Martin Lastrapes & Signal over Noise

Not long ago, an author with whom I work via Exciting Press, Martin Lastrapes, asked me if I’d participate in a blog tour for him. I first encountered Martin several years ago when he wrote a post about being independent and what it meant for him and his passion for both telling stories and getting them out there.

When I was in my early to mid-twenties, I used to go to bars to see my buddies play in a band which went through several line ups and iterations. In those bars, I often felt like a lot of those aspiring bands attempted to use volume to make up for their lack of talent. I feel the same way about a lot of the current writing/publishing scene lately, which is why I’m so happy to work with Martin–dude’s got chops. I don’t know what sales of his novels are like, but I know his debut, Inside the Outside, is among the best I’ve read. It’s just so creepy and surreal and so utterly matter-of-fact about both. I can’t imagine anyone else who could make a lesbian’s escape from an incestuous, cannibalistic religious cult seem un-extraordinary, and that’s the highest praise I can offer.

I know what sales of his short stories are like, because those I’ve worked with him to publish. Healthy, certainly, but short stories are still a difficult thing to market.

What we share in common is the idealistic hope that, ultimately, quality will bear out. That things like “building a platform” and etc. are all just noise when what we really need is writers who produce a signal.

So this is his blog tour, I think. I haven’t blogged much lately. Sometimes I think about it, but there’s always something else to write or publish. I might not have blogged much in the past year, but I’ve published like a dozen books, and they’re all amazing.

That’s actually the answer to the first question (there are four).

What am I working on now?

Exciting Press. Independent digital literature. Sure, I’ve got half a dozen works in progress, including two or three novels, a non-fiction piece, a couple of scripts, and several short stories. My ideas aren’t going anywhere, though, and for now what feels vital to me, what feels important, is what I’m making possible. I’ve written two novels I’m damned proud of, both of which have been received positively and one of which was, for a brief and shining moment, the most popular ebook in the world.

And that’s why I’ve wanted to focus on Exciting Press. That’s why I wanted to focus on the amazing authors who’ve given me a chance to produce their stories as ebooks. That’s why I wanted to break publishing, once and for all, by totally up-ending How Things Are Done. That’s why I’m using a limited-term license (7 years) and offering my authors 70% of everything that comes in.

In a time when corporations think that 25% royalties is fair, I want to be the signal demonstrating it’s not.

To that end, I’m working on the final installment of Nick Earls’ new Brisbane Rewound trilogy, Bachelor Kisses. I’m also working on a couple of other novels from some other authors I’ve signed, but Nick’s latest novel The Fix was just published by Amazon, so it’s in front of me.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

To be honest, I don’t even know what this question means anymore. Genre is really just readers’ way of sifting through books on the Kindle bestseller lists. I don’t really write to genre: I write to story. I want to write the most exciting and visceral stories I can manage, and I usually want to subvert any genre they’d ostensibly be part of. My first novel, Meets Girl is sort of an urban fantasy, but really it’s a debut literary novel that in addition functions as a satire of debut literary novels.

My time travel novel probably bears the influences of Michael Crichton and Dean Koontz more than anyone.

Like I said, I work backwards. I just have the story, and I want to tell it as excitingly and realistically as I possibly can. I really don’t think about genre until I go to Amazon to click ‘Publish.’

Why do I write what I do?

Because nobody else has. If the books I wanted to read existed, I wouldn’t have to write them.

How does my writing process work?

One word at a time.

That’s it from me. Go check out Martin Lastrapes. And PS, it’s Lastrapps, in case you thought it was Lastrayps, as I did.

And PPS, sorry this was a day later, Martin.


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