All my life as a writer I have lived with a dilemma. I believe most writers do.
On the one hand, I want to reach an audience. For this, I need to write something that a publisher can make money on, at least enough money to justify the investment in printing, distributions, all that. That is the only kind of book that can ever reach a large audience, and that is what a writer writes for - to be read.
On the other hand, there are things I just plain like to write that I know will never justify publishing. Short stories, for example, or essays, or experimental fiction that is just too weird for a mainstream audience.
Most writers, when they want to write something far from the mainstream, look for small journals to publish it, or they publish short essays in magazines. Others just write it because they love writing it and never show it to anyone. It sits in their desks and when they die their grandchildren take a look at it and say, "Huh, weird, I didn't know he wrote this stuff", and that's the end of it.
That can never replace the joy and urgency of writing for a broad audience - writing to be read. I am proud of the books I write for a broad audience and that audience is the most important thing in my life just after my girlfriend and my cat. (Actually, it's her cat. You see how she did that?). I love my readers and the books I write for them and I need that more than anything else.
But there are still other ideas, statements, characters and arguments that just don't go away. Once they get inside my head, I have to write them down. So once in a while I end up writing something that will only interest a handful of readers. Until now I would have had to file it away in a desk drawer somewhere and forget about it.
E-publishing changed all that. For the first time, it's possible for a writer to write the kind of texts he wants to and sell them online without the expensive apparatus of a traditional publisher. And if only three people read it, that's fine - that's why he wrote it, for these three people.
I founded Hula Ink to take advantage of that innovation in the marketplace.
With Hula Ink. I will publish works that print publishers cannot touch, mainly for a limited audience: short stories, but also longer texts that are too weird for the printed form, fiction and non-fiction, in English and German (I am an American ex-pat living in Berlin and I write in both languages). I will also re-publish my printed books here that are currently out-of-print, so fans can get them as e-books.
I will also publish similar works by a handful of friends: Ernie Poodle, who only write weird stuff that he never even tried to publish in his lifetime; Keiki Kailua, whose youth novel "The Boy With Green Hair" is too very personal and too sad for a mainstream publisher (I am trying to get her to write down her Hawaiian god stories as well); and dark crime and thriller stories by Astrid Ule and myself.
Hula Ink is a very personal publisher. I will publish what I like. It will be a mixed bag. There is no pressure to succeed, to make money, to get good reviews, to be successful in any way. It's just stuff I like from a handful of friends I like.
Go to our Web site here!
I hope you like it!
- Eric T. Hansen