Today on my blog I would like to introduce you to Evan Witmer. Welcome, Evan!
My name is Evan Witmer; I am the sole writer and webmaster for oddfiction.com where I post free short stories. At the end of each year I take down the last ten stories I wrote and self-publish them online; containing the ten stories within a surreal framing device. Pages from the Pizza Crows has a crow deliver me the stories in exchange for pizza slices. Digest: Ten Short Stories by Convicted and Plausible People-Eaters has each short story authored by a different known cannibal. My next collection is How to Burn This Book; which includes a brief reason to burn each of the short stories inside. That’s due out January 8th, 2022.My “work-sona”, as they call it, is a Masters of Bioengineering who does tech transfer for the University of Buffalo, but this is simply a means of supporting the laissez faire lifestyle of your typical late millennial. I’m an uncharacteristically optimistic twenty-seven year old who fought his way out of a massive depression three years prior using Prozac and mood stabilizers. I’ve been using my new outlook on life to focus on what’s important to me: spending time with my cat and writing really weird short stories. I’m tall and quirky; I collect beer labels in my free time. I relate more to the works of MC Ride and Tarantino than I do most modern authors. I’m trying to lose forty pounds.
Hi Evan. Welcome to my blog. What made you decide to publish your books independently?
Short story collections aren’t exactly the most sought after book form nowadays. A lot of literary agents won’t even consider them. Considering I was just starting out, I thought I could use my short stories as a proof-of-concept, to show my work is sellable. I’ve had great success with reviews on my first two collections and now I’m toying with the idea of having my third collection traditionally published if I find the right agent.
Congratulations on the success of books 1 and 2! What are the benefits of being an indie author?
Complete control over the project means my readers get the purest form of my writing without any surgery or censor. I also get to do a lot of marketing all on my own which is stressful, but I enjoy the rush I get when it works out. Makes me feel like a pro.
What challenges do indie authors face?
I’m no marketing expert, so I’ll often find myself handing over my book for review to the wrong people. My content will be edgy or strange and that will be the exact style they don’t like. I feel like having someone to do that service for me would be superior. I’ve also had to pull some serious strings to get my books edited and I’ve relied heavily on the kindness of others and what little cash I make from these books. I’m hoping traditional publication would come with professional editing included; it would also be nice to get some feedback before publishing from an experienced pair of eyes that knows how to impress the readers.
From what I’ve heard from other indie authors it can often take a long time to get published traditionally. What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
I’ve had friends tell me they quit writing because the statistics say something about “the platform is so saturated there’s a better chance of winning the lottery than becoming a famous writer” and I really want people to throw away those statistics and listen clearly. Your goal should never be to be a famous writer; it should not be to win awards or make money. Every single person that reads your books; that’s a win. Every single person that enjoys your books; that’s two wins. Aim for the little wins and take them seriously.
That sounds like sound advice. What have you learned from being an indie author?
People are very kind to indie artists. Most people I reach out with spam-like requests for features or reviews or editing or cover design don’t slam their fist on the table and tell you to shut up! A lot of them want to help and the only reason they don’t is literally when they’re too busy helping others.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?
Digest: Ten Short Stories by Convicted & Plausible People-Eaters had a soft launch in January, but now that I’ve passed some initial hurdles I think you’ll see me advertising it full steam. I also have a secret project involving science fiction that will be coming out before the end of this year. And January 2022, I’ll have my third short story collection How to Burn This Book published.
Thank you for joining me on my blog today, Evan. I look forward to reading Pages from the Pizza Crows. Good luck with your future projects!
Pages From The Pizza Crows
In exchange for pizza, a beautiful crow delivered stories to my windowsill. I’ve collected those stories, here, for your amusement and observation. “Bedfellows” follows the story of a boy and a girl who are attached at the hip by supernatural means. “Belligamy” tells the tale of a powerful curse forcing married men to fight one another in order to protect their brides. “Captured by Animals” details an author’s adventures spying on people in the woods to write his romance stories. “The Red Constellation” is Law & Order SVU meets Cosmic Horror. “Young Adult Series Simulator” tells the story of that date you went on at the bookstore. “F1” is about a pregnant horse. “Nine-Tenths An Ape” is the Monkey’s Paw but in reverse. “Lethe” asks, how old were you when you had your first memory? Maybe a little too old? “The Bright Idea Room” reminds you that it’s the environment that kills you in the end. Not the serial killer. “Satan’s Spies” is about a friendly group of businessmen and their obsession with strip clubs. New for September 2020: The book has been reedited by professional editor Vincent Parisi.
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Digest – Ten Short Stories by Convicted & Plausible People Eaters
I’ve tracked down ten authors who have, at some point, participated in the act of cannibalism. I’ve collected one short story from each writer and combined them here for your amusement and observation. Isaac Cone presents “Margaritaville”, Jimmy Buffet’s hit song reinterpreted as a southern gothic. Sandeyu Yamamoto writes “Antiquing” about a family with a rare type of OCD where they haunt the object they most obsessed over. John Doe submits “Jesus Christ Meets the Chupacabra” which is exactly what it sounds like. Arsenio Alonso adds “A Vacancy in Staffordshire” about a team of researchers hunting for black-eyed kids in the British wilderness. Greige Wagner contributes “The Life & Times of a Rockefeller Pregnancy Zombie” about a girl who is hypnotized by the New World Order to feel unfathomable pain unless she uses her every egg for procreation. Mago Schlecter’s brings us “Ring the Belles”, a mix between historical fiction and a slasher where the villain only kills the teenaged daughters of slave-owners in the Antebellum South. Cassius Crown surrenders “Zooland” about a cursed town where everyone is reduced to their id at night becoming either vicious wolves or delicious deer. Bonny Bride sends “Glee-Maiden”, a story about a woman seeking to make it in the male-dominated field of killer clowning. Matthew Hoga pens “Comorbidity”, the story of two different plagues of zombie with wildly different styles that collide in the ruins of Zhengzhou, China. Joss Iger authors “Six O’s”, the most light-hearted of the bunch, about a man who can only orgasm six more times before he can never do it again. I share these stories in hopes of emphasizing the unique voices oft ignored in favor of traditional masticators.
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Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?
Sarah E. Glenn, a Jane-of-all-trades, loves mystery and horror stories, especially with a sidecar of humor. She is co-author of the Three Snowbirds novels, a cozy mystery series set in 1920s Florida, and also oversees the Strangely Funny anthology, an annual collection of comedic horror tales.
Sarah has a B.S. in Journalism and edited two different niche newsletters in Lexington, Kentucky. She was also a first -round judge in Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine’s 2003 “Slesar’s Twist Contest”. Later, she was a judge for the 2011 and 2012 Derringers. Since 2013, she has overseen multiple anthologies and story collections for Mystery and Horror, LLC. Interesting fact: Sarah worked the Reports Desk for the Lexington police department, and criminals really are dumb.