Well… If you haven’t heard already, Hindered Souls Press, home to M. R. Tapia’s Sugar Skulls, Renee Miller’s Eat the Rich, Leo X. Robertson’s upcoming (well, it was upcoming) Jesus of Scumburg, and of course, my debut novella Siphon, has shut down.
It came as a surprise. I received an email from H.S.P. owner and editor, M. R. Tapia himself. To say the least, I was not quite sure how to take it.
So, what is going to happen to Siphon along with the other titles? I’ll get to that in a bit, first I’d like to say a few things about H.S.P. in general.
When I finished writing Siphon, I was both relieved and nervous. It was a story that had been stuck in my head for many years and I finally got it down on paper. Sure, I’ve written plenty of short stories and had them published, but a story so near and dear to me, a story that took a long time to write, I wasn’t sure if it was good enough for someone to pick up or if I was just going to hide it in the proverbial dusty drawer to look at sometime in the future. The last thing I wanted to do was self-publish it — I wanted affirmation from an outside source that it was good enough.
I grew some balls and sent it out to some indie publishers. Long story short, M. R. Tapia responded with excitement, insightful editing advice, and ultimately a contract. It made my whole year. My first book. Everyone remembers their first.
It was picked up in December of 2017 and published February 2, 2018, six days before my 30th birthday. Hell, my wife got me a Siphon cake to celebrate both occasions.
I can say a lot, but to sum it up: M. R. Tapia poured all his love and energy into Hindered Souls Press, and into the authors he signed. However, family and health is the ultimate priority. Unfortunate personal burdens led to financial strain and mental fatigue, and Tapia made the decision to allocate all his energy and finances to tackle those hurdles while focusing all his love on his family.
This, I understand and respect.
He didn’t drag us through the mud with shitty communication. He didn’t play games or pussyfoot. Tapia reached a point where he knew it would be impossible to juggle both and he, as Renee Miller put it, “pulled the trigger.”
[You can read Renee Miller’s thoughts on the matter HERE]
I respect it. I understand it. And, in no way, am I bitter about his decision. I, too, run a small indie publishing company. However, I have two awesome partners in the endeavor in Dustin and Chris. When I feel overwhelmed or burnt out — they pick up the slack. Visa-versa. Tapia went above and beyond for a one man show. He set up booths at cons, drove to distant markets and bookstores to promote the catalog, and spent countless hours pushing and praising Siphon. I am forever in his debt.
So, what about Siphon?
Well, in a frantic haste of what-the-fuckness after receiving the shitty news, I sent inquiries to handful of publishers. It’s hard enough to get an unpublished novella picked up, let alone one that is a reprint (If anyone reading this knows of any publishers currently open for novella reprints, get at me).
Whatever happens, Siphon, along with the other H.S.P. titles will be unavailable December 1st (Saturday). Go grab a few copies. It’ll help both Tapia and the rest of us.
That said, I don’t want Siphon to be out of commission for too long. If I can’t find a new home or potential new home for Siphon by February of 2019, I’ll self-publish it myself or make a case and publish it via Aphotic Realm.
I’m not too sure what the future holds. All I can do is reach out and wait.
Make sure to support indie authors and publishers. It really is a labor of love. It doesn’t pay the bills — I know this first hand. It takes a lot of time and a shit ton of energy, but it’s not the money (that we don’t make) that makes it worth it, it’s the support from the community that keeps us going when the going gets fuckin’ unbearably exhausting at times.
Be good to each other.