Did you know that octopuses are very intelligent? Some scientists speculate that octopuses are intelligent enough to express real creativity and invention. But there’s a huge barrier to the advancement of their species.
Octopuses die hatching their young. They’ll guard the nest so intensely while the eggs incubate that they starve themselves to death. Because the mother dies, no information is ever passed from one generation to the next. Every generation starts over again at zero.
No progress is ever made. Who knows what they could achieve if anything was retained?
Yesterday, my team released Lawless, which shot up to the #1 spot for books of Science Fiction Short Stories. What an incredible release.
It wasn’t always that way, though.
Thirteen years ago I released Origins: An Anthology, with a rag-tag team of really incredible young authors in Columbus, Ohio. I had this idea for a new type of community to help local authors work together to achieve professional results.
We had a release event at Kafe Kerouac near the OSU campus where we each read a bit of our stories to our friends and family.
I convinced coffee shops around Central Ohio to sell the book on consignment. We priced it at $9.35 so that it would come out to an even $10 with the sales tax.
At least once a month, I would spend all day driving around to these coffee shops to restock their books and bill them.
Just about every weekend through the warm months I was hauling our books to some kind of festival to sell them. We’d pay our $10 for the booth spot, then sit around in the hot sun telling people why it’s important to support great new authors.
The truth was that I didn’t know much yet. But what I lacked in knowledge I made up for in grind.
The community that I started would eventually become the Ohio Writers Association. I published about ten collaborative books with them. The books got better as I went and eventually I turned the work over to less experienced editors that I supervised, culminating in the Best of Ohio anthologies.
Now we’ve moved on to other things. One of my apprentices at The Company, Alli Prince, took the lead to develop and produce Lawless. It’s an incredible book of fourteen sci-fi stories inspired by the book of Judges. You can find my story “The Deliverer” between those covers, too.
I’m very happy that she won’t have to spend her Saturdays sitting in the hot sun at another festival or driving around all day to make $2 per book on consignment.
When I look through Origins now, I see so many mistakes. We made inexperienced decisions with the formatting, the editing, the pricing. The only thing I still really love is the content of the stories. I learned so much from that place, but it took me years and years to get it right.
That’s not what I see when I look at Lawless. Alli is beginning these types of projects where I finished (and for what it’s worth, I’m still learning). How to produce a book. How to organize a team. How to release and promote a book. I did all the things wrong so that she won’t have to.
I don’t know who coined this phrase, but my ceiling has become her floor. She’ll start where I finished and take it to the next level. She’ll achieve new things that I never could.
And that’s the way that it should be. If I had someone like who I am now to mentor me when I was in my early twenties, it would have been a different game. But those types of opportunities didn’t exist.
Today I am the person that I wished I would have had.
I’m so happy that we can provide an apprenticeship opportunity like this through The Company.
Just like octopuses, for too long information and progress has died with each generation. Everybody in publishing starts at zero. Everyone is just guessing. Colleges and universities are practically useless in this regard.
In the Kingdom of God, it’s time to do things differently. I’m not old yet, but I’ve had my time to be the hero. Now it’s time to sow into the next generation, before I’m so old that I’ve lost touch.
I’m glad that Alli can take this to the next level. I’m excited to see what she does next. I can’t wait to see how she sows into the next generation after her, after she’s had her time to be the hero.
If in one generation we can go from $10 books sold off the counter at the coffee shop to the #1 release in its category in the nation, beating out secular titles—what can happen in two generations? Three? Four?
While the secular world keeps restarting like octopuses, we’ll be moving at an exponential rate and setting the standard rather than trailing it, as has been the fate of Christian publishing for far too long.
If you think that’s a good idea, then check out Lawless. Give it a read. Leave an honest review on Amazon and tell us what you think—what did you like and where can we still push the standard higher?
This is a new era for Christian fiction. Better content. Better practices. Thanks for being a part of it.
P.S. If you’re ready to make cool stuff and reach new levels with your writing, check out our apprenticeship at The Company. Eighteen months ago Alli was just a young woman with a keen interest in writing. Now she’s a published author who knows how to kick butt. Why couldn’t that be you? Learn more and apply here.
There’s a lot of good stuff happening. Let’s stay in the loop together.
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Inspired by a true story.
“On Greenway” published in Best of Ohio Short Stories: Volume 1 (ISBN: 978-0-9890645-2-1). Amazon
“A Whiskey Man” published in Columbus: Past, Present and Future (ISBN: 978-0-9835205-7-3). Amazon
“Self Fulfillment” published in Across Town: Stories of Columbus (ISBN: 978-0-9835205-3-5). Amazon
“Fricandeau Deja Vu” published in Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected (ISBN: 978-0-9835205-1-1). Amazon
“Appraisal” published in Origins: An Anthology (ISBN: 978-0-9835205-0-4). Amazon
“Meteoric” published in The Ides of March. Amazon