Category: self publishing

Now Available: THROUGH DARK INTO LIGHT

Like scary stories? There are some in here! Don’t like scary stories? There are also non-scary stories! What a deal!

Today’s the day! My short story and poetry collection, THROUGH DARK INTO LIGHT, is now live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and will (should?) be available at other online retailers soon. But I know, for sure, that it’s live at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Promise.

But Craig, you may be thinking, How do I know I’ll like any of the stories? I didn’t read your first book because I couldn’t pronounce the title so I don’t know what to expect.

To that I say check out the Vignettes section of this here website. If you’re a frequent reader of the vignettes I post you’ll probably recognize a lot of the stories in the collection, since many of the stories in the collection were originally vignettes that I posted here.

If you need more convincing, here is a list of the stories with a short description of each:

  • Followed: Driving home to his sick daughter, a man is followed by three mysterious vehicles that become more aggressive as he gets closer to home.
  • Nightmare / Dream, Dream / Nightmare: A man’s dream is a woman’s nightmare, until the tables are turned.
  • Real Monsters: A little girl has to decide what scares her more–the monster under her bed or the monsters invading her home?
  • A Night Not to End: A young man tells a strange girl at a party that he wishes the night never had to end, and she grants his wish.
  • The Secret Monster: From childhood a man is terrorized by a creature that tells him the secrets of those he loves.
  • Hit and Run: On his way to a party at a cabin deep in the woods, a teenager hits a family dog and is haunted by the guilt–and the dog.
  • Together Forever (Poem): A poem about being with the person you love as the world ends.
  • A Cold, Silent Nothing: Before a scientist is allowed to use a time machine to travel to the end of the Universe he must first meet with the only other man to make the attempt and learn what he saw that drove him insane.
  • Every Day the Same Dream: A bored office worker varies his routine in an attempt to break the monotony of his life.
  • Say Something New (Poem): A poem about creativity.
  • Distance: The captain of a generation ship uses its resources to clone the wife he left behind until there is nothing left.
  • Eryn’s Dream (Poem): A poem about empathy.
  • Thoughts and Actions in a Car Crash: A man reacts as he rear-ends the car in front of him on an icy road.
  • Ode to the Ellipses (Poem): A poem about the deep meaning of the ellipses.
  • Letter(s) to the Girl(s) I (Once) Love(d): A letter to a girl a young man once loved.
  • A Brief History of Their Love: A chronicle of the relationship between a man and an android, and the extremes each will go to protect or fight for the other.
  • To Go Back: An old man explains the purpose of his time machine to his daughter.
  • Small Decisions: A man is faced with the consequences of his indiscretion.
  • You Will Be Remembered (Poem): A poem about passwords, multi-factor authentication, and sometimes unwelcome reminders.
  • Her Tea: The routines we break and the small imprints we leave in our lives can be the most lasting reminders of love, as one young man learns.
  • A Sixteen Year Old’s Lament (Poem): A poem about pressure, responsibility, and cliche from a sixteen year old’s perspective.
  • The Final Days of Florence: An old woman negotiates with an Angel for three more days of life so that she can make amends with her estranged son.
  • Your Anger (Poem): A poem about watching your parent die from their own mistakes.
  • The Passenger: As a man escorts his father’s corpse across state lines, he is helped by his father’s spirit when he finds himself in bad situations.
  • Cliched Goodbye: In the warm light of sunset two friends say goodbye and reckon with their unspoken feelings.

The collection is organized to start in the dark, with horror stories, and end on a lighter, more reflective note. I think there’s a little something in here for everyone. If you did read ANH NGUYEN AND THE DISCORDIAN and liked it, then you’ll probably like this. If you read ANH NGUYEN AND THE DISCORDIAN and didn’t like it, well this collection is totally different, so give it a shot.

If you enjoy anything I write, leave me some love on Goodreads.

Announcement / Cover Reveal: THROUGH DARK INTO LIGHT

Available October 1st!

From childhood a man is stalked by a creature that tells him the secrets of those he loves. A man’s dream is a woman’s nightmare until she turns the tables. The captain of a generation ship uses its resources to clone the wife he left behind. A woman on her deathbed negotiates a deal with an Angel for three more days to make amends with her estranged son. A teenager runs over a family dog and is haunted by the memory–and the dog.

This eclectic collection guides readers from the darkness of a moonlit highway to a field under the warm light of a late summer sunset. Through these 18 stories and 7 poems you will feel emotions that spill out in great waves of yelling, crying, and laughing and be reminded that sometimes the best way out is through.

Come October 1st, just in time for Autumn (my favorite time of year) and Halloween (my favorite holiday) I’m releasing a collection of short stories and poems. Some will be familiar to anyone that’s kept up with the vignettes I’ve posted–all nine from last year are included in this collection–but many are new.

I’ll write more about it after release, but the collection is meant to take the reader on an emotional journey of horror, existential despair, doomed romance, grief and regret, and unspoken love. I tried to complete an arc in the way the stories are ordered, and in doing so learned lots about themes I’m obsessed with, fears I have, and things that interest me.

The collection will be available in print and ebook at most online retailers.

Why I Self Published

Buy my book. (Please.)

In 2019 I wrote a novella. It was a fun little project based that I wasn’t sure I’d do anything with. But, as I wrote and rewrote and edited and then rewrote some more, I felt like I had something pretty good. Last year I decided to play around with Wattpad, so I posted a few chapters (until I realized that I needed to rewrite some of it again and stopped).

The story was never meant to be more than ~25,000ish words. That posed a problem for me. It’s probably the most publishable thing I’ve ever written in terms of quality if not content (it’s not exactly mainstream–I was heavily inspired by Haruki Murakami’s brand of weird). But something that short as a debut would never gain traction with agents or publishers. So, already that pushed me toward self-publishing as my only real option if I wanted to get this in the hands of readers.

But I also saw it as an opportunity. For a long while I’ve wanted to be a “hybrid author,” or an author that is both self-published and traditionally published. My thinking is that I would write stand-alone novels and maybe short story collections for the traditional market, and release weird little novellas and less mainstream series as a self-published writer. So, with this novella that I’m quite proud of I decided to take the opportunity to learn how to self-publish.

It’s not hard! It’s also not super easy, and I made a few mistakes that cost me time and money. I’ll go into more depth about those in upcoming posts on working with an editor, working with a cover designer, and working on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

My ultimate goal is to put myself in a position where I can be a full-time writer. As I get older that gets more complicated. I mean, in just the past year I’ve added a house and a child to my life. Who knows what’s next? Author Nicholas Erik has a great resource on his site on book marketing for self-published authors. There, he describes his theory of the “Indie Trifecta of Success.” Essentially, it’s a pyramid where the base is productivity (how much content are you generating?), the middle is craft (how good is your writing?), and the tippy-top of the pyramid is marketing (how are you finding readers?).

The common wisdom is that to be a successful indie (re: self-published) author you need a huge backlist of work that is available to buy. You want someone to read your work, like it, and look to see what else of yours they can buy. For the past year and a half or so a large focus of mine has been just that. The vignettes I write every month help me to hit the bottom two tiers of the pyramid. I’m generating content I can reuse later while also practicing my craft. ANH NGUYEN AND THE DISCORDIAN is my first attempt at generating income from my writing. The key now is to up the productivity while continually improving my craft so that I can publish more in the future. At that point, I’ll have multiple products with which to market.

In short, self-publishing ANH NGUYEN AND THE DISCORDIAN is the first of many steps toward becoming a full-time writer. I’ll still pursue traditional publishing as part of my goal of being a “hybrid author,” but for now going indie gives me the most control, most ROI, and is the most fun I can have with it.

I Wrote Another Book: Cover Reveal

Last year you may recall I played around a bit with Wattpad. I posted a few chapters from a novella that, at the time, was called A NIGHT OF CHAOS and had this cover:

It’s not a bad cover, by any means. In fact, most people that saw it liked it quite a bit. But it is clearly an amateur cover. The title, graphics, and color scheme also don’t do a great job of conveying the tone of the story–something a title and cover should do.

Well, a year on I’ve continued working on the book and am happy to say that tomorrow it will be available for purchase in print and e-book via Amazon. Here’s the new cover:

Over the next week I’ll be posting a new blog post everyday to explain what the book is about, why I made certain choices, and my journey to self-publishing. I hope you’ll join me.

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