Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

From Thrill to Fear in Five Minutes

Last night I went from "I'M SO EXCITED I WANT TO DANCE IN THE STREETS!" to "Meep! I'm skeered" in about five minutes flat, only to continue on a roller coaster of emotions for the rest of the evening.

[caption id="attachment_7194" align="alignright" width="200"]Cover Art by Aaron Woods Cover Art by Aaron Woods[/caption]

What could have done this to me?

Well, writing of course.

Many of us dream of the day that we can say we are a published author. We fantasize about building a fan base and becoming an instant overnight writing sensations (even though realistically we know that the journey is long, painful, and full of dead ends--and that only a very few ever achieve the glorious heights.) While I have had several non-fiction articles published, I dreamt of getting fiction out into the world especially in the form of a novel. Or perhaps a non-fiction book that appeals to many readers, not just a specialized few. I fantasize about wandering through a bookstore and picking up a book that has my name on the cover. I see myself handing it over to my daughter and saying "Look Sarah," and watching her smile before she opens the book and dives in.

Anyone knows the path to publishing is a long and difficult ones, and the path to getting books in print is even longer, especially through traditional methods. "You should self-publish," numerous people told me. Yet I fought against it, knowing that books are better when there are editors giving feedback, and outside eyes and brains lending ideas.

Long ago I toyed with the idea of creating a publishing collective of sorts--a cooperative circle of people who would help each other get books published by taking on different roles (author for one, editor for another, publicist for another etc.). I never fully pursued the idea because I was unsure how to begin. Plus, someone pointed out that everyone doesn't have the same skill set, and in order for something like that to work you need to be sure that everyone is up to each task.

So I put the idea aside for the time being and kept dreaming.

Then, on Google+, I somehow stumbled upon Charles Barouch of HDWP Books who had a similar idea, with a variation. He wanted to create a series of themed anthologies with about 15 authors (sometimes less) working together. Authors would be responsible to read and give editorial feedback on each other's work, but stories would only be accepted if they were of strong enough quality to fit the anthology. Charles would make those final choices, as well as do the layout for various e-readers (no easy task) and find/hire artists for the cover and interior art. Authors whose stories made the final cut would contribute to the payment of the artist, and then get an equal share of any proceeds.

A new model of publishing.

The first theme he selected, as you probably figured out, was "invasion." Now, I don't consider myself a science fiction writer, and that term--at least to me--screams science fiction (and I have learned since that there can be many kinds of invasions). However, I sat down and decided to try, and a story began to form. I sent it to Charles and his response was, basically, "this has potential but needs A LOT of work."

I worked. I revised. I improved. Charles accepted it into the next level, where other contributing authors could read and respond. I took feedback. I absorbed comments. I revised some more and I made it stronger.

Now "Voices" is the first story in the anthology.

[caption id="attachment_7220" align="aligncenter" width="376"]The first page. Art by Juan Ochoa. The first page. Art by Juan Ochoa.[/caption]

"Holy crap!" I said to myself as I looked at the completed anthology on Nathan's Kindle Fire (my Kindle is more old school and I wanted to see it in color). "This looks like a real book." And it does, Charles has done an incredible job with the layout (except for a few glitches which I believe will be fixed). It's amazing to see something turn from word documents to book layout and realize that somehow you are connected to it, even though it seems surreal and far removed in a way.

"Holy crap!" I say to myself as it registers that my story is the first one in the anthology. I knew it would be several weeks ago, but now the reality of what that means began to settle in. If someone downloads and excerpt, then it will very likely be my story along with one other ("I Was a Teenage Alien" by LJ Cohen).

The doubts begin to creep in. What if my story is a flop? What if it isn't interesting enough to make readers keep reading? What if reading my story makes someones head explode? What if aliens invade the earth and demand that nobody read this book? Will anyone be interested? Will I be an overnight disaster?

What can I say, my doubts have excellent imaginations.

I still can't walk into a bookstore and find my book waiting there (although that hasn't been ruled out--there may be limited publication of paper copies). But, I can be proud of the work that was done to get this book ready for readers, and proud of the end result.

The rest is up to the readers, and I can't control that.

So for now, all I can do is breath

Please consider buying Theme-Thology: Invasion, now available for Kindle, Nook and Kobo, and then writing a review. I look forward to hearing what you think.