Five Years Earlier…

9 Mar

As I continue to prepare my new book, Freedom/Hate for release (pre-order your copy today!), I have had some old friends stopping by for a visit in my head.

Five years ago this month, I sat down to begin writing Starlette (purchase your copy today!). It’s hard to tell whether I should feel as though it were only yesterday, or if it feels like a hundred years have passed since then. Either way, it was an exciting time for me.

The story began, oddly enough, five years earlier. As I was watching the Oscars red carpet show on television, I couldn’t help but get annoyed with the actors that I was listening to. The way they spoke about their films being “important” irritated me. They acted as though they were saving the world by making movies.

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This was the spark that started the fire. I started to ask myself what would happen if these actors did live in a world where they were faced to confront an enemy, and their only resources were their Hollywood talents? What if they were forced to rely on the actress who had starred on an action series, as though this were real training?

Though some have criticized my book for not taking this plot seriously enough, I don’t see how I could have. If you throw a Hollywood actress into the middle of a shootout, the results will usually not be pretty. This story had to be satire. It had to take that “important” element of filmmaking and show the world how absurd it really is.

The screenplay was written, but as it turns out, Hollywood doesn’t usually want to make a movie about their own destruction.

Over the next few years, I tried to approach the story from different angles. I considered turning it into a comic book series, which would have been fun. But something about the story didn’t feel quite right to me yet. There was an element missing.

In 2011, I started to consider turning the screenplay into a novel. But that wasn’t quite right. In order to fully capture the spirit of the story, I realized that it needed to be the book version of a TV series. It needed to be a serialized novel. Each chapter needed to be an “episode” of its own, telling a unique story, while working into the larger arc of the overall novel.

As I started writing the book and planning the release, I contacted one website that deals in distributing e-books. I asked about publishing a serial novel, and was told that I could not do it. In fact, they made a most on their website not too long after that, practically accusing anyone who wrote a serial novel of trying to break a normal book into parts and sell it over and over again, ripping off the readers.

To be clear, serialized novels go back centuries. It’s a time honored tradition, not a scam. If this company wants to sell books, they should probably know that.

While silently cursing them, I moved on.

Amazon introduced Kindle Direct Publishing in 2007. This platform would allow me to easily distribute the books myself, to anyone who was on Amazon. It was the perfect way to get the job done, though I did wish that they had a specific category on their site for serial novels (they later added one, but it doesn’t appear to still be active).

Starlette debuted on Amazon in July of 2011. One novella-sized chapter was posted every other week, until all thirteen chapters had been released. The only downside of this is that once the complete novel was put together and the separate chapters were no longer available on Amazon, I lost any of the reviews that they had earned.

The process of writing and releasing Starlette taught me that I wasn’t bound by the rules of traditional publishing. I can write any story I want, in any format I want, and release it how I want. This is something that writers have rarely been able to do over the centuries. It truly is a blessing to be able to go from writing a wacky action-satire, to a supernatural character piece about the aftermath of death (purchase your copy of Strange Fall today!). The sky is the limit for writers today.

For those wondering, Starlette and her co-stars are still around in my head. Their story continues. I’m just waiting for my chance to sit down and put some of those stories into words on a page.

 

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