Thursday 6 December 2012

DARK HEART - a.k.a. My eBook eXperiment, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Self-Publishing

Today* sees publication of my first short story collection - published by me!

Dark Heart collects six of my horror-themed short stories under one cover, including The Doll's House that first appeared in Solaris Books' House of Fear anthology, and is something of an eBook experiment. A way for me to test the waters or, to put it more bluntly, my popularity as a writer.


I'll be upfront with you here - all of the stories in the collection have been previously published somewhere else. And that was important to me when it came to bringing out a collection of my short fiction.

One of the reasons I haven't self-published before is because of the stigma surrounding the subject - the implication that self-published titles are shoddy, put out there without the critical eye of a professional editor checking them first. Well all of the stories in Dark Heart were originally commissioned and edited by professionals (and this collection has been copy-edited and proof-read again by the very wonderful Nimue Brown), it's just that I retained the rights to those stories so that today I can put out my own collection.

The full Table of Contents reads as follows:
  • Wraith Lights (originally published in World's Collider)
  • Fear to Tread (originally published in Phobophobia)
  • Incubus (originally published in M is for Monster)
  • The Pact (originally published in Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology)
  • Necropolis (originally published in Stories of the Smoke)
  • The Doll's House (originally published in House of Fear)

Long time readers of my work will recognise the name Dark Heart as the title of a Warhammer short story I wrote back in the day. That particular story was supposed to be called something else but in the end its title was changed by Black Library editorial to Dark Heart . The title never sat particularly well with me and I feel that it suits this collection much better.

So why self-publish? Well, to put it simply, why not? The Black Library's own Bill King is a great advocate when it comes to self-publishing (for professional authors), and crime writer Michael Jecks has recently brought out his own self-published collection of short stories.

Now is a great time for us writers to be embracing new technologies and seizing new opportunities. When so many are decrying eBooks as the death of publishing, and with advances dwindling, I feel that those who don't embrace these new opportunities are the ones who will be left behind and suffer as a consequence (and not necessarily publishing itself).

Self-publishing is also a great way to get content out there, to what might only be a niche readership, and still make it worth your while. After all, writing is my job, and I don't feel I should be embarrassed in admitting that I'm also trying to top up the coffers here. As long as the Internet exists, Dark Heart will remain 'in print' as it were. And talking of print, if you're an old school bibliophile, the processed tree carcass edition will be available soon via CreateSpace.

I have plans for more self-published collections and possibly even a novella, just to test the waters once again. In the mean time, if you pick up (or download) a copy of Dark Heart and enjoy the stories in the collection, your reviews on Amazon would be much appreciated. ;-)

Until next time...

* Or rather, technically, last night at about 11.30pm.

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