The Devil And Preston Black

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The Devil and Preston Black First 100

Here's what I wrote the day I put the book up:

In less than twenty-four hours THE SAD BALLAD OF PRESTON BLACK shows up in Amazon's Kindle Store. This is kind of a soft release because there'll be a few bugs to iron out--I'm afraid some the internal links won't work and a heading or two may be off-center. But it's what I've been working on for the last few years. And I'm damn proud of it. And I did it independently, without any hand holding. And this is the format my writing was meant to appear in.

A few years ago this type of freedom wasn't available to a writer, unless you were lucky enough to to have an editor at a small press who was willing to take risks with formats. I think seeing the kind of fun Mike Arnzen had with his Gorelets and Audiovile made me wonder what kind of sweetheart deal I'd have to get to be able to work in those formats. Now I don't have to wonder anymore.

As soon as I get my Kindle formatting straightened out I'm going to start recording the soundtrack to The Devil and Preston Black. I already have the guitar worked out for three songs, and have complete lyrics to one, have banjo and electric guitar parts and bass lines for a few more. I'm still looking for somebody to help me with drum tracks and I'm hoping a sexy violinist will show up to put finishing touches on everything. After I get the title track finished I'm going to complete the book trailer I started.

The cover is temporary, too. I put it together out of necessity, but have been talking to Jim Sherradin of Hatch Show Prints of Nashville, Tennessee about a proper cover. Hatch is a traditional print shop that does concert posters for the Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry. I'd love to visit them over the summer and see how it's done, and hopefully document part of the process.

You know, I dropped more than a few characters talking about the Big Six and the state of publishing and all that, so I'm not going to do it again here. But in a way I feel like I no longer have to do it here, or anywhere. The industry used to be the biggest obstacle to publication and I KNOW they vetted writers and I KNOW their goal was deliver to first-rate stories to readers. But somewhere along the way they became the enemy to writers like me--writers who's only platform was a love of storytelling and a masters degree. And there are a lot of us out there. We like the idea of not having to write to a marketing department or a demographic. We like the freedom of writing for ourselves and being able to get it out there without the hassle of toeing the line or trying to impress an agent.

Writing and publishing this book has been the most gratifying experience I've had since I typed my first Chapter One back in 1998 when we were living in a tiny apartment down in Orlando, Florida while working for The Mouse. The challenges I face are my own, but a community is starting to gel. I've met so many people going this route who are more than willing to help a brother out. (I'm looking at you, M Stephen Lukac. How many other writers can pick up writing advice at Shop 'n Save?)

I got goosebumps writing this. Every writer should be able to feel this way about their work. Now they can. I don't care if my mom's the only person in the world who ever reads my book, because it's out there like H1N1. And I didn't have to compromise or give away 80% to do it.

In 2011, this is what happy, successful writers looks like.