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I began Hardihood Books because I felt there was something lacking in our online media environment, consumption, and discourse. I wanted to create something real. Something that could help fill the void.

I wanted to build something new that did not fit easily in any single category. You might consider Hardihood Books an online magazine for fiction and essays. I publish a certain number of short stories and essays every month. But I do not stick to any single genre.

You might consider Hardihood Books a publishing company. At the moment, I do not publish books. But I have plans to build an indie imprint, and eventually grow beyond that.

But I consider Hardihood Books to be something more. With this Substack, I am laying my foundations and testing out new concepts. One of those concepts is rapid development applied to writing. Iteration, frequent posting, continuous improvement.

Another concept is anti-niching. That is, I plan to write and publish anything and everything. Material on the website and future books both cover a wide range of genres, concepts, ideas, arguments, and topics. I believe there is an audience for good and interesting writing - an audience that is also as hungry for variety in the content they read as I am.

Literary fiction is notoriously hard to sell. But I believe there is an audience that likes both genre fiction and realistic fiction.

I furthermore believe that, in the middle of dramatic technological and societal turmoil, coming out of (or struggling to come out of) a worldwide pandemic, and in the midst of a content revolution on the Internet and a shift from ad-based clickbait to subscriber-based quality, there is an audience ready for Hardihood Books.

The full extent of my project will not become apparent for many years, but if you want to see what it becomes, please consider pledging your support with a paid subscription. I am bootstrapping it at the moment, so every subscription dollar counts.

If you are on the fence about it, go ahead and scroll through my archive and read a few of the free essays and stories. If you like some of them (nobody will like all of them), consider subscribing to read the rest.

If you want to be part of a revolution in publishing, consider subscribing.

And if you think you know someone who would enjoy the content on Hardihood Books, please consider sharing the site with them.

And now, for some confusing boilerplate:

What is Hardihood Books?

Here at Hardihood Books, we believe in several principles:

  • Mens Sana in Corpore Sano: You need both. Neither should be neglected. Neither should be prioritized at the expense of the other.

  • The Strenuous Life:” At the behest of Theodore Roosevelt, we rebel against an indoor life of ease. We reject overdependence on technology. We decry the endless entertainment and the overabundance of external stimuli that prevents independent thought. We refuse comfort, safety, and hyper-consumerism.

  • Always Learn. Never Stop Improving: This is our philosophy towards life and towards writing.

    • We advocate for individuals to become modern Renaissance Men and Women.

    • We believe in constantly honing our craft through iteration and subsequent engagement with reader feedback. We bring a “fail early and fail often” startup mentality to publishing.

  • Independent Writing. Independent Thought: We want people to think for themselves. Not to go along with the herd. Avoid complacency. Avoid decadence.

    • Scientific Skepticism: Applying a scientific mindset to the world requires skepticism. It requires doing your own research, constantly learning and honing your hypotheses, rejecting your assumptions, and recognizing the fact that you may be wrong. Evaluate evidence based on its merit rather than based on your own pet theories or presuppositions. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool.” - Richard Feynman

    • The majority is not always right. Neither is the majority always wrong. Reflexively embracing or opposing majority opinion is foolish. (If you reflexively reject any idea embraced by the majority, you are still defined by what the majority thinks.)

  • Living with a Sense of Adventure: Find adventure in your life. Both great and small. It is all about how you look at the world.

  • Community: We want to start a community of likeminded (or not-so-likeminded) individuals here at Hardihood Books. We want freethinkers. You do not have to agree with us (in fact we might prefer that you do not). The first step in joining the community is subscribing.

Why subscribe?

Sign up for a paid subscription to get full access to the website and the Hardihood Books Monthly Newsletter. Subscribers receive instant access to the entire archive of stories and essays, as well as each four new short stories and two new essays every month. Most months, one-third of the content is free to the general public (outside the paywall), and two-thirds are subscriber-only.

You can also sign up for a free subscription. At the end of every month, I send out a Monthly Roundup to everyone on my list, free and paid subscribers. This is separate from the newsletter for paid subscribers. The Monthly Roundup is a list of all the different posts from the past month, with links and a quick description of each (including whether a post is free or paywalled). Sign up to my free list if you’d like a monthly reminder about free/public posts, along with handy links.

Join the Hardihood Books Community.

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Ben Connelly
Owner, Hardihood Books.