, baby!

I didn’t kiss Shawna nearly enough for my own liking.

I’ll fix that, though!

So here’s to 31. Raise a glass and give us a toast. It’s gonna be a fun ride!

Upcoming Appearance: STAPLE!

On March 1st, I’ll be appearing live in front of your steaming eyes at STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo (and best comic con in at least 300 miles).

This will be my fourth year at STAPLE!, but I’m more excited for this year than I have been for any other.  Guests of Honor Brian Wood and Eric Powell are two of my favorite creators working in comics today, and landing them is a great step forward for the con.

This year, I’ll have copies of Drive, A Trip to Rundberg, and Brian Keene’s FEAR at my table, as well as a few copies of The Dead Walk Again!  On top of that, I’ll have a FREE short story chapbook for the first 100 folks to stop by my table.  Come by and pick up a copy.  I’ll be the bald guy drinking hot tea all day.

STAPLE! is being held March 1st, 11am-7pm at the Monarch Events Center on the northwest corner of the I-35/Hwy 290 interchange in North Austin.

Joining The World Again

The last ten days could best be described as “A Clusterfuck of Epic Size.” Between the countless hours of sitting around waiting, visiting family, pouring over manuscript pages, checking emails, leaving work, trying to fit more work in because I only have so much vacation time saved up, trying to figure out why my paycheck was so small, waiting to hear from important people wearing long coats, and stress-eating, I’m fairly certain I’ve lost five years off my life.

That said, it’s starting to look like things are turning a positive corner.  The main clusterfuck-generator is working itself out nicely.  It’s not 100% better, but it’s getting there.  Those manuscript pages are waiting on my desk for me to enter them into the computer.  I’m back off the fast food after a five day binge.

And while I can’t announce a book yet, I am at the point where I can say I’ll announce something as soon as the contracts are signed.

It’s good to be back in the world again.

Falling down the hole again

I skipped most of Lost’s third season.  After facing the unbearable bore that was their six-episode mini-season, I just couldn’t stand to subject myself to any more.  What had once been enthralling television was reduced to a plodding, lackluster mess in just six short hours.

Then I saw the season three finale.  I don’t know what possessed me to watch it last May, but I did.  I was astounded at how easily I was able to understand everything (which just tells me how little actually happened in the third season).  I was also amazed at how quickly I was sucked in by two hours of television that didn’t, well, suck.

So I have last night’s season four premier on my DVR at home, and I’ll be watching it tonight.  Time to fall down the hole again.  Let’s hope I don’t crash like last year.