Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"In the Primal Library" up at Three Crow Press

"In the Primal Library" is one of my favorite stories. It isn't all that "original" and doesn't "add anything new" to the genre. But it was fun to write. I grew up with a library just like the one described, and yes, the second floor was spooky as hell. They even had collections of National Geographic in boxes. At right around 1,500 words, it's perfect 'net length, so give it a whirl if you have a spare 5-10 minutes.

So I've been debating a "collection" of my work. I have a pile of published stories in print and online, and I'm sorta-kinda proud of some of them. Here's the dilemma: collections don't sell all that well (so I'm discovered through bits of research...and I believe it), especially by a nobody like me, so I'd have to proposition various small presses. Not a bad thing, in general, but most (if not all) small presses utilize POD technology (Lightning Source etc.)--the same technology to which I have access. Personally, I don't see any value in trying to find reprint homes for these stories individually (not when I'm still writing new stories and trying to place them). Value in a collection of them, sure. Value in individual reprints, no. Am I making sense?

Sorry for all the parentheses. (really)

But what do I do? I've imagined releasing a free/cheap ebook collection of them myself, printing a copy for my mom (you know how moms are, surely). My goal is to have people read my work, not necessarily make money. I'd love to add value to the collection, too...like explanations of the inspiration behind each piece. Desperately seeking advice here.

Well...enough of that. Today's NaNoWriMo inspiration:

Remember: characters must be pushed beyond their limits to see what they're really made of.


Rebecca Nazar said...

I enjoyed "In the Primal Library". Coming of age, thoughtful horror. Don't find that much within the genre, seemed newish to me.

Funny, but I held a rifle for the first time the other night when I visited LLBean. Creepy steel.

Aaron Polson said...

Becca - Maybe I was a little harsh to myself. I tend to do that. I saw a pink shotgun the other day. Bizarre.

Cate Gardner said...

I've printed out the story and I'm saving it for the ride into work tomorrow.

As I'm anti e-books (and hoping to remain that way despite being almost lured by a pink one the other day), I'd prefer it if you gathered a group of your stories together, added something new to the mix (perhaps a novellette) and subbed it to some of the larger small presses. Hadley Rille Books did a fabulous job on Camille Alexa's Push of the Sky and don't get me started on PS Publishing - I'd die to have a book/collection/anything with them. Plus Morrigan Books, another fantastic venue.

Ack, listen to me telling you to do what you've said you probably wouldn't do. I just hate to see you undervalue your work and I think that having a decent publisher behind you would help spread your name further.

I'll shut up now. Hopefully Barry or Josh Reynolds will be along in a moment with some knowledgeable advice.

Aaron Polson said...

I hear you, Cate (especially paragraph 2). What I don't want to do is try to sell each story individually as a reprint. A decent small press...I could go for that. But I don't know if I have the chops to make it fly.

Please don't shut up. The discussion is always valuable.

Cate Gardner said...

An old adage - you'll never know if you could if you don't try.

Katey said...

That was great fun-- very cool story. Your touch with building tension is so impressive. Rhythm is so impossible sometimes.

Carnegie and his libraries...

Anyhow, I obviously have no advice to give on the subject, since it's not something I'd consider for obvious reasons. (Being the impossibility of my writing more than half a dozen shorts in a given year.) However, I can tell you that if you decide to put out a collection on your own, I would absolutely buy it. If you only offered ebook, that'd be cool with me, but I'd snag a hard copy if they were available.

But I do think you could find a small press willing to put it out there, too, particularly if you were offering something new within. It's not an easy thing to do, surely, but what is, that's worth it?

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - you've got something there. I wish I was a little more "punk rock" though.

Katey - Clay Center (my hometown) is one of few orginal Carnegie buildings that still houses a library. Thanks for the input.

Sophie Playle said...

Congrats! I subbed to them recently... I emailed them to see where my submission is, and they said that they are currently emailing out the replies in batches. I'm taking it as a bad sign that you have got your response and I haven't!

Danielle Birch said...

I don't think you should undervalue your work either. Maybe a proposal to a small to medium sized press and see what they have to say.

Will read your story at lunch today.

Oh, and thanks for that brilliant inspirational photo today, it may just help with my ending :)

Aaron Polson said...

Sophie - I placed that story a year ago, so don't worry yet! Fingers crossed for you.

Danielle - Wonderful! Glad it could help. I've spent some free time doing a little research on a few small presses...we'll see.

Robert said...

You know me, I'm very business-oriented when it comes to stuff like this, so my suggestion is to look at the bigger picture ... which I'm sure you've done. Obviously your main goal is to reach as many readers as possible, but it's hard today, especially with just a print collection. Usually it's very small print run, very small readership. I'd wait until your book comes out; hopefully it gets reviewed favorably places, you gain more of a readership, and then you can use that to try to sell a collection to a decent press ... plus by that time you'll have had more stories published and pick and choose among your best. After all, I've always thought it best to do a collection of a few really great stories, rather than a solid number of just good stories. Quality over quantity, right?

L.R. Bonehill said...

I’m with most of the people here – don’t undervalue your work. You have a solid body of work and I’m sure you’d be able to put together a great print collection.

Cate’s suggestion of PS Publishing is something I’d go along with – they produce fantastic, beautiful books. Definitely worth a query – what have you got to lose?

I’m a big fan of seeing inspiration / story notes in a collection too, so that gets a thumbs up.

For the record, my Mom (you know how they are) read 52 Stitches from cover to cover and loved it!

Aaron Polson said...

Robert - always solid advice. I just have bouts of impatience.

L.R. - Moms are like that, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

I emjoyed the story, Aaron. A good venue, Three Crows Press.

And that's a cracking picture too. Very inspiring!

Cate Gardner said...

I read and enjoyed, In the Primal Library on the way to work. Powerful ending, Aaron.

K.C. Shaw said...

I loved the story! I thought it was very original, and I can definitely see why it's one of your favorites.

I think it's definitely worth looking into small presses about a collection. (And if you've got stories you don't think would belong in a collection but don't want to fool with reprint rights, you can always send them to anthologybuilder.com.)

Jamie Eyberg said...

I would say if you have a new short novella/novelette that could front a collection with you could really be onto something. I would definately contact some of the small presses and see what they could do for. (Apex anyone?) The worst that happen is they say no, and we are all used to that word.