Let’s travel back in time to where everything began, my first book – Back From Nothing.
I was in my late teens when I really became serious about writing. I had joined some friends in working on ‘zines and was writing my own stories. I fell in love with story writing as an early teen and got more serious about it the older, and honestly, the more isolated I got. Writing was a way to reach out to the world and to stretch muscles I had just discovered.
After I had been writing for a few years I decided to start seeing if I could get my work published anywhere.
The answer was ‘no’.
Every place I reached out to rejected me.
The life of a writer.
So I focused on my writing until I had amassed quite a few stories and thought…why not collect them?
I tried book publishers and they weren’t interested and neither were agents – nothing has changed there, friend – so I was left sort of bashing my head against the wall until I came across one publisher that was interested.
The problem is that they were a subsidy place, which meant pay to play, which MEANT, sure, I can get my book out, if I pay for it.
I cannot recall in the LEAST how this went down but my parents, specifically my mom, supported me and backed me and the book and came up with the money.
I will never downplay how lucky I was for that support and how important it was to me. Nor can I repay that. All I can say is that it was not an investment I took lightly and being that I am still writing, I think it was a pretty decent one.
That whole time in my life seems so far away now, the late 1990’s. I was writing on a Brother word processor for most of my stories and only got a computer towards the end of that decade. I was writing all the time though and the book I submitted, Back From Nothing was the culmination. It was to feature my cover art, rudimentary as it was, and my stories, warts and all.
There’s a LOT I would change with it all but I am happy for what it is, what it represents, and what it says.
The stories are raw, they are emotional, but you can see the writer I was becoming.
Stories full of heartbreak and horror, stories with big ideas and dark scopes, and stories that featured average people going through things both ordinary and immense.
Back From Nothing is my first book and the fire that got me going. It was because of that book that I started vending at art shows and conventions. It was because of that book that I started doing chapbooks so I’d have something more to sell at shows. It was through that book that, really, by doing these shows, I made some amazing friends.
I have lived with the book and its flaws and glories for a long time and have come to accept it. I wish it had a better layout. I wish it had a better font. I wish it wasn’t a chore to read because of those things. I wish I wasn’t so raw with some of the post scripts on the stories.
Still and all.
Completely and fully and more than anything else I have put out.
The bummer about this book is that when the last of the copies, which there are still a lot, are gone, they’re gone. I don’t see that being an issue unless a flood or fire finds me, though they’ve already survived one fire! The company I went through went out of business and we had to pay to have these things freighted to me or they’d have all been dumpstered so the only place to get the book is through me.
It’s been funny, over the years, to see the book listed on EBay and Amazon for way, way more money that it’s worth, but also frustrating because I would love to get these into people’s hands and only sell it for five bucks myself. It’s worth more than that but I have always tried to price to the market and to sell more than just to have them sit around as they are doing today.
I am a writer and I want readers.
I want you.
I am always happy to ship someone a book or more if they get in touch with me and want to just get it from me, and with BFN, that’s the only way to get it. If you’re interested, reach out via the site and let me know.
2 thoughts on “FLASHBACK – Back From Nothing”
I like this book. I like it in the form it’s in, format and all…I think it adds a mystique to it. It’s one of my bathroom readers so I’ve read it several times.
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There may never be a better honor than being one’s crapper read, and I mean that sincerely, so thank you.