Currently I am knee deep, with a very dear friend and collaborator, Sandi Sieger, in creating an anthology, Sincere Forms of Flattery. It is to be the first e-book for our little ‘love project’ O&S Publishing, which we started at the beginning of the year. I want to tell you a little bit about O&S and our first project, now that its launch date is looming and it is getting truly exciting.
Originally, Sincere Forms of Flattery was going to be pitched to publishing houses as a print volume but then we changed our minds and in doing so, opened up a whole new world of possibilities. We figured we’d give this e-publishing lark a crack. It would mean we could publish it when we wanted to, how we wanted to and have it be globally available from the word go. E-publishing was something we could do on our own terms, something we would have complete editorial and design control over, something we could make happen. And so we formed a platform, from which to publish – O&S Publishing – and maintain the site as something of a hub. A place writers can find deadlines and advice and news as well as a place where readers can find e-books and track the progress of creating them.
Since committing to the e-publishing idea and creating SFOF as an e-book, I’ve given a lot of thought to the whole e/self publishing thing. I used to dismiss it, to be perfectly honest. I used to think, in my naivety, if you couldn’t get a book deal then you musn’t be worth publishing. But that is wrong on so many levels I am not even going to begin a dissection.
What I will say, however, is this; SFOF brings together seven hugely talented writers. That I know. We have read their work, were aware of their talent before approaching them about SFOF. They are clever, smart, elegant writers and as a result, the anthology itself is clever, smart and elegant. Their stories have been work-shopped and edited, crafted over a series of drafts, molded by constructive criticism from people with experience in the area. Each story and its preceding essay is of a high standard, across the board.
I know this because I know the level of ability, the amount of talent Sandi and I have been fortunate enough to work with. These people are wonderful writers, capable of doing great things with words, because writing is their great love, their big love. Their thing.
And it is when I compare the writers on this book, to the plethora of book deals out there, made between bricks and mortar publishing houses and people like Lauren Conrad, Katie Price, Sam Faiers, Whitney Port – or the memoirs and stories from any Tom, Dick and Harry that are deemed ‘of interest’ because a certain Tom is a known media personality – I think, yes we are doing the right thing. For every high quality book produced by a bricks and mortar, there is a poorly imagined, poorly written money grabber pumped out along side it. For every Jeffrey Eugenides, there is a reality TV personality and as long as they keep publishing these people, there’s an argument for self publishing. Self publishing isn’t just for the rejected and dejected, the inexperienced and arrogant (although undeniably, there will be those in the mix, just as there are in the bricks and mortar mix) it is also for those who are mindlessly looked over, hitherto undiscovered, who don’t have the ticket to the top of the slush pile a glamour modelling career or established media personality might afford them. It is another way to share stories, hear voices, have people read. And done properly, it is entirely viable, entirely valid and makes way for entirely exciting possibilities.
Sincere Forms of Flattery – an anthology that pays homage to greater writers who have gone before us – will launch on May23rd. It features stories from YA author Foz Meadows, writer and film critic Lee Zachariah and Indian author Kailash Srinivasan. It is being stunningly illustrated by French artist, Amandine Thomas. You can read author interviews on the site as well as stay abreast of literary tips and tricks and competition deadlines.
O&S Publishing is a love project because we love words, we love writing and we love books. We are proud to be using the new form of sharing stories, proud to be a part of something that combats the opportunities taken away by glossy money grabbers. Proud to give you something good to read.