Who learns most from a good book is the author. - José Bergamín
Y’all have been pushing me for a book for a while now, and I’ve been talking about it for even longer, but at last the day is nigh! As I think I’ve mentioned in print somewhere, I plan to do two books, one of fiction and one of nonfiction. And given that I’m new to the whole self-publishing thing, I decided to do the fiction volume first because that way the “front end” would be easy, allowing me to concentrate on the “back end”; in other words, since most of the stories were already written I wouldn’t have to generate much new content and could devote my attention to all the details of actually preparing the product. Now that I’ve learned how to do all that (and set up the infrastructure to manage the business end), that aspect will be relatively easy next time and I’ll be able to concentrate on writing the composite essays necessary for the nonfiction volume.
There was also a bit of strategy involved in releasing the books in this order. There are two main reasons for writing books rather than just blogging: first, to make money; and second, to expose a wider audience to my ideas. And I believe both of those can be maximized by doing a volume of fiction first. Stories are more accessible than essays; one might say they have a lower entry threshold, and many people who would never pick up a book of essays by an author they’ve never heard of will happily buy a book of stories by the same person just because the description seems interesting or they like the cover art. If they enjoy those stories, at least some of them are likely to buy a future essay book with the same name on it, and even if they don’t ever give my nonfiction as much as a glance they’ll have been exposed to the central theme of most of my writing, both fiction and nonfiction: whores are not a special “type” of person, but rather just people like anyone else.
Since most of the content of this volume is already available for free on this site, I wanted to give the readers who choose to buy one something special. So not only did I write a new, longer-than-usual story for the collection which will not appear online, but I also wanted to have some top-notch cover art (I also figure an attractive cover will get more attention). Accordingly, I asked friend and regular reader Chester Brown (creator of Paying For It, Louis Riel and many others) if he’d do me the honor, and as you can see the result is magnificent (and you may recognize the model). As for the format and design of the book itself, I hope you’ll find it adequate; if not, one of the advantages of self-publishing for the reader is that he knows exactly who to blame! The official release date is Wednesday, but it still may take a few days for it to pop up in Amazon searches. You’ll be able to buy it four different ways: First, as an e-book; second, as a paper book; third, in an autographed copy mailed directly to you from my own stock (this will cost just a little extra because of the handling and all); and fourth, from me at a book signing, of which I plan to have as many as possible this year (and will inform you of as they come up). With any luck the book will sell well enough to attract the attention of a conventional publisher, but even if it doesn’t I plan to keep releasing new ones at least once per year or so in the future. Wish me luck!
UPDATE: You can now buy the book on Amazon for $15.95 US; it’s also available on Kindle for $8 US, but the autograph option (for which I’ll probably charge $30 US, with free shipping) may still be a few weeks yet. It’s also available for £9.95 in the UK and €11.95 in France, Germany and Italy. Readers in other countries will need to order it from the Amazon branch which gives them the best price and service, or directly from CreateSpace (international shipping applies), or from me once that option becomes available in March.