Writing vs. publishing

My first ebook went live last night on Amazon and Smashwords. Called Everybody Lies, it’s a mystery set in Alaska.

Everybody Lies

Alaska’s most hated lobbyist is dead. To State Patrol Lt. Paul Kitka, the case is simple — abused wife flees to Alaska, husband follows, wife shoots husband. In Alaska, the jury would acquit the wife, and it’s over. Except Candace Marshall says she didn’t do it. And it turns out that more than one person in Talkeetna had a grudge against the deadman. Suddenly the case isn’t so simple after all.

The book is one of six or so that I’ve written but never did much to try and sell it. Embarrassing really. I have always told stories. True ones in journalism, fiction ones in my home computer. I might let friends read them. I went to a couple of writer’s conferences. But the path to publication gave me the creeps. Learn to make a pitch. Write a query letter that sells. Get an agent.

I was too used to journalism’s hungry maws — feed me, I’ll take everything you write and beg for more. Book publishers seemed disdainful, playing hard to get. Writers’ conferences were these disfunctional events that reeked of egos and game playing. And I’d wander home, back to my world of daily writing — or teaching writing — adding to my files of novels. And keep writing.

Along comes the Internet, and the barriers to entry across all media making come down. News media, entertainment — it’s all more accessible now. I teach this stuff. Exciting times. Scary ones, as well. So finally I decide it’s time to try it out.

While I edited Everybody Lies, I also sank into the Kindle readers community. I read a lot. I read reviews, and enjoyed the comment wars that break out. I started to post a few reviews. Found writers whose blogs were rich with their thoughts about what they are doing.

I became part of a community of writers and readers. Rather than the hierarchy of the publishing track, this was more of a circle. It harkens back to story-telling circles. I can see me as a child making up stories and telling them to neighbor kids.

This is happening with established writers as well of course. A part of it is the ability of the Internet to allow communities of interest to form. Whether it is Amazon or Smashwords or Goodreads or multiple other places, readers and authors can engage with each other. But going the ebook route opens up the conversation to others like me who found the publishing route inaccessible.

So, Everybody Lies is up and running.

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