A rangy, but fun interview
I had the chance to be interviewed by a parenting podcast back in December (we'd met at Northeast Comic Con earlier in the month). The interview just went live in today's episode, and I'd actually forgotten how cool the range of topics we'd hit upon were--everything from encouraging creativity in young readers to the impact genre fiction can have on us growing up.
The whole episode is great, but if you're looking specifically for my interview, it begins around minute 11. Let me know what you think!
So ever since the Indestructibles first launched, I've loved the idea of short stories about the characters, based on the "one-shot" style supehero comics I read growing up. Outside the continuity of the main books, these shorts let me as the writer (and you as the reader) get to know more about the characters when they're on their own, or before they joined the team, or just a piece of their story the main book doesn't have time to tell.
We've published two short stories like this, the holiday story Gifted and the Dancer-centric story the Soloist on Amazon before. This worked out pretty well, but a lot of readers weren't thrilled with these stories being Amazon-only (though there is a free app that will let you read them without owning a Kindle--I don't have a Kindle myself, so I use that app to view these stories as well). And so when I wanted to share some of Doc Silence's backstory in a short story, I researched other methods for releasing them that weren't tied to a specific company or reading device.
And so, to make these short stories more universally accessible, I've created a Patreon page to share them through. The previous short stories were $.99 on Amazon, but Patreon allows you to basically pay whatever you'd like for the stories. It works not unlike Kickstarter, but instead of funding a project so it can be completed, with the Patreon page the product is already finished, ready and waiting... I'll never offer a story on Patreon that isn't already written, edited, formatted, and ready to go for readers to check out. The stories will come in a PDF format, no DRM, so you'll be able to read them on any device you choose (provided it can open a PDF, which is almost any device these days, even phones).
For the first story release, I'm also including the prologue to Book 4, Like a Comet, coming out in February/March of this year. I'll also include a .jpg, textless version of the cover art just for fun. Also, if you donate more than a dollar you'll be invited to vote on which character is the NEXT featured character in an upcoming short story. If people seem to like this format, I'd like to do an Indestructibles story every month, sometimes about the main team, and sometimes about those minor characters who could use more screen time but aren't the focus of the main series.
NOTE: If you do donate through Patreon, you'll be able to view a page right here where the files will be permanently available (so if you accidentally delete your copy, you can always go back to get a replacement version).
And lastly, if you're not comfortable using a site like Patreon, you'll be able to buy it directly through this link right here. Just include a note in the message box that you'd like the January Doc Silence story package and it'll be emailed to you ASAP.
So: all of this being said, the books themselves will continue to be published the same way, in all e-book formats and in print, so nothing's changing there, and we'll publish stories via Amazon too as time allows. But this first Doc Silence story is a test run to see if people like a more universal, direct way to get Indestructibles stories in the future. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on the Patreon page itself. I'm open to ideas and suggestions!
And now, back to work on Like a Comet... I can't wait to get the latest novel out in print as soon as possible as well.
Hello, again. Sorry to announce that there was a glitch with the giveaway for the Soloist this weekend (not sure what happened... issue with the file on Amazon we haven't figured out yet). I just wanted to apologize to anyone who tried to download it yesterday--we're working on figuring out what happened and we'll do a free giveaway weekend soon (possibly this coming weekend) to replace the missing days this weekend.
The dangers of e-books, I guess--sometimes one wrong checkbox happens somewhere along the automated line and your giveaway is kaput.
But speaking of short stories, I'll be announcing a way to get a copy of two Doc Silence prequel stories this week. I just finalized the cover yesterday and I'm pretty psyched to share it. It may require a poster giveaway at some point...
A little post-holiday giveaway: we're making the Soloist, a short story focusing on the Dancer's early career, free to download on Amazon all weekend! Here's a quick summary:
Before she joined the Indestructibles, Kate Miller haunted the streets of her hometown, a hero trying to drive away the ghosts of her own losses and failures. Masked and alone against the dark elements of her city, Kate became known as the Dancer, the ballerina vigilante, fighting street-level crime and trying to make the world a better place, one fight at a time.
But when an early mistake leads her back to her roots, will Kate have the strength to fight on? And how will it help her become the hero she'll someday become as part of the Indestructibles?
"The Soloist" is a story told in the "one-shot" style of old comics, a self-contained adventure from the Dancer's early days. Find out how one night almost ended her career as a vigilante before it even began, and learn more about what drives the Dancer to keep fighting . . .
On piracy and books
One of the more frustrating and disheartening things as an author, particularly a small-time author, is finding out your e-book is being distributed online illegally. We all know it happens. A lot of folks think writers and artists should just be happy anyone's reading the books at all, but most of us have multiple jobs just to make ends meet (book sales aren't what you'd think they are... it's not a rich man's game) and creating a new novel takes thousands and thousands of unpaid hours to do. We do it because we love it, but we also try to make a living at it, and it's really hard to keep a series going long-term if the books are constantly being pirated online.
I remember a few years back reading that the wonderful film Ink (if you've never seen it, it is amazing and I can't recommend it highly enough) was unable to find distribution, but became a huge hit on the pirated movie scene. Rather than try to fight the piracy, the producers just said: did you steal our movie? Did you enjoy it? Would you like to support our art after the fact anyway? Here's how to donate a few bucks.
And that was it. No shaming, no anger, just an honest request--if you watched the film through a pirated version, you could still help support the artists and help them continue their career.
So I've added a link on the Home page to this site down the bottom. Know someone who read the book for free with an illegal copy? (Not a borrowed one, but a ripped copy on the web?) I know it happens. But the option is there on the Home page to throw a few dollars toward helping the series keep going. I'd like to do a new Indstructibles book at least once a year, hopefully twice, and if the books aren't constantly being stolen online, that goes a long, long way to helping me to accomplish that. I won't shame anyone for it. But every copy that is stolen is a few hours of an author's life they'll never get back, y'know? This is especially tough on smaller authors.
And please don't take this as encouragement to go find a free copy online. First, they are often riddled with viruses and malware (gross). And second, if you obtain your copy through normal channels, they appear as official sales, and the more official sales we get, the more likely the books can some day eventually be turned into something bigger, like a movie or TV series! Without those "official" numbers, no production company will ever look at the books seriously, so it's as much an investment in something cool down the line as it is the honest thing to do.
Thanks for letting me wallow a bit in this post, and thanks as always to everyone who supports the books through e-books and paperback copies. You're as responsible for keeping the series going as I am! I've got some good news about Book 4 coming up soon, and possible a way to get new short stories out to you every month as well. Stay tuned!
Matthew Phillion is the writer of "The Indestructibles," part-time actor, occasional filmmaker. Currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty dog, Watson.