Welcome to The Em(erald) Dash

Hi, I’m Garrett 👋. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by. Let’s dive into what you can expect when subscribing to The Em(erald) Dash.

The What

The Em(erald) Dash is a newsletter run by me, author Garrett Francis. It features serializations of book-length works (including my first novel, And in the Dark They Are Born), short stories, creative nonfiction, commentary, recommendations and more. 

The Em(erald) Dash is an entirely-free newsletter, and will remain as such for the foreseeable future. If at any point The Em(erald) Dash becomes a publication you must pay to access, you will of course receive ample notice of the switch prior to it happening.

Subscribers receive

  • ALL chapters, short stories, essays, and more. 

  • See behind the scenes with access to author commentary.

  • Earlybird access to additional, off-Substack offerings (think: physical books).

The absolute best way to support The Em(erald) Dash is to subscribe and read what’s created + sent.

If at any point you like what you read and find yourself in a position to do so, you can support me further by sending me a tip on Ko-fi (one-time or recurring, your choice).

I donate 10% of every tip I receive to the World Resources Institute.

Send Me a Tip

And, if you have a few friends that might like what’s going on here at The Em(erald) Dash, please do share it with them. Recommendations go a long, long way.

Share The Em(erald) Dash

Lastly, to get an even better idea of what you can expect when subscribing, I want to include a few of the most popular posts so far on The Em(erald) Dash:

Popular posts

The Who

It might seem redundant at this point, but I, Garrett Francis (more about me below, if you’re unfamiliar), will be the one whose words you’ll be reading—at least as of this writing in January 2023. It’s possible, though, that at different points guest authors will appear, or that interviews will be featured. 

On my wedding day in 2022.
About Me

I grew up on a small farm in Hart, Michigan, had a great childhood, and earned my B.A. in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University

In 2012, I co-founded Squalorly, a digital literary journal of the Midwest and served as its nonfiction editor until 2014. Two book-length projects of mine were represented by a still-reputable literary agency from 2014 to 2016, until the relationship abruptly ended.

My frustration with what had transpired ultimately led me to found Orson’s Publishing in 2016, a micro press that aimed to publish “wise and approachable storytelling.” I served as the press’ sole editor (and designer, and publicist, among other roles) until its closure in 2020, publishing four book-length works by new and emerging authors.

In 2017, I also founded Orson’s Review, a digital literary journal that served as a companion to its parent press, publishing fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and photography. I served as the sole editor of Orson’s Review as well, and am proud to have helped bring the work of over 70 international contributors to life.

Today, I live in beautiful Seattle, Washington with my wife, daughter and dog. I cannot afford to be a full-time author currently (fingers crossed it’ll one day be a reality), and continue working a day job in the field of user experience design. When I’m not working or writing, I try to be outside as much as I can with my family—camping, hiking, kayaking, and just generally wandering.

Because I suspect at least 50% of you are curious, here’s a pic of said dog, a handsome chap named Otis:

My writing buddy.

The When

When a book-length work is in the process of serialization, you can expect a chapter sent each week. Or, if a particular chapter is short, multiple chapters will be sent that week. 

You can also expect a set of what I call “media recommendations” to be sent monthly—books I recommend, films, TV shows, podcasts, articles, etc. 

As I’m not always writing a new book, I’ll also send standalone short stories and essays, though the timing of those will be far less predictable. If I had to ball-park it, I’d say to expect one every four to six weeks.

If you were to crunch the numbers (lol), you can probably expect to receive communication from The Em(erald) Dash 1-2 times per week.

The Where

The Em(erald) Dash will arrive in your inbox. But, because Substack is such a nifty tool, everything sent to your inbox will also live online, accessible to subscribers at any time in a web browser.  

There also exists the Substack app, which I think you’d really enjoy if you prefer to read on your phone. If you’d like, you can toggle on notifications and receive The Em(erald) Dash updates that way as well. 

Get the Substack App

The Why

Is it true that the book publishing industry is flawed? Yes. It is. And is it true that the hoop-jumping process of acquiring an agent who then jumps through more hoops in your name is a rather archaic and unfair one? Yes. Of course.

I’ve had my fair share of frustrations with “how things work,” some of which I’ll detail in future posts, but that isn’t what brought me here. It’s true: the industry and its processes are ripe for improvement. But it also employs thousands of people, continues to produce timeless works of art, and, on occasion, gets those works of art into hands and hearts far and wide.

No, my little newsletter here is not a middle finger to agents and editors and publishing houses. It isn’t a brick in the structure being built to disrupt it all.

In fact, call me a romantic, but many of my dreams as a writer still revolve around those very systems and their processes.

So, to cut to the chase, what brings me here is this: curiosity. I’ve read various newsletters on Substack for some time now and I think something really cool is going on here. And, I think that maybe what I do as an author can translate well to the platform. And maybe, just maybe, by sharing my work on here I can can start to connect with people who actually want to read it.

It’s really that simple.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate your time, and I hope you enjoy yourself.

Behind the Name

Ah, the em dash—the sexiest piece of punctuation out there. I use them with frequency. I hope you don’t mind.

So, there’s that, of course, when it comes to the name.

But there’s also the fact that I’ve called Seattle, Washington home for over seven years now, a place that since 1982 has been known as “The Emerald City”.

Add this up and what you get is a sexy love letter to the city of Seattle, right? Not exactly. My relationship with the city is a complicated one. It always has been. Not all love. Not all hate. You know how it is.

But even when I’m down for a moment, I’m proud to live here. And, the city continues to deeply impact me and my work—as I think the idea of place does for any person out there.

Subscribe to The Em(erald) Dash

A literary newsletter from the author of And in the Dark They Are Born. Soak up thought-provoking fiction, creative nonfiction, commentary and more.


Garrett Francis

The Seattle-based author behind The Em(erald) Dash, a literary newsletter.