Update, July 2016
In July 2016 I simultaneously published the second edition of Volume 1, and Volume 2 of Minigrooves. Both feature a new and improved layout, definitely more reader-friendly. The first edition of the book has been removed from sale. All links in this post pointing to the first edition have been updated to refer the new edition. Here is the new cover for Volume 1:
The original 2013 post
A few days ago, I finally reached an important goal with regard to my literary project, Minigrooves. The first cycle of short stories — 42 in total — has been published on the iBooks Store.
The project started back in March 2012, the originating idea being very simple: to offer short stories that can be enjoyed in a relatively short amount of time, like during a break from work, while commuting, while sitting in a waiting room, and so on. The idea came to me while admiring the work of some illustrators I discovered by complete chance while browsing the Web. I noticed how powerful was the immediacy of ‘getting’ their style, their taste and inspiration simply by examining a few samples of their work. It happens with musicians as well. I thought I could try to do something similar with what I do best — writing. Hence, the short story format, the watercolour-with-words, the ‘minigroove’.
Delivery: the TV series model
At first the idea was to simply publish a couple of stories per week and see where the project would go. I deliberately chose a demanding pace to stimulate creativity through discipline, something I had never really tried before with my writing. And boy, did it work. When I realised the project was really taking off, I thought about some way of organising it, and again the eureka moment came quickly. I would deliver the stories like the episodes of a TV series, i.e. ‘airing’ the stories in cycles (‘seasons’), then gathering all the stories of a cycle and publishing them as an ebook. Each ebook would have some ‘extras’ (just like when you purchase a DVD/Blu Ray edition of a movie or TV series) — bonus stories, author’s commentary and notes, alternate takes, etc. This way, even those people who followed the stories during their ‘airing’ period would find something of value by purchasing the ebook.
A long process
The last story of the first cycle of Minigrooves was published online in November 2012. Assembling the ebook hasn’t been a simple ‘copy and paste’ task. When importing the stories in iBooks Author, I went back and re-read each one of them, performing further editing and proofreading as meticulously as possible (in the end you have to consider that English is not my first language). Then there was the matter of preparing the Extras section, which has been a mix of choosing specific bits, translating certain fragments from Italian into English, and writing new material. Then some more time was spent essentially taking care of opening a Publisher iTunes Connect account. Since my intention was to provide paid content, I had to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which meant sending a form to the United States’ IRS via fax and patiently wait for their reply. Your mileage may vary, I had to wait for roughly four weeks. Finally I wrapped things up in iBooks Author, created all the necessary assets, filled all the necessary information in iTunes Producer (the software that creates the package to be distributed through the iTunes Store), created a 15-page free sample of the ebook, uploaded everything to Apple’s servers, and waited a few more days for the ebook to pass the required quality standards… And finally here we are.
It means a lot
I’m not new to publishing and self-publishing, but you cannot imagine how I felt when I checked the status of the ebook and saw that it was “available on 51 stores”. The thrill of being able to share my humble work with so many people is exhilarating, no matter how many will actually end up purchasing the book. I’m in a moment of my life where I badly needed a feeling of accomplishment, especially after a prolonged creative drought and some rather negative work-related experiences.
This little project means a lot to me.
The 42 stories are quite varied and should appeal to a wide audience. Each of them has its particular ‘groove’, each of them has its mood, and since each story is self-contained, you don’t even have to read them sequentially. Some stories are longer and more complex than others (they were published in parts when they first ‘aired’ online), and therefore you’ll likely enjoy them more when you have more time to read.
With the publication of this book, I really hope to enter a stage where finally my creative writing could help me make ends meet. If you have enjoyed what I’ve been writing online these past years, and wanted to support me but a PayPal donation seemed a bit awkward, now you can show your support by buying my Minigrooves ebook, or at least by spreading the word, by talking about it with people you know love short stories and their format.
Marketing is an obscure practice to me. I have started announcing the ebook on social networks like Twitter and App.net, and of course I’ve mentioned it on this site and on the Minigrooves official site, but I’m open to suggestions and advice. I’d like to spread the word properly, so that people are aware of the project and the ebook’s availability, but at the same time I don’t want to end up being too annoying and too ‘in the face’ of my audience. I don’t want to alienate people.
Thank you to all those who have encouraged me ever since the Minigrooves project started, gave feedback and linked to it via Twitter.
Thank you to all those who showed interest towards my stories, and who have already started spreading the word about the ebook publication.
Thank you to those who have purchased the ebook or genuinely plan to. If you want to support my writing, this is a great way to do so.
And as always, Thank you for reading.