The journey to self-publishing my debut short story: ‘The Adversary’

Adversary cover art

Cover art: Andres Grau

My first short story ‘The Adversary’ has now been self-published as an Ebook and is available to download for FREE on Smashwords and many other sites including Apple (operates iBooks stores in 51 countries), Barnes & Noble (US and UK), Scribd, Oyster, Kobo, Yuzu, Blio and Inktera.

Deciding on this avenue of publication is one that I have deliberated over for hours on end but one that I’m ultimately really pleased with. There were two things which were crucially important before making the final call:

1) I wanted my first short to be available free of charge to all; the story is purposefully short to spark interest in potentially longer work in the future. 

 2) Creative control over the cover design and marketing of my own materials.

It’s been quite an expedition to reach this point and one that has tested my patience and persistence over the past six to eight months. The desire to expand my repertoire from the criticism of art to the creation of my own work has been rumbling beneath the surface for quite some time. 

The creative process has been a rigorous personal battle; one that has placed my own demons and doubts into a nightmarish spin. Culturally and religiously, the concept of the ‘evil eye’ (often referred to as ‘nazar’ in my mother tongue) carries enormous weight and influence. It will often lurk in the shadows and be the elephant in the room that nobody will speak freely about. It’s these feelings that have been channeled into The Adversary along with existential musings on free-will, destiny and those internal battles that we all face but rarely speak of. 

The Adversary can be downloaded by clicking here (available in universal formats such as PDF and can be read on any device). Please do leave a review on the Smashwords site or wherever you read the story; it’ll really help get the word out and your recommendation will be priceless in attracting more readers for future work.

Here’s the prologue to set the scene

The rain lashed down, like the sultry tears of God, shattering into the face of the earth as the breezy air swirled through the rocky terrain. Feeling the prickly shivers run down my spine, I stood there drenched and motionless, clenching my fists in rage.

‘Lift this wretched curse! I’m begging you.’

The weight of the burden had finally gotten the better of me. It had been playing on my mind and oppressed my thoughts. The feeling clung to me like the sour stench of defeat and spun me into a deluge of madness. This had to end. Tonight.

It turned in its tracks and flashed a cryptic smirk. Those glowing white teeth blinded me with their unnatural glow.

‘Why would I help you, boy?’ snarled the beast.

‘I’ll do anything it takes. Please… just do what you have to do’ the desperation in my voice made my knees weak. I never thought I’d need to plead with this monster for my salvation.

‘My services are not without consequence. Be careful what you wish for, boy.’

‘I can’t go on like this any longer. The nightmares are getting worse, I know they’ve given me the evil eye. I see their hideous, smiling faces when I close my eyes. Their vile thoughts are stopping me from getting anywhere. How can I live like this? I’ve made up my mind.’

‘Very well’ spoke the thing with a finality in its voice that unnerved me to the very core.

The driving rain stopped like a switch had been flicked somewhere in the heavens. The darkness grew upon the land, the light fading as though the sun was being cloaked by a rising volcano. There was nothing left to say nor to plead. My pride had been vanquished. There was a black hole left in me that wallowed in its emptiness.

The shadowy figure had dissolved like smoke into the wintry night’s sky. It was like a scorching fire that had been banished and took my worries along with it. His disappearance struck me like a dagger to the heart; it had always amazed me at how someone could be there one minute, and gone the next. Like they never existed at all.


copyright Hamzah Sarwar 2016

A special thank you to those who have helped me on this journey and for the kind words of support. You know who you are.