Like most unpublished, aspiring authors I struggle at times to find the will to continue. This path to publishing is such a long and arduous journey, every now and than one must ask themselves, “Is this really worth it?” Even if you find publication, there’s still so much more required before finding success. This is especially the case if you measure success of financial stability and independence.
That being said, I usually come to the same conclusion as most authors who successfully navigate these waves doubt. Even if I was to quit and do something else, I would still write. Sure, if this doesn’t work out I will need to seek, or regain my previous, full time employment.
I currently work minimum wage for the most part, so it’s not like it’ll be difficult to find something comparable if I crash and burn. Right?
Another flashing light shining in my head is days like these. It is 10am on a Sunday morning. I’ve been off work for three hours, and need to work again tonight before taking a week off. I decided Friday, when I finished the season finale of Kruger’s, I would take the weekend off and come back strong Monday.
Yesterday, it took sheer power of will to not take the drive to my go-to coffee shop and get cracking on this next project. Today, well the will power failed and I am about to begin chapter one on a brand new property.
I’m pumped for it, the prewriting adrenaline always run high when it comes to a new project.
For now I will refer to it as Dedd. This new novel is a dystopian zombie novel.
*pauses for the eye rolls*
Yeah, I know there’s been so much zombie fever in the mainstream this decade, but hear me out. The first point I want to make is, although you may be right, sales don’t lie. Zombies still sell damn well online, especially with easily consumed, pulpy, fun novels.
I think the over saturation of zombies in popular culture has raised the standard for what a zombie novel needs to be. I love Romero to death… heh get it?. *ahem*
I love Romero to death, but these days it isn’t enough to just put some survivors in a fixed location and have them survive for a while before the zombies overtake everything. I don’t mean to simplify the pioneer of the contemporary zombie, but everyone and their dog has written that story, filmed that movie, and developed that game.
Zombie novels need more spice, more substance. Successful zombie narratives these days consist of known properties being zombified. Case in point we have Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (Haven’t sen the movie, but loved the book.), and Warm Bodies (Romeo & Juliet just replace Montague with zombie, and Capulet with human.)
Or it has character. The only example I want to give is Jake Bible’s Z-Burbia series. Six books strong and voiced by a likable, and captivating protagonist. It’s strength is it has a very intricate plot that just so happens to happen while hordes of zombies shamble around Ashville, North Carolina.
Side moment to pimp this series a little more – If you haven’t read it, do it now. In fact, don’t read it, go to Audible right now and buy it there. Andrew Wehrland does an incredible narration. Jace (The protagonist) really comes alive. Do yourself a favor and check it out..
Back to the program.
The second point, and the detail I alluded to in the title of this post, is this. I am not someone who looks down on writers for “writing to the market.” It isn’t a violation of the art if you write something because you think it has a chance of selling.
Do I think work is more likely to shine if it comes from inspiration instead of chasing a buck? Well yeah, to an extent. I don’t think I would be able to write something purely because I think it’ll make money. It would be great to have that kind of talent, but frankly I’m sure it’ll fall flat more often then not.
Of course if you ignore the market in lieu of following the muse, then you have no one to blame but yourself when your fiction doesn’t sell and you have to get a day job else you can’t make rent.
Dedd is a novel that I am excited to write, it is a novel I intended to write the moment the main character started yelling at me while I was working on Krugers. This could fail immensely, or it could be a break, we’ll see when it’s done.
What separates Dedd from the other projects I’ve written is this is my first foyer into the world of publishing without intending to self publish it.
For so long I’ve been listening to Paul E Cooley talk about his relationship with Severed Press and how great they have been for him. There’s also Jake Bible who literally releases a new novel for them every month – cleary it’s an amicable relationship.
I’ve been leering about submitting to small press, which was compounded by listening to the tribulations Justin Macumber has with his Born of Fire trilogy and dealing with Crescent Moon Press. Thankfully they folded and Macumber’s work is part of the Gryphonwood family – which is another small press I respect.
Severed Press is a well respected small press in the genre, and they are open for submissions. Open for submissions is not something I commonly see on websites these days, especially for reputable places like them. They also have clear guidelines for the type of fiction they want to put out.
They don’t appear to be tired of Zombies.
Anyway the point is I have characters in my head, I know what they want to achieve, and I can’t wait to get to scrivener and follow their journey to where they’re going… When I look at Severed’s guidelines, I realize this is a story that fits solid with their call for submissions.
So, in essence, this novel is being written specifically to submit to Severed Press. It’s a great time for it because when this countdown on the side of the page is over, I will be looking at a consistently high word count.
It’s always about trying something new.
That does it. I’m about ready to get this show on the road.
Did I mention how pumped I am about getting to meet this character?