Friday, November 20, 2009

Why is this book self-published?

Preface to This Night Wounds Time: The Mysterious Disappearances of Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley:

In the earliest days of this endeavor, I informed a literary agent with whom I have been working on another project that my plan was to spend the Summer of 2009 creating the book you now hold in your hands.

My vision was, I said, to tell the story of the as yet unsolved mysterious disappearances of Stacie Madisonand Susan Smalley, two seniors at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, Texas, who vanished on March 20, 1988.

I stated that my hope was that, by weaving a story that examined the known facts of the case and the impact itcontinues to have on the Carrollton/Farmers Branch community, the book might move the individuals who knowthe truth about the girls’ fates to finally break their silence.

I was quickly informed that what I envisioned would be nearly impossible to sell to a mainstream publisher fora number of reasons.

For one thing, the girls were never national news or household names.

A bigger obstacle, though, was that, since it is the story of a cold case, the book would be minus an ending.And the public, or so I am told, is prone to avoid reading about unsolved mysteries unless they are of the most garish sort, such as the Black Dahlia, Jack the Ripper or the Zodiac.

I would later learn the higher profile television programs devoted to capturing criminals had also declined foryears to broadcast the details of the Madison/Smalley case because police lack a suspect whose photographthey can publicize.The equation is a simple one: solved mysteries are revisited ad nauseam while cold cases – the ones truly needing exposure – languish.

This was the epitome of irony, only it was not the least bit funny.

With this project shot down in flames by a representative of the publishing world, I found myself moredetermined than ever to get the story of Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley before the public.

I determined that if self-publishing was my only option until a mainstream publisher decided to option the book,so be it. And if the book went unnoticed by other presses, I could live with that too.

In the interim, I would use the vanity presses to my advantage and offer the book at the lowest price imaginablein order to ensure that the story reached the largest audience possible.

This book, then, is the result of my resolve.

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