Let's do a quick update of my life in the last year:
Still working on the new version of Mister Mercury for the Kickstarter (Sorry, it's long overdue, but a series of editors kept dropping out due to personal conflicts. I found a new, reliable editor who will help me with the final stretch).
Still going to school, though now I have a job, which eats up even more of my free time.
Oh yeah, and I also invented an awesome personal word processor called the Write-O-Tron.
It's a simple computer powered by the Raspberry Pi- a tiny credit card-sized computer. It cannot use the internet. It cannot print. It does not have speakers. It, unfortunately, has very few functions whatsoever. It does one thing, and it does one thing well: It writes.
I got the idea from one of those really old word processors, those precursors to laptops-- you know, those things that are as portable and as useful for writing as a live Saint Bernard.
As much as Hermes might be proud of me for doing so, I cannot simply take the money given by my gracious Kickstarter backers and run.
I have to, at some point, produce a product. And though my updates on that matter have been scarce, that is exactly what I have been doing.
The current print edition of Mister Mercury is ruinously expensive. The only justification for its price is that it doubles as a billy club in tight circumstances.
That's why I had the idea for a Kickstarter. By putting money up front to buy my own ISBN and list it with Ingram myself, I will be able to sell it at an affordable price. I will even do some formatting magic and reduce its page count while increasing its font size. You won't be able to use it as a billy club anymore, but you could probably stun your attackers long enough to make a break for it.
And with the new edition, there comes a new cover!
Ah, summer vacation. When all the things you had been putting off come crashing down upon you in the space of a few short weeks, ensuring that whatever percieved break you may have envisioned was only the product of your sick, stress-starved mind.
During my summer vacation, which is over in a week's time, I made a Kickstarter for a new edition of Mister Mercury. The kickstarter will also go up in a week's time. But why did I make a Kickstarter for a book that's already out?
Well, throughout the year, since it came out in print, I have been trying to get it into book stores. The Lulu version might look great, and read very well, but it's incredibly expensive and Lulu doesn't offer a discount to book stores. So when I try to go into local book shops (which, in Portland, are about as common as fleas, because they like local EVERYTHING in Oregon), the answers they give me range from "Thanks, but no thanks," and "No way in Hell, and not in Heaven either, where there is no money and the roads are paved with gold."
My dark little corner of the internet has become, well, dark. I'm still in there, however, and if you squint, you can even see movement. Most of that movement is from doing research and typing, as I make school report after school report.
Some of that movement, however? Machinations. Conspiracies. Plots and, dare I say it, plans.
I am going to be making some personal appearences, each related to my writing, at not one, but three upcoming events.
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.
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.