The New Set of Ghost Stories

Shoot, people, I’m loving writing the new ghost stories. I’m especially loving writing them now, knowing I’ll have some time to polish them before y’all see them. It’s all I can think about, in a way that really makes me happy, to try to figure out what it is I want to say and how and why. I have to admit that the Devil was my favorite character from last year, and he’s back this year, in three stories (so far, but I think that’s enough). I just feel like you have to have the Devil in a story about Nashville, that you just can’t have a town this churchy without the Devil being the unseen guest. I have a few flood stories so far. I think, if you read me, you know that’s something that has weighed heavily on my mind.

Upon rereading what I have so far, I’m struck by how many stories revolve around families and family relations.  I also see myself playing a lot with the space between how two different people interpret the same events.

I’m still mulling over whether to self-publish. I think, if I try to go the traditional route, I’m going to have to find an agent, and I honestly have little idea how one goes about that. And I keep thinking that my stories are so Nashville-specific that it might be a turn-off to a big publisher. Plus, there’s the whole issue of them being fictional ghost stories. Fictional ghost stories that have all been (or are about to be) published right here.

I don’t know. I feel like I could get review copies to the Nashville media, so it’s not like I need a publisher for that. I don’t know. This is one of those areas where I feel like an old fogey. I feel like I should not even sweat it–just self-publish the book, sell it to people who I know are interested in it, and glory in having a copy of my own book on my shelf.

But something about it also feels kind if illegitimate, like cheating.

But I think that’s on me. I just need to let go of the idea that Random House doing a book makes it “real” and me doing a book makes it about vanity.

11 thoughts on “The New Set of Ghost Stories

  1. Here’s my two cents coming from an artistic standpoint.

    I get “published” all the time doing graphic design. It’s fine. I do love it and it pays the bills. BUT the true joy I get is sitting and painting – because nobody is telling me what color to put where – there is no design by committee. There is no one there sucking the life out of the project.

    And because of the stated reasons above, I tend to feel more connected to the fine art I do than the design work. I would have a harder time letting go of a painting than I ever would a design piece done on the computer.

    That said, I think if you maintain artistic control of your writing, you’ll take more care in creating it and garner more joy when you’re finally done.

  2. Can you include John Rich in a story? Or at least Love Circle. That seems like a great place for a ghost.

  3. Fine, people, I will try to come up with something! I will not be mentioning John Rich, though. I don’t want to get beat up.

  4. John Rich is more of a troll hiding under a bridge than a ghost. But I’m sure he’ll end up tormenting Nashville long after he’s gone. perhaps you should set this story sometime in the future, say 65 years from now.

  5. B!! You’re becoming a politican. The first sentence reads like you’re going to appease us. Then the second says ‘but I won’t do what you want’. Nicely done.

  6. W., don’t even fret! I spent all last night writing a ghost story that establishes the practice of throwing quarters around at the top of Love Hill.

  7. A story about Love Circle will make me happy, but I dunno about nm and the rest of the consituents….

  8. W, it’s a concept that dovetails nicely with what some of us were suggesting to B with the first batch of stories, which I won’t mention on the blog. Oh, wait … B, have you established that there used to be such a practice, in a way that would lead folks to run all over searching the property, perhaps with metal detectors? Or are you trying to encourage them to go throw quarters around now? Because one of those things works and the other doesn’t.

  9. I’m still sad that NPR dropped you last year. Boo.

    However, re self-publishing:

    I got out of book publishing about 5 years ago, because everything was shrinking/getting consolidated/staff was being laid off; it’s far from dead, but it’s also riiight on the precipice of the waterfall that the recording industry went over a few years ago. Digital distribution has upended all the old models.

    And really, some of the best stuff out there musically is self-published or tiny labels; increasingly I predict that will be true of books.

    Random House is a behemoth; it’s swallowed so many others that it’s swollen and lumbering and barely notices anything that’s not Stephen King, and even if they signed you, they would probably completely fail at promoting you. And then you wouldn’t own the rights and would possibly get a crappy cover slapped on your book and then see it on a remainder table somewhere.

    So self-publish away; find a local artist to do your layout/design/illustrations if you want (cross promotion: your friend), make it a Nashville book in every sense, and be proud of it.

    And down the road, who knows where it will end up? Some small press might pick it up, it might build enough steam that you can hire an agent, all kinds of things can happen.

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