Like most writers, I have written a lot of shit. I mean that both figuratively and also quite literally. I have written, at last count, more than 100 short stories and 7 novels. Of these, there is a fair proportion that is actual shit. Probably at least 20 short stories and at least 3 of the novels.
So, what does one do with the shit pile that’s left behind? The stuff that hasn’t been published and the stuff that should never be published? I think it’s a valid questions for an author, any author. I’ve been doing this writing thing now, man and boy, for about 25 years. I’ve had some limited success that seems, finally, as if might be growing into middling success. And I have this pile of previously written stuff to deal with.
Do I close the drawer on it and hope that it won’t see the light of day until someone has to compile my vast literary estate following my demise? Or do I mine it for things that might be useful?
Indeed, I have done the latter, from stealing lines or chunks from some of them to add to what turned out to be better short stories or novels. I’ve taken some of my older shorts and completely rewritten then, with successful results (see “Show Me” in Dark Visions Vol. 1, for example). I’ve also completely rewritten two of my earlier novels and turned them into what I believe are pretty damn good books…namely The Bell Witch (previously titled, ugh, Her Unremembering Way, and Kill/Off, (previously titled, ugh, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).
The reason for this right now is that I’ve got two novels that I’m quite proud of that never went anywhere, for whatever reason. I’ve secured the rights to these two books, and I’d like to do something with them. They’re fantasy books, a created-world series cast in a sort of Arabic setting. Their titles are The Cloud Gatherer and Heir to the Sand.
They’re about 20 years old, and I rewrote them about four years ago on a lark. And they’ve sat ever since. A good internet friend of mine by the name of Lenny (follow him on Twitter at @mindcryme) recently found these two books online at Amazon, read them and loved them. And it got me thinking of something that I’d been toying with for a while.
Publishing is changing, my friends, whether we like it or not. Self publishing and small presses have taken much of the lead from traditional publishers in bringing new stuff to the market. Now, some of it…OK a lot of it…is dreck. But some of it is fresh and new and appealing and wouldn’t have ever been seen under the old publishing model. And we’re beginning to witness authors take the reins of their own work and bring it to market themselves, sometimes with astounding success. Think Hugh Howey.
I’ve been thinking of dipping my toes into the self publishing market as an experiment. I’m still unsure, but doing some kind of Kickstarter or Indiegogo project might make sense for me, with some of my work. I’m thinking that these two books might be an interesting experiment to play with.
A Kickstarter/Indiegogo project to bring these two books to market would involve raising enough money to hire an editor, secure covers, get a designer to layout the books, secure ISBN numbers and then have some money leftover to market them. Since they’re outright fantasy, I don’t know how much crossover there’d be with my horror audience, so marketing would be important.
I love these two books, and people seem to love them, too. I have ideas for at least two more in the series, and would be interested in writing them if there’s an audience.
Anyone want to chime in on this idea? Whaddaya think? Is it worth a little exploration? Anyone have any experience with these types of projects?