Tag Archives: digital publishing

How to Make Big Money in Self Publishing

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Hey 3.5 readers.

I’ve been studying the topic of self publishing a long time now.  I don’t want to call myself an expert, but I have figured a few things out.

Specifically, I have come up with an amazing system that you can use to be super, filthy, mega rich.  Make boku bucks and stay at home, doing what you love – writing!

Write faster.  Write better.  Write smarter and better yet, get rich while you’re doing it!

I know. It sounds too good to be true but, would your old pal BQB steer you wrong?  I don’t think so.

Anyway, enough out of me.  If you want to learn how to get rich quick in the world of self publishing, click here.

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 31 – (Part 3)

It was late.

I sat in my office, the magic bookshelf behind me, the tiny characters who inhabited it fast asleep.

NN1 was on my TV, various commentators weighing in on all the consequences that General Morganstern was in for.

On my computer, I typed the following words:

Johnny Gunhands:  A Farewell to Hands

Draft #2

VGRF came in.

“You foiled a corrupt general’s plot, saved us all from being blown up, and destroyed the zombie menace,”  she said.  “Don’t you think you’ve earned some sleep?”

“I can’t,”  I replied.  “I’m too wired.  Besides, you know with the Mighty Potentate up my ass the world will never be safe from alien invasion until I finish this book.”

I opened up iTunes and turned on my favorite show, The Self Publishing Podcast.

Notorious indie authors Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David W. Wright were discussing the latest news in the world of do it yourself publishing.

“I hate you all,” grumbled Dave.

VGRF picked up the space phone and handed it to me.

“What?”  I asked.

“Go on,”  she said.

“Oh please.  The world has already given me too many miracles tonight.  I doubt an interview with one of these illustrious scribes is in the cards.”

“The worst that can happen is they say no,”  VGRF said.

I let out a loud, obnoxious sigh.

“Fine.  Here goes nothing.”

I looked up the number for Sterling and Stone, the SPP trio’s publishing company.

I dialed it.  The phone rang.

“Hello?  Yes. Bookshelf Q. Battler here.  I’m doing a zombie author interview series and I’d like to talk to Dave about Z2134….uh huh….uh huh….uh huh…Dave’s at Target?  Uh huh….sure I can hold…”

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 17

Fort Hauser aka the new name for the East Randomtown Park/Rec Center, ran like a finely tuned precision race car.

Everyone had their job and despite the chaos brewing outside the fence, people worked hard to do what they could to make life on the inside better.

Doug and his squad went on daily scavenger missions. I wanted to help but I knew that Morganstern would, as promised, launch a cruise missile up my ass as soon as he spotted me through one of his surveillance drones.

Technically, that made no sense.  Wouldn’t Morganstern, if anything, shove a missile “down my throat?”  Because if a missile is coming from the sky, it would have to come downward to get me.  It wouldn’t come down and then go up my ass.

You know what?  Forget it.  Let’s not quibble about semantics.

Besides, Doug insisted I stay on the premises to provide leadership as Deputy Mayor in his stead.

Since all the residents were so well disciplined, the job was mostly ceremonial, and thus I was left with plenty of time to write.

And that was good, since Alien Jones’ boss, the Mighty Potentate, had threatened to conquer the Earth in the event that I die before delivering a novel written well enough to inspire the masses to abandon reality television.

The Mighty Potentate - Earth's new ruler if BQB doesn't write the best novel ever before he dies.  So yeah, sorry Earth.

The Mighty Potentate – Earth’s new ruler if BQB doesn’t write the best novel ever before he dies. So yeah, sorry Earth.

Talk about pressure.

I sat in the computer lab and clicked away:

The Amazing Adventures of Johnny Gunhands

“No,” I said. “It needs to be catchier.”

Alien Jones, having nothing better to do, sat in a chair next to me and acted as an instant critic to every word I typed.

“The Mighty Potentate will demand more gusto.”

I retyped the title.

Johnny Gunhands: A Farewell to Hands

“I don’t get it,” Alien Jones said. “And I get everything as I hail from a genius species.”

“It’s a play on Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms,” I explained. “This will be the first part of the series, the origin story in which we learn how Johnny not only lost his hands, but how they were replaced with guns.”

“First part of a series?” AJ asked. “You mean you intend to write MORE of this schlock?”

“Every writer always intends to write more of their schlock now,” I said. “Build a good fanbase and you can keep your stories going on forever.”

“I just don’t see much of a market for Johnny Gunhands,” AJ replied.

“Well, if you have another idea for a book that will ween the masses off of reality television, I’m all ears,” I said.

“As a matter of fact, I do!”

Alien Jones pulled the keyboard away from me and typed out the following synopsis:

Ms. Humphrey’s Way

Riddled with disease, desperation and despair, drug addict Vanessa Humphrey wages an uphill battle to get clean and sober. Rather than continue to ignore the personal demons that drove her to such a lowly state, she faces them and in doing so, overcomes them.

Years later, Vanessa has turned her life around and is now well-respected English teacher, Ms. Humphrey, who uses lessons from Shakespeare’s plays to convince troubled inner city youth to better themselves.

Ms. Humphrey takes a particular interest in one of her pupils, the depressed yet talented Arnold Baker. Arnold’s short story has the potential to win him a four year college scholarship, but he’ll need Ms. Humphrey’s assistance to see the project through.

Along the way, Ms. Humphrey discovers that Arnold is in fact the child she gave up for adoption years before in her addict days.

Is the learning disability that makes it difficult for Arnold to record his ideas into written form Vanessa’s fault for hitting the crack pipe hard while she was pregnant?

Is it possible for a woman to change her life so dramatically so as to become completely unrecognizable to her former self?  Should society blame people for past sins forever?

And will it ever be possible for Vanessa to forgive herself?

All these questions and more will be answered as Ms. Humphrey must make a crucial decision:

Should she reveal to Arnold that she is his real mother or should she leave well enough alone?

“That’s all yours if you want it,” Alien Jones said as he handed the keyboard back to me.

I read his synopsis.

The Esteemed Literary One

The Esteemed Literary One

“This is poignant,” I said. “Breathtaking. Brilliant. It will win every major literary award and will surely be turned into an Academy Award winning film…”

“Why thank you,” Alien Jones said.

“…that only 3.5 people will bother to see! Get your head out of your ass!”

“I don’t have an ass!”

“Well get one and get your head out of it,” I said. “No more schmaltzy awards bait!  Action and explosions are the only things that put asses into seats!  Johnny Gunhands it is!”

“As if you’ll ever fling that turd past the traditional publishing goalie,” Alien Jones said. “The traditional publishing world is nothing if not a community of high standards.”

“Four words for you,” I said as I typed them out onto the screen:

Christian Grey flavored popsicle.

“OK you’ve got me there,” Alien Jones said. “Still, you shouldn’t cut off any options. Consider self-publishing your Johnny Gunhands nonsense if no one in the traditional world bites.”

“Good idea,” I said. “I better consult a zombie author about this.”

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 16 Interview – Saul Tanpepper – Zombified Video Gaming

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

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By:  Video Game Rack Fighter, Special Guest Interviewer

Today’s guest on the Bookshelf Battle Blog is Saul Tanpepper, author of the GAMELAND series, a saga set in a world where zombies outfitted with neural implants are controlled by players using video game controllers.

The carnage ensues when a group of computer hackers break into a Long Island turned wasteland and quickly learn there are consequences far beyond the average video game.

Saul, thanks for joining us.

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51TmgJ+nv1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.   Zombies turned into video game avatars manipulated by wealthy video game enthusiasts.  Just when I thought the world was out of fresh spins on the zombie apocalypse genre, you come up with one.  How did you do it?

A.   I read Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games right after it was published and knew that it was going to be a blockbuster and therefore a good literary model to emulate. I’d been thinking about publishing dystopian fiction (not just horror or post-apocalyptic), and since zombies were starting to get hot, and readers were demanding series, I combined the three elements together and came up with the idea for GAMELAND. The original plan was to throw a half dozen young adults into a gaming arcade with the undead for a fight to the finish, but that seemed too much like HG. I made the gaming aspect secondary and went heavier on the post-apocalyptic theme.

Q.  I hope you don’t mind if I reveal on this blog that you are, in fact, Dr. Ken J. Howe, a PhD molecular biologist and former Army medic/trauma specialist. (Don’t worry, this site only has 3.5 readers so your secret is safe.)  Upon learning this about you, several questions come to my mind, the first being, does your experience and training come in handy as a writer and how so?

A.  It’s both helpful and harmful. As a former scientist, I tend to be overly critical about technical accuracy and probabilities, which holds me back from writing anything too outrageous. This applies to the technologies referenced in the GAMELAND series. We already have the capacity to prolong life and it won’t be long before we can reverse cell death. Scientists are also dabbling in neural implantation, so it’s not a great leap to think about implanted zombies. My medical background is a great help when it comes to writing descriptions. Having personally had my hands inside chests, smelled the effects of rotting flesh, assisted with surgeries, I try to relay the physical and emotional impact of those experiences to the reader.

Q.  Last I checked, zombies are just figments of our imagination  (I hope.)  However, as a molecular biologist/former medic, do you have any thoughts on zombie physiology that you could share?  Are there any known theories on how, hypothetically speaking, a human could be turned into a zombie or exhibit zombie-ish tendencies?

A.  There are some aspects of zombie physiology which the lore currently explains poorly. For example, how do they move and moan when they don’t breathe? Why don’t they rot faster? Why do they prefer brains? Why do they go after only the uninfected? GAMELAND attempts to explain some of these discrepancies.

As far as real-life goes, zombies aren’t that much of a leap, at least if we’re simply talking about brain-dead individuals attacking other people. The bath salt incidents of a couple years back, and any number of drug or hypnosis-induced incidents we’ve seen all resemble zombie-like behavior. If the mind can be so easily manipulated by suggestion or chemicals, it’s not hard to imagine an infectious agent producing a chemical to the same effect.

As far as reanimating the dead, that requires a bit more suspension of disbelief or more faith in the paranormal. Cells tend to break down very rapidly, so unless a person has only very recently died, it’s unlikely the body will have much function. My bets for zombies are on the near-dead or recently-deceased.

Q.  How would a real life zombie video game such as the one described in your series work?  Will video games ever evolve to the point where people can be controlled with a joystick?  (And is that necessarily something we’d want?)

A.  Technology already exists to remotely control inanimate objects in virtual reality (think drones, surgery, bomb robots), and game developers have reported early success in being able to manipulate living subjects remotely in the same way as well as with the use of neural stimulation. We are on the cusp of an explosion in VR gaming. Just beyond that horizon is remote controlled live action gaming. I don’t want to say too much about it, because it would seem to make the ideas I developed in GAMELAND appear less groundbreaking, but suffice it to say, I’d be surprised if we aren’t soon forced to ponder the very same moral questions the characters in my books failed to ask themselves when it comes to this subject.

Q.  You’re also the author of The Essential Book Blog: The Complete Bibliophile’s Toolkit for Building, Growing and Monetizing Your On-Line Book-Lover’s Community.  If you had to give Bookshelf Q. Battler one piece of advice on how to improve his blog, what would it be?  (Besides obtain more than 3.5 readers.)

A.   You’re doing all the right things — writing to a specific target audience, keeping the material fresh, engaging your readers, and leveraging other people’s fan bases — so that’s a great foundation for growing your blog. It takes time, as you already know. Having a mailing list helps, as does having something to offer your readers. For example, I offer my subscribers a free starter library and often tell them about deals and giveaways before I tell the general public. I include a lot of tips in TEBB on how you can monetize your efforts to help defray any costs and build income. Even utilizing the easiest of the techniques will quickly pay for the cost of the book.

Q.  Saul, your expertise has been greatly appreciated.  Before I go, do you have any final words of wisdom that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A:  It’s been my pleasure. As far as surviving the Z-poc, my only suggestion is to get yourself a good sturdy toilet plunger (if you’ve read my series, you’ll understand why). That, and a comfortable pair of sneakers. You’ll be doing a lot of running.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 15 Interview – Peter Meredith – Finding Your True Passion

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon

Website       Facebook

51Hxq5kK0WL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ My guest today is Peter Meredith, author of The Undead World series. The tale begins when efforts to cure cancer go horribly wrong, and survivors are forced to do whatever they can to survive in a world crawling with zombies.

A multi-genre author, some of Peter’s other works include: The Trilogy of Void, The Hidden Lands Series, The Sacrificial Daughter, A Perfect America and Sprite.

Hello Peter. Good to speak with you.

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Q.  Peter, I’ve tried a number of jobs in my life. I’ve been the assistant to the assistant to the Vice President of Corporate Assistance at Beige Corp, the world’s premiere producer of beige products and accessories. I started up a website that boasts upwards of 3.5 readers and now, as luck would have it, I’ve just been named Deputy Mayor of a settlement for zombie apocalypse survivors.

According to your Amazon author page, you’ve had quite the journey yourself. You tried your hand in real estate, worked as an emergency room nurse, and you were also the CEO of a national lighting company. Today, you concentrate on what you refer to as your “true addiction,” writing. For anyone out there who’s searching for their passion and has yet to discover it (or worse, won’t embrace it) what advice do you have for them?

A.  Don’t be shocked when you find it and embrace it when you do. Unlike almost every other author I’ve run across, I wasn’t reading at the age of two and writing my first poem by my third birthday. Quite the opposite, I hated to write. I never learned to type and my penmanship hasn’t progressed beyond a second grade level. Since I would fret over every little error, an e-mail used to take me close to an hour to write, if the client was important enough.

But that all changed in 2010. With the economy in the dumps, my company decided to rework our website and in order to attract attention to it, I was told I should write articles and submit them online. So I painstakingly wrote five articles. They were terrible.

Not terribly written, just dull. Writing about the technical aspects of LED lights is super boring and not just to me but for everyone. So with Halloween coming up, I decided to write about the two super-natural occurrences that I had been involved with instead. The boss wasn’t exactly happy, but seeing as she’s my wife, what could she do?

So I wrote two little short stories. Just like that, something kicked in. Suddenly I became a writer. It was altogether inexplicable to go from writing as little as possible to writing all the time. Without any classes or real training, I wrote a book, and then a trilogy, and now I’m currently working on my nineteenth novel. Life is strange, but great.

Q.   What motivated you to take the stories in your mind and put them down in written form?

A.   It’s a mystery to me. I had always been an unparalleled day dreamer but I never knew I could write. I didn’t know I had the discipline or the drive to write an entire, full-length novel until one day I just started.

Q.   Your reader reviews are very positive. One reviewer of The Apocalypse Crusade stated, “DO NOT pick this up until you are ready to commit to an all-night sleep-defying read!” As an author, how are you able to grab a reader’s attention and draw him or her into your world?

A.   For me the answer starts with creating realistic, relatable characters—that is key to any book. Then comes the story, and it has to move along at a good clip, one action leading into another in a manner that runs just along the edge of possible.


Q.   As William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus, goes, “Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade…” You’re the author of The Horror of the Shade, which begins with a recitation of Henley’s classic poem. I’ve always been a fan of Invictus. What is it about that poem that inspired you?

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A.  The clear call of courage within it matched what I was trying to write about with two of the characters William, the father and Will, the son. Both had their courage tested throughout the book, this being especially true with the confrontation of the demon.

Q.  In Sprite, you tell the story of Audrey “Odd” Wyatt, a twelve-year old girl afflicted with startling, dreadfully red eyes. To add to her problems, she’s saddled with Karen, her miserable, bar hopping alcoholic mother who rarely misses an opportunity to make Odd feel bad about herself. What I noticed about this book is that in Odd, you’ve created a very sympathetic character while Karen is likely the kind of character that readers will love to hate. How were you able to craft two completely different character types in one story?

41JsLlh4NtL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_A.  Anyone who wishes to become a writer needs to be a student of humanity. It’s far more important than knowing where commas are supposed to go, or what participles are. When you know people and when you realize that human behavior is, for the most part, unchanging, then almost every character is opened to you as a writer.

Q.   Peter, thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with me today. Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.   Run very fast.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 13 Interview – Michael Cairns – Video Blogging

Michael Cairns headshot High Res copy

FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

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Today’s zombie author is Michael Cairns, the scribe behind the series, Thirteen Rosesan epic tale that begins with a flower seller who’s forced to save the day in the face of a zombie apocalypse.

Here on the Bookshelf Battle Blog, I like to talk to people about their own personal battles.  Currently, Michael’s winning the battle when it comes to making a name for himself in the writing game, but analysts say the struggle to retain his hair might be lost.

I’m dialing him up on Alien Jones’ space phone now.  Michael?  Bookshelf Q. Battler here.  Let’s talk.

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Q.  Michael, I’m stuck in a rather stressful situation.  I’m in the middle of a zombie apocalypse that’s struck my hometown.  As if that’s not enough, a maniacal alien despot who hates reality television has threatened to conquer Earth if I die before writing a novel that’s so good, it inspires the masses to abandon any and all interest in shows in which vapid, mindless, quasi-celebrities are followed around by cameras all day.  On top of that, a corrupt general is trying to blow me up because I allowed one of my correspondents to write about a top secret mission dating back to World War II on my blog.

But this interview isn’t about me, it’s about you, and I don’t want to bore you with my personal problems.  Suffice it to say, all this stress made me think about your situation.  This year began with you making a pledge to your fans that you’d write fifteen books in 2015.  Further, you promised to submit a daily video log chronicling your efforts.

We’re on the tail end of 2015.  How has the challenge gone, what inspired you to do this in the first place and how have you dealt with the ensuing stress?

A.  Hi Bookshelf. First, can I say how sorry I am to hear about your terrible situation? That sounds like pretty dire straits to me. If you’ll forgive a little advice, I’d urge you to keep eating your greens to keep your strength up, and never leave home without at least two chainsaws about your person at all times.

With regards to your question, it’s been a pretty crazy year.  Just to clarify, the challenge was to publish 15 books.  My inspiration for this was that I wrote 15 books in 2014. I then sat down with another indie-published friend of mine who threatened to kick my arse unless I actually did something with them. So, the challenge was born. To keep things interesting, I also opted to write a million words, publish a short story on my blog every week and vlog my journey every day. The challenge has, so far, gone remarkably well. I’ve published 6 books and have another three less than a month away. So the last few months of 2015 are going to be pretty packed, but it’s still doable, assuming I’m willing to completely lose what remains of my sanity.

Regarding the rest of the challenge, that I’ll easily do. I’m going to hit a million words sometime around the beginning of October, and my short stories are, fortunately, getting better each week.

As far as stress goes, it’s been a mix. I’ve given up shaving, given my chocolate addiction free reign, and taken to shouting at myself on long car journeys…okay, maybe not so much of the last one. It has been stressful, though mostly in a fun way. I have two young children at home and also decided to move house in July, so that’s only added to the fun…

Q.  I whine louder than a balloon with air escaping out of it about how I can never find the time to write, but here you are living the dream.  Do you have any advice for my 3.5 readers about how to balance writing with all of the other curveballs that life throws our way?

A.  Excellent question. I think the answer to that lies in a couple of things. The first is to examine yourself and your habits, and decide how organized you are. If you are someone who does things in a random, scatty kind of way, it can be tricky to develop the discipline to write on a regular basis. Tricky, but by no means impossible. I wrote a guest blog post on how to develop said habit, which you can check out here.

The second thing is to decide how important writing is to you. I know that seems kind of obvious, but it’s easy to say how much it matters. The question is, is it important to ditch reruns of The Walking Dead? Is it important enough to wake up an hour earlier each morning? Simple things that will develop your writing habit.

I can highly recommend Julie’s website that tracks her first year in the self-publishing business. She’s a romance writer, so if you’re struggling to find the light at the end of your apocalypse shaped tunnel, Bookshelf, it might just help brighten your day. 🙂

Q.  How has daily video logging worked out for you?  Is that a means of author/fan communication that you’d recommend for aspiring writers?

A.   I have to be honest about this, it’s been hard work. I’ve got the process, from recording the vlog to having it uploaded onto Youtube and posted on my blog, to tweets scheduled down to about 20 minutes, but there have been more than a few nights when it’s the last thing I’ve wanted to do. Have said that, it’s also been great fun. I’ve gotten almost comfortable talking to myself, certainly improved my ‘umms per minute’ rate, and have a wonderful record of the year. I’ve also got to vlog from all sorts of interesting places. I toured Italy a couple of times with my band in the summer, so I’ve vlogged from over there. I’ve also been to numerous festivals and concerts and done the same from there, so it’s been fun. With regards to author/fan communication, I wouldn’t put it near the top of the list. I’ve had a few nice chats with the videos as a springboard, but not nearly as many as via emails and twitter.

Follow Michael’s 15 for 15 challenge on cairnswrites.com!

Q.  One Goodreads reviewer described Thirteen Roses as “The Walking Dead as if written by Neal Gaiman.  Is that a fair 51BTDCI9zlL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_assessment and if so, why?

A.   I wish!! I loved that quote. It was the kind of quote you couldn’t pay to get, and that it was entirely not my doing was even better! Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is still one of my favorite comic series of all time, so I was beyond flattered to have that comparison made. I’d like to think I could get somewhere close to him in terms of characterization if nothing else, but I’d have to leave that up to the reader to decide…

Q.  There are a number of zombie apocalypse books which feature a science based beginning, i.e. an experiment gone wrong,  (which coincidentally is how my zombie apocalypse began), terrorists who discharge a virus, or some other physical phenomena.  I understand your zombie series has more paranormal origins.  I don’t mean to ask for spoilers, but can you elaborate a bit for my 3.5 readers?

A.   Without wanting to cop out, it’s very difficult to divulge much of the paranormal side of things without giving everything away. Having said that, I’m happy to say that the origin of the zombies is fairly standard. Am ambitious and slightly naive science student spends far too much time messing with an airborne-delivered toxin. The government takes it away from him, only to have some religious nuts discover the answer to their very screwed up prayers and get involved. The paranormal element comes in with the people left behind, the sorry survivors such as yourself. There’s more to it than that, but I really don’t want to spoil all the fun.

Q.  I might know a guy who’s also losing the battle for his hair.  Note that it’s not me at all, just some other unnamed person.  Any advice on follicle stimulation that I could pass along to this individual or should he just give up the goose?

A.  Alas, I’ve tried all sorts. I can confirm that having kids, moving house, and eating your own body weight in chocolate don’t help with hair growth, despite all my wife’s assurances that they would. Actually, she might not have said the thing about the chocolate…

Q.  Michael, thanks for taking a few minutes to speak with me today.  Before I go, do you have any final words of wisdom that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

Food! Head to the nearest library and get yourself some books on farming. Simple, self-sustaining farming is a must with all that supermarket fruit and veg already rotting away. Similarly, find some goats and put a fence around them. Chickens, too, if you can find them.

However, considering the people you surround yourself with, I’d have thought finding a space ship and getting the hell off this Godforsaken rock would be the only true way to survive.

Best of luck and lovely to talk to you.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: Thanks, Michael!  I’m going to check with Alien Jones on that, but he’ll probably bore me with some lecture about Intergalactic Space Law, which I usually just take as code for him being too lazy. Good luck with your challenge!

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 11 Interview – Rachel Aukes – Dante Zombified

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

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My guest today is Rachel Aukes, author of The Deadland Saga.  Set in a zombie infested midwest, the first book of the series, 100 Days in Deadland, was named one of the best books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.  The trilogy concluded in May of this year with Deadland Rising.

Under the pen name, “Berinn Rae,” Aukes also wrote Stealing Fate, a USA Today recommended read.

Ahh let me see here.  Pick up the old space phone.  Dial up Rachel.  It’s ringing.  Hmm hmm la la la.  Hello!

RACHEL: Hey, BQB. Great to hear from you! How’s life treating you?

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51thgaVbyUL__SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Q.  Terrible, Rachel.  I’m currently riding out a zombie apocalypse in a small locked room.  Outside, zombies are desperate to get in here and gobble me up like a nice Christmas ham.  Inside, I’m stuck with my insufferable ex-girlfriend, who complains about everything I do.  Naturally, I feel like I’m trapped in the seventh circle of hell. 

But I don’t want to bother you with my personal problems.  What I want to know is what inspired you to weave that classic English 101 staple, Dante’s Inferno, into 100 Days in Deadland?

A.   I’d always wanted to write a zombie tale but never found the right inspiration… that was, until I was watching O Brother Where Art Thou one night, which is a quirky retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. Dante’s “Inferno” popped into my mind, and instantly I knew the zombie tale I needed to write.

Oh, and look at the bright side. You’re not trapped inside with two ex-girlfriends.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  TWO ex-girlfriends?  What am I, Hugh Hefner?

Q.  The series continues, mashing Dante Alighieri’s other writings with zombitastic goodness.  I’m going to go out a limb and guess you’re a lover of the classics.  If you could zombify another classic novel, which one would it be and why?

A. I do love the classics. Most modern stories I’ve read seem to be simply new versions of old stories. If I zombified another classic, I’d go for The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy (a newer classic). I think it’d be a hoot to write a fun romp of a witty master of disguise who rescues people during the zombie apocalypse.

Q.  Your protagonists come from two very different backgrounds.  Cash is an office worker with few survival skills while Clutch is a battle hardened veteran/PTSD sufferer.  Do disasters have a tendency to bring people together who would normally never have anything to do with one another?

A. I believe disasters unveil the best and worst in people by throwing them into inconceivable situations without a lifeline. Cash and Clutch never would’ve met in their normal lives. It took Cash running from zombies on the interstate and being given a lift by Clutch in his big rig for the two to be given the chance to meet… and discover that they made a perfect zombie-killing pair.

Q.  You’ve also written sci-fi romance under your pen name, “Berinn Rae.”  What are some of the key components of a good sci-fi romance story?

A. Sci-fi romance needs to have the same ingredients of any good story—a tempo that turns the page, characters we can love or hate, and a plot that makes us think. For sci-fi romance, you sprinkle on a happily-ever-after ending (or happily-for-now in the case of my stories since I’ve never been one for Disney princess stories). Then, stir in elements of science fiction. In my Colliding Worlds trilogy, an intergalactic war came to earth.

Q.  Rachel, you’ve received accolades from USA Today and Suspense Magazine.  Did you ever dream you’d get this far when you first put pen to paper (or fingers to keys?)

A.  Hell, no. I began writing because I had too many stories playing bumper cars in my head. I was ecstatic when people paid money for my stories. Whenever my stories receive accolades, I’m downright delirious. I love telling stories—that I’m fortunate enough to be building a career out of it makes me feel like the luckiest person on earth.

Q.  Speaking of, how did you end up writing professionally?

A. After I wrote my first story (a paranormal thriller), I shopped it around to a few agents and small presses. One of those small presses gave me my first break (This was before self-publishing had become a big thing). With that first sale, I learned the full editing process and the publishing process on a publisher’s dime. Not long after, I wrote a sci-fi with mild romantic elements and got a three-book deal with a larger house for the Colliding Worlds Trilogy. It took me three years before I dipped my toes in the self-publishing waters with the Deadland Saga, and I’ve never looked back.  

Q.  Thanks for taking the time to help a nerd out.  Before I return to my own seventh circle of hell, do you have any last minute words of advice that could help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. Use the ex-girlfriend as bait so you can escape. It’s a win-win situation… for you, anyway.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  Not a terrible idea.  I’ll submit it to the group and let them mull it over.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 10 Interview – Armand Rosamillia – 150 Stories, 2 Podcasts and Still Going

ArmandDrawing

FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon          Website

 Facebook         Twitter

Today’s guest is Armand Rosamilia.  A New Jersey native transplanted to sunny Florida, he’s an active member of the Horror Writer’s Association, a baseball and metal music fan, and an expert on everything zombie.

Armand is the author of over one-hundred and fifty stories, running the gamut from horror and zombies, to contemporary fiction, thrillers and more.  Not one to be hung up on genre labels, Armand’s goal is to write a good story, no matter where the subject matter takes him.

When he isn’t busy writing, Armand runs two very successful podcasts on Project iRadio:

Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.

Arm N Toof’s Dead Time Podcast – with co-host Mark Tufo, the duo interview authors and filmmakers and anyone else they feel like talking to.

Zombie fans will want to check out his series, Dying Dayswhich chronicles zombie killer Darlene Bobich’s ongoing efforts to save the day from the undead.

Welcome Armand.

NOTE:  BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=Armand

Q.  I’m having a hard time getting started as an author.  I have several ideas but am never able to focus myself on just one.  I’ll work on one idea for awhile, get distracted, then before I know it, I’m onto something else and nothing ever gets done.  What advice do you have for someone in my situation?

A. Just keep writing. I have 5-7 projects going at all times so it never gets stale. I might work on one more than the others (especially if it is already paid for and I have a solid deadline) but the goal is just to keep writing and get your daily words in so it keeps growing.

Q.  Why are people so fascinated with zombies?  Is it the creatures themselves?  Is it the fantasy of living in a post-apocalyptic world with no rules?  Is it something else?

A. Zombies are just cool to me. I know you can do the entire ‘mirror to consumer society mentality’ crap if you want, but they are just interesting to write and read about for me. And we all want to shoot the neighbor in the head but can’t until they turn, right?

Q.  Do you think zombies are going to stick around in the entertainment world for awhile?  Is there another type of monster that could unseat them?

A. Everyone keeps talking about how five minutes ago zombies are, but I don’t see them ever truly going away. There will always be a small rabid fan base into zombies. I’m one of them. I’ll keep writing zombie stories until I have nothing more to say about them.

Q.  What inspired your interest in zombies and moreover, what motivated you to write about them?

A. The Rising by Brian Keene. I was always a fan of some zombie movies but his book showed me you can do something unique with the genre. It led me to write a couple of flash fiction pieces and Highway To Hell, an extreme zombie novella. That led right into Dying Days.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  Brian Keene was kind enough to grant me a Twitter interview.  Check it out!

51mUO31KscL__UY250_Q.  Regarding your protagonist, Darlene Bobich, one Amazon reviewer wrote, “she is a well-developed character who grabs a hold of you with her guts, fears, pain, uncertainty, and determination to keep going.”  There has been a lot of discussion for the need for more female roles in fiction lately.  How did you come up with the idea for Darlene and how were you able to portray her in a way that intrigued readers?

A. It started out as a flash fiction piece I wrote for an anthology. I wanted to see if I could write a zombie story. The idea was simple: a woman is faced with having to shoot her turned father with the gun he bought her. I loved the character (who is named after a real person, a friend I’ve never actually met on Facebook) and wanted to portray her realistically in future stories. She’s a regular woman. A little overweight, average looks, boring mall job, and no military training. She cries, she has panic attacks and she is just someone you can relate to.

Q.  You’re also the author of Keyport Cthulhu.  Kudos to you, sir, for I’ve always felt Cthulhu has been underrepresented in fiction.  So here’s my question.  Zombies vs. Cthulhu – who would you put your money on?

A. I will not give the odds on it, because if either side wins we all lose. Isn’t that how it works? But it would be a helluva fight to get some popcorn and sit down and watch as the world ended.

Armand and Cthulhu (fun-sized)

Armand and Fun-Sized Cthulhu

Q.  Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.  Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help me survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. Keep your eyes open and don’t get caught in a dead-end or surrounded by these monsters. Good luck.

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#31ZombieAuthors – An Introduction

By:  Bookshelf Q. Battler, Blogger-in-Chief

“They’re coming to get you, 3.5 readers.”

Zombies.

They’re ugly.  They’re stupid.  They shout “Grr!” and “Argh!” and the only thing they ever think about is the next human they’re going to dine on.

You’d think these one trick ponies’ fifteen minutes of fame would’ve dried up by now, but forty-seven years since George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead introduced zombies into mainstream pop culture in 1968, the fan base for these vile beasts has grown stronger than ever.

TELEVISION

AMC is in full-swing, not only with The Walking Dead but an additional spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead. Both programs follow groups of human zompoc survivors who have given up their hopes and dreams, their only focus now being how to keep themselves from becoming zombie chow.

MOVIES

You’ll find zombies at the box office, and not just the ones trying to eat your brains while you’re trying to eat your popcorn. Brad Pitt, Hollywood’s top leading man, believed zombies were bankable enough that he starred in World War Z, a screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel about a world overrun with vile, coldblooded fiends.

No, not lawyers.  Zombies.

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger got in on the zombie action this summer with Maggie, the story of a father who wants to save his daughter who has turned into a zombie.  No, not as in the typical “spends too much time on the phone and social media” kind of teenage zombie but a “I want to bite your face off” zombie.

VIDEO GAMES

Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising put players in situations where they have to use their ingenuity and the tools around them to survive.

Personally, I think the original Dead Rising, which put players in a zombie infested mall and asked them to escape with all the products and tools in a large shopping center at their disposal was as ingenious as it was fun and scary.

BOOKS

Here’s where #31ZombieAuthors come in.

It all began as a fun idea.  I’d write a story in which I, Bookshelf Q. Battler, am trapped in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, and have to contact one author per day for help.

Seemed like a cool way to promote the blog around Halloween time.

Initially, I thought that I’d contact a few authors, they’d all tell me no, then I’d give up and move on to something else.

Instead, I was blown away by how many professional, established writers were willing to donate their time to this project.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

  • I contacted these folks cold.  I introduced myself just as I am – Bookshelf Q. Battler, World Renowned Poindexter and Blogger-in-Chief of the Bookshelf Battle Blog.
  • I didn’t offer my so-called “real name.”  And no one asked for it.  Not a one of them was like, “Well, I’ll do it if I know who you really are.”  I don’t know why anyone would ask me that anyway.  I really am Bookshelf Q. Battler.
  • In a way, that made me happy, that all these fine scribes were willing to trust me, a guy they don’t know, who claims to own a magic bookshelf and be the best friend of an alien.  I like to think that means I must be doing something right around here since these fine individuals deemed me worthy of their precious time.
  • I offered them nothing.  I was upfront with the fact that my blog caters to a modest audience of 3.5 readers, so it wasn’t like they could expect a surge in book sales.  They all just cared enough to want to help an aspiring writer out. Honestly, I’m probably getting more out of this than they will.  That fact alone makes them all pretty cool people.

THE MOST AMAZING PART OF ALL OF THIS?

Thirty-one (actually thirty-three as I’ll be interviewing two writing duos) came together on very short notice and helped me put together a massive undertaking within about a month.

If ever you doubt there’s a generous online community for writers, think about that.

THE AUTHORS

They all come from different backgrounds and walks of life.  Our interviewees include a cop, soldiers, full time mothers, preppers, podcasters and yes, there might even be a nerd or two.  They’re from America, England, Australia, and Canada.  All different ages.

All united by a common love of undead creatures that want to munch on your brains.

More importantly, they’ve all brought their own unique experiences, style, and voice to the zombie genre.  A cop fighting his way through a zombie apocalypse.  Soldiers on a mission when zombies suddenly attack out of nowhere.  An average, nondescript office worker suddenly faces a threat the likes of which he’s never faced before in his humdrum life.

People who become zombies via the Internet.  (Insert joke here.)  Zombie-fied literary classics that will make your snooty college English professor pop a monocle.  Zombies in the past.  Zombies in the future.  There’s even a couple of zombies who defy their nature to the point where you might not mind being pals with them.

IN SHORT….

If you love zombies, this is the place to be in October.

SO HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK?

Visit bookshelfbattle.com everyday for:

  • The latest post from Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal.  That’s right.  Zombies are going to attack East Randomtown and I will update you, the 3.5 readers, every step of the way as my friends and I search for safety.
  • The Zombie Author Interview of the Day – At great personal risk, I will take a break from my survival efforts once a day to “call” and interview an author of zombie fiction.  I’m not trying to make myself out as some kind of hero, 3.5 readers, but just remember what I’m putting myself through here for your entertainment when it comes Leibster Award time.  Do you think that old lady blogging about her buttermilk biscuits on the blog next door is going to fight zombies and interview zombie authors for you?  I think not.

MORE ZOMBIE MADNESS

  • Every Sunday, Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian will perform his act live from the East Randomtown Chuckle Barn. He’ll review the past week’s interviews and tell you who’s stopping by the blog in the week ahead.  This funny zombie will leave you in stitches, and that’s not a pun.
  • Zombie Trump will review the upcoming episodes of The Walking Dead.  Quote Zombie Trump, “This is going to be huuuuuge!  I’m going to bring that loser nerd Bookshelf Q. Battler the highest jump in ratings his pathetic excuse for a blog has ever seen!”

POST YOUR QUESTIONS!

Zombie lovers, do you know anyone else who’s lined up thirty-one zombie authors?  No.

So take advantage of this and:

ON TWITTER – Tweet your questions to @bookshelfbattle.

ON FACEBOOK – Ask your questions on www.facebook.com/bookshelfqbattler

ON WATTPAD – Pose your inquiries to @bookshelfbattle and follow along as I will be posting excerpts from Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal over there a few days after doing so here.  You’ll still have to come here for the author interviews though.

On Google Plus – ask your questions here.

NOTE:  As you can imagine, Halloween season is the busiest time of year for a zombie author, so I don’t want to guarantee that they’ll be able to answer your questions about zombies, but in the event they can’t, I will!

PROMOTE!

If you’re having fun, please tell your friends!  The more zombie fans the merrier.  Let’s rock this blog’s stats to the point where I have to retire the 3.5 readers joke.

AND FINALLY, THANK YOU

I couldn’t have done this without you, 3.5.  A blogger needs an audience and I couldn’t have put this together without being sure that at least 3.5 of you would show up.

Please pat yourselves on all 3.5 of your backs.

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#31ZombieAuthors starts now!

Attorney Donnelly notes that the Bookshelf Battle Blog disclaims any and all liability for anyone who is eaten by and/or turned into a zombie.  You step into a zombie apocalypse, you take your chances.

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The Writer’s Battle: How Many Books Should an Author Write Per Year?

Hey 3.5 readers.shutterstock_197378663 copy

So the fracas all began with this article in the Huffington Post.

Lorraine Devon Wilke argues, “Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year.”

At the outset, the premise reeks of establishment anti-self publishing flair, doesn’t it?

But in Wilke’s defense, she writes:

Unless they’re four gorgeously written, painstakingly molded, amazingly rendered and undeniably memorable books. If you can pull off four of those a year, more power to you. But most can’t. I’d go so far as to say no one can, the qualifier being good books.

I don’t want to stick words into someone’s mouth but the message I carried away was, “Don’t write four books a year unless you can put out four good books.”

That’s fair.

Further, she has self-published so I can’t accuse her of being an agent of “The Man” i.e. traditional publishing.

Wilke noted recent Pulitizer Prize winners who spent a great many years on their masterpieces.  Donna Tartt, for example, spent eleven years on The Goldfinch while Anthony Doerr took years to craft his tale.

It’s about quality over catalogue, and Doerr only had four books to his credit before his prize winner, while Harper Lee only put out one book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Larry Correia, author of the Monster Hunter series of books (and a dude who got his start in self publishing) had this to say on his blog, Monster Hunter Nation:

If it takes you ten years to write a book—which doesn’t win the biggest most famous award in all of literature—and you make $15,000 (I’m being generous), that means you made $1,500 for each YEAR of labor. Let’s say all that diligent proofing, unhurried imagining, and turd polishing only took up 500 hours a year. Congratulations. You would have made more money waiting tables at Applebees… before tips.

I don’t know about you guys, but A. I can’t bank on getting a major motion picture staring Gregory Peck and become mandatory reading for all high school students. B. I’m probably not ever going to win a Pulitzer Prize. And C. I like making a hundred bucks an hour a lot more than I like making $3 an hour.

NOTE:  If you read Larry’s entire response, you’ll see he is in no way bashing Tartt or Doerr and he gives them due credit for publishing high quality award worthy works.

His point is that those authors’ experiences are atypical.  As an aspiring author, the likelihood of you winning a prestigious award is small.

I don’t want to put words in Larry’s mouth either but the message I took was that one can spend years on one book for the small, unlikely chance of winning a prestigious award, or one could publish more books and earn more compensation.

WHAT SAY YOU, BQB?

Here’s how all this applies to your favorite nerd, 3.5 readers.

I’m not old.

But I’m not young either.

Over the years, I’ve discovered the following to be unassailably true:

Life does not give a shit about your plans.

Disaster does not wait until you’re ready.  Chaos does not take a powder until you’ve completed a goal.

Shit happens with a vengeance.  I know because I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to be plugging away on a dream only to receive bad news one day and all of a sudden, said dream becomes deferred.

I have dreams of being a writer.

But I am also a human being with basic needs like food, water, clothes, shelter, utilities etc.

So I need to work a day job.

Then at night and on the weekend, I have to perform a variety of life sustaining activities.  Chores if you will.

I have to maintain my humble BQB HQ.  I need to iron my pants.

And damn it, someone needs to take Bookshelf Q. Battledog for a walk.

So after all that’s done, there’s not a lot of time to write.

I try to make up for it.  I stay up later.  Get up earlier.

Given such a schedule, I could probably put out one or two books a year.

I don’t know.  I haven’t tried it yet.

Here’s what I’m getting at:

Money is nothing to sneeze at, avoid, or to be treated as bad when it comes to publishing.

Sorry, but it’s true.

As a man who’s been browbeaten repeatedly by life, I know that the next ass kicking life has in store for me is just around the corner.

What could it be?  I hate to think about it.

What I know is that whatever said disaster is, I’ll keep working because the need to sustain life isn’t going away.

THEREFORE – If I can find a way to make enough money from writing so as to be able to turn writing into my day job, then I know the next disaster life throws my way will not stop me from writing because writing is my job.

BUT – I am at the point where I realize if life tosses me a disaster before I’ve gotten a writing career off the ground, then that’s that.  I’ll keep working.  I’ll come home.  Deal with whatever the disaster is in my spare time and then that will be life.

ERGO – I don’t have eleven years.  Sorry life, I don’t trust you.  I know at some point in the next eleven years, you’re going to deliver me a whopper, some problem I’ll have to face while continuing to work and earn a living.

We all have our own thresholds.  Personally, I can probably sustain this for five years without a profit but shit, if 2020 rolls around and I’ve yet to see dollar one, I’m going to start taking it easier and watch some more TV and play some more video games in my spare time.

CONCLUSIONS

The confusing part for me is I don’t think either writer said anything wrong.

Wilkes basically said don’t write four books a year…unless you can.  So if you can, go for it.  Many people can’t.

Larry’s saying your number one goal needs to be to get paid, but if you read on in his article, he notes clearly you can’t sacrifice quality.  Putting out a crap novel will irk your audience and therefore take away from your profits.

What say me, BQB?  People shouldn’t judge a book by the amount of time that was spent on it.  That’s not to say don’t applaud a writer who dared to hold onto a dream for 11 years and see it through to amazing results.

But on the other hand, if someone is so talented they were able to churn out a decent novel in a relatively short amount of time, there’s no need to discredit said individual either.

Further, we often talk about “how many years” but we don’t talk about hour counts.

Bookshelf Q. Battledog

Bookshelf Q. Battledog

Someone who writes full time for a living i.e. who wakes up, puts on the coffee, then clacks on the keys until the end of the day, could probably, in theory, put out more books in a year than say, a jerk face like me who’s trying to squeeze in some time to write between work, mowing the lawn, ironing my pants and walking my killer attack papillon.

Say I put one hour a day into a novel for 365 days?

Meanwhile, the established professional writer puts in a standard 40 hour work week, and after 9 weeks (and roughly 365 hours), has completed a comparable novel.

Does that mean I care more because “my novel took a year” while the other guy’s took “nine weeks?”

Thus, I guess in my typical BQB happy go lucky manner, I’ll say both authors are right.

What you can turn out in a year is a matter of a) your talent b) your situation in life c) your ability to be honest with yourself and determine whether or not your product is ready to go or crap that needs more work and therefore more time.  For that, you’re going to need professional help.  (An editor, not a shrink, though a little time on the black couch never hurt anyone.)

In short, if you’ve got the talent, don’t hold yourself back.  On the other hand, if you put out crap, your readers will run.  Only you (and your professional writing help i.e. editor) can determine whether your work’s good to go or if it needs more time in the oven.

All I know is I need to get my writing career off the ground before life delivers me that crushing blow that convinces me to say, “F it.  Bring me my Cheetos, it’s time to watch TV.  Writing, schmiting.”

What say you, 3.5?

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