I recently had an opportunity to sit down (virtually) with Kelly Simmons, self-published author of The Wives of Billie’s Mountain. OK, full disclosure, Kelly graduated from the MFA program at Queens with me, and we shared a few classes, so I already knew her quality as a writer.
Kelly is no stranger to the publishing industry, having worked throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s for a packaging and publishing operation, Falcon Press, which was eventually sold to Globe Pequot. I have a theory about corporations – eventually everything will be sold to a subsidiary and either Disney or Microsoft will own everything. It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of self-publishing for the simple fact that it’s relatively easy for anyone to put anything out, which creates such a staggering amount of crap content that the average consumer has trouble weeding out good work, like Billie’s Mountain, from bland writing, like Aunt Gertrude’s expose on her secret love affair with the mailman in 1967. My opinion on self-publishing has undergone a transition over the past year, and I wanted to speak to Kelly about her experience, and her thoughts on the industry.
Your Book, Wives of Billie’s Mountain, was self-published on Amazon in April of this year. At what point in the writing project did you consider self-publishing?
Kelly: I had no interest in self-publishing and never set out with that in mind. When I finished Wives of Billie’s Mountain I started looking for an agent. Three different agents requested the manuscript for months at a time. One agent requested rewrites, which I did, and I also had three publishers who had it for several months. I waited for over two years with my book in limbo, and was told ultimately each time that they liked the book, but they just didn’t think there was much interest in Mormons. It didn’t matter how many times I told them about Big Love or any other Mormon titles. It’s frustrating. I’ve received great reviews but wasn’t able to get a foothold. Continue Reading…
Ohio State University’s The Journal has an open non/fiction contest running to the 14th of February. Valentines day submissions will either show your complete dedication to the craft, or your lack of a love life. If you win, we won’t judge you.
The Kenyon Review’s 2015 short fiction contest will be active from Feb 1 through the 28th.
Sixfold has a contest running through January 24th, with winners chosen by fellow writers, which could be dangerous if you’re a self-centered and cruel person.
Being an author in the modern age means having a web presence. It’s like Kim Kardashian’s butt – you simply can’t avoid it. Since re-launching my site I’ve had more than a few folks send questions my way, so this is probably a good opportunity to build a primer on TEH INTARWEBS! Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll walk you through the basics of building your own site. You don’t need to learn any programming languages (unless you want to), and for those of you who already know web sorcery, you get to ignore all of this stuff, though you’ll miss my subtle fart jokes along the way.
Internet 101 – The internet was invented so that generals could still watch porn in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. The early internet networks were based on document exchange and file sharing. Web servers still operate by this same rudimentary principle – when you browse a site, you’re downloading the files from the web server, and your web browser renders everything in a pretty format for you to read, complete wift sepling errs. This is, of course, an oversimplification. Web servers provide access to content, and users (laptops, desktops, tablets, and basically anything that can render web content) connects to the greater internet network to access that content. The internet uses computer-based addressing (IP addressing – internet protocol) which isn’t user-friendly. Modern sites are switching over to IP version 6, which is even more confusing. You probably don’t care about all of this…