Dipping my toe...


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  1. #1
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    Dipping my toe...

    ...into the idea of publishing a lot of random crap I've got hanging out on my hard drive.

    I've compiled a bunch of short works I'm thinking about self-publishing as a small collection. I don't expect any real sales but I'd like to do things more or less in line with what others are doing.

    First question, I had thought to mix fiction with non-fiction pieces with each in their own section. I can't say that I've ever seen a book mix them so I'm wondering if this is generally viewed as a bad choice.

    The word count will be on the low side, as of now I've got about 30-35k all told. Is this too small? Obvs price would be negligible. I am doing it just to do it. If I need to wait until I've got more content that's fine as well.
    "Don't fuck with writers, we will describe you." -unknown

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  2. #2
    If it's just 'for fun' it doesn't matter much. I self-published a collection of three long-ish short stories that had done the rounds on submissions calls with no takers, and have sold a small number, mostly to people I know. It cost me $0.00 and the production values sort of show it with lack of fancy cover art and basic formatting. The word count is about the range you are describing, maybe a bit smaller. Stephen King sponsored a short story collection a couple years ago called Six Scary Stories which was obviously rather short, probably about the word count you describe.

    I guess as long as you're specifying in some way about how short the book is and price it accordingly (a book called 'Six Scary Stories' is going to be quite short - my own 'collection' of three horror stories is called '3 Black Eyes' and I am very clear its only three and it only costs $0.99)

    If combining fiction and N/F, is there any link (however weak) between the pieces? I have seen such compilations but they usually follow some sort of theme. For instance a couple of Stephen King collections out there include a non-fiction piece or two, but it still 'feels like King', if that makes sense.

  3. #3
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    They are only linked by not being linked in any way save for their author...which, in this case, is a terrible reason to have a connection.
    "Don't fuck with writers, we will describe you." -unknown

    My blog- Hidden Content thoughts on trauma and healing through psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy

    "When a child is abused, he or she will often internalise that abuse as deserved. It is a cruel reality that a child needs the parent so much, is evolutionarily programmed to trust them so implicitly, that when a parent is abusive the child will take the blame rather than completely upend their world and blame the person they depend on for survival." -velo

  4. #4
    A short fiction e-book would be good. I'd do the fiction separately because, as you say, that's how it's usually done. Mixing the fiction and nonfiction might just confuse people or put them off. You don't want the impression to be that you're offering a bunch of stray random stuff you just happened to have laying around anyway, but something more special than that for the reader.

    Along the same line of thinking, besides being separate from the fiction, I think the nonfiction pieces should have something to tie them together, even if it's just that the pieces are all essays or some other type of nonfiction writing. Otherwise, if it was the equivalent of, say, an autobiographical memory piece from childhood, a factual piece on the eating habits of giraffes, and a how-to article about making a breadbox, then it's back to that random collection of cast offs and imo not appealing. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Mm-hm. Ultimately it's about consistency and setting an expectation, isn't it? There's nothing wrong with being eclectic to a point but there's a reason death metal bands don't have a totally unrelated bubblegum pop number in the middle of their records. That reason isn't because their listeners don't necessarily like both of those genres, but because their listeners don't like them together in the same place.

    If I buy a collection I want the pieces in it to be tied together in some sense. They don't have to be all the same genre or style. They don't even all have to be fiction. But I want that book to hold together as a single entity so when I am reading it I don't have to make constant wholesale emotional switch every few pages between giraffe-feeding and splatter horror. I want it to feel like a book not just a jumble of random.

    I think the idea of incorporating NF and fiction is fine, but the non-fiction's subject matter should be thematically related to the feel of the fiction. I could, for instance, be OK with a collection titled 'Beyond The Grave' with a bunch of ghost stories and dispersed between some non-fiction on past life regression, funerals, whatever, because even though past life regression doesn't really have anything to do with with ghosts, it shares a vague supernatural and/or morbid theme that comes under the general umbrella of 'Beyond The Grave'.

  6. #6
    Black Mirror is a show that features totally unique stories...no central theme between them. Just bizarre stories of different flavors.
    Hell, they're not even made by the same people. Each story is made by a different cast & production company.
    The only commonality is that they all play under the same show banner.


    Velo; sounds like a good way to get your feet wet in the self-publishing business.
    Do it with a buncha material that was gathering dust, that you are not particularly attached to.
    Think of it like a crash-dummy book. You may even consider using an alias so it does not taint your future publishing efforts.
    There is a surprising amount to be learned about self publishing PROPERLY.

    Lemme know if you need any technical assistance.

  7. #7
    WF Veteran Galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velo View Post
    ...into the idea of publishing a lot of random crap I've got hanging out on my hard drive.

    I've compiled a bunch of short works I'm thinking about self-publishing as a small collection. I don't expect any real sales but I'd like to do things more or less in line with what others are doing.

    First question, I had thought to mix fiction with non-fiction pieces with each in their own section. I can't say that I've ever seen a book mix them so I'm wondering if this is generally viewed as a bad choice.

    The word count will be on the low side, as of now I've got about 30-35k all told. Is this too small? Obvs price would be negligible. I am doing it just to do it. If I need to wait until I've got more content that's fine as well.
    Hello Velo:

    I think self-publishing will surprise you.

    I also think you are underrating your abilities.

    Take on self-publishing as a multi-pronged challenge.

    Not only are you going to learn about the process of creating an eBook, you can explore other areas in the process.

    Look at your writing with fresh eyes. Can you improve on what you have written?

    With an anthology, a collection of short pieces, try to develop a rhythm using the mood and tone of each piece to orchestrate a sense of movement for the reader by organizing the pieces in a manner that takes them from joy to pain to discovery to hope for example.

    Also, there is eBook cover design, don't just slap on a simple cover. Explore your options to make a great eBook cover. Explore your creative side in that area, too.

    Then, there's marketing....

    Be prepared to spend more time than you expected on each step in the process.

    Good luck
    author/writer/desktop publisher

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