Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So Long, And Thanks For All The Brains

ver wonder what happens after zombies take over the world and eat all the brains? Of course you didn’t, but horror genre writers think about stuff like this all the time.  So did at least one The Zombie Feed / Apex Books reader, and this question recently won a contest staged by the publisher’s marketing manager to generate buzz about their first anthology of stories.

So once they chose a question from the dozens they received, they asked all the authors to come up with creative answers – and boy howdy did we.

The winning reader question:
“Fast or slow, flesh eaters or those who only eat brains, zombies are always pretty fun. Let’s look at them when they aren’t massing and trapping the last bastions of humanity and reducing them to red smears.
What do zombies do when there isn’t prey to motivate them? Say “World War Z” level of infestation goes ahead and wipes out humanity, do zombies establish a society? Do they take jobs? Set up daycares? Worry about 401Ks and health insurance? Or do they just sort of sit around and rot away?”

To see all the answers by going here:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More On The Rise of Self-Publishing

he tsunami that toppled and transformed the music business is capsizing the traditional book publishing industry.  Each day more people buy Kindle readers or similar tablet devices.  Apple is launching a new iPad.  You can buy and read books on your smartphone.  Printed books aren’t going away, but sales of e-books are increasing rapidly.  

If you write short stories, novellas and novels, you have more choices and control, too.  Twenty years ago when I began writing and selling short fiction, genre and “literary” writers aspired to sell a novel to an established New York City publisher, bask in a decent marketing campaign, connect with readers, and sell a series of lucrative books.

Today the major print publishers are pulling back, spending less on writers and marketing, and trying to decide how to market e-books.  There’s a lot of uncertainty.  Agents are fleeing the business as it contracts.  Large booksellers are filing for bankruptcy protection.

I keep reading about writers who have decided that they can earn more by working with independent publishers – or in some cases, by publishing and marketing their own books.  And we're not talking about the seamy world of vanity publishing.  Many of these writers have worked with or are working with print publishers, but they're publishing additional titles or their backlist themselves.  And it appears that they earn a lot more net income than by selling novels to the traditional NYC publishers.  As more experienced writers go this route, a small cottage industry of copy-editors, book designers and cover artists are selling their services.  So if you’re a talented writer and you have editing skill, and you hire someone to create professional and compelling cover art, it’s possible to bypass an agent, editor and publisher (and the sales and marketing department) and self-publish a book that with work and determination could easily earn more in royalties than a traditional hardback or paperback original.

No guarantees, but it is being done.  Read this blog and others; the revolution has already begun….

Monday, March 7, 2011

Question: Why Did The Zombie Cross The Road?

o win a free book, silly!  And maybe to eat someone's brain.  The Zombie Feed will be releasing its first anthology of new undead fiction in a month or so, and they've announced a fun little contest to give away some books and acquaint readers with the authors, including yours truly.  Readers and zombie fans are being asked to submit the one burning question they’ve always wanted to ask the warped, deranged chroniclers of the Living Dead.

There are no rules, so it’s hard to disqualify yourself.  “Make it scary or make it hilarious. Make it sophisticated or outrageous. Entertain us and you will be picked.”

I will give you one pretty solid hint.  There's one question you must at all costs avoid asking a writer: “Where do you get your ideas?”

We don't know, and we're only going to make up something stupid if you insist on asking.

Leave your question at The Zombie Feed site (link below) as a comment under the post. TZF editors will sift through all the questions and select their favorite, then post answers from all the anthology contributors.  The winner will receive an autographed copy of the book from editor Jason Sizemore.  So go ahead and ask me anything, and let’s keep it clean, people.

Actually, no matter what the winning question is, I think I'm going to answer with the opening line from Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

The contest ends on Thursday, March the 10th at precisely 23:59 EST.