"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Blast from the Past, Dreams of the Future

Three years ago this week, Bernard Schaffer and I came together to begin the Kindle All Stars. Hand in hand, we produced an anthology (Resistance Front) with the intent of paving the way for new, independent authors to find a place to showcase their work. Some have continued to write and enjoy much success; others have chosen to take different paths.

Many of us who continue to work in publishing, be it as writers, editors, or small scale publishers, also continue to keep in touch via social media. One of those writers, possibly the most impressive, is Natasha Whearity.

When I read Natasha's submission to the Resistance Front* project, I demanded that Bernard find a way to use her short story. She was a seventeen-year-old high school student from the UK whose talent, in my opinion, surpassed every other writer whose work I'd seen. There were other brilliant, creative minds who also became part of the group and have thrived, but Natasha stood out as the youngest.

So how could I not invite her to talk to you about Amazon and its affect on her as a young writer as well as her own anthology compiled for charity? This is how the Kindle All-Stars pay it forward.

We Are Such Stuff . . . is available on Amazon

You hear a lot of negative things about independent publishing platforms such as Amazon. A lot of people believe that it is ruining the publishing industry because anyone can publish anything they want to. But for me, Kindle Direct Publishing is a fantastic platform for writers, especially emerging ones, such as myself. What is great about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is that it gives aspiring writers and editors the opportunity to say that they have been published.

I’m not saying that publishing houses aren’t fantastic at what they do, because they are brilliant. But there is nothing wrong with Amazon allowing writers the freedom to publish their own work themselves – which is something they might not be able to do through a publishing house if their work is tossed onto a pile of no’s.

If it weren't for Amazon, I would never have had my first short story, "Endgame" published in the Kindle All Stars anthology: Resistance Front, which raised money for a charity supporting missing and exploited children. If it weren't for Amazon and that opportunity, I would never have been able to publish We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, which is the anthology of work I have just published.

Through publishing We Are Such Stuff, I have had the opportunity of not only raising money for a charity extremely close to my heart (all the proceeds made from the anthology are going to the charity Epilepsy Action UK) but I have been able to use Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing as a platform for my writing, editing, formatting and publishing skills.

If it weren't for Amazon and the opportunity I was given by Bernard, Laurie, and the Kindle All-Stars, I would never have been able to publish work, not only by myself, but by some really fantastic and innovative writers. I have learned so much from publishing this anthology, not just about how important it is to support emerging writers, but how much I love creating and making books. I hope that this project is the first of many.

You can buy a copy of We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On for only £1.53 (or $2.57) and all of the proceeds go to Epilepsy Action. Not only will you support an amazing charity, but the work of some brilliant and blossoming writers.

*Resistance Front and its successor, Carnival of Cryptids, are both still available on Amazon. All proceeds benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Happy Reading!

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