Tales From A Young Author

Some time back, I posed a set of questions on an online author-centric group in which I participate, looking for a possible guest blogger.  I particularly wanted an ebook-only author or an author who used a pen name specifically for ebooks.  My interest was in why authors have chosen to go the ebook route and how they see themselves fitting in with brick & mortar bookstores other than the ones with their own ereaders.  Bottomline, I wanted to be persuaded that ebooks are a good thing for me as a small independent bookseller, not as a reader.

No author responded to my request with regards to bookstores but Justin Murphy, a young man with quite a bit of writing under his belt, is here to share his experiences with ebooks as a way of breaking into the publishing world.

Born November 26, 1985, in Dothan, Alabama, Justin Murphy started writing short stories and screenplays about The Lost Continent of Atlantis four years before he was first published with his novella Dothan, soon followed by the release of Everyone Loves A Scandal at the now defunct Epstein Publishing in 2004 and 2005 respectively. These works would be re-released by Aspen Mountain Press, along with a collection of short stories entitled The Young South between 2006 and 2007.

In addition to his screenwriting pursuits, he has has also been on working on a few full length novels in the last few years. After signing with Amazon Kindle, he once again released editions of his previous published work, along with new material such as the novellas, The Martian Conspiracy and The House With The Question Mark. In addition to this, he also composed the short story collection entitled Century of Weird and A Fan’s Guide To Steven Spielberg. These latter works first appeared on Associated Content, where he wrote numerous articles and short stories, while the fan guide was derived from a column he wrote about Spielberg’s career at Examiner.

His long range goal is to either become a bestselling novelist or a high paid screenwriter for film and television. From a young age, he has spent years climbing his way there for little money. He is working on a first person novel seen through the eyes of an autistic child. His experiences helping raise younger brother is the basis for this novel.

There are many reasons why authors choose to go down the eBook road. Their writing may not meet the standards of agents in New York, much less any small presses. They may even make the mistake of self-publishing their material for a POD or vanity press. The Internet is pretty much where I’ve spent my career. It might be the only option I, along with several others, have to get our work out there. Whether it be due to quality of writing, or a chasm in the marketplace. Publishing has sunk farther and farther as an industry in the past twenty years. Many debat whether it may be changing tastes in our culture. Or  it may have to do with economic and financial issues. Yet many overlook the fact film and television are also big factors. Their audience grows more and more while publishing’s interest from readers is increasingly less and less. Yet the ironic Catch 22 in all of this is despite publishing’s declining fortunes, the general public knows what short stories and novels are. Yet while film and television have taken center stage as our major forms of art and entertainment, not many outside of Los Angeles or New York even know what screenplays are.

I have been writing since the age of 15, when I wrote short stories about The Lost Continent of Atlantis. It was a goal of mine that these would launch me into a career as a screenwriter for film and television. Yet I could not approach any contacts there because I was underage at the time, and in vain, tried to make contacts in the industry all for a year  after I turned 18. My professional career started when I was 19, when I release my first novella entitled Dothan with the now defunct Epstein Publishing. Where I also published another novella called Everyone Loves A Scandal. A year or so after, this publisher went out of business. Yet I managed to keep the rights, and those two novellas were then picked up by a new upstart called Aspen Mountain Press. They also released a new collection of short stories I wrote with the title The Young South. As the above indicates, another Catch 22 is that film and television pay lots of money, but it is much harder to get work. Yet while being a published author does not pay that much, it is an easier way of getting your work out there.

Century of Weird

During this period, I continued writing spec scripts for film and television in hopes of getting noticed, and even got the attention of a producer out in Santa Monica, California. One who said I did not have to pitch him anything, just send my ideas and screenplays, and then we would get to work. Yet I have only heard from him on rare occasions since, and he neither sent me non-disclosure agreements nor any money. To date, he has not used any of my ideas, andseveral of his films and television series have fallen through during the financial stages. While I still spoke with producers who loved my ideas, nothing eventful happened and I continued to hit a brick wall in my pursuits as a screenwriter.

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