Friends, we have come to the end of a glorious month, a month of celebration of this marvelous thing we call LongShortStories.
In the traditional world of writing and publishing, that is a long time. In the state-of-the-art world of digital writing and publishing, it is an eternity. A writer, editor, and digital publisher like me needs all the help he can get to keep his work at the cutting edge of personal entertainment.
Some seven years ago, I crossed paths with a man who would change my life and the lives of readers around the world, though neither of us would have dared to imagine it at the time.
His name is Eugene Barnes. His home base is Columbus, Ohio. His unique Linkedin title is Independent Internet Professional. That covers a LOT of ground.
But what Eugene Barnes brought to me was his vast technical background in the construction of commercial e-commerce websites, a keen sense of graphic design, and a calming confidence that, yes, he could translate into reality my dream of becoming a marketer of digital short stories.
The stars seemed perfectly aligned, those many years ago. After nearly one year of countless emails between us, numerous phone calls, and proof upon design proof in the step-by-step process of building a beautiful and effective web presence that is known far and wide as LongShortStories, we were ready.
And then on June 1, 2007, this baby was born!
Eugene and I were like proud parents, all too ready to brag about our newly-launched short story marketing platform that would turn my growing archive of edgy short fiction into a subscription service that guaranteed each new paying subscriber a great piece of digital short fiction, automatically appearing every twelve days in their email inbox anywhere in the world.
But we should never kick back for long and rest on our laurels. Technological obsolescence is the bane of everyone that tries to tame this mistress.
And then it happened!
Enter, Stage Left.
Kindle was launched by marketing superpower, Amazon. And everyone just had to have this magnificient e-reader that stored an entire library in the palm of its owner.
It’s all about content!
Those writers who could harness the power of the digital e-reader could change the way people buy and read books forever. And Eugene and I were already looking for ways to take LongShortStories to the next level. Over a span of several months, every one of my short stories (over 100 in all) was converted into both Smashwords and Amazon eBook multiple formats by my very good Alaskan writer friend, George Angus, and then, with Eugene’s digital design and typographical expertise, we chose digital cover art and fonts that would best present my work to the world in eBook anthology form.
Go to Smashwords.com or Amazon.com (and its nine sister Internet eBook markets around the globe) and you will find not one, not two, but seven of my eBooks, many with multiple 5-star reader reviews. All because of Eugene Barnes.
As much as I consider Eugene the genius brother I never had, ironically, we have never met. And maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Time will tell.
So now let me introduce you to the smartest guy in the room.
Six years ago, a gentleman by the name of Wayne Long contacted me. His idea — set up a website that sells his collection of short stories via online subscription. Accept payments online. Automatically email a short story to the reader every 12 days. And put this all together on a tight budget.
Figuring out how to set up such a website on limited funds was a challenge. Normally the answer is to find an off-the-shelf solution and use it to avoid the costs of building from scratch. My research revealed that Wayne’s idea was quite unique — there simply wasn’t a solution out there that worked exactly how Wayne wanted.
But the real challenge (to me, at least) was Wayne’s ambitious goal of writing a new short story every 12 days. He had written some stories already, but not enough to supply subscribers for a year or more. Could Wayne actually conceive and write enough short stories fast enough to keep up with the subscriptions?
He did it, and quite well I might add. I was very impressed at the variety of ideas he came up with and the speed at which he turned those ideas into compact stories of just a few hundred words each.
I know enough about writing to understand how difficult it is to write something short as opposed to something longer. Every word counts. The ability to edit one’s words right down to the bone and keep the story entertaining is a special skill that not everyone shares.
Wayne even wrote a story dedicated to me. It is called “Bugs”. And the story is one of his best. Really. You should read it.
I am most impressed with, and inspired by, Wayne Long. The guy just keeps on plugging away when others would have given up long ago. And that is the true secret to success.
Happy Sixth Anniversary, Wayne! I look forward to many more years of your creativity and dedication.
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