Category Archives: Selfpublishing

Mad Max Fury Road Common Threads (1 of 4)

Four potent visual motifs that appear in Mad Max Fury Road also occur in the four novels of the Trintico Tour Quartet.

The first novel in the quartet is I Town. In it, the people of Induction Town walk on giant treadwheels to generate electricity. In MMRF, access to Immortant Joe’s citadel is via a human-powered elevator. The energy that drives it is comes from humans walking on giant treadwheels.

The wheels have very different designs, opposite even. The MMRF wheels have the walkers outside, walking on revolving slats, like rungs on a ladder, while the wheels of I Town are huge drums with walkers climbing the inside curves. But the idea is the same. The apocalypse has turned the world upside down, inverted our existence. Instead of reaping the benefits of revolving motion, of wind or of coal powered turbines, we turn the wheels so the machine of civilation can go on operating, at our expense.

The harnessed human effort pumps water up from a deep well, giving Immortant Joe’s Citadel power and dominion over the masses below. It also engaged the second common thread, a highly effecient use of precious space on the mesas that make up the citadel. This motif is a feature in Agrarianna, the second Trintico Tour novel. Seeing it on the movie screen thrilled me.

More on that in Part 2.

Finding the Right Places

It’s been just over a year since I unpacked the first copies of I Town from the printer. Last year I traveled all over the place with copies, giving them to libraries and offering them to readers at libraries and bookstores. The highlight of the year was the Ozark Regional Craft Fair where I sold more copies than I had at all the other events of 2014 combined.

This year I began again, doing what I knew to do, mainly library author days. The problem with library author events and signings is that most people don’t come to libraries to buy books. The problem with bookstore events is that bookstores have lots of books about lots of things and the people who visit the stores have as wide and varied interests. Each person who walks through the door is as like to be interested in horticulture as dystopia, and if they’re there about African violets, then they’re probably not going to want steampunk.

But if I hadn’t gone to the author event at the Joplin Public Library, I wouldn’t have met Ellie Ann. And if I hadn’t had all that time to sit and chat with her, she wouldn’t have suggested Comic Con. And I wouldn’t have had the wonderful opportunity in St Louis to sell meet more interested readers and sell more copies in a single weekend than I did all last year, including that great time at the craft fair.

So, sometimes in the course of the self-publishing journey, we can think we’re getting nowhere, that we’re wasting our time. But being out there, doing something, even if it’s not bringing immediate success, is still all we can do until we find the things that do work.

Later this month I’ll be at Jackson, Mississippi, for the Mississippi Comic Con. Next month it’s Houston for the <a href=”http://spacecitycomiccon.com/” />Space City Comic Con. I can’t wait to meet new potential readers, to watch their eyes light up as they hear the premise of I Town, and to see them walking away with a copies in their shopping bags.

Writing isn’t really the sole and lonely activity we like to say it is. It’s about one person transferring an idea to another person. It’s about sharing those innermost and exclusively private ideas in my head with other people. Having boxes of unread copies of I Town in the next room has been one of the hardest parts of this writing and publishing endeavor. Now that I’ve found a great way to get those copies into readers’ hands, I’m not holding back!

Jackson, Houston, Little Rock, Collinsville, Cincinnati, Tulsa . . .

How I Town compares to Maze Runner

I Town and Maze Runner covers

Like the maze Thomas and his new friends are trapped in, I Town is a crucible, a place of constriction and forced change. Runners searching the maze hope to find a way out of their situation or an explanation of why they’re in it, but the population of I Town doesn’t doubt what it’s supposed to do, how to do it, or why. They walk. They are the best and most reliable renewable energy resource, at least the ones who are big enough. The question is, how long can they keep doing it? When Jackson gives Shevi a novel from the days of the old Carbon Nation, she gleans a truth that shakes the certainty of her world and makes her question everything she’s ever been told.

 

Fort Smith Public Library Book Talk

FSPLeventBanner

I’ll be at the Fort Smith Main Public Library, 3201 Rogers Avenue, at 5:00pm on December 9 to talk to the Page Turner teen reading group about I Town, teen fiction, the craft of writing, and the challenges of self-publishing.

Where did the idea of an entire society walking on giant treadwheels come from?
How was I Town different from anything else I’d ever worked on?
Why do I write for teens, and why do so many adults gravitate to that section of the library or bookstore?
When and why did my voice (as a writer) change?
Why did I decide to publish I Town myself and what did I give up?
How did I balance the art and business of producing a novel?

Go to the Facebook event page for more info

Friends of the Self-Published Author

The goal of writing is to share stories with readers. The word fulfillment in the world of online retails means getting products to buyer. To the writer it’s all about getting the story in front of the readers. When I decided to stop waiting for a publisher to take me on, I eliminated some links to readers. The big bookstore chains don’t want to deal with the indie and most indie stores can’t spare the resources. So I’m truely proud of the outlets I have and want to thank them for their help.

My local indie store Nightbird Books has graciously allowed me some valuable shelf space. Hastings Entertainment is open to author/publishers. I’m thrilled to have I Town on their shelves. And the Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis is such a beautiful store that I was shocked to realize it was an indie. I’m very proud of the fact that they accepted I Town.

Thanks to all of these retail outlets for giving me the chance to achieve fulfillment as a writer.

This is Self-Publishing (Shipping)

20140515_122720_resized_1The first run of I Town arrived last Thursday. It was a big day for us. It marked a milestone in a journey that began ten years ago when I decided to try to become a published writer and one that began three years ago when I did my first one-page sketch of the idea of people walking on a treadwheel. The day also included yet another of the odd tasks involved in the work of self-publishing: trucking a thousand copies of I Town home.

A pallet of boxes came from Grand Rapids and was supposed to be brought directly to my home. I paid a little extra for delivery by a truck with a lift gate to come to a residential neighborhood. I expected a two-and-a-half ton truck, the size of U-haul’s biggest rig. When the driver called and said he was in an eighteen-wheeler, I agreed that he probably didn’t want to try to navigate the streets in this old part of town. So I met him at another drop where he transferred the pallet from his truck to mine.

It was just another example of the things that pop up for a writer who decides to self-publish. Publishing a book, taking it from the double-spaced, Times New Roman 8-1/2X11 Word doc to a standard acceptable format and getting it into readers’ hands, is one of the most challenging tasks I’ve ever taken on. Writing is a lonely job, and that’s one of the things I like best about. But publishing is a massive job that has consumed most of my time over the last few months. If I weren’t by nature such a DIYer, I never would have made it this far.