Maybe We Need A Slogan

20131123-104444.jpgSo many of us talk about Small Business Saturday, and are turning more and more to local artisans and craftspeople, to Etsy shops and neighborhood boutiques. We talk about supporting the people who make the things we buy.

We are told to assume that handcrafted food or drink, a small harvest, or a one-of-a-kind piece of fine art, jewelry, or fiber art is automatically better than it’s mass-produced, industry vetted equivalent, and we buy and share and gush over the new find!

Unless, I sometimes feel, that craftsperson, that artist, is an author who chooses to publish independently. The blanket assumption of quality for indie writers, I feel, is that we are not better or more worthy of consumer dollars than our mass-produced and industry vetted equivalents.

Maybe it’s true.  But maybe it’s not…

Increasingly, the more time I spend with professional authors who happen to publish independently or through small indie presses (which I will lump together for the purposes of this ramble), I see more interesting writing, more daring, genre-crossing thinking, and more collaborative spirit than I’ve seen in most of the mainstream writing I’ve read in the last couple of years. The indie publishing community exchanges services, supports one another, and is constantly learning and evolving to stay competitive. If you ask me, that’s pretty impressive.

I see indie authors writing manuscripts, hiring or bartering services with editors, learning graphic design or hiring indie artists, and then boning up on marketing practices. They assume these pre-production costs and efforts up front with no guarantee of royalties on the other side. And they keep their purchase prices under $10 a book. Well under. The average cost of an indie ebook is about $2.99.

You can pick up my entire digital catalog for less than $17. And that includes collaborative efforts which also support somewhere in the vicinity of 40 other writers.

So, why are we not lauded with the other entrepreneurs? Why is there still this stigma? Why must the indie author struggle so hard? Why won’t consumers make a leap of faith that costs less than $5 or $10 and (at Amazon anyway) can be returned?

And yes, I know there are a lot of truly awful self-published books out there. But the industry’s vetting isn’t foolproof either. $14.44 for a Kindle book. Really?

I read a launch post yesterday that really got me thinking about this. Author Dan  Conover says it better than I:

But the real news today isn’t that Xarktopia LLC has published four ebooks via Amazon. It’s that beginning today, I’m asking everyone I know to please browse around and buy some of them.

That’s in part because when you buy one of my ebooks, I get paid. But it’s also because writers need readers. And now that the new economy has bypassed the foundering mainstream publishing industry, the relationship between writer and reader is both personal and immediate.

It’s also more affordable than ever. Even if you don’t own a dedicated ebook reader, if you own a smart phone or tablet, you can download a free Kindle app that will let you read all this cool stuff.

All these things can be said about my books, about Marian Kent‘s earthy, joyous poetry, about Angela Amman‘s atmospheric short stories, Eden Baylee‘s marvelously smart and sexy writing, about every Write on Edge author I’ve had the privilege of publishing in Precipice, about Eric Storch‘s intense mix of fiction and memoir, about Kameko Murakami‘s dreamy and often chilling prose, about John Dolan‘s tight, insightful thrillers, about Elizabeth Yon‘s rich, inventive storytelling.

I consider them all colleagues and friends, yes, but I stand by my assessment of their work, and I’m promoting them because I want to, because it makes me happy to further the interests of those who are in the trenches making books for readers, not for editors in a Manhattan skyscraper.

Maybe we need a slogan… Maybe then the shoppers would take us seriously.

And as a reward for slogging through this rant? Leave a comment, and I’ll put your name in a hat to win a copy of my upcoming Christmas story, Twelve Days Til Christmas.

All Amazon links up there are affiliate links. Any revenue accrued from your clicks will go first to feeding, clothing, and housing my family, then to my publishing efforts. Just saying. 

Releasing today! From the Earth to the Moon!

Cameron D. Garriepy, Thornton Vermont, short story, From the Earth to the Moon, romanceAfter a slight cake-related delay, I am pleased to give you From the Earth to the Moon!

Thornton, Vermont, 1953: After six years in the Navy, the last three spent engaged in the Korean War, George Cartwright is coming home. No longer craving adventure, George wants nothing more than to start building a quiet life. When a beautiful, unexpected stranger meets his train, George understands why it’s called love at first sight. Ginny Fletcher is everything George never knew he wanted in a woman, but his love forces him to question the meaning of brotherhood, family, and the weight of promises.

From the Earth to the Moon is a work of short romantic fiction which includes an excerpt from the upcoming contemporary Thornton Vermont trilogy, coming in 2014/2015 from Cameron D. Garriepy and Bannerwing Books.

Thornton, Vermont, is very real to me. Based largely upon the town of Middlebury, Vermont, where I lived while attending its eponymous college, my fictional town has a history, connected families, a changing downtown… it’s a place in my heart, just as the real town is. When I first met George Cartwright, he was only part of the cast of townsfolk, but something about his small role in the my work-in-progress affected me, and it turns out his story got told first. His short story also includes the first chapter of book one of the contemporary Thornton trilogy: three novels chronicling the lives and loves of a group of friends in and around Thornton. I hope you enjoy this fictional home of mine as much as I do.

From the Earth to the Moon is available for Kindle via Amazon and for all devices via Smashwords. I anticipate having it available directly from the iBooks store and Barnes & Noble in a few weeks.


The Story Circle: Sully, Part Three

Cameron D. GarriepyThis one’s getting tense! Last week Michael got Sully behind the wheel of her Jag and introduced us to The Box. But what’s inside? What is, as Mr. Carnell hints, its story?

This week’s contributor is a new find for me. Amanda Holling writes at Amanda’s World. We share a few pastimes. Can you figure them out? 

Read on to find out where Sully’s Jag and the Box will take her…

Continued from Parts One and Two:

Sully, Part Three:

Sully clutched the steering wheel hard in both hands and swallowed down the sharp taste of bile at the back of her throat. She knew that couldn’t stop to be sick. If she slowed down long enough to open her car door and vomit onto the pavement, the terrifying blankness might catch up with her. She didn’t want to think about what that might mean. A tingling chill curled around her neck once more, clinging to her skin like a slender hand with too-long fingers. Her stomach lurched as the road in front of her seemed to slide upwards and to the right. She struggled to see clearly enough to keep the car on the road. Her foot involuntarily pressed the brake, but the dizziness began to fade almost as soon as it started and she was able to speed up again.

She topped a rise and saw something coming into view on the side of the road. It was one of those blue signs that always promised food, gas, or lodging, or so she thought at first. The reflective lettering glowed in the headlights and ordered the passerby to “Turn Here For Help.” Sully blinked once in confusion and squinted at the sign. As she drew level to it, she realized that it actually read “Tourist Information 740 AM.” She decided that it must be the lack of sleep finally beginning to show itself.

A moment later, another blue sign appeared in her headlights. This time it seemed to read “Have a Box Problem? Take This Exit For Help.” Her gaze lingered on the sign as it flashed by. She couldn’t be sure, but the letters seemed to swirl and re-form as she passed it.

Looking ahead again, she saw a third blue sign appear. This time the silvery letters read “Turn Here, Sully. I mean it!” She slammed on the brake and stared at the sign. The letters didn’t move. Sully considered her options. Behind her was utter blankness, a nothingness so complete that it terrified her. Ahead of her the desolate highway stretched away into the night. Just beyond the sign, though, she could see an exit ramp leading off into the stand of tall pine trees on the side of the highway. There was a faint glow filtering through the trees at the other end of the ramp.

The vertigo struck her again without any warning. Sully gasped as the nausea slammed into her at full force. She pressed her head back into the headrest and squeezed her eyes shut, willing the falling sensation to stop. When it finally began to fade, she sat up straight in her seat.

She knew she was running out of time. The nausea and vertigo were getting worse with each wave. The cold chill was spreading from her neck down into her chest and back. She needed help dealing with whatever she had released from that box. When she left the hotel in a blind panic, she had no idea where to turn. Maybe, just maybe, help was already here, and it was trying to find her. She nodded once, then gunned the car up the exit ramp and turned toward the soft white light she could see off to the right.

Tune in next week for the conclusion by none other than myself!

Five True Things

Cameron D. Garriepy, Thornton Vermont, short story, From the Earth to the Moon

  • My Mom and I took a girl’s trip to IKEA today. I had maybe forgotten how nice it was to shop without my child, even when I wasn’t really buying much.
  • The LEGOs are taking over. No lie.
  • There really is no rest for the wicked.
  • From the Earth to the Moon will be out for your e-reader by week’s end! $0.99 of short story goodness, including a sneak peek of a new trilogy of novels coming in 2014/2015!
  • And I have a holiday treat coming for those of you who are subscribers, either to the blog or to the mailing list. Keep an eye on those emails in a couple of weeks!

What five things are true for you right now?

The Story Circle: Sully, Part Two

Cameron D. GarriepyLast week, Shannon left us wanting more, and this week I welcome Mr. Michael Carnell back to The Story Circle, the better to provide it. Michael first appeared as the anchor-writer for A Line Runs Round the World earlier this year, and I’m pleased as punch he’s back!

If you missed Shannon’s beginning, click here first.

Put your hands together for Sully, Part Two:

The sound of the engine and the feel of the car moving again brought a bit of comfort, but not enough to allow Sully to relax. She wanted to go faster, to get away from whatever it was behind her, but she didn’t know what she would do if she saw a blue light. Would she stop? She didn’t think the highway patrol could be of any help to her, but wouldn’t she have to stop anyway? And if she did stop, what would she say? How could she explain what she was running from?

And with that the doubt started to creep in. What exactly was it that she was running from? And where was she running to? Sully felt the need to get help, but whom was she seeking out? When she had jumped in her Jaguar and sped away from the hotel she was frantic. She had to get away from that box. But now, although she wasn’t any where near calming down, she wasn’t so sure of what she was doing either. As her headlights pushed on down the road she thought about that box.

She had found the old wooden box in a junk store that was trying to be an antique shop. Noah’s Ark they called themselves. One of those little places you come across in the mountains that is aiming for cute and quaint but in reality is a bit shabby and tacky. Made of some faintly red wood, the lid of the box had been closed tight so she couldn’t look inside before she bought it. But, she had liked the vines and leaves and garden motif decorating the outside so had paid for it and its mystery. That mystery. She should have known then not to take in something without knowing its story.

A dear ran across the highway, and she saw it just in time to brake and swerve. Her front tire caught the edge of the pavement yanking the steering wheel in her hands and she over-corrected before she could think, spinning the car around at least 180 degrees. At least. She sighed – and took the car out of gear. Which way was she pointing? The night offered no help. She couldn’t be sure if the Jag was aimed back the way she came now, or was she back on her path away? The deer, no a buck, stood off by the side of the road and stared at her. It was a large buck with an impressive rack. Sully shook her head with doubt about her direction and resisted the urge to cry. The buck looked back at her and tilted his head to one side.

Suddenly it came to her. Sully remembered which direction the creature had been running to cross the road. That was all she needed. She put the car back into gear and took off.

But on the back of her neck the doubt was still there. Sully knew the direction she was running from but she didn’t know the destination she was running towards. She had left the box, that box, back on the bed in the hotel room. All she really understood was that she had to get away from it and get help. Get help to correct whatever she had done by opening the box. By breaking the seal.

She looked in the rearview mirror but saw nothing. With a shock she realized that she really saw nothing – not the stars, not the night sky, not any reflections or hints of light. She checked both side mirrors and a chill went down her spine. They too were completely black. Her headlights were clear on the road ahead, but behind her there seem to be nothing at all. Or maybe worse that nothing, there was a lack of everything.

It was then that she felt the first wave of nausea sweep over her.

To be continued…