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  • Writer's picturePete Mesling

Other Kingdoms, Other Dreams: A Shift toward Hybrid Publication

Updated: Mar 7, 2020

You know as well as I do that there are those who find self-publishing abhorrent and those who embrace it as a much needed kick in the ass to the gatekeepers associated with traditional publishing. I’m not going to have that argument with myself today. I’m only here to tell you that I have thrown my lot in with those who see value in both avenues and therefore aim to pursue a hybrid publishing model.

Here’s why. I’ve been publishing short stories and poetry in the traditional small press for over a dozen years. I even published a collection that garnered praise from a handful of impressive people before the publisher collapsed, exiling None So Deaf to the Land of Out-of-Print Books. I’ve attended conferences and workshops, all at my own considerable expense. I even hosted my own fiction-related podcast at one time. These things have made me a better writer, but they have made me very little money, and brought only a portion of my work to any kind of audience. I’ve reached a point in my life where that’s not enough. My craftsmanship has never been sharper, or my output more prolific. And yet it has become increasingly difficult to get the work in front of eyeballs. It’s time to find the readership I know is out there, waiting for my brand of storytelling.

Though technology threatens to render the very concept of publishing outmoded, it does put powerful tools in the hands of writers. The problem, of course, is that it puts those tools into our hands whether or not we’ve so much as cut our teeth and honed our craft in the trenches of open submission calls. I’ve come to believe there isn’t much we can do about that, except believe that quality will rise to the surface while pressing the dreck down into the sandy bottom with its heel.

As I swim up toward the brightly lit surface of Writing Success, I plan to continue to submit my work to publishers. I also hope to attract the attention of professionals in the publishing industry. The only thing that has changed for me is that I will no longer be suffering in silence between acceptances. I will be taking matters into my own hands.

The outcome of this transition, which has been brewing within me for several years, is my very own publishing concern, Other Kingdoms Publishing. Under this banner I intend to self-publish, in relatively quick succession, two novels (one crime, one fantasy for young readers), three short-story collections (two horror, one crime), and a volume of poetry. How successful this initial push ends up being for me will determine the long-term future of Other Kingdoms, I suppose. One of those novels is the first in a planned series. I also have two unrelated novels in the planning stages. I will be working hard to bring those to life as I publish these other titles, so we’ll see if there’s a market for them when the time comes.

For anyone reading this with burgeoning hopes that Other Kingdoms might evolve into a publisher of wider scope, to include the work of other writers, I would caution you not to hold your breath. It seems to me that if I was going to take on the mantle of editor to the masses, I would have attempted it long ago. It’s not a flat no, but things will have to go exceedingly well in the next few years for me to even consider carving out the kind of time required to handle other people’s work with the respect it deserves, while remaining true to my own ambitions and standards.

I guess this has been my long-winded way of saying stay tuned. If you’ve ever read a word of my fiction or poetry, thank you. I invite you, with all warmth and sincerity, to follow me into this new phase of my writing life. I will always strive to reward your interest by delivering the best work I know how to produce, regardless of genre. And if you have no idea who the hell I am, I urge you to take the plunge, either with a forthcoming Other Kingdoms Publishing title or by checking out one of the small-press anthologies I’ve appeared in over the years (here’s my Amazon page). I have always endeavored to exceed expectations, and that continues to be my goal going forward.

Thanks for hearing me out. I hope we can meet between the covers of a book one day soon.

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