Todd’s journey to self publishing

What drew you to self publishing in the first place?

This is an exciting time for digital reading. Having been online since the early 90s I’ve been waiting for a time when digital book reading shined like it is now.  I thought maybe with the Tablet PC and was an early adopter there but the devices were too expensive. Wish I’d bought a Kindle when they first came out, as I would have been here sooner.

How does a self-published author go about getting their book ready for the market?

I joined several online areas where other self-published and traditional published authors were hanging out and sharing tips. I listened and found myself at Smashwords where I devoured and applied the founder’s style guide to my ebook to the letter.

Next, I went to Amazon and learned all about their Kindle publisher platform and made another version of my ebook formatted to their specs.

And from there I’ve continued to add additional versions for other e-stores. Most recently I’ve worked on the DTB (Dead Tree Book version) of Mental Shrillness using Amazon’s CreateSpace and that will be available on and possibly before June 27, 2011. I’m working through the proofing process now for the first time and don’t know how long this will take so  wanted to make sure I set the date far enough out that it was realistic.

What are some of the advantages of self-publishing?

When it’s polished you can get it published quickly instead of having to wait another year for the lengthy publishing cycle to get your book out there.  You can share virtual shelves with traditional published authors.

Readers can decide what and who they like reading. There will be more niche genre books than ever before allowing a  bunch of unknown/new writers to find an audience for their work. This is also giving traditional published authors with backlist titles with reverted rights the ability to self-publish these out of print books.

Are their any draw backs?

Some writers might be tempted to — or actually do — hit publish too soon before they’ve polished their work as best as possible. I’d urge fellow writers to let their work sit long enough to breathe and then go back and read one more time. It’s amazing what you find to improve with a little more distance and breathing space.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for those of us considering self-publishing?

Once the book is released plan to spend some amount of time out there promoting it hard. After that window passes pick an amount of time every work day to keep promoting your books. Don’t be a spammer because nobody likes those but always be looking for new places to expose readers to your books in a tactful, engaging way.

Do you have any advice for all writers?
Work to improve at your craft. Become a better writer. Study the techniques and stories by other writers you are influenced by and admire. Ask yourself what you loved about their stories and incorporate the techniques into developing your own style. Try to be as original as you can by refining and finding your own storytelling voice.

Now what are you waiting for? Go write the next bestseller!

Tell us about your book

The Mental Shrillness ward will shock you with six twist ending horror tales:

“Memorial Day Descent” – experience a showdown between an old mansion and a soldier’s painful, recurring war memories. A first place story contest winner.

“Pains in the Glass” – Tim and Wanda love each other but neither sees the cracks in their flawed marriage looking glass. Today is the day one learns of betrayal so powerful that it will shatter, cut and bleed the other to pieces.

“Dead Warmed Over” – learn if it’s possible that a tortured man can love his wife too much. Ben’s intense love for wife Jackie is realized in a haunted bathtub. Another first place story contest winner. (read excerpt here: )

“Falling the Bobbitt Way” – Tracy and John’s sweet marriage vow warps into sinister sadomasochism. Find out if they can break the vow and ever be the same.

“Dueling Eyes” – GAZE upon an unmoving glass eye compelling its host to entertain self-mutilation tendencies. WATCH as Madison tries to save Killroy in the dark, dirty alley from the glint of a malevolent mugger’s blade. STARE helpless as the cold steel and the glass eye attempt to complete a shocking mission.

“The Illusion” – There are things Damon Brooks wishes he could change about his life. He thinks he has it bad until a dying, misshapen creature shows him that the other side wants much more to change their deaths. Prepare for a nightmarish struggle at a carnival between good and evil.  (read excerpt here: )

At the end of Mental Shrillness author notes are provided for readers interested in each story’s history and what motivated author Todd Russell to pen these strange, dark tales.


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4 comments on “Todd’s journey to self publishing

  1. Thank you, Liz, for another good one! Omg, I really want to read this book now. I love dark twists and odd stories. This collection sounds truly thrilling! Congrats, Todd, for taking the self-publisher’s road and the best of luck to you! 🙂

  2. Todd – horror’s SO not my cup of tea, but I wanted to read the excerpt and TRY. Like your hero, not rule out anything.
    Still not my cup or tea. Or perhaps I should say, my pot of spaghetti.
    But you’re a REALLY good writer. Best of luck to you with Mental Shrillness and the rest of your career.

  3. Great informative interview! Thanks.
    Your stories sound intriguing Todd, very cool. Thanks for being open and sharing what you have learned.

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