It’s been one year since I founded the publishing imprint King’s Men Press. My decision to self-publish selected works, an experiment really, blossomed into a larger idea almost overnight. If I was going down this road, I was going to travel as professionally as possible.
The press is named in honor of my favorite novel, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. (If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and bump it to the top of your list. The drama is superb, and the prose is beautifully written. The author won the Pulitzer for this book and twice more for his poetry.)
The point is: someday I hope to write something as great as that novel. If the past twelve months have taught me anything, I believe I’m off to a good start.
In May 2012, KMP released a collection of previously published and premiere short fiction called The Lookout and Other Stories. This trial run received positive feedback from friends, fellow authors, and best of all, readers I had no connection with beforehand.
I have since corresponded with several people regarding my writing as well as their personal reading interests. The best part about going the indie route has been connecting with those readers more quickly than waiting for permission from New York. This is what convinced me that KMP was the proper avenue to publish my first novel, The Last Night. The book became available this past November after the manuscript sat in a drawer for three years.
The state of publishing
The self-publishing stigma is fading, but it’s not gone yet. Some writers hit the publish button too early, which clutters the marketplace and invites criticism. Detractors then make broad statements that indie books are inherently bad because they did not go through the proper channels of agents, editors, and hundred-year-old publishing houses. The problem with that argument is the implication that the legacy method must be inherently good.
Well, anybody who has read a subpar, traditionally published book knows that “traditional” is not synonymous with “good.”
“Independent” is not synonymous with “good” either. Quality must be determined on a story-by-story basis.
The direction an author takes should come down to a business decision for that particular book, which does not mean you are necessarily choosing a single path for your whole career. I think a hybrid model is the best of all worlds, where you can publish select works on your own to learn the ropes directly; then you can go to a bigger publisher if you think that other project will be best served by their marketing and distribution arms. It’s just not either/or anymore, and that’s why King’s Men Press was founded.
It’s been a successful first year, but I’m looking forward to the next one.
The paperback editions are already available from retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. The only digital editions, so far, have been on Amazon’s Kindle platform. In the next few months I’ll be expanding the e-book offerings to Nook and Kobo as well. I’ll keep you updated as those titles become available. Better yet, you can subscribe to my newsletter to receive the announcement strait to your email.
As for new projects, I have several in the works. My next novel has a commercial chance with a legacy publisher, so I’ll try the New York route when that’s ready to go. If traditional doesn’t work out again, I have the strength of King’s Men Press supporting me. Because if you thought The Last Night was good, wait until you see this book.
Next, if you haven’t already heard, I’m posting a new short story on the blog each week as part of my Fiction Fridays series. The stories are free, and I welcome feedback on this high-wire act. If this crazy idea works out the way I hope, I’ll likely revise and expand upon some of the tales in order to collect them into another book. This way you can see the stories develop in real time.
There are also two novellas in the works that are excellent candidates for KMP publication. The novel is the priority at the moment, but one novella is a spin-off of the main book, while another is a devilishly wonderful story I’ve been pecking at for years.
Finally, none of this would even be possible without the support of readers like you. Writing is my strength and my passion, but I don’t write just for me. I write to be read, which means crafting stories that I want people to love.
So thank you. Truly.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for going on this publishing journey with me. I look forward to sharing the next stage with you.
Now, back to writing I go.