Full disclosure: I met Mike Wolf through writer Brian Thornton. Brian, in turn, recruited me to contribute a story to West Coast Crime Wave, the first offering by Mike’s new e-press, bstsllr.com. Mike talks about bstsllr.com, West Coast Crime Wave, and the tech industry in general, Mike’s specialty.
Tell us about bstsllr.com.
BSTSLLR.com is an independent e-press that will publish mainly crime fiction, but could also surprise us with some non-fiction. It’s a passion project for me. I am a writer of crime fiction and a fan, but it’s also that I see opportunity. I’ve spent most of my career in traditional and digital publishing, and everything is changing with the rise of e-books, and to start a publishing business is a dream come true.
What advantages do you see for a writer to go with an e-press in an age when many can go independent?
First, the stigma of going outside of traditional publishing is falling away. It used to be that almost all authors saw New York publishing as the holy grail. While it’s still, no doubt, a great thing to be published by a big-5 publisher, authors like John Locke are showing us there is a route today outside of traditional publishing.
Authors also realize the economics of publishing are changing. The new digital publishing models are offer a potentially bigger return to the creator of the work. This will have a profound impact on the publishing landscape in the next decade. While I think many big publishers will survive in some shape or form, what they look like today will be drastically different in five and ten years.
Your first project is West Coast Crime Wave. Tell us a little bit about that.
I’ve always loved short story anthologies. I loved the Noir crime fiction anthologies by Akashic Press. Living and traveling alot on the west coast (I live in Seattle and my company is based in San Francisco), I realized the west coast of the US has its own unique personality, it’s own unique sense of place. Whether its the people, the cityscapes, the buildings and the businesses that make up the west coast, there’s something about them that speaks to a pioneer spirit, the always looking to the new, the next thing, to opportunity. At the same time, it’s a region with 150 year old cities, and places like San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles have amazing history and stories behind them. It’s this unique dichotomy that is at the essence of the region, and I thought would make for a wonderful anthology.
West Coast Crime Wave will be published on October 17th, and you can find all about the authors, read sample chapters, etc, at bstsllr.com.
What other projects is bstsllr.com looking at?
I’d like to do another regional anthology. We’re looking at East Coast crime wave, and who knows, maybe midwest or southwest. Also, I’d like to do some other types of books like non-fiction. There’s are so many great authors out there, and there’s so much opportunity in the newly democratized publishing landscape, that there’s lots of potential projects down the road.
You write for GigaOm about technology. Tell us a little more about that.
GigaOM is a big tech blog based in Silicon Valley. I help them run the research group, and also write once in a while for them. It’s great fun. I’ve been writing about digital media and things like online video, gadgets, and now e-books for a long time. It’s part of the reason I thought it would be good to try my hand at publishing myself. Hopefully I can learn something more and also apply some of the lessons learned over the past decade or so.
And of course, you’ve run a site called Elitzr.com.
I’ve really enjoyed the renaissance in long-form interviewing in the past couple years that podcasts have created. There are some really good interviewers, storytellers, discussions out there that you can download through iTunes. Since I have been doing my own form of long-form interviews for years when I talk to technology and publishing visionaries, I thought I’d try my hand at sharing these discussions with others. Really smart people like Mark Coker, Seth Godin, Richard Nash, are defining what publishing will look like a decade from now. I’ve enjoyed talking to them and thought it would be cool to let others hear what they have to say as well.