Regular Examiner readers in the greater Spokane area may know local author Anthony R. Schultz as the Spokane Comic Book Examiner, or from his work for CBS Local Seattle. He is also a poet and short fiction writer who has published his work before on Smashwords.
Schultz recently started a Kickstarter campaign to try to get the funding he needs to publish a short story collection called "Human." He is asking for at least $3,800 to publish the collection through CreateSpace, an Amazon company that provides a variety of services to help self-published authors distribute their work.
According to a statement Schultz made on his Kickstarter page, "I have published pieces traditionally in the past, and been paid for it. It is a great feeling, but at the end of the day your work gets altered in the process. It loses that extra something, and you often feel removed from it by the end.
"I want to self-publish, because I want people to be involved. I want to meet bibliophiles and those interested in the arts. This is an amazing tool that can be used to meet new people, share ideals, and achieve higher ones in the course of several months and conversations."
Schultz is hoping to use $2,315 of the funds people donate for services CreateSpace provides as part of their Total Freedom Design Advanced package. These include things such as assigning "Human" ISBN and LCCN numbers, creating a unique book cover and a review from Kirkus Reviews. Authors also have the options of distributing their work through Amazon and setting up their own eStores to sell books online.
The CreateSpace Total Freedom Design Advanced package also includes a custom book interior. This is the company's term for formatting the text in ways that create a more appealing final product.
According to CreateSpace, "We'll incorporate your ideas on typography, text layout, decorative accents and chapter style into a professional, custom-designed book interior."
In an email interview, Schultz discussed what he is hoping to do with his Kickstarter campaign and what readers can expect to see in the pages of "Human."
Examiner: How many stories are in the collection?
Schultz: There will be at least nine short stories featured in the collection interspersed with quotes, pieces of flash fiction, and nonfiction interludes. They will be grouped by genre and/or type to (hopefully) create a certain kind of cadence to the collection.
The introduction lays out the purpose and theme of the collection, followed by a series of shorter pieces constructed to ease people into it, and then from there on out it will be very specific genre types: pulp science fiction, confessional nonfiction, horror, etc., all with nonfiction prefaces.
Examiner: Could you please be more specific about what readers can expect? For example, is your zombie story "Heaven at Night" in there?
Schultz: There will be several different genres featured, which makes me very excited because I feel as-if I get to flex my writing chops a bit. The first part of the collection will feature several flash fiction pieces that would most-likely be dubbed literary fiction. I have a section that will be heavily set in the sci-fi realm of things. I also have a pair of horror pieces ("The Well'" and "The Elephant Killer") that desperately try to pay homage to the great Stephen King.
I also have an action/adventure tale titled "Rory Winters" which was featured in last year's Independent Author Index Short Story Compilation, Volume 1. There are several other genres and stories being included in "Human," but for mystery's sake I'll play the tease.
As for my zombie story, "Heaven at Night," it will not be included in this anthology. I won't see the rights to that one till 2017; however, it is included as a Kickstarter backer reward. If you donate $100 or more you'll receive a printed version of "Heaven at Night" along with your named included in the 'Thank You" section of "Human," two signed and numbered trade paperbacks of "Human," the .pdf and Kindle edition of "Human," two "Human" bookmarks, two "Human" wristbands, and one "Malicious the Gorilla" A.R. Schultz blog T-shirt.
Examiner: At this point, do you know how much the various editions of your anthology will cost?
Schultz: At this juncture "no," but I will tell you this: I don't care if I make any money on this. What I really want is to have something out there that I am proud of and that speaks to at least one person in some way, shape, or form. I will try my best to get the cost as low as possible--eVersion and trade back alike.
Examiner: ISBN assignment is a huge benefit. Could you explain how this will help you market the book?
Schultz: I read it best from a fellow blogger: ISBNs are like drivers licenses. If you get a legitimate one they are fantastic! They let retailers know all sorts of stuff about your book with just a quick scan of an ISBN code: author, description, publisher, publication date, etc. However, if you have a bad one it is just as bad as buying a fake I.D. from the 7-11 across the way. Retailers will know you are a phony and your book will be dead in the water upon arrival.
It's why writers should shop around if they want to self-publish. Always check to see if the self-publishing company is a Channel Partner, meaning: if they aren't backed by the ISBN Agency odds are they aren't legitimate. I jockey back and forth between the two publishing worlds, so for me Amazon's CreateSpace was the way to go.
Examiner: Frank Zafiro has used CreateSpace for his self-published works, and they really do create a good final product. What are some benefits you see in features such as the custom book interior or getting help with creating the book cover?
Schultz: I really enjoy Mr. Zafiro's work and I won't lie his choice in using CreateSpace did lend its hand in me choosing CreateSpace. Unfortunately, I possess no artistic talent or knowledge of how to create a marketable cover or interior, so having a team of people who know how the system works and what "pops" and doesn't is nearly invaluable.
The cover and jacket is something that I can't personally create, but is as equally (if not more) important as the writing itself. Without editors, artists, and marketers books wouldn't happen, and I think a lot of the time these talented individual get lost in the shuffle. Needless to say, I am ecstatic to work with the CreateSpace staff!
Examiner: Could you please explain LCCN assignment?
Schultz: By registering a Library of Congress Control Number (otherwise known as a LCCN) it makes it easier for the Library of Congress to purchase and stay-up-to-date on available titles, which means for me that "Human" could eventually be included in the Library of Congress. In a nutshell, a LCCN is a ISBN for the government.
Examiner: Are you planning on setting up your own estore?
Schultz: Presently, I don't have any immediate plans to setup my own eStore, however, if this Kickstarter campaign proves successful it is definitely a high probability. I've been toying with the idea, but until recently I haven't had enough work produced or enough time to start such an endeavor. I'm in a wait-and-see mode.