If it’s news to you that I have been working to put out a short collection of short stories, that’s because I’ve been basically awful at announcing it, or telling people at all.
So let’s get that out of the way: I published Spirit Notes Fading a few days ago. Currently, it’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The book is a short collection of fantasy short stories, all fairly different, but with a few threads in common. Magic, music, journeys, and a sense of eerieness come up across the four stories in the collection. Here’s the summary:
A punk band struggles to save their show when it’s upstaged by the wail of a real banshee.
Across impassable seas and beyond lonely cities, two wayfarers journey across a vast continent.
A tired wanderer fights his impulse to run when he is hunted down with a magic photograph.
An ocean-sick miner steals a submersible to escape from the oppressive priest caste of a deep-ocean settlement.
When I say, “I published Spirit Notes Fading,” I mean that I self-published it, and I did all the work myself, except for some of the proofreading. I wrote the stories, revised them, copyedited them, designed the cover, designed the interior for both print and digital versions, and converted everything into the correct formats. There is a general idea that self-publishing is easy, and that anyone can just slap up anything with basically no work put into it at all. There’s a bit of truth to that; you can take a lot of short cuts; you can skip a lot of steps. To publish my own work with diligence, I had to level up a lot of skills. I’ve actually spent a few years working on those skills, because although I didn’t know until a few months ago that I was going to publish Spirit Notes Fading, I knew that I was going to publish some book.
I keep wondering about things I should have changed. Story-wise, edit-wise, format-wise. Did I leave too many tree branches in the cover? Is it just a mess? That kind of thing. But overall, I’m proud of the work I did, and I think I met the standard I set for myself.
However, as I said, I’ve been ridiculously inept at announcing it. “I have a book coming out!” is the sort of thing you’re supposed to announce on your blog, your newsletter, and whatever social media you use. Aside from promotion, it’s an accomplishment. Sharing accomplishments is generally considered an ok thing to do, right? As long as you’re not being showy, narcissistic, and ridiculous, like so:
“Wow, that’s a great story about your dead uncle. It reminds me of how I wrote a book.”
“As the author-publisher of the short story collection Spirit Notes Fading, I think I’d like to order a hamburger, no bun.”
“Hi, can I get a couple of scratch cards? Oooh, I can barely scratch off this silvery stuff, my hand is still so sore from all the computer work I did to publish my recent short story collection.”
But I’m so far on the introverted end of the spectrum that I feel weird even mentioning it. Even on my own website! In the past week, there were three times that I ran into people I hadn’t seen in awhile and it went kind of like:
“Hey, long time no see! What’s up with you?”
“Not much. Working. Need more hours.”
Some talk about other stuff.
“Oh, by the way, I wrote a book. That’s the kind of thing you tell people, right?”
And so this, right here? This is me telling you. I wrote a book. You can read it, if you’d like.