I am in the process of making another video post for y’all, but in the meantime, I wanted to announce a few things and discuss a few questions I was recently asked.
SHORT STORIES AND THE STORE:
First off, I’m happy to announce that my short story, “Tom’s Sweaty Headphones,” is now available for download in the Brown Tie store! Any format is accommodated, so whether you just have a computer or laptop, or if you have an Ipad, Nook, Kindle, and so on, we’ve got the format for you.
The t-shirts are also available for purchase in the store. Hats will be made in the next month, and when they are, they will be available for purchase in the store as well.
My intention is to release one or two short stories a month for download. Occasionally I will offer downloads for free, and the more you check in on this website, the more likely you are to get a free short story download. Just to give you a HINT: people who post comments on my blog are ESPECIALLY likely to get free downloads. Just sayin’…
Since the release of Confusing the Seasons, I get asked a lot of the same questions, so I wanted to address them here. One of the most common questions, usually from writers, is whether I use an editor or not, both on the book and the short stories. The short answer is yes and no. The book was edited by Cat Morris, who did a fantastic job with it and motivated me to finish the four-billionth revision to get the book in print.
The short stories are sometimes edited, sometimes not. These are stories I decided to release to get them seen, heard, or otherwise off of my hard drive and into your hands. Some have already been published, most have not. A few, such as “Tom’s Sweaty Headphones,” were read at public readings and were received with enthusiasm. This is why I chose to release this story first.
Professional editors have seen my work, and some of the stories will be edited by them. Others will not; the reason I chose to release some of the unedited stories is to bring light to a common problem among writers: the blindness we are subjected to in regard to our writing. Most writers write a story, revise it, edit it as best as they can, and then they send it out to magazines, who almost always have no time to offer critique or feedback. What little feedback we writers get, well, we obsess over it and try to make our stories better.
So, you readers will, in part, be my editors. Tell me what you think of the stories: the good, the bad, ESPECIALLY the bad, so you can be entertained and I can become a better writer. I’m not afraid of harsh feedback, as long as it’s honest. I want to hear it. I need to hear it. And I want to entertain you better. Tell me how.
The other two questions I get asked most often are these:
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SELF-PUBLISH? ISN’T THAT THE KISS OF DEATH?
WHAT THE HELL IS BROWN TIE PUBLISHING? ARE YOU SIGNED TO A CONTRACT?
Okay, let’s start with the self-publishing thing. Kiss of death? Yeah, sometimes. For most people, at least. Maybe for me, we’ll see. Here’s the thing: I’ve been writing a long time, and while I know I still have a lot to learn, I know I wrote a good book. Confusing the Seasons was the fourth novel I wrote, in fact, and the first three, my “warm-up” novels, were mediocre at best. I learned a lot writing those novels, and I made changes accordingly. Confusing the Seasons is the culmination of those changes, and when I decided to go the route of the query letter to agents, I found out something surprising.
Agents seemed to really like the book.
Whenever an agent responds with something other than a form letter, you’re on the right track. A few agents requested manuscript samples. Three requested the full manuscript. All three had good things to say about the manuscript.
They all also said they were not confident they could sell the book because of a decline in readership of literary fiction.
Well, I’m confident.
So after four years of query, revise, query, revise, beat head against wall, query, revise, I decided to try self-publishing because this book is good enough to be in print, and I know there’s a readership out there. I just need to find them. And I will.
Okay, so now let’s talk Brown Tie. Brown Tie Publishing is me. It is not a major publishing house. I decided to brand myself as Brown Tie Publishing because I am not just a writer, but also a photographer, a musician, and, hey, just a swell guy. So Brown Tie is the collection of the projects I am doing, from the novels to the short stories, from the photography to the literary magazine I edit. It’s all Brown Tie. It’s all me.
I have a sometimes-collaborator in Joe Arthur, a photographer out of Connecticut. Joe and I grew up together, and we came up with the Brown Tie moniker when we were putting Waterlogged August magazine together. We went to a Catholic school growing up (we are both subsequently recovering Catholics) and the uniforms at our school included brown slacks, white shirts, and, you guessed it, brown ties. We thought it would be a nice homage to our shared past to name our shared future after the uniform that so defined us during our youths.
So no, I am not signed to any contracts. No blockbuster deals (please offer if you have one), nothing like that. Just me, a writer trying to make it in a tough industry. I’ve got the talent, and I’ve got the drive, I’ve even got the product. Now I just need you, and all your friends, to get excited about the words I’m producing at an alarming rate as of late.
Best to you.