Tag Archives: indie book discovery

#31ZombieAuthors – Day 17 Interview – Jeremy Laszlo – The E-Mail That Launched a Self-Publishing Career

jl

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Today’s guest is Jeremy Laszlo, the best-selling author of over thirty novels, including the Left Alive series, which chronicles the journey of Charles as he strives to make good on a promise to his dying wife to deliver their children to safety in the midst of a zombie infested nightmare of a world.

Jeremy’s works have broken the top ten of over ninety Amazon lists by genre, at times reaching the top ten of all books on Amazon.

Our noble scribe resides in Louisiana, where threats to his well-being include alligators, oversized mosquitos, and scorching temperatures.  Luckily, he avoids all that by chilling out in his air conditioned workspace, where he spends most of his time either writing or being boxed by children wearing cartoonishly large Hulk hands.

A pleasure to speak with you, Jeremy.

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Q.  When it comes to a good zombie apocalypse novel, how much do the zombies actually matter?  Is it the zombies themselves that attract readers or the threat of a lawless, no holds barred post-society world that said zombies represent?  Would it be possible to replace the zombies with hurricanes, tornadoes, plagues, or locusts and achieve the same result?

A.  First, thanks for having me. I think the notion of zombies really pulls from a deeper, darker, cruder portion of the human psyche. There is a part of everyone that craves chaos, especially in a world such as ours where there are rules and limitations enforced on every aspect of our lives. Zombies simply play into that less evolved portion of who we are. In a story, they don’t need to be the driving force, they certainly aren’t in my LEFT ALIVE series. But that element of devolved, cannibalistic people adds a dark edge to any story that readers can really associate with.

Q.  You’ve written so many novels.  Where do you get the ideas from?  For those of us who whine about writer’s block or a lack of inspiration, do you have any advice?

A.  I do write a lot. I’m actually shooting for 4 more releases before the end of the year, including another zombie trilogy. Ideas come from everywhere. My family and life experiences are a great source of inspiration. Truthfully though, most of my books start with a ‘What if’ scenario. It is really the building block for all of my novels, and a concept I explain in detail in my ‘Kindle Fiction Mastery’ book aimed to help struggling writers. For the LEFT ALIVE series, I simply asked myself what would happen if a strain of genetically modified fertilizer had unintended mutations and ruined the world’s ecosystem killing all plants on Earth. You can see how that alone could be an entire series of apocalyptic books (Coming soon), but what if coming into contact with the infected soil had consequences as well? What if it deteriorated neurons and brain tissue? That is how my zombies were born.

Q.  I read an interview on “The Bearded Scribe” in which you discuss how an errant email convinced you to go the self-publishing route.  Specifically, you submitted your work to a traditional publishing house only to receive an e-mail from a pair of interns joking about how one of them had just batch rejected 600 authors.  (Note to readers – watch out for that ‘Reply All’ button!)

Could you explain how this experience convinced you to take control of your own destiny as a writer?

A.  Ah yes… the intern. He will end up a character in one of my novels, eventually. I simply haven’t decided how to kill him yet.

What can I say? It was not only a direct blow to my own confidence as a writer, but also an eye-opening moment about the REAL state of the publishing industry.

The old model of publishing doesn’t care an ounce about writers. They actually artificially control supply and demand by doing precisely what was done to me, and batch rejecting the vast majority of writers without so much as reading the first word of their work. By limiting the number of books published, they can create a false sense of limited choices, and herd readers like cattle to purchase what they produce, simply because it was all that was available. They controlled trends in genres. They controlled the prices of books. They controlled who and what got published, and in many cases it was more about who you knew, rather than how well you wrote.

The intern laughing about rejecting my work without even reading it, along with nearly 600 others, was just the final straw. There was really no reason to wait around while agent after agent and publisher after publisher form rejected my work (even though some showed interest).

There was another option, and I went all in. Since then, I’ve met a ton of wonderful authors and a great community of people built around those authors. I’ve self-taught myself in graphic design to create the majority of my covers. I’ve spent countless hours learning the secrets of writing, publishing, marketing and promotion. There really isn’t anything writers can’t do for themselves. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t entertain a publishing contract from a large publishing house. I certainly would. But they’d better have some respect, and understand that I can do it on my own.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: Yes! Viva la revolucion!

Q.  One of my 3.5 readers is a big orc fan and I noticed you’re also the author of the Orc Destiny series which follows the adventures of Orc warrior Gnak.

For me, this begs a question for the ages.  Orcs vs. zombies – who wins in that scenario?

A.  That is a tough question, but one that is sort of answered in the Orc Destiny trilogy. Orcs actually fight the undead in the series! That said, Orcs win. Hands down. Every time. Why? Because Orcs, that’s why. They’re big, hulking warriors. They fear nothing and kill everything. I’m a big fan myself.

Q.  You’re a marine.  Thank you for your service.  How does that experience come into play with your writing?

A.  You’re welcome…? That’s always been awkward for me. I appreciate your appreciation, truly.

Being a Marine is hard to explain. It isn’t just a way of life, it becomes a part of who and what you are. I suppose the obvious would be to say that my battle and fight scenes are probably a tad more graphic than many writers. I don’t shy away from the gore and the real emotion of the battlefield. But it goes further than that. Marines are known around the world for being determined and focused. We don’t surrender. Ever. The same goes with my writing. I knew I could do it, and I refused to let a few rejections deter me. I have the focus and stamina of a Marine, which allows me to sit and write until a story is finished. The third novel of my Blood and Brotherhood Saga, The Changing, is 87,000 words long and I wrote it in three days. I don’t intend to quit. Not even when my name is known in every household around the world.

Q.  Your books have topped various Amazon charts.  What’s your secret?

A.  Determination. Experimentation. Research. Commitment. That’s what it really boils down to. If you want to be a writer, first and foremost you have to write and keep writing. No matter what. Then you have to learn the business side of being an Author. It isn’t a part time job. If you write as a hobby, it will always be a hobby. If you want success, you have to earn it toiling away countless hours learning the ins and outs of the industry. Or, of course, you could read my Fiction Masters series, which details much of what I’ve learned these past years and how to employ my secrets and strategies.

Q.  Jeremy, thanks for your help.  Before I go, do you have any last minute advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.  If the media tells us anything, it’s be a redneck with a crossbow. Not only will you be a badass, but troves of women will follow you anywhere. If you’re going to survive the apocalypse, if might be nice to have a lot of… um… company.

If you can’t be a redneck, use bait. Use your brain, and be evil… it’s an advantage. I suggest driving an iron rod deep into the ground in the middle of your yard. Place a ring of cars around the rod, leaving a clearing between them about twenty feet wide. Then, go find a young guy. A healthy one. One that acts like he was probably an asshat before the apocalypse. Befriend him. Team up with him. When he’s sleeping, tie him up and cut off one of his feet. Don’t forget a tourniquet just above the ankle so he doesn’t bleed out. Then chain him to the stake in the middle of the cars. Now you have your bait.

He’ll scream, which will attract the zombies, but that’s ok, because you’re going to move off a safe distance and pick off the zombies as they struggle to get over the ring of cars. It’s not only entertainment, but it will also help to clean up the neighborhood. And don’t worry about whether or not it is humane. It is a kill or be killed world, and you’ll certainly be thought of as a hero, which leads us back to having lots of company.

Oh, and food… nah, never mind the food. Just put a sign up that says “Cellphones work here” with an arrow pointing towards the ring of cars. The idiots will likely have food. Let the zombies handle the idiots, you can collect their food later. After all, you have company to entertain.

Aside from that, if you have any questions about the apocalypse or zombies you can get in touch through my website at www.jeremylaszlo.com

Or Facebook at www.facebook.com/bloodandbrotherhood

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  Well, I’ve got to hand it to you, Jeremy.  You sure put a lot of thought into that last question.  Thanks for stopping by!

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 14 Interview – Kate L. Mary – Nerds vs. Hunks

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

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Today’s guest is Kate L. Mary, author of the Broken World series.  Follow protagonist Vivian Thomas on the road in the midst of zombie mayhem as she and her DD’s convince a duo of redneck brothers to give her a ride to California so she can locate the daughter she gave up for adoption.

A stay-at-home mother and Air Force wife, Kate and her family have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, California and Oklahoma.

Her Amazon author page states:

“Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes who can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat…”

So in other words, there’s a distinct chance I might be able to convince her to become the Bookshelf Battle Blog’s 4.5th reader.

Hello Kate.  Thanks for taking my call on the space phone.

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Q.   Let’s talk about the role of trust in a zombie apocalypse.  Sometimes a disaster can bring out the best in people.  Other times, it can bring out the worst.  Unfortunately, you never know who you’re dealing with until it’s too late.  My group and I, having just located a survivor camp operated by a retired used car salesman/former television extra, are having trust issues.  I think it’s a pretty sweet set-up.  My girlfriend thinks we should run.  Naturally I thought about Vivian, who makes the tough decision to trust a pair of redneck brothers on her quest to find her daughter.  Can anyone ever be fully trusted in a zombie apocalypse?

A.   Trusting people during normal times can be tough, but when it comes to a lawless world it’s an even bigger gamble. I know a lot of people hold the belief that humans are basically good, but I wholeheartedly disagree. People are full of bad intentions, and too often the only thing keeping them from acting on those intentions are the consequences. Take away the threat of punishment, and the world will very quickly get a lot darker.

In the case of the used car salesman/former television extra, I’d have to say I’m with your girlfriend. I know the idea of a used car salesman being sleazy and underhanded is just a stereotype, but throw the role of television extra on top of that and every warning bell in my head goes off. This person spent his free time pretending to be someone else on a regular basis. What makes you think that just because the world has ended, he’s stopped pretending?

Q.   As a fan of zombie books, movies, TV shows, etc., I’ve noticed that whenever a group of people happen upon a place offering shelter and safety, it’s usually some kind of trick.  Someone inevitably ends up robbed, beaten, killed, sold into slavery, chopped up into lunch meat or what have you.  Maybe that’s why my better half is so jittery.

As a noted zombie author, can you settle a debate that’s long ranged in the world of zombie fandom?  When survivors happen upon a settlement operated by seemingly nice people, should their response be, “Feets don’t fail me now!” or “Thank you for your hospitality.  I think I will join you!”

A.   In a disaster like this, the idea that there are no good people left in the world has me thinking one thing: If that’s true, why go on? If you’re a good person just trying to survive, you have to assume there are other people out there with good intentions as well. But trusting someone shouldn’t be your first inclination or you’re liable to get robbed, beaten, killed, sold into slavery, or chopped up into lunchmeat. I think it’s important to give off a “thank you for your hospitality” vibe while keeping your eyes open for anything suspicious, much like Rick and crew did when they first arrived at Terminus at the end of season four of The Walking Dead. You have to keep hope alive or you’ll find yourself turning into the very monster you’re afraid to run into, but you need to be smart about it as well.

Q.   I’m led to believe you prefer laughable nerds over hunky pieces of man meat.  Naturally, as a poindexterish proprietor of a book blog that caters to 3.5 readers, who currently finds himself knee deep in a zombie apocalypse, I’m intrigued.  My ensuing inquiries are:

Q1)  Is that actually true or is that just something that women say before they make a beeline for the hunky man meat?

A.   It’s actually true! While hunky pieces of man meat are great to look at, that was never the type of man I dated, and it definitely won’t be who I rely on when the zombie apocalypse hits. Strength will only get you so far before a horde of zombies decides they want to feast on a meal of muscles, but intelligence will keep you going. And a sense of humor will not only keep you from losing your mind, but give you something to keep going for. While I do share the common problem of most female Walking Dead viewers—a love of Daryl Dixon—I have to admit that I’m in major awe of Glenn Rhee. I wouldn’t mind teaming up with him at the end of the world!

Q2)  Point of clarification:  Are we talking about a full blown, genuine, bonafide Star Wars toy owning geek despite being an adult type of nerd or the Hollywood version of a nerd, which is usually just a hunky piece of man meat that someone in wardrobe whipped a pair of glasses on?  (A hunk in nerd’s clothing, if you will.)

A.   I’m all about the adorable kind of nerd. Star Wars toys aren’t a must, but they also aren’t unwelcome—I own a few nerdy Walking Dead toys myself. My husband is a toy collecting nerd as well. For Father’s Day the last two years I got him Simpsons Lego sets. They are currently assembled and on display above our fireplace.

Q3)  What is it about a nerdy/non-traditional hero that intrigues you?

A.  I think it’s the unexpected. Seeing someone who didn’t think much of himself before the apocalypse rises to the challenge and becomes an important part of a group’s survival. Anyone who looks at a “hunky” guy will assume he’s going to be able to take care of himself, but it’s the people who surprise even themselves who are the most enjoyable to root for.

Q4)  Who are some of your favorite nerdy, non-traditional, non-hunky heroes?

A.   Glen Rhee of course. The evolution of his character over the last five seasons has been incredible to watch. Every now and then I like to turn on an episode from season one of The Walking Dead just to compare the characters, and seeing how much he has grown since then is mind-blowing.

I was also a huge fan of Chuck when it was on. Watching Chuck fumble his way through assignments was adorable, but seeing how much he had changed by the end of the series was even more fun.

Q.  The Broken World series is in Amazon’s top one hundred when it comes to post-apocalyptic and dystopian 511rJyBOZLL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_fiction.  What’s your secret to bringing so many readers into your world?

A.  Honestly, I think it had a lot to do with timing. I wrote the first three books a few years ago, but sat on them for a bit while agents and editors took their time considering publishing Broken World. By the time I finally got around to putting the first book out myself, The Walking Dead had reached the status of TV phenomenon, and it’s popularity really helped the series take off. The fact that it’s a great series—I never get tried of rereading these books!—and so different from a lot of zombie books out there helped even more.

Q.  What inspired you to take your ideas and turn them into books that zombie fanatics the world over can enjoy?

A.  The Walking Dead, of course. I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic stories, especially zombie stuff, but the sudden popularity of The Walking Dead helped form a story in my head that I just couldn’t get rid of. I almost didn’t write it as a zombie novel, though. If you do any kind of research on what editors/publishers are looking for, you’ll discover the sad fact that they do not want zombie fiction. They say there’s no market for it, which is just crazy—especially now! I wrote the first chapter of Broken World as a post-apocalyptic novel similar to The Stand, but without the religious undertones. But only one chapter in and I changed my mind, deciding to take a risk and write the zombie novel I’d been thinking about for months. Broken World was the result, and I’m so glad I took that leap.

Q.   Kate, thanks for stopping by, and especially for enduring my inquisition vis a vis nerds vs. hunks.  Before I hang up the space phone, do you have any last minute advice that could help my friends and I brave the zombie apocalypse?

A.   Don’t lose hope! It’s the one thing that will get you killed faster than a horde of zombies. If you don’t have some kind of hope for the future, you won’t fight as hard or run as fast. You’ll find yourself wishing that you never wake up when you lay down to sleep at night. If you don’t have any hope that you will be able to find a safe place or that the horror will one day come to an end, it won’t be long before the only end you can imagine is death.

Thanks so much for having me, and I hope you and your group find a safe place to ride out the worst of the zombie apocalypse!

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 7 Interview – Gillian Zane – Alpha Male Lessons for BQB

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Today’s guest is Gillian Zane, author of the Nola Zombie Series. Follow the exploits of doomsday prepper Alexis Winter and macho ex-military man Blake Miller as they brave the streets of New Orleans in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, fight for their survival, and do it a whole helluva lot.

“Um…hey guys? Do you know there’s zombies outside and…oh what they hell, have fun you two.”

Filled with “zombies, sex, romance and carnage,” this is a series designed to titillate the senses of the adult reader and thus its only intended for those 18 years and over.

Hello Gillian. I can hear you loud and clear on Alien Jones’ space phone.

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Q. I have to admit, when I first heard about the concept of blending the erotic and zombie genres, I was skeptical. How could anyone feel frisky whilst surrounded by hideous killer zombies? But after learning that my group of survivors and I have to go on a desperate, high risk mission to rescue my ex-girlfriend, my current girlfriend got so hot and bothered that she jumped my bones and now I’m a believer.

What is it about a zombie apocalypse that drives people mad with sexual desire? Is danger an aphrodisiac?

A.  The zombie apocalypse is how it takes its form in my world, but basically it’s death in general. Or more importantly facing death. Zombies represent death in it’s basic form. They are walking corpses trying to get you to join them. When faced with death around every corner it is human instinct to survive. This includes sexual reproduction. So, to put it literally, a brush with death is an aphrodisiac.

Combine this with the breakdown of societal norms, a person that was once restrained by moral or societal constraints might find themselves more free to express their sexuality in an apocalypse. There is no one to judge them, shame them for their behavior, even themselves. You have no time to worry if he’ll “respect you in the morning” if you are the only two people left on the planet because everyone else is a zombie.

Q. On Twitter, you state “I write really sexy novels & novellas, with lots of angst and plenty of alpha males.” Are alpha males born or can they be made? I ask this because presently, I’m about as alpha as a puppy dog, but I wouldn’t mind becoming one of those perfect haired muscular stud muffins who grace your book covers. Is there anything I can do to alpha myself up or is it just a lost cause and maybe I should just embrace my usual nerdy demeanor?

A. Even a nerd can be an Alpha male. It’s not about muscles or waxed chests, in fact, most men that I’ve met who have perfectly chiseled abs and waxed bodies are as insecure as they come. The key to becoming an Alpha Male is confidence. Taking charge of a situation instead of sitting back and letting someone else run the show. The reason muscles and chest hair come into play is usually because of the strength aspect. Most alphas are stronger, faster, and bigger than their beta brethren. This is because in the animal world, bigger usually translates for a win. But, a faster, smarter man can always take down a big, dumb, slow loser.

Think David and that Goliath dude. You don’t think David got hoisted up to Alpha status after he took down the Giant? I betcha he never waxed his chest. So, basically there is hope. Pump up that confidence, do a few chin-ups, don’t let people push you around (but don’t be a hot-head) and if you want to be the star of a Romance – it helps to be really good in the sack.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  Well, I’m screwed then.

Q. Your series takes place in New Orleans, a city rich with culture and history. When they aren’t killing and/or humping, do your characters get to pass by any of the sights? One of the reasons I’m intrigued is that a New Orleans setting seems like a fun, unique idea.

A. Well, it takes place in New Orleans, because what better place to have a zombie apocalypse? Or really, it’s because I know this place much better than any other place on the planet and New Orleans people are preppers by nature because of those pesky hurricanes. Do my characters get to check out any of the sights in New Orleans? Not really. A guy gets eaten by a zombie on Bourbon Street and that is shown on the news, but my characters are local, so they aren’t going to go around checking out the city. They hit places that aren’t very famous, but it does give you a unique view of the city from a local’s perspective. You might recognize some names, but I took great detail in going to places that I thought were logical for a group trying to escape zombies and actually ran the route a few times to make sure it was logical.

Q. Your character, Alex, is a doomsday prepper and on your Amazon page, you mention you’re a prepper yourself and that your past times include stockpiling Meals Ready to Eat and researching how to build a cistern on a budget. As a world renowned poindexter, I already knew that a cistern is an underground water storage tank that can be connected to sink or toilet and didn’t have to look that up at all. I interviewed another prepper earlier this month so I’ll ask you the same question. What’s up with the prepping? Are we all doomed or is it just a better safe than sorry thing?

A.   As I mentioned in the earlier question, as a New Orleanian, I’m a natural prepper. I have to be. I feel like I survived one apocalypse already, Katrina. I lived right where the levees broke, in a neighborhood called Lakeview. So, we had to bug-out very quickly and live like transients for about a month, until we finally had to rely on the government to get us a FEMA trailer. I don’t ever want to do that again. I usually prepped for about a week, to survive without electricity and water. But, now we have to prep to actually leave the city or bug-out AND I never want to rely on the feds to help me and my family–because it comes when they are ready, not when you need it. It is a way of life down here because it’s inevitable that another hurricane will happen.

Will it have the same impact as Katrina? Maybe not, but do I want to take that chance? Fifty years ago, Americans could can their own food, knew how to grow their own gardens, knew how to mend their clothes, had water stored…because, being self-sufficient meant the difference between life and death. We’ve become spoiled, our food is delivered to us, the majority of us couldn’t tell you where their banana came from, much less what fruits are grown regionally.

Should we be worried about an impending apocalypse? I don’t think there is one on the horizon, at least not a BIG one that destroys the world. But, I do see regional issues, droughts, more hurricanes, those sort of things, which being prepared for will really help. And in my world, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Oh, and BTW – we use an above-ground cistern, can’t do below ground in New Orleans because of the water table. We actually have a raised cistern and we use gravity, almost like a water-tower. You would use it for watering your plants, or in an emergency for showering etc. You would have to treat it for drinking water, but that can be a simple filtering process. We get so much rain down here, it is logical to collect rain water for the plants.

Q.  Gillian, thanks for taking a few minutes to talk zombies with me. Before I go, do you have any last minute advice to help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.    Take to the water. Zombies can’t swim. But, shoot for deep water, they can float.

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 5 Interview – Perrin Briar – Three Zombie Series and Counting

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

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My guest today is Perrin Briar, the prolific British author behind a number of zombified book series, including:

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Blood Memory – Jordan, who’s suffering from a six year gap in his memory, leaving him with no recollection of how a zombie outbreak started, joins the crew of the ship, Haven, but a shipwreck complicates matters.  The crew will have to leave the safety of the sea and step out onto land, where zombies aren’t the only monsters they’ll have to face.

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Z-Minus – Infected by a zombifying virus, a father decides to use his last hours of life to get his daughter to safety.

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Swiss Family RobinZOM –  A send-up of the 1812 classic novel authored by Johann David Wyss, now with zombies!

Previously, Perrin has written for BBC radio, and worked in the production and development departments of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me, Perrin.

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Q.   I love Swiss Family Robinson so much that when I saw you’d written a zombified adaptation, I had to get in touch. What motivated you to take this classic and throw hideous undead creatures into the mix?

A.   I really wanted to write a story about people surviving on an island. But there were already lots of books with that concept, so I wanted to add a unique spin to it. I was going through a list of books and films about surviving on an island, when I came across the classic Swiss Family Robinson stories. I like the idea of taking something we’re all familiar with and putting a twist on it in (hopefully!) a full and exciting way. I read the original books and watched the film and TV adaptations to get ideas, get a feeling for the characters, the tone etc, and took what I thought were the most interesting parts, and then developed them into a series of novellas. There’s a lot in my books you won’t find in the original (zombies being the obvious one!) and things in the original you won’t find in mine (the originals were morality tales to teach the author’s kids about the value of religion in their lives). I wanted each book to feature a different perspective of survival, and so far the response has been great. There will be a total of 11 or so books by the end.

Q. Have fans of the original Swiss Family Robinson book received it well?

A. Yes, the response has been really great. I was at first concerned the readers wouldn’t like what I did to the classic, so I only wrote one novella to test the waters. If the response was good, I would write the rest. Thankfully, people liked it and started asking about more in the series.

Q. Let’s talk about Z-Minus. Chris Smith hasn’t been much of a father. When he’s infected with a virus, he has eight hours to live before he turns into a zombie. He’s left with a hope that he’ll be able to spend the last bit of life he has left getting his daughter Maisie to safety. As a plot device, does it raise the stakes for the reader when time is of the essence and not a single minute can be wasted?

A. Yes, I think so. There are lots of TV shows and films that use the same device and it always ramps up the tension – mostly because the reader knows that at the end, the character will turn into a monster, but they’re willing to sit through the action until that moment happens. They know it’s coming, but not how it will happen. I originally had the idea for Z-Minus while thinking about how to create a new twist on an old idea. Usually zombies Turn within a few seconds or minutes of being bitten, so I thought it would be fun to play with that and extend it to eight hours, and see the gradual change coming over the characters.

Q. Also in Z-Minus, Chris has to race to get Maisie to a rumored zombie cure. In most zombie books/flicks, if you get bitten by a zombie or get a whiff of a zombie virus then boom. That’s it. You’re a zombie. Sorry. Thanks for playing. I think it’s creative that you went against the grain here and provided your protagonist with the hope of a cure. Does that add to the suspense, knowing there’s a chance at survival?

A. Book II of the Z-Minus trilogy was actually the original idea I had for the whole series. I felt it upped the ante. After all, if you only have a few seconds after being bitten to be Turned, there’s nothing you can do to save yourself. Whereas if you have 8-hours, anyone would do anything to get their hands on the cure, assuming it exists. The closer you get to the cure, the closer you are to turning into a zombie, and the weaker you are.

This concept is weaved throughout the Z-Minus trilogy. You’ve described Book I and II above, Book III raises the tension even more when Chris has eight hours to get Maisie to a science research vessel off the coast of Brighton so they can harness the cure in her blood before it disappears for good. But the cure has endowed her with other unforeseen powers too.

Keeping-Mum-Ebook-Updated-SmallQ.   Can we talk about Keeping Mum? The premise is that Peter and Kate Loveridge have to convince the tax-man that their mother, Hetty, is alive for one more week, lest they lose their entire inheritance. So Peter dresses and acts like his mother and then a variety of hi jinx ensue, namely his mother’s old flame comes into the picture. Sounds hilarious. Where did you dream up the idea for this one?

A.   It’s actually based on a real concept. We have a ridiculous law in the UK which is that if parents give money, property etc. to their children, then if the parents survive for seven years after the date of giving the money, the kids don’t have to pay inheritance tax on it. I knew there was a story there somewhere, but at the time I couldn’t figure out what it was. Then, a couple of years later I read a news article about a brother and sister in the US who were dressing up as their mother to draw her pension money every week even after she had died. It’s hard to have sympathy for characters who do this kind of thing, and for relatively little money, but what if it was for a large amount, and their anti-government parents actually wanted their kids to do it? That was interesting to me, so I married the two ideas into one.

Q. Some of your books, like Z-Minus show a serious side while books like Keeping Mum are funny. How do you balance the serious and the humorous when many authors usually choose to go in just one direction or the other?

A.  I feel every book exists on a kind of slide rule of various attributes. One slide rule is serious vs. humorous. Some are super serious without any humor, others hilarious and ridiculous. I think the best stories have elements of both. Where a story is on the slide rule depends on their genre, tone, pace etc. Keeping Mum is a comedy, but it’s dark – these guys have stuck their mother in a deep freezer for their own purposes, after all! Whereas Z-Minus and Blood Memory are dark, but with some lighthearted moments. Swiss Family RobinZOM is somewhere in the middle. I mostly balance them by the tone, how it feels, and how I want the reader to feel while reading my books. I often delete entire scenes or sequences if I feel they don’t fit the tone.

And listening to the right kind of music helps a lot!

Q. Perrin, thank you for your help. Before I go, do you have any advice for my friends and I on how to survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A. Yes. Get into space! (Another idea I’m currently toying with!)

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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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Free Promo Friday (With a Catch)

Attention Pitiful Humans,

Know ye, Earth creatures, that I, the Mighty Potentate, declare the following:

  • This Friday, July 31 and this Friday only…
  • You may plug whatever you want to plug in the comments section below.  Books.  Blogs.  Whatever.
  • Bookshelf Q. Battler reserves the right to not allow it, especially if you’re book is titled “Hooray for Hitler!”
  • Share a link to your books, blogs.  Share a blurb what it’s all about…

BUT – THE CATCH…

At the end of your comment, you must swear fealty to the Mighty Potentate.

A simple, “ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY POTENTATE!” shall suffice, but feel free to get creative.

ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY POTENTATE!

ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY POTENTATE!

For those 3.5 readers just tuning in, the Mighty Potentate is the Supreme and Unquestionable Ruler of A Planet the Name of Which is None of Your Beeswax.

He of Great Potentostitude is the boss of Alien Jones, author of “Ask the Alien.”  The MP has declared Bookshelf Q. Battler to be the chosen one, the individual whose exceptional fiction writing skills will surely prevent reality television from sweeping across the universe.

Boy howdy, does the Mighty Potentate hate Reality TV.  Don’t even get him started.

Thus, the MP has assigned AJ to aid BQB in the promotion of his blog.  Alien Jones cannot rest until Bookshelf Q. Battler is a famous writer.

So go forth, promote your stuff in the comments below, and remember, you have to say, “All Hail the Mighty Potentate” or some reasonable facsimile thereof.

Remember, a column that plugs you as an author and your books and blogs is possible if you ask Alien Jones a question.

Image courtesy of openclipart.org

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Spookyshelf Battle (Or, 31 Zombie Authors)

Happy Thursday, 3.5 Readers.

Egads!  A zombie outbreak in East Random Town!

Egads! A zombie outbreak in East Random Town!

Is it too early to start talking about Halloween?

Not when you’re as big a fan of that holiday as I am.

And not when you’ve got a big idea in mind.

Today, my main squeeze Video Game Rack Fighter and I took a walk, did some shopping, and we stopped by a fortune teller who’d set up shop and was predicting futures at five bucks a pop.

VGRF talked me into it and, much to my shock, this mysterious gypsy lady with a kiosk next to the Orange Julius stand at the East Random Town Mall prognosticated the following:

That on October 1 of this year:

  • VGRF, Alien Jones, myself, and possibly The Yeti will take in a scientific demonstration by my mentor, the esteemed Dr. Hugo Von Science.
  • That Dr. Hugo, through his gross incompetence, will botch his experiment, thus causing a zombie outbreak to sweep over my hometown.
  • VGRF, Alien Jones, and myself will be left with no choice but to fight our way through the undead hordes until we reach the safety of the Bookshelf Battle Compound.
  • Perhaps we’ll even come up a cure for the zombie epidemic in the process.

But to get through this, we will need the assistance of 31, count em, 31 Zombie Authors.

ALIEN JONES:  Zombie authors?!  That’s ridiculous!  They can’t even hold a pen.

BQB:  No, I mean authors who have written self-published books about zombies.  Though, hey, if there’s an actual function zombie who is an author, I’ll gladly talk to him as long as he promises not to bite me.

Every day, as a new part of the story unfolds, a self published zombie author will take a question from a member of our merry band of unlikely heroes.

Questions will mostly come from me, but Alien Jones and/or possibly the Yeti might have some inquiries.  Maybe even Dr. Hugo will participate.

I’ve also heard rumors of this thing called “Women’s Lib” so hell, Video Game Rack Fighter will have some questions too.

Examples:

DAY 1 – We need some supplies.  Author Fred Fredman of Super Scary Zombie Book, can you tell us the essentials of what a zombie apocalypse survivor needs to fend off the undead masses?

DAY 2 – The Yeti was just bitten by a zombie.  Author Kate Katerson of Incredibly Frightening Zombie Book, do you know if zombie bites affect animals?

DAY 3 – We’re holed up in an abandoned shack and the TV’s working.  Author Annie Annerson of You’ll Crap Your Pants if You Read this Zombie Book! Which zombie movie do you recommend we watch to pass the time and why?

I don’t know.  Just some initial questions off the top of my head.

Heck, you non-horror authors could get in on this too.  Submit questions you’d like to know about how to survive the zombie apocalypse and maybe one of the members of our survivor party will pass it along to an interested zombie author.

ANTICIPATED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA:

1)  Just self-published horror authors?

Not necessarily.  If you’re a traditionally published zombie author, I’d love for you to participate as well.  If you have a zombie blog or are some other kind of zombie writer, let’s talk.

Hell, if you’re George Romero, you can just take the blog over.

2)  You do a lot of interactivity on this blog.  Why a story?  Why not just a straight-up interview?

In today’s rapid information age, anything fun is going to be checked out more than a traditional approach.

Take all the late night talk shows these days.

Long ago, all the stars would just sit on the couch and shoot the bull with Johnny and Ed.  It was boring as hell.

We love stars but their stories about their acting method or the lunch they ate that gave them a tummy ache or whatever?  Who cares.

Jimmy Fallon does hilarious bits with his guests instead.  Be honest.  Do you want to listen to Scar Jo babble about how hard it was to pretend to be whoever she just pretended to be, or do you want to see her play a rousing game of “Box of Lies” with Jimmy?

NBC – Box of Lies – The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

I loved that.  There you go.  Scar Jo’s latest movie promoted.  I’m left thinking she’s a ball of fun and I wasn’t bored with a story about her acting process.

“Let’s Promote Ourselves with Fun” is what I’ve been going for with Alien Jones’ “Ask the Alien” Column, and that’s what I’m going for with this idea as well.

3)  So what are you looking for?

Your choice of length to an answer posed by myself or one of my buddies.  I’d say 500 words or so sounds decent, but more if you’re willing.

We could come to an agreement on what question would be best for you.  If you have one in mind you want to be asked, that’s possible.

4)  Are you going to make me look stupid?

Your books, blogs, reputation as a writer, they’re all important to you, as they should be.  I fully understand.  Hell, I’ve put so much work into my persona as”Bookshelf Q. Battler,” I’d be unhappy if someone besmirched BQB.

I’d envision the post with:

A)  A quick synopsis of what happened today (day of post) with BQB’s friends vs. the zombies.

B)  A quick overview of you, the author, including links to your books and or blogs and or Amazon page (or wherever you’re selling them)

C)  An answer YOU WRITE that I’m not going to change.  They’ll be your words, so you can’t go wrong.

5)  I’m still skeptical.

I don’t blame you.  I’m a guy claiming to own a magic bookshelf and also that I’m an alien’s friend.  It’s understandable that you’d want to kick the tires on this one.

To that end:

A) Alien Jones has had 17 satisfied customers in his Ask the Alien column so far.  I’ve never received a complaint from an author who participated yet.  Usually they’re pleased enough that they retweet or share AJ’s witty commentary on their own blogs.

ALIEN JONES’ MOST RECENT COLUMN – Here, you can read on as Alien Jones and a self-published author mix it up.

B)  Alien Jones has a “Don’t Like it and It Gets Taken Down No Problem Guarantee.”  If it turns out you don’t like the post, let me know, and it’ll come down.  If we can fix it to your liking, that’s great.  If not, no hard feelings.  I get that writing is a business and you have to do what you have to do.  No muss, no fuss, no problem.

But luckily, no author has asked for that yet.  And I believe that’s a sign that when you take part in this, you’re in good hands with me and my alien.

6)  Keep talking.

At present, I have 1,250 (approx) WordPress followers, 5,400 Twitter followers, and over 500 Google Plus followers.  All will be notified of your awesomeness.

7)  I’m not one of your 3.5 readers, so I’m not up to speed on your blog and therefore unsure if I could respond to one of your friends’ questions.

No problem.  Here’s the lowdown:

Bookshelf Q. Battler = the owner of a magic bookshelf where small versions of literary characters come to life and fight over limited shelf space.

Video Game Rack Fighter = Bookshelf Q. Battler’s girlfriend and author of a video game review column hopefully coming soon, if she ever comes up for air from playing Arkham Knight.

Alien Jones – The Mighty Potentate, ruler of an undisclosed planet, is displeased with the growing popularity of reality television.  He’s a fan of scripted media and feels promotion of fiction authors is the only hope to stem the reality tv tide.  To that end, the MP has dispatched his emissary, Alien Jones, to answer questions from self-published authors and in the process, make Earth a smarter place one question at a time.  Alien Jones truly believes in this mission, and isn’t doing it just because the Mighty Potentate has threatened to vaporize him if he abandons his assignment before BQB’s writing career is off the ground.

The Yeti – An international war criminal and fuzzy snow monster, The Yeti is currently imprisoned deep in the bowels of the Bookshelf Battle Compound.  However, BQB isn’t completely heartless and allows the big lug out once a week to watch Scandal.  Alien Jones brings the bean dip.

Dr. Hugo Von Science – A distinguished professor of science at Science University, Dr. Hugo is this blog’s science correspondent and holds patents on over a bazillion inventions.  We’re fairly certain he might be plotting a global conquest in his spare time, but his generally goodnatured demeanor covers up his underlying intentions well.

There you go.  That’s the blog in a nutshell.  It’s a labor of love for me, and it’s enjoyed daily by 3.5 people, one of whom is my Aunt Gertrude.

(There are some subsidiary, occasional characters.  Uncle Hardass, the ghost of my grumpy uncle, shows up once in awhile to tell me to give up all of my hopes and dreams of becoming a writer and get a job at the salt mines.  The Funky Hunks are a rap group I used to belong to and they show up now and then too.  Oh, and a whole slew of tiny book characters live on my magic bookshelf).

Don’t get me started on Bookshelf Q. Battledog.

I don’t believe the subsidiaries will get involved but you never know.  31 days means I need to come up with a lot of ideas to keep a story going.

8)  You had me until you said you have 3.5 readers.  Doesn’t seem worth it.

“3.5 Readers” is an ongoing, inside joke for this blog.  In the beginning, I really did only have 3.5 readers.  But I pressed forward and now I have more.  Like any blog, I have up days and down days.  I’d say on a good day I get anywhere around 30-70 hits.

Views are often double, sometimes triple, the hit count and I believe this is because people who do find this blog like it enough to stick around and read some more.

At any rate, I’ll do what I can to make this a fun, month long Zombie fiesta.  On my own, I’m going to be writing about The Walking Dead and the new Fear the Walking Dead and overall, if this works out, it’s just going to be 31 days of zombies.

9)  What’s in it for you?

Cross promotion, basically.  If you enjoy what you see here, I hope you’ll do want you can to point folks to my ramblings.  Not required, of course.  That’s about it.

10So now what?

At this point, I’d just like to get the ball rolling.  I’m starting early because to recruit 31 people to respond to a daily ongoing story is going to be like herding cats.

Right now, I’d just like to see who’s interested enough to let me know.  If you want in, Tweet me @bookshelfbattle or tell me in the comments here.

You can send me a private message on Twitter too. Just tweet me to let me know you sent it so it doesn’t get lost in the mass of spam I get from folks trying to sell me timeshares, miracle ointments, and **Cough cough*** self published books.

I’d say by mid-August, if I can wrangle enough authors to be interested in this, then I’ll be able to see who’s who, what’s what and come up with better questions that would apply to various authors.

If it’s a go, I’d like to get questions to you late August, or September and have 31 posts in the can by the time October rolls around.

But then again, this could be a dumb idea.

If it fizzles out and goes nowhere, then hey, I tried.  You’ve got to try, right?

Feel free to share with anyone you think would be interested.  If I see enough interest, I’ll start getting in touch with folks with formal instructions at the end of the summer.

Leave me your thoughts, 3.5.

Until next time, this has been Bookshelf Q. Battler and Video Game Rack Fighter, signing off:

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Future Ideas for Pop Culture Mysteries

Happy Sunday, 3.5 Readers.

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB's exceptionally attractive henchwoman...er, attorney.

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB’s exceptionally attractive henchwoman…er, attorney.

Here’s the deal.

In my personal life, I’m busier than a porcupine at a pin cushion convention.

If I get an hour a day to write, I consider myself lucky.

That’s why blogging works for me.  Every day, a short daily post, and then I move on.

That’s also why Jake, Ms. Donnelly and I are doing so well with Pop Culture Mysteries.  Ms. Donnelly delivers, Jake reports, I post.  Who could ask for anything more?

Here’s some ideas for the future.  Since you’re my 3.5 readers, you tell me if any, all, or none of these are appealing:

#1 – A Spin-Off Site

I’m mulling over the possibility of creating a spin-off Pop Culture Mysteries site.  Already secured the site and everything.  It’d be all Jake all the time.

PRO:  Jake gets his own digs.  More Internet presence for the Bookshelf Battle goodness.

CON:  It’s been an uphill battle in the snow with no shoes on to get people to feast their peepers on this site.  The idea of splitting visits and views among two sites rather than just bring them all here worries me.

But if I did create a spin-off site:

#2 – Both Sites Work Together 

As said above, I have less free time than a cat a yarn ball factory.

Jake and I would set up the Pop Culture Mystery posts here on bookshelfbattle.com.  You, the 3.5 readers, would give us advice, feedback, criticism, ideas to make them better.

In fact, as the gumshoe and I consider directions the various plot lines of the series will take in the future, we can already see some things we’d like to change in what’s been posted so far.

(Jake and I have still yet to meet in person.  Ms. Donnelly handles all our correspondence, of course.)

Am I going to fully rely on you 3.5 readers?  No.  In the future, I hope to retain the help of an editor.  But, for those interested in self-publishing, this is a chance to see how the sausage is made.

The posts on bookshelfbattle.com would essentially be rough drafts.

After Jake and I get the time to flush them out (with your feedback), I’d post the polished posts on the Pop Culture Mysteries spin-off site to be preserved for the ages.

Which brings us to:

#3 – Seasons, Arcs and Books

Multiple posts would be put together on the spin-off site as seasons.  Each season would follow Hatcher through different story arcs.

And each season would end a book that would be sold on Amazon (perhaps even other book distribution platforms in the future).

For example, we’re in season one right now.  It’s an introductory season where we are learning who the characters are.  I hope to end it with… Mr. Devil Man (read a sneak peak of the first chapter here).

The books would be stand-alone, meaning a) you could buy it, read it, and understand it without ever having read the site posts but b) hopefully book readers would enjoy it enough that they’d go in search of more Bookshelf Battle goodness by visiting the sites (this one and the spin-off), thus increasing platform traffic.

I foresee a lot of audience interactivity:

  • Self-publishing nerds advise Jake and I here on the Bookshelf Battle Blog.
  • Mystery nerds enjoy Jake’s stories on the spin-off blog
  • Book nerds enjoy Jake’s books sold on Amazon.
  • I enjoy the profits because Ms. Donnelly is one hell of a lawyer and Jake doesn’t bother to read the fine print.

Speaking of…

#4 – Putting Money Into This

Relax.  I’m talking about my money.

I don’t want to knock self-publishers, writers and other artists who rattle their electronic tin cup to ask for donations.

Some people have accomplished great deeds doing that.  The Veronica Mars and Super Troopers 2 campaigns being examples that come to mind.

Personally, I find it icky so I’m not going to do that.

I look at this as a business and if it’s to go forward I need to put some skin in the game.  What does that mean?  I don’t know.

Enlisting some editing help, character artwork, images etc.

In business, the best strategy is to put out based on what’s coming in.

In other words:

  • You build a lemonade stand.
  • Everyone on your street stops by.  You make a second pitcher of lemonade.
  • Everyone in your neighborhood comes over.  You make a third pitcher.
  • Everyone in town wants your delicious lemonade.  You dump the stand and rent a storefront.
  • People in the next town over drive all the way over just to sample your tasty lemonade.  Time to invest in a second location.
  • People just can’t get enough off that sweet yellow stuff (shut up, I’m talking about lemonade).  You need to start selling franchise rights because…profit!

What you don’t want to do:

  • You build a lemonade stand.
  • Aunt Gertie says it’s the best lemonade she’s ever hand.
  • You drain your bank account, take out a high-interest loan from a loan shark, and set up a bunch of lemonade stores on the hope that people will come only to be left with a bunch of empty stores, moldy unused lemons, and two broken legs. (Damn loan sharks).

That was my longwinded way of saying that the first season or two will look like they were produced on a modest budget, but if people like the work, I’d gladly put book proceeds towards making future seasons better.

The biggest criticism of self-publishing is that it often looks cheap.  That’s somewhat understandable because these are often works produced by people on a budget, not big time studios with cash to burn.

But there’s a difference between cheap and crappy.  It’s possible to put out respectable work on a budget.

Cheap doesn’t mean your work has to look like it was packaged by a bunch of carny folk.

Take The Simpsons. The first shorts that appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show were cheap to be sure, but they made people laugh and convinced FOX to dump some money into it.  Here they are, still kicking after 26 years.

It’s all a carefully choreographed dance.  I can’t put a ton of my own money into it now in the hopes it will pay off big time later. If it doesn’t, my bill collectors aren’t going to buy “sorry, I spent all the money on my private dick” as an excuse.

But the more eyes that end up on the sites and books, the more old BQB’s wallet can be pried open, even if moths will fly out.

#5 – Conclusions 

All I’m really asking is:

  • Does this strategy sound good or bad?
  • How have Jake and I done on the series so far?  Does it seem like something worth putting more work into?

As always, thanks for listening, 3.5 readers.

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.

All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Alien Jones Abducting Your Questions!

And he really wants to answer them too.

Alien Jones abducting questions from indie authors.

Alien Jones abducting questions from indie authors.

And not just because his Supreme Overlord, the Mighty Potentate, has threatened to vaporize him if he doesn’t.

Still need proof?  Here’s a conversation we had just the other day:

BQB:  Alien Jones, you’d still help indie authors promote their books on the Bookshelf Battle Blog even if the Mighty Potentate hadn’t threatened to vaporize you, right?

AJ:  Ummm…

BQB:  I doubt he’s listening.

AJ:  He’s totally listening!  He knows all!  YES!  Yes, of course, I love answering human questions.  It warms the cockles of my ganderflazer it surely does.  I love writing the “Ask the Alien” column just as much as I love the Mighty Potentate.

Alien Jones is the Intergalactic Correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle Blog, on a mission to raise Earth’s collective intelligence levels one question at a time. Do you have a question for the Esteemed Brainy One? Tweet it to @bookshelfbattle on Twitter, leave it in the comments on bookshelfbattle.com, or stop by Bookshelf Battle on Google Plus. If he likes your question, he might even promote your book, blog, other project in his answer.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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