This week Hall Bros. Entertainment closed up shop.
This is significant news because HBE was scheduled to publish Yoshimi. It was actually scheduled to publish the book back in July, and so that's just one of the many reasons HBE no longer exists. I've got a long relationship with Hall Bros. #1, A.C. Hall. We both wrote for the comics website Paperback Reader (which also no longer exists). Ace (as I always like to call him) has a long history of writing cooperatives. At one point (after another of his ventures closed up) I decided it might be a good idea to start a literary journal with him. That was fantastic for about half a year, but that ended too. When he and his brother (naturally) opened up HBE, I finally found a home for some legitimate publishing. As one of those ever-present links on the right suggests, I got a story in their Villainy anthology that Ace chose as his editor's selection.
Yoshimi did not exist as a concept until I came up with a pitch for a book that I thought HBE might publish. Most of my fiction is incredibly cerebral. Yoshimi was my shot at doing something different. It's basically Kill Bill meets Harry Potter. I wrote the majority of the book during an extended period of unemployment. It's safe to say that if I didn't have that book to work on at that time, I might have gone crazy. I turned in the manuscript to HBE and started the waiting process.
The waiting process turned out to be a waiting process. I guess this sort of thing happens all the time, at least as far as small presses go, delays in the schedule. Except this was no delay. This was a slow march to oblivion.
I'm sad at HBE's fate for a number of reasons, but chief among them is the contract that is now no longer exists. Yoshimi was going to be my first legitimately published book. No matter the book sales, this would have been a huge step for me. My blogging friends seem to have a lot of this in the bag already. I've been working at maybe possibly theoretically being a full-time writer for years now. It was my stated goal on graduating from college ten years ago. I had no idea how to accomplish that goal, however. Cerebral fiction does not sell well. Publishers damn sure aren't interested in it. Readers? I have no idea. I've never gotten the chance to find out.
I've self-published a few books (actually, Monorama the Kindle Edition was free on Wednesday and I completely forgot to mention it), but I don't have the resources to truly promote that stuff. Some writers have the ability to sell themselves. Some writers, like me, simply hope the work will sell itself. They believe that this is the way writing should go. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who want to sell books, but preferably their own, which makes it very hard for the people who want to sell other people's books to make decisions on who to select for that honor.
I had HBE. Emphasis on "had." I suppose the fact that I deliberately shaped Yoshimi to be anything but what I normally write might make it easier to find another publisher. And maybe I simply haven't been as aggressive in my search for publishers to begin with. Some writers can deal with rejection. Some of us really hate form responses (or no response at all). Some of us find that downright insulting (and unprofessional).
Anyway, this is just to say. My life as a writer, as many writers can say, is not an easy one. Thanks for being there, Ace. Maybe we can try and do business again some time. Although you'll forgive me if I approach the next opportunity more cautiously.