Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: lulu

Some great entries to the Meets Girl contest. Also, some private comments from people who would have entered but didn’t want to share their stories of unrequited love, whatever the reason.

Because it takes some guts to do it. Takes some guts to put yourself and your story out there like that, for all the world to see.

I might know a little something about that.

In the spirit of the moment, I decided that everyone who entered gets a signed copy of Meets Girl, as well as an exclusive Deviant Moon tarot card. Just one, from a deck that’s been used. A deck I’ve used myself, in fact.

The copies are ordered.

In fact, more than those copies are ordered.

Want one?

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“Once upon a time, I fell in love with a girl who didn’t love me in return.”

New York City, circa 2006. A young man lucking into any temp job he can while following his dream to be a writer. A dream girl and a bad case of unrequited love (is there any other kind?).

If the story ended there, it wouldn’t be extraordinary. It would be just another tale from the big, bad, glorious city; just another romance that never was; just another friendship that never got the chance to be anything more.

But the story doesn’t end there.

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Good writers know that revising is best accomplished when they have achieved some distance from the work they are revising, and I’m inclined to agree with them. There’s also something about reading something concretely and tangibly that changes the reading experience. I’ve found that reading something on a page completely changes the nature of anything I’ve already written on a screen, and I’ve tried to use that distinction to my advantage. Whenever I’ve finished something new, when appropriate, I’ve formatted, designed, and laid out the work; uploaded it to Lulu; and had printed and shipped a copy I’ve taken a pen to.

I haven’t held back when I’ve done it. I’ve attempted to make whatever I’ve ordered as close to a fully realized product as it might be. Which is to say, it’s not just about having it printed and in my hands. It’s about doing my best to make it what I’d hope everyone would hold when they had it in their hands. Having what is basically a fully designed prototype–for lack of a better word–helps me.

When I finished Meets Girl, as a manuscript, I let it sit for several weeks while working on other projects (namely, Certainty, a new curriculum, and a new job). I knew I wanted to revise it, one last time. I knew I’d hit it, for real, but I also knew that hitting it, for real, didn’t mean it was perfect. There was more to polish. Some spots, I knew, were going to be rough. Heck, a couple I’d written to hold a place because I knew telling the story for real was going to be my highest priority.

Still, I knew I’d nailed the execution, for the most part, and all that was left was the polish. In the meantime, I continued to query The Prodigal Hour. I thought about querying Meets Girl, but I held off, as I wasn’t sure it fit either corporate or independent publishers.

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Some new changes to coincide with all the other ones going around. Trying out a new theme, most obviously.

Also: Entrekin in the World replaces the old Reviews page. I like it so far but will probably tweak it as I go. It’s something I had included as an album on MySpace and was trying to figure out how to integrate it here. From the get-go, I’d asked people to photograph themselves with the book; Los Angeles Times best selling author Brad Listi was the very first.

Since leaving MySpace and switching computers, I’ve misplaced a couple that I’d really like to include. So if you don’t see yourself there and you’ve got one you wouldn’t mind my putting up, send it to me via willentrekin at yahoo dot com.

Please. That’d be rad.

I left comments open over there, too. So if you’d like to put your own review there, be my guest. Especially if you, you know, liked it.

Finally, I mentioned I’d considered removing the collection from Lulu. I looked into hosting the file here, because I still like having it as a free .pdf, along with the “singles.” Problem is, the process of doing so is not nearly so straightforward as Lulu’s system, nor does it seem to track downloads/sales so well. Part of the reason I’d considered removing the book was its ‘community,’ but then again I wonder if those problems aren’t actually a function of the self-publishing community and not necessarily Lulu’s. Regardless, I’ve decided to continue using their printing services as the tool I had meant it to be, and I feel okay leaving it up.

Plus, the downloads just keep coming in, and, well, the whole point was to share it. I’d feel bad keeping the book from someone who wanted to read it.

I’d say to bear in mind that I’m still working out kinks all over the place, but I’ve realized that part of the interesting thing about blogs and the Internet (and, it seems, life in general lately) is that: well, yeah. It’s all evolution all the time, really.

Big publishing industry news this week: Oprah endorsed Amazon’s Kindle reading device, having “fallen in love with it.”

Which is not unusual; I’ve heard very little criticism concerning the Kindle. People may not rave over it like they raved about the iPod when it first came out, but the Kindle seems, for many intents and purposes, rad. Awesome. Exciting.

Which makes one wonder: if it’s so awesome and exciting, shouldn’t Entrekin be available for it?

Why yes, yes it should be:

Ain’t it purdy? You can click that link to find its shiny new Amazon page.

The timing couldn’t be better, nor, I think, any less coincidental. I’ve been working on the Kindle version since back in August. Not that it took that long, but I mentioned I was going to be changing things up toward the end of October.

I still go back and forth on Lulu. The reason I put Entrekin on the Kindle was that the digital downloads have been so extraordinarily successful, with more than a thousand across the various stories. I like that Lulu allows me to offer the DRM-free .pdfs, not to mention that it also allows for the tangible book for anyone who wants a souvenir. I had a bad experience in Lulu’s community, but then again I’ve realized that if I simply decide to use Lulu solely as the printing press I’d always meant it to be, it does still serve my purposes pretty well, its forums, policies, and customer service notwithstanding (more on those three later, and elsewhere).

So no, I’m not done yet. I’m still curious about a lot of aspects of publishing and the ways it’s changing, so it looks like Entrekin will still be around for a bit. As always, you can get it here.

Thanks to everyone who’s made it such a success so far, and remember to keep telling your friends about it.

Especially if, you know, your friends own Kindles.

(because, really, here, so far, I’m at a loss; where and how does one market to Kindle owners?)

I get another batch of student papers tomorrow, so I’ll have that to do over the weekend, but I’m also trying to finish a couple of other projects I’ve been working on. They’ve all been slow going, probably because I’ve got a lot going on.

So far, it’s two novellas and three short stories, though either of those novellas might end up longer than I think. The one I’m concentrating on most right now is called Meets Girl, and I’m hitting the end of the first act of the story but am already past the fifty page mark.

I’m hoping to finish all five by the end of November.

But I’m also winding down the publishing experiment I conducted over the past year and a half, and I do want to blog about it. It’s set me to thinking about a lot of different things, all related to writing and publishing and reading. I’ve been rethinking removing my content from Lulu, because so far it’s worked pretty well and maybe I shouldn’t try to fix it if it ain’t broke. I will be talking about my experience with Lulu, though probably not here (more on that to come).

  • Statistics.
  • Houghton-Mifflin, purveyors of the textbook of said statistics. Who decided that even though I spent nearly $150 purchasing their textbook, I could only download it once, and then only to one computer, and only then using Adobe Digital Editions. Who the hell uses Adobe Digital Editions? And seriously, I get the new Coldplay, I rip it to my computer, I can listen on any device I want, but I spend nearly ten times as much and you lock me in? It’s a statistics textbook for a business course, and that business model makes me question just how damned authoritative you actually are. Business is about relationships and transactions with your customers. I am your customer, and you totally and completely failed me.
  • PUMA supporters. Which, apparently, stands for “Party Unity My Ass.”  Have you heard of this?  All the sad supporters of Hillary who are upset she lost and decided that Obama is the antichrist, and that McCain/Palin is a good choice because Palin is, like, a chick? God, I’m so tired of everyone backhanding Obama and treating McCain/Palin like they wouldn’t be 8 more years of the same. Dear female PUMA supporters; take your heads out of your collective twats long enough to acknowledge that feminism is about more than simply voting for anyone in a skirt.

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Over at Lulu Book Review, one of the better POD review sites, Shannon Yarbrough invited me to do an interview about “What I Saw That Day.”

You also mention how your employer’s front desk attendants just waved you by that morning without checking your ID, but never again after that. What else has changed for you on a personal or professional level that sticks out in your mind now?

God, where to start there? I mean, what hasn’t changed, really? On a personal level, I moved back home, stayed for five years while overcoming depression, then drove cross-country to study, and now live in Denver. On a professional level, I taught and trained, then edited, and then went back to school, and then again became a professional writer.

But I think what’s more important is what I see has changed on greater levels. For example, I think we, as a country, are more naïve now than before. That might seem counterintuitive, but before that day, I think we would have laughed at a color-coded emergency-response system. I think we would have been outraged at the idea of illegal wiretapping, and I think we would have, rightly, run our collective leaders right out of office (I mean, heck, we impeached one guy for a blowjob, but not another for misleading our country into war?). I think that day was the first time we, as a nation, realized we could be hurt, that we are, in fact, mortal, and I think it scared the hell out of us, and I think we’re still recovering from it. Now, the people who attacked us are still at large, and we’ve demonstrated our utter inefficacy to fight them on a massive scale.

Many thanks to Shannon for his support and involvement in all this.

As always, you can find the book here, and all proceeds benefit the United Way NYC.

My classes at Regis began this week, at the same time that I set in motion my departure from Lulu and wound up the assignment I’ve been guiding my students through.

The class, so far: meh. I don’t have a business background and, indeed, never took any such courses in college, even despite two degrees and graduate school. Which means that, though I’m currently attending Regis, I’m really doing a conditional acceptance sort of thing. I have to pass a couple of Foundations of Business or somesuchlike courses.

Which would be fine. I get that I need to know stuff like statistics. And I can’t wait to get to marketing.


(you knew there was going to be a but, right? Which gives me an opportunity to try out this “more” function thingy I’ve been wanting to use)

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When I first started the new blog, I meant Imagery to be not just pictures but videos as well, and not just videos like my cousin playing his guitar. I’ve gotten sidetracked lately, admittedly; I have lots of pictures to post, but my first and greatest priority for the past two months was revising The Prodigal Hour.

Now that I’m done, though, and now that I’m even in the process of submitting for representation, I can do more of what I originally intended.

Including videos like this:

This is “How the World Will End,” from my debut collection Entrekin, and honestly, it’s much how I envisioned it in my head.

So now you get to see it.

Hopefully, this will reduce the ambiguity Emily Veinglory complained of in her review of the freeview. I generally tried to be as explicit as I could without becoming actually graphic, but I was trying to capture something simple: if the world were to end right now, if the news were interrupted to report Iran had launched a nuclear attack on the US and there really was no hope for survival, well, I’d want to spend my remaining time makin’ love.

Anyway, that’s the story and its Imagery; as this is the first one, I’m cross-posting it to both blogs. Mostly to announce it.

I have plans for more, I think. But this, as well as the usual pictures, is what to expect.

Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

(edit: unfortunately, I was informed that one of the images I had used was actually the work of an artist who hadn’t licensed his work under Creative Commons, which was the impression I had been working with. While I sort the issue out, I’m pulling the link and the video itself. I’ll repost if I can.


I’ve had an eye on Indie author Shannon Yarbrough for a while now; he runs the Lulu Book Review site, and has recently published his novel Stealing Wishes. From what I can gather so far (I’ve not picked it up yet, but am planning to the moment I’m gainfully employed), it concerns a young coffee barista, Blaine, an aspiring photographer and romantic. One of Blaine’s friends sets him up with Edward, and it sounds like the book details Blaine’s (somewhat OCD) quest for love and photography in all the wrong places.

So a classic story, pretty much. Having read the first few pages, I notice Shannon puts his spin and style at work best when relating Blaine’s aforementioned somewhat-OCD nature. The devil, as they say, is in the details; also, in good stories and good characters.

Click the image of the bookcover below to purchase Shannon’s book via Lulu, where he’ll get a higher cut and you can also procure the ebook for five bucks, should that be yo thang.

Yesterday’s post caused more of a stir than I’d have expected, and brought some comment:

Will Shetterly commented here.

Cat Rambo mentions it here. (I made some comments in the discussion, but they haven’t yet shown up)

James Nicoll mentions it here.

In both that first link and the final, Nick Mamatas shows up to offer some thoughts of his own.

Finally, John Fox, one of the editors in question (and again: a terrific writer, and my former classmate), discusses it here, with Howard Junker, editor of Zyzzyva showing up in the comments.

I’d like to note a few things, the first of which is that I respect and admire both Mamatas and Fox. I mentioned both Mamatas’ Stoker nominations (and win!) and Fox’s status as my classmate to demonstrate such. Their offenses, as such (reprinting query letters), are more dubious than egregious. Mamatas, in Nicoll’s LJ, notes the long history of “Tales from a Slushpile,” including from editors as renowned as Ellen Datlow.

While I’m surprised Wolff still has a job at Fence, I continue to expect great things from both Fox and Mamatas (I’m betting their respective theses are awesome, judging from what work of theirs I’ve seen).

My main point yesterday was one of courtesy and confidentiality. Perhaps my reaction comes from my own time as an editor, which occurred in a somewhat different industry than Fox and Mamatas function in; I edited a clinical psychiatric nursing journal, which was a trade publication, as opposed to a commercial publication. Commercial publishing, which includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and pretty much everything consumers buy, is actually a small percentage of the publishing industry, which includes textbooks, manuals, and the sorts of publications that are published by specialty presses for particular audiences. I worked for SLACK Incorporated, which is one of the largest publishers of medical literature in the world; unless you’re involved, somehow, in the medical industry, however, you’ve probably never seen the journal.

Perhaps that context is important; it’s obviously not an endeavour that lends itself to a side-blog, nor one in which publishing the letters of people with bipolar disorder would really amuse its audience in any way.

Fox makes the interesting note that writers who are good at their jobs won’t show up in such correspondence; the vast majority of slush is merely mediocre, and not horrific enough to “amuse.”

And perhaps again, I’m just not really the audience for this. I’ve said before I think the literary marketplace for short-form writing is basically broken, at this point, especially with blogs and Lulu. I’ve always wondered how many people who aren’t trying to break into print actually read these magazines; Mamatas has disparaged MFA programs as the barely published teaching the barely literate, and the short-form literary marketplace has always struck me as catered specifically to a readership that hopes to get published in it.

One final note: Mamatas has quickly picked up (and on) the fact that I am, in his words, a “ author.” I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that; while technically accurate, I’d much rather clarify that to just being a guy who made some stories available to anyone who’d like to read them. In Shetterly’s blog, Mamatas seems to indicate he feels that distribution is the clear reason writers need editors; without the latter, the former can’t get onto bookstore shelves, etc, and asks how many I’ve seen in a bookstore. As I mentioned yesterday, I haven’t a clue, because that’s just not something I, as a reader, pay attention to–I pay attention to the writing and the stories, not who published them. No, you can’t find my collection in libraries (and I’m not sure you ever will), but you can download it free, and I think that’s kinda cool.

Also, I’d like to point out that my debut is a collection of short writing–poetry, essays, and fiction (most of you regular readers know this. Those who don’t: it’s free! What’re you waiting for?! Give it a try! Nothing to lose besides ten minutes [you’ll know by then whether you’ll like it, and why continue if you don’t?]!). I used Lulu to publish it because I had several stories and essays I’d workshopped in my writing program (and indeed, a couple that got me into it in the first place), but nowhere to go with them, nowhere they seemed to fit. So rather than wait months for possible acceptances and probably meager paychecks, I just put them together.

I’d not do the same thing with my novel. The marketplace for long fiction seems, to me, more diverse, decidedly better, and less marketed to those who just want to get published in it in the first place (well. When it’s marketed at all, but that’s another post entirely). In addition, it seems more a business than the short-form market, which seems a bit more akin, to these eyes, to a network.

Then again, as Shetterly noted in his blog, I’m still very much learning my craft and the marketplace, so obviously all this must be taken with a handful of salt.

It’s really settling in, with full force, that I’ve finished USC’s MPW program for all intents and purposes. Today, in my email, I got a note about some loan exit interview I’m supposed to do before I graduate.

And then I came home to find a box from Lulu on my stoop:

Which I then opened:

To find a stack of two books, sheathed protectively in foam:

Which I then turned over:

To find my uber-pretty, perfect-bound thesis, The Prodigal Hour:

With its title page:

And then a page I’ll give you a ‘before’ of:

Because I’m meeting with my advisor tomorrow so he can sign it.

A note on the cover: I actually made one myself, with Photoshop, but then got up to the Lulu page and decided to just go with one of theirs, for a simple reason: this copy, in particular, is going to do nothing more than collect dust on a couple of shelves (one with me, the other with my program). It’s really kind of cheesy, but then, I was like, well, who’s really going to see it, and it does sorta match the story (with cool light effects around a pair of eyes, and a cityscape, and then cosmic implication, all of which are included in what the novel is about).

Yes, just two copies:

And here will be the only place you’ll ever be able to see them.

Lucky you.

Fuckall, I’m done with grad school.

I was going to write about why I’m moving on to Denver, but that’ll wait for another time. I’m going to take an evening to process this.