The Chain Story Project

I have been so busy working on the Chain Story Project, that I’ve neglected to blog about it here. I guess that’s like the old saying—the cobbler’s children always go barefoot. Getting the project together has been a challenge, but now that things are rolling along, I’m confident the project will fulfill its potential and more.

Eighteen months ago Jeff Mariotte and I had a conversation at the Phoenix Comicon that gave birth to this project. The idea is simple: authors create stories which are linked in a chain. Each author hosts the story on his website and links back to the project hub. The hub then links back out to all the other stories. The authors provide the stories for free for a certain amount of time, then sell digital copies or collect them into an anthology or, as Jeff and I are doing at Phoenix Comicon this weekend, sell them as chapbooks at a convention or for collectors.

My story, Night of the Rat God, started things off. Jeff, Robert E. Vardeman and Nathan Long also had stories available at our launch. Since then Bruce Davis, Michael Jasper and Rigel Ailur have contributed. I sent notes out to many authors and over forty have agreed to contribute to the project as it goes along. All of them have been published before, with a number of them being New York Times Bestselling novelists.

What we’re all hoping is this: that we can share out audiences with each other. The project gives us a chance to showcase our work as well as work with other authors. (I’m hoping the project will produce some fun collaborations soon.) Prior to the Internet and the chance of digital sales, collaborative projects got stuck because trying to find a market for them wasn’t easy. Now all we need is an idea, some time, and the willingness to have some fun.

A number of unpublished authors have asked how they can participate in the project. The fact is that I’m sure we’ll have contributions by folks who have never been published before. It is important to remember, however, what the goal of the project is: sharing audience. The fact that a writer doesn’t have an audience is not a bar to participation; but if the writer doesn’t have the promotional side of things in place, the project is not going to do them any good, and they won’t be helping with the project. In short, if a writer’s goal is only to have a story in the Chain Story, that writer isn’t setting his sights high enough. We want to help folks build careers, not just score points with their local writers’ group.

The Chain Story site will have some important and exciting news for unpublished authors on how they can get a shot at having a story included. Make sure to check it for details.

I’m very excited about the project and the possibilities it creates for writers. The Internet affords us great opportunity to publicize our work and build our audiences. The Chain Story is going to be just one of such efforts. We’re getting to shape our own future, and it really doesn’t get better than that.

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4 Responses to “The Chain Story Project”

  1. Hello, I happened across your note on the Chain Story project. Sounds intriguing. One question I had- I checked out the E-mail button and found that is out of the question-how many stories does a writer need published to be considered a published author for this?
    I like the idea of sharing audiences even though mine would be kinda small at the moment.

  2. Shoot me a link to your website and a list of publications, and we’ll see what we can work out.

  3. I only discovered The Chain Story recently, but have enjoyed following the chain to each author’s website. (Great idea, Michael. 🙂 )

    I’ve also enjoyed the stories: the short story is my favourite prose format. I wasn’t initially comparing the stories, but now wish to vote for Ilsa J. Bick’s “Acceptable Losses”. IMNSHO it’s definitely the best story of the thirteen. I found it intriguing and inspiring.

    More, please! And yes, I’d be happy to pay for good short stories (as I have here). I’m hoping ebooks means a resurgence in the short story. 🙂


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