Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

Here I go, hoping I don’t make a fool of myself on the internet.

So… I’m self-publishing a book. There are other terms for it now: Vanity Publishing. Indie Publishing.

Indie publishing just sounds cool, because it’s got that “I put out my own records, and sell them out of the trunk of my car!” vibe. And it sounds a lot better than, “No one wanted to publish my book, so I did it myself. I’ll show them!”

I’ll be honest, though, I resisted going this route for a long time. Two years. Maybe three.


I’ve read some self-published stuff that, frankly, wouldn’t have gotten out into the world any other way.

Granted, I’ve read good stuff as well.

But there are other issues with physical self-publishing. Namely, bookstores won’t carry your books. So you can sell them yourself (indie!) or try to sell them through Amazon. But it doesn’t happen very often, because the books are more expensive than traditionally published books, and no one knows who you are.

And anyway, I thought that eventually the whole agent/publisher thing would work out for me, assuming I had something good to sell.

And I really thought I had it. In fact, I knew I did. I just knew that if an agent, nay, the RIGHT agent read it, the book would get picked up and published.

Problem: I spent two years crafting and re-crafting my query letter, trying to get an agent – any agent – to read the thing. And I really did my homework. I looked up agents, I figured out their likes and dislikes, the whole nine yards.

No one wanted to look at it.

So there’s my book, which I couldn’t even get someone to look at.

And there’s the Kindle.

And there are two authors (actually, SEVERAL authors) out there selling books like crazy. One of them, J. A. Konrath, was a traditional author with traditional publishing deals who walked away from it all to sell his books online. He’s on track to make half-a-million dollars this year.

The other one, Amanda Hocking, was just like me – a unknown who thought she may as well get her work out there. Depending on who you ask, she’s pulled in something like a million dollars over the last year.

And I said, “What can it hurt?”

So I’m putting my book out in a little over a week. And since I was drinking the indie publishing Kool-Aid, I went ahead and submitted it to some authors for blurbs:

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

"Joshua Grover-David Patterson writes in a style that will surely connect with many contemporary zombie fans. His use of tone and narrative structure are miles ahead of most who work in the genre."
-Scott Kenemore, author of "Zombie, Ohio" and "The Zen of Zombie."

“You expect a zombie novel to have brains, but you don't expect it to be this smart. You expect a number of internal organs to be on display, but you don't expect this much heart. MERCY is a kicka** zombie novel, but it's also a thoughtful, moving story about the joy and importance of being human and alive.”
-Seamus Cooper, author of “The Mall of Cthulhu”

"Patterson has taken the zombie-pocalypse story in a fresh new direction, infusing hope and heart into a format that normally only thinks of heart in relation to gory attacks."
-Word Nerd Blog/Bethany K. Warner

In all, I have almost 20 (maybe more, by the time I’ve done) writers and/or bloggers who are reading my book, or who are willing to post that my book exists, and are planning on saying what they think of it.

What will happen?

Good question.

I’m pretty sure I’m not on my way to being a Kindle millionaire. Don’t get me wrong, that’d be super-awesome, but if you hope for something like that, anything less than buying your own island at the end of the year will be a letdown.

I do have a short story up, and just by telling my friends and family it’s there, and asking them to spread the word, I’ve been selling some copies – even to people I don’t know.

(At least, I don’t think I know them…)

But I have plans. I have at least one short story I need to finish, and a novella I think I need to rewrite (I’m a little afraid to look at it) and a novel I’m about one-third finished with.

Assuming people like Konrath are right, one of the best ways to keep money flowing in is to keep your personal bookshelf expanding.

So that’s the plan. Two months spent filling the bookshelf.

After that, wait and assess.

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