Every year, before the summer convention season gets underway, I pull some excerpts from whatever I plan to release in the fall, take them to my local print shop, and make a deliberately lo-fi, limited edition chapbook to take with me on the obligatory summer convention circuit.
I’ve done previews of Dancing Barefoot, The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and Memories of the Future*, but in 2008, I couldn’t excerpt my planned fall release, because it was so top secret, I would have had to print it on self-destructing paper, and while that would have made it a very limited edition, the costs associated were … prohibitive.**
The thing about these chapbooks is that you can only get them from me if you come see me at a convention. Since I don't do many conventions, this leaves a lot of you — Europe, Canada, and the East Coast, I'm looking in your direction*** — without a chance to get your hands on one. Later this week, I will correct this glaring error, by releasing last year's chapbook, Sunken Treasure, via a print on demand system that works like this: you place an order, they print your book, and the service I use ships it to you. A couple of my friends have used the same service I'm using, and they're super happy with the quality of their books, the customer service, and everything about the whole process. Print on demand services used to be kind of sketchy, but they've grown up a lot recently, and I'm willing to give this particular one a try.
If this works the way I think it will, it's going to be super awesome for all of us as I release books in the future: You don't have to worry about me screwing up your order, I don't have to invest in a thousand books at a time, you get your book in a few days instead of a few weeks because I'm not shipping it myself, and I can spend more time creating new stories while remaining independent. Best of all, I'll have the time to write and release more than one or two books a year.
I'm proud of Sunken Treasure, and people who read it seemed to really like it. But if you were wondering what you're getting into, here's part of the introduction I wrote for this release:
With the help of my editor Andrew, who is a former ninja warrior and recreational time traveler, I pulled together things I liked from all three of my books, my blog, and this groovy collaborative fiction project I played with called Ficlets. I also included, for the first time anywhere, one of the scripts I wrote for a sketch comedy show at the ACME Comedy Theater.
When we printed out the resulting chapbook so we could proof it, Andrew and I both noticed that without really trying, we’d managed to put together something that was a lot cooler than we’d expected.
“This is a great way to introduce people to my writing,” I said.
“Maybe we should consider making it a more substantial release,” Andrew said. “So more than 200 people can have a chance to read it.”
I thought that was an excellent idea. It was such an excellent idea, I completely forgot about it until the beginning of 2009, when I found six unsold copies in my office. I took them with me to a convention in Phoenix, sold them all, and began thinking about putting together the book that you have in your hands right now.
I’ve expanded this version from the original just a little bit, and included the production diary I wrote about my experiences working on Criminal Minds last year, because of everything I wrote in 2008, that was what people seemed to like the most, and I’m all about making the people happy.
I hope you enjoy this little collection, and I hope you’ll share it with your friends.
Unlike the autographed limited edition I took to cons last year, it's, um, not limited, and not autographed, but it is expanded a little bit, and it's not deliberately lo-fi. It won't feel like a 'zine at all. My friend Matt did a beautiful cover for it, and if enough people ask, I can easily offer a hardcover version with just a few clicks.
I hope it will find its way to all the people who wanted to read it, but couldn't make it out to any of the very few conventions I attended last year. I'm working out the final details of publishing it right now, and I'll have all that information available in a day or so.
*Watch how I bury this in the footnote: Memories of the Future is what I'm calling the book of TNG reviews.
**As it turns out, that project self-destructed, so it worked out that I didn't risk releasing excerpts.
***Nearly all the e-mails I've gotten from people who can't come to my conventions are from these places. Obviously, you will be able to purchase this book from anywhere in the world.