Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mike Heppner's Novella Series (Third Installment)

When asked if he would recommend self-publishing to writers who want to get the word out about their work, Heppner explained that he already had a foundation as a published author. He questions whether the Internet is a useful enough tool for writers who don’t yet have credentials; however, the attitude toward being published on the Internet has changed drastically in the last ten years. But the problem with making yourself stand out online is the same as “getting out of the slush pile [of other writers]. How do you separate yourself from that?”

For starters, give your readers a voice. In his cover letter accompanying Man, Heppner invited readers to send their feedback, which he would then post on his website. The curious thing is that Heppner is getting more honest feedback and goodwill now than he did in his old school publishing days (e.g., comments on his novels on Amazon). He believes the difference is because readers have an inherent distrust of corporate media that could rest on an author’s shoulders. One Man reader wrote:

My friend J gave me a copy of Man over midnight ice cream, and I read it the next day. I applaud your experiment…I've dabbled in writing for the last four or five years and I know exactly what it feels like... We have to remember that the worthwhile part is intangible, is what's going on in our own heads and lives.

While Heppner wouldn’t call these types of “self-releases” of his work ideal, he thinks it’s better than having it sit in a closet. He likes working with editors and would like to get back to traditional publishing, but he feels that the publishing industry is "so slow moving." Heppner was able to release the novellas every 3-4 months and the process allotted him much freedom and creativity in engaging readers. He is currently working on his next novel entitled Quartered.

For you lucky New Yorkers, Heppner will be reading at the KBG Books on 2/ 27. The rest of us can go to or to learn more.

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