“One Short Story To Be Told”

Something different…

I was intrigued by the  brain child of Leyton Attens or Stanley Notte (one of those is a pen name or pseudonym, I think) and signed up to the system. ‘One Short Story to be Told’ provides a single copy of each story in the collection. This copy is passed around, via snail mail, preceded by awesome contracts and warnings. ‘Followers’ have to contact each other or Leyton to stand a chance of being the next recipient. There are five stories doing the rounds at the moment and they have travelled from their native Eire as far afield as California and Australia. I was lucky enough to get custody of Wink this month.

It’s fascinating to know you hold the only printed copy of a book. The book itself has a delightful cover, showing a peaceful scene with presumably the same book resting on a bench. If we could see the cover of the miniature book we would probably find a further picture of a book on a bench, and so on. Leyton encourages people to send photographic evidence of the story’s safe arrival and he then publishes the results in a blog. Readers then choose the next recipient and before posting the book, add their comments in the space left at the back of the volume.

The story itself is well written and interesting, quite good enough for inclusion in any anthology of modern short stories. It is raised out of the vast sea of competent stories by the ‘one copy’ concept. It’s a mainstream story, addressing family relationships, and might very easily sink in a large slushpile. Equally, normal self-publishing might fail to attract attention as there is no special genre to advertise. Instead, the author has chosen to make a small but unique mark on the publishing map with his quirky but delightful idea. The result is publicity for the stories themselves and also great enjoyment of the story of the stories.

I asked permission to publish a photograph of Wink here, and was told publication on blogs was actively encouraged.

If you’re interested in Wink and its fellow stories, or just in following their fortunes, here’s the place to find out more.

6 thoughts on ““One Short Story To Be Told”

  1. What a great idea. This is the sort of innovative approach we must take to raise our profiles and market in the brave new publishing world. I have passed on the link to my writing group in Melbourne – so the word spreads.

    What do you think about the six degrees of separation idea? It is a comforting idea when I look with trepidation at how I will market my web site. I’m sure there will be an algorithm on Facebook soon that will prove or disprove it.

    • it’s a brilliant idea and deserves publicity. But of course, once it’s out there, it can’t be copied without losing its novelty value. Even so, if it gets people thinking laterally it can help alter the landscape!

      I have a friend who did her Ph.D on aspects of social networking and she was very keen on the six degrees idea. I have just been reading a sociology book by Duncan Watts who also wrote Six Degrees: the science of a connected age. He and his fellow-researchers at Yahoo! Research have been doing the kind of research you suggest, using Facebook and Twitter as their ‘labs’. You are going to have to work very hard to publicise your book/website and will have to think up all sorts of ways to attract viewers in the hope that some of them will stay and buy!

    • It’s interesting following the blog about how the various volumes are doing and where they are. I think every so often someone gets hold of the idea and ‘joins’ so it will probably keep going for a long time. But at the moment one of the volumes is silent, in transit, and somewhere over the Pacific, or someone just isn’t checking their post and their emails!

  2. Hey All, leyton attens here. First I’d like to thank jaymountney for including a piece about my (madcap) idea here. It is encouraging to here encouraging words like ‘awsome contracts’ and ‘the author has chosen to make a small but unique mark on the publishing map with his quirky but delightful idea’. Second I’d lie to say that the silent copy has made some noise (thankfully). And last to Chris: ‘Thank you for sharing with your writing group’- we are all, in the end, reliant on kind gestures. I appreciate it.
    88*Googolplex leyton

    • Glad you liked Wink’s outing!! You might get some more interest from Chris’s group, in which case there will be more trips to Australia for your intrepid travellers!

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