Categorized | Features, News

The Shattered Glass Project by Jess Hartley

Posted on March 21, 2010 by Flames

For decades, traditional publishing has been one of the only legitimate avenues for aspiring fiction authors. While the publishing industry offers countless positive opportunities and advantages for writers, there are also challenges. Some works or formats aren’t economically feasible for large publishing houses to consider, leaving writers seeking new ways to get their work into reader’s hands.

Technology and New Fiction
Recent advances in technology have opened a new world of opportunity for writers and readers to connect. From advances in printing–high-quality desktop publishing, Print-On-Demand (POD) and electronic .pdf file programs–to social media networking and safe electronic banking, technological tools are being developed at a break-neck speed, and writers are experimenting with how best to use them to address needs which are not being met directly by the traditional publishing industry.

“I’m a firm advocate of traditional publishing,” stated Hartley, when asked about her direct-marketing experiment. “I’ve been a freelance writer for traditional magazines and game companies for years, and am currently seeking publication of a novel through the mainstream publishing industry. This isn’t about opposing traditional publishing or doing an “end run” around the challenges of becoming published there. Those challenges are in place for a reason, and facing them forces writers to hone their skills–both writing and business-wise– to the level they need to be.”

Reader-Sustained Writing
But, Hartley points out, new technology offers authors options for experimenting with writing that isn’t necessarily mainstream-marketable. “Poetry, short stories and novellas are much more difficult to place in the traditional market, which relies on the novel-length work as its main bread and butter. Direct-market fiction experiments can put these sorts of works into the hands of hungry readers without many of the concerns that would face a mainstream publisher. A story being supported and enjoyed by 100 enthusiastic readers can be a complete success in a direct-market situation, whereas it wouldn’t pay for shipping through mainstream publishing.”

The Shattered Glass Project
The Shattered Glass Project–featuring Shattered Glass, a modern fairy tale short story–was inspired by the convergence of two situations: Hartley’s growing interest in these new forms of experimental fiction interactions, and the death of her laptop computer.

“I’ve been intrigued by the direct connection that reader-supported writing provides to both authors and their readership. It’s a personal connection, and one that is very appealing to me.” Hartley mentions successful writers such as C.E. Murphy and Catherynne M. Valente, as inspirational in encouraging her interest in direct-market fiction projects.

But it took an unfortunate accident to encourage her to take the leap herself. “As a freelancer, I rely on my computer completely. Not only the actual writing process, but for research, for staying organized, and for the constant electronic interaction necessary to stay abreast of current trends, promote my work and find new job opportunities. When my laptop “bricked” on me, I couldn’t wait for my next freelance check to come in to replace it. I’d had lots of readers asking where they could find more of my work, so I decided to try something new.”

And so, The Shattered Glass Project was born. Running for a limited time, between March 21 and June 21, 2010, Hartley is inviting readers to play an integral role in the creation of an urban fae story by acting as supporting Patrons, or even becoming a character in the story itself. Shattered Glass will be produced in both physical and electronic format, available to different levels of Patrons, in hopes of being able to provide an opportunity for every reader to enjoy it.

Patrons, Personae and Personalized Fiction
What makes The Shattered Glass Project unique? “For the first year after its inception, I promise Patrons that they will be the only readers enjoying Shattered Glass in its entirety,” Hartley says. “In that way, along with being personally thanked in the book and the opportunity for Personae Patrons to actually be characters in the story, Shattered Glass Patrons will know that they’re a part of something special. This isn’t going to be just a story they read and forget. It’s an experiment that they play a huge part in. It wouldn’t exist without their support.”

A life-long fairy tale enthusiast, Hartley plans on incorporating aspects of modern life and traditional folklore to create Shattered Glass, which will (appropriately enough) feature a fae laptop computer.

Three levels of Patronage are available for The Shattered Glass Project, ranging from $5 to $150. Patronage opportunities will remain available throughout Spring of 2010.

More information on the Project can be found at the author’s website:

About the Author:
Jess Hartley is an established novelist, author, editor and game designer, who work has been published in local, national and international publications. She was on the design team for the ENnie award-winning game, Changeling: The Lost, and contributed to the horror anthology, Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas, which was named Best Anthology in the Preditors and Editors Readers’ Choice Awards.
Hartley dwells in Southeastern Arizona, with her family and a menagerie of other interesting creatures.

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