Ladies and people-who-should-have-been-banned-from-polite-society-centuries-ago, the time has come for me to make the declaration that the world of E-Reading kind of sucks.
The eBooks themselves are not at fault. Their file sizes are incredibly small, they easily transfer over the internet, and the majority of them are public domain, allowing millions of people without means to own and read digital copies of their favorite classics without having to pay a dime.
I worked hard on the Mister Mercury ebook. I made dang sure it was good and validated, that it had all its type fonts embedded, that its margins were hunky-dory, that its images were included, and that its cover was high-resolution. I was so pleased with it, I made a second, scallywag-themed version expressly for the purpose of allowing my readers to steal it if they so choose. And it paid off! It’s easy to navigate and looks beautiful on most any device it’s viewed on, unless that device happens to be a Kindle and therefore stupid.
So, the eBooks on their own are not inherently bad.
Everything else surrounding eBooks, however, is a clusterfuck.
The polite thing to do (and the common thing, in fact), would be to explain my absence from the Internet.
That is an expected behavior that infrequent bloggers such as myself.
To vanish without a trace with no explanation and then come back months later, palms to the air, and say, "Come on guys, life happened."
A paltry excuse is offered; infrequent blog posts resume, only to stop again a few months later. Life, in short, continues.
I will not do that.
Instead I will say that there is this thing called Read an Ebook Week on Smashwords, and Mister Mercury is part of it.
From March 2-8, Mister Mercury is free on Smashwords. You can purchase it (for nothing) here. All you have to do is enter the coupon code "RW100" at checkout and it is yours!
Of course, I could mention that Mister Mercury is always free consididering that I myself have released a special piracy editon for the exact purpose of allowing people to read it for nothing, because I would rather have them read it and not pay than to not read it at all.
But I will not do that.
That would be silly.
There's a promotion going on after all.
I wrote a book.
Perhaps I shouldn't say it was written, more like it was... forged. Molded. I took a chunk of raw material and beat it into shape over a long period of time-- too long.
I wrote my book in break rooms. I wrote it in restrooms. I wrote it when I was supposed to be spending time with other people. I stole time from work so I could work on it. I sat on it for a while. Some people threatened bodily harm if I didn't share it with the world. So I worked on it some more.
Let us say that you, like me, have spent a great deal of your life very poor.
Let us also say that you, like me, like to read, because it opens your mind, increases your vocabulary, and just generally is a lot of fun.
And let us also say that you happened upon a book reading device of some kind, perhaps a smartphone, or a tablet, or an $80 Sony Reader you found in your favorite used bookstore in Flagstaff.
Well, friend, I have been there. I understand.
Let us also say that for whatever reason, you wish to read Mister Mercury: A Modern Greek Myth, my eight year Herculean labor about Greek gods, super heroes, and religious satire-- but you do not have four dollars to spend.
However, because of your aforementioned poverty, you are not above downloading the occasional movie, TV show, ebook, or other piece of media. Maybe you've got a list that you keep, of all the things you may have downloaded, and maybe, when you've got a little more money, you will start purchasing those things legitimately to finally contribute to the people who brought you all this entertainment. Or maybe you won't.
My friend, I understand. Like I said, I have been there.
And I have something for you.
I've been working on Mister Mercury for almost a decade, which is a little excessive for a first novel, assuredly, but I felt it was worth it. It was a good story that needed a LOT of love for it to finally shine through. I have read countless articles and blog posts by smart, serious, bespectacled authors who each smugly attested that if you find yourself slaving away at your first novel for x number of years, then maybe it's because it's not working, and maybe it's time for you to let it go.
Well, Mister Mercury was not one of those novels. It wasn't a broken, immature concept that was clever on the surface and tiresome in execution (as those articles eloquently assured me it was). It was a good story, albeit a complicated one, one with many characters and many events and was maybe a little too ambitious for a first novel.
It was working. It just needed some oiling, and for a few of its parts to be taken out, spit-polished, and put back in places that wouldn't break everything when you turned it back on.
My friend Matt Chapman (@Wadatahmydamie) does a lot of nice things for me that I don't often enough repay. He frequently offers helpful critiques and promotes my work on Twitter far more actively than I do, because he is actually active on twitter and I'm not. He and I are currently working on a particular conspiracy, the machinations of which I will not mention, or else it will not be much of a conspiracy.
Months ago he mentioned that he'd like to start working on writing projects larger than 140 characters, and I offered that if he came up with something good, I would post it on my website. Well, he did come up with something good, and I sat on it for months and months because I do that sometimes.
So here it is: A formal declaration in the war on Christmas. I don't personally have many feelings at all about Christmas, as to me it hasn't ever been more than an excuse to celebrate, in the coldest, darkest parts of the year, a highly repeated misconception. But it as an excuse that brings families together and puts more alcohol in veins than usual, so I can't feel that resentful about it.
I do hate Christmas music though. I'm waiting for the day that I can walk into a grocery store or some other public place during the holiday season and hear them playing death metal instead. I don't particularly like death metal; I'd just like to hear it during Christmastime, if only just once.
But to each their own. There is eggnogg during the holidays, and eggnog is delicious. There can't be much wrong in a scenrario that involves eggnogg, can there be?
There is a man named Tom Litchenberg on the internet, and he is a treasure. He's a writer, a pretty darn good one, often delving into science fiction, fantasy, or whatever tickles his fancy. The best part, however, that he does it all for free. He releases all of his stories for no charge at all on Smashwords. He has fans, and they clamour for him to sell his work, so that they can somehow give him money, however, he does not bow to their demands. He writes for free. He writes for the Common Man. He writes for the sheer love of it.
But friends, it doesn't end there.
Additionally, he reads indie authors in the time he is not writing stories and reviews their work on his website, Pidgeon Weather Productions. He frequently plugs indie authors and will go out of his way to go leave reviews on their Smashwords or Amazon or iBooks pages if he likes their work.
I wish I could say his generosity ends there.
But friends, it does not end there.
The months of silence have come to an end. My classes lay slain before me. I no longer need to cower from the limitless distractions of the internet and hide beneath mountains of schoolbooks.
I have returned, friends. You are aimless no more.
The eve of Mister Mercury is upon us, and I have something to show for it. I have built a website for it, separate from this one. It is located at http://mistermercurybook.com. I have more information about the impending release, which is on January 15th, 2014. To break it down, I have asked hypothetical questions that you may or may not wish to ask and have immediately answered them, because I am courteous like that. Some of these questions, however, are questions that have actually been asked, so it is not completely facetious.