bare lightbulbA lightbulb beamed on over my head the other day.   It was the result of a phone conversation with my grown son, Jake. He knows his way around a hard time or two. He’s a writer of screenplays in addition to plays for the stage, and struggling under the vicissitudes of free-lancing as a videotape editor, he continues to keep faith with his chosen vocation. I honor that in him. He just won’t quit.

Me, I’ve tried to quit, and ultimately failed to. I love the process of writing too much. I’ve been submitting work for many years, but succeeded only in getting my non-fiction actually published. My son said (for the umpteenth time), as I complained of my frustration, my rage against the machine, “Mom, why not self-publish?”

I had been stubbornly resistant to the idea, though I mulled it constantly and never ruled it out, quite. Bill, my hiking-in-the-Marshlands pal, once commented with evident horror, “Self-publishing? How can you even consider that? You’ll be throwing yourself into a vat of shit!”

Now, Bill’s a smart, sophisticated guy, and I saw what he meant. I continued to hold out for the validation and challenges I imagined I’d find in being published traditionally. Every aspect of a corporate collaboration was attractive to me. From working closely with an editor to meeting a deadline (and meeting your book in print-!) to promoting the work felt exciting.

Blessed with the opportunity to write, produce and direct documentaries for the past fifteen years, I’ve been happily immersed in storytelling, but in the end, fiction is my first love.

beam of light“Mom, why not self-publish?”  Those five words from Jake changed my outlook in a second’s time. My resistance vanished, burned away by that sudden, welcome ray of light.

My friend and neighbor, writer/editor Catherine Hiller, says of my decision, “I’m so glad you’ve changed your mind. We live in a changed publishing landscape and writers should embrace all the opportunities that exist.”

Hiller ought to know.  She has authored five novels, a story collection, and earlier this year, a memoir, JUST SAY YES.Just Say YesArt is interactive by its very nature. It must be seen or heard to come to life. It’s time to drag my stories out of the dark and into the world. Starting with the novels.

two shot manuscriptI’ve got two of ‘em ready to roll out. The first, OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES, written in 1996 and revised and polished in 2012 , is a coming-of-ager in which seventeen year old Queenie, the pregnant protagonist, has been sent off from her humble roots to to live with a wealthy family for the duration, and when their troubled son arrives home from college unexpectedly, things get even dicier.

TDSOT convent next doorMore recently I completed THE DARK SIDE OF TIME. It likewise shares a theme of houses as a metaphor for the self, but the dwellings in question here are very, very haunted. Written in the classic tradition of Shirley Jackson ‘s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, mashed up with ROSEMARY’S BABY, it’s a psychological thriller and a love story within a love story, which explores the uncanny and the ineffable. At the same time it contemplates our troubled world, who and what we worship, and how far we’d go to attain the things we may only think we want.

Who needs to wait to be “discovered”? I’m lucky to live in a time when DIY publishing is a viable option. I have my work cut out for me, but I feel liberated and enthusiastic about the possibilities. Now, the power is all mine.

adam touching finger of God





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  1. Catherine Hiller says:

    An excellent and encouraging post! So glad to hear you are empowering yourself! So which book will you start with? Getting the first book into print will be harder than the second. The first book will be more of a learning experience. I encourage you to make each book available as a paperback as well as a digital download. For now, find and join any online groups — maybe GoodReads? — whose members love writing or reading about haunted houses. In general, it’s easier for “genre” fiction to find other practitioners or readers than for literary fiction, whose authors tend to be more isolated and whose readers are scattered.

  2. Kristine says:

    Super-pleased to hear that the time feels right for you to self-publish — that you’ve decided to take control of those proverbial reins, as it were….Sure sounds like an excellent decision for all the reasons given. Not to mention: With friends like Catherine – so generous in her expertise and encouragement – you’re already ahead of the curve. Very best of luck in this spanking-new endeavor/adventure. (And a shout-out to Jake for the ‘gentle’ push.)

  3. Stephanie Silber says:

    Cathy, thank you for weighing in, and for all your good advice. I’d figured that the first will be harder than the second, so like childbirth! I’ve been leaning toward starting with THE DARK SIDE OF TIME, so good to have your seal of approval! I welcome input from other readers of NEW PARADIGM!

  4. Stephanie Silber says:

    Kris, your support is as ever a boon to me. YES re Cathy and her willingness to allow me to pick her considerable brains. I’m really psyched about this. It’s a good place to be in as we face the coming winter…I love an immersive project in the colder months. (Garden takes precedence over almost all in spring and summer.)

  5. This is best news I’ve heard all week! There are tons of resources I can share from my own recent research.

  6. Stephanie Silber says:

    Thanks, Layla! I’m just finished with letting them sit in the drawer. I fought the good fight and am satisfied with my efforts. Now it’s time for me to take over.

  7. David Byler says:

    Jake is right! We live in new and exciting times. The “traditional” publishing houses are a historical anomaly. There was a time when a writer took his product to the printer and said “print it,” and the printer was grateful should the writer give permission for him to sell a few copies. By the way, that was the day of of DIY bookbinding too. You bought the book and took it to a bindery who did you up a custom binding to fit with the decor of your digs.

    We are well past the “traditional” age and back to the future. I used to have a collection of thousands of books – mostly prints of esoteric early Greek works. Nearly all my collection of printed works now reside in scholarly libraries scattered all over Europe. I do not buy printed books anymore. I’m old, need to be flexible and need to be able to travel light without tons of paper things hanging around my neck. I haven’t quit reading – I’m in the digital age where my books all reside on line in someone else’s servers. I’m not alone in this behavior.

    Listen to Jake. Follow your heart. Put yourself out there. Always remember the axiom “he who tooteth not his own horn getteth it not tooted.” If a print publisher comes to you make them pay through the nose and retain the movie and electronic publishing rights for yourself.

  8. Stephanie Silber says:

    Hey, Bond, I love your note so much I’m gonna copy paste it to a place where I can look at it often. Thanks for your input. The adventure begins now.

  9. Cindy Byrne says:

    So happy to get this news. You have to throw the bait in the water before you can catch anything. Keeping your work in a drawer is nothing but frustrating. Go Stephanie!!

  10. Stephanie Silber says:

    Cindy, many thanks as ever for your support! Problem was, the bait was out for years and years. There were bites, and even an agent to rep the first novel for a couple years; he worked hard, but he was working against trend; vampires, witches, and Hunger Games, so it was tough. Really frustrating on the second one as I was able only to get the ms on the desks of approx three (top) agents, who passed politely. Otherwise, it was pitch city. That became boring eventually; you’d have to see THE DARK SIDE OF TIME to get it. Best wishes to you and Bob!

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