Most publishers won’t risk as short a story as this.
I will. In fact, I think it’s quite appropriate that my debut book is so small. Here’s why:
I grew up with a love for reading. I devoured books as a kid from a young age, until I didn’t.
Ya see, I hit that age where I was supposed to move from short stories to chapter books. Ya know, those bulky things that take forever to get to the point and describe too much because there aren’t pictures to do the describing for it. My kid brain couldn’t handle it. While other avid readers were finding big books to love, I had this hurdle I couldn’t seem to get across as I entered my teenage years.
Perhaps my love of reading, my future of writing, perhaps it would have died there. If it weren’t for my mom who didn’t give up, and if it weren’t for TCDC. The Three Cousins Detectives Club series (that’s an affiliate link – I may receive $ from purchases made with that link). Teeny tiny chapter books. 40 pages max. A mystery that kept my kid brain hooked and made the concept of longer stories manageable. My mom bought me every single book in the series (that’s 40 books) once she saw I’d devour them.
And that was the gateway to larger books. I pretty quickly jumped from those teeny things to Ted Dekker books like Blink(also an affiliate link – I may receive $ from purchases made with that link), well above my age range. Fast forward to getting an English Lit degree and becoming a writer. And it started with TCDC.
Small books get a bad rap, but small books kept my love for reading intact.
And small books aren’t just for kids learning to read big books.
They’re for grownups who want to dig into a good story but don’t have the time to devote to a novel.
They’re for stolen moments in frenzied lives.
They’re for the non-bookworms, not quite ready to commit to those huge tomes on the bookshelves, yet still wanting a good story in a digestible format.
They’re for those who would be readers if reading was just a little more accessible.
One of my greatest surprises and delights in publishing I Know You Like a Murder is the number of non-readers who see it and say – “Oh, that I could read!”
That thing I found as a kid – that short mystery in quick chapters that pulls me in for a brief adventure – I now get to offer that to others. I think that makes kid me super proud.
Although, let’s be real: Ksenia and I don’t plan on actually growing up in our writerly lives. It’s more like staying daydreaming children forever, but then pretending to be grown-up long enough to do the business stuff.
I don’t remember how I discovered Ksenia. But I do remember what stuck in my mind about her:
She said, “Reader, you are my publisher. Share my books.”
She gave away her books for free, as in all of her older drafts of her story were publicly available to read (maybe still are) and you can even still download her stories for free.
Why did that grab my attention? She saw the value of her readers. That readers are what make or break a story. That’s what I want my philosophy to stay forever.
And she has a mindset of abundance, not scarcity. Those are artistic buzzwords right now, but they ring true. Artists can tend to want to hoard their ideas, their best work for themselves, as if there’s a finite capacity. But we need a mindset of abundance, that we can throw it all out there and celebrate others successes too, because creativity is infinite.
Why else do I want to be like Ksenia Anske “when I grow up”?
Curly haired people goals!
You are getting to know the person through every online engagement.
She is authentic – what she’s learning, what she’s done wrong, it’s all out there. You’re following the journey, the person, not just book sales promos.
She’s always learning and sharing what she learns. I’m sure paying attention.
She’s not afraid to work out of the box, experiment.
It all comes back to her READERS! They support her because she supports them. She listens to their feedback and engages with them.
Need proof? Anyone who read her last email newsletter, she requested their address and she sent them a card with a personalized short story.
Note the above bullet point also goes back to the concept of abundance rather than scarcity. She didn’t freak that she wouldn’t have enough stories in her for each person or that she wouldn’t be able to send cards to her readers because of the expense. She just said she’d do it, then she did it.
okay, I’m losing track of what these bullet points are for and when to use bullet points and when to not….
I’ve read two books of hers:
Rosehead. Magical realism at its finest. If you want a quirky read about a girl and her talking dog and a carnivorous garden, this is it! Everyone’s been looking for a book about a carnivorous garden, right? 🙂
Blue Sparrow. A collection of tweets on writing, reading, and the creative life. Motivational, inspirational, even instructional (mostly “KEEP WRITING!”). My favorite detail would be that it’s 140 pages long, with 140 tweets. Like an inside joke for us Twitter users 🙂 And to whet your appetite, check out a couple of the tweets:
So now you know what I’m working towards. Quirky writing. Lovable hair. Personable interaction. Perspective of abundance. And reader centered. Check out Ksenia’s work for yourself….you won’t regret it!
I certainly don’t want a boring to-do list. Granted, I do have a to-do list probably similar to yours, piled high with the following:
schedule eye exam
speak with IRA investment advisor
change banking contact info
I know. You don’t want to read anymore of that list. I don’t either 😉 but let’s have more than the boring to-do’s. Let’s liven our lives up with fun to-do’s. Creative to-do’s. Goals and dreams and making life beautiful to live.
I have a FUN to-do list you have forever access to! On my Trello board, you can see what creative projects I’m working on and how I’m tracking with each goal. You can comment and tell me what you wanna see or what I need to move up in priority.
See what I’ve been up to? 🙂
On your Trello, you can create your own boards, keep them private or public for creative projects or the boring to-do’s. I’m not getting paid to say this unfortunately 😉
I’m at writer’s retreat telling Yasmeen that I’m listening to “One night and one more time, thanks for the memories, thanks for the memories…” and she’s not sure how she could write from that anything but “memories memories.” Here’s what I’m writing. Sometimes a soundtrack of words actually works.
How many words have I typed from song? Song might be more Muse to me than any other muse. Maybe. It’s the first half of a sentence and the last half of my heart.
I could run on love [and music] til it dies again. I’ll always go back to music.
I have one less problem when music gives me the words to write.
If I had music, that wouldn’t be the *only* thing I ever need, but writing would be a party, it’d be ecstasy.
When I do everything right and am on the outside of my story, I gotta be so strong, but every other day I watch for music.
Maybe it’s not right that I tend towards music with lyrics more than soundtrack or classical music, but it’s okay – I’m gonna make it anyway.
My mind was frozen in the blizzards, it was burning like a wildfire. I tried, but I’m a natural disaster without music.
I’d tell myself, “Everything you say is so, so predictable and small, I don’t wanna hear you.” When it gets so frustrating, I just sing a song inside my head.
Maybe if you tried it you’d realize, til now you always got by on your own. You never really cared until you tried music. Now it chills you to the bone.
If you’re okay with music with words while writing, we could, we could belong together. Free my mind ArtPop, you make my HeartStop.
We could be different. Maybe we missed it. It could be different. It could. It could. It should’ve been…
Don’t worry, Yaz, don’t worry. I’m here by your side. We’re letting go tonight. Yesterday is gone and you will be okay.
If I could write a song to make you fall in love, I would already have you….I hope that you like this, but you probably won’t, you think you’re cooler than me.
So Yaz….can you handle it if we go against the crowd? cause I’m counting on you now.
Are you game?