Signed copies now available! I’ve had some people ask for signed copies of my first book but I don’t have a formal storefront to sell them. I let Amazon and other retailers do the heavy lifting of sales, but even they don’t handle signed copies very well. If you have any interest in buying a signed copy for $15.00 + a couple dollars shipping (US only, I’m sorry to say) please contact me via the contact form (top right corner of my website), or Facebook and we can work something out.
I’m honored that my first zombie book has garnered over 200 reviews in the year since I launched it. She’s come a long way in that year, mostly due to constant editing and improvement in my writing skills over that period of time. The very first version of my book, when I launched it on Dec. 15, 2015, was terrible when held to my current editorial standards. I was fortunate that my readers enjoyed the story enough to give me the benefit of the doubt on those editing snafu’s.
More importantly, the reviews have been excellent. It warms my heart to hear people are enjoying the story of Liam and his great-grandma and care enough to leave a review on Amazon. Those reviews inspired me to write more books in the series. Now I have six completed and I’m working on a seventh. There is still much to learn about the world of the zombies!
All six zombie books combined have over 300 reviews, and the average rating over the 300 is above 4 out of 5. My latest book, Zombies Ever After, has 15 reviews and 4.8 for an average. I’m heading in the right direction. As an independent author I don’t have the heart to read each review–5 star reviews can make you feel too big for your britches, while 1-star reviews can make you doubt if you aren’t destined to write technical manuals for garbage disposals–but I’m thrilled by those averages.
August was a busy month here in Zombie Book Headquarters. I wanted to get my novel to Audible, which meant I needed to give it one more good scrubbing in the form of an edit. It took me several weeks but I think the book is a much tighter read. I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Listening to the novel is a whole new experience for me. Very cool to hear the excellent narrator, Nancy Peters, bring my characters to life.
Hearing the story, as an author, really helps bring pieces of the story into focus that needed more emotion or clarification. Unlike a book, a listener can’t go backward (easily) to figure out who is speaking at a given time. If the text wasn’t clear, the audio is twice as muddy. That’s why the final edit needed extra diligence. In the end, it made the text book better as well as the narration.
I’m looking forward to putting my other books on Audible, but I need to take a break from the intensity of that project for a while before I do!
I would love to hear whether you listen to zombie books, or others, on Audible. I don’t know if this is typical, but I don’t listen to audio books. Part of this is that I’m never in my car–I’ve worked from home for the past 12 years. If I had to sit in my car every day I think I’d rather listen to a book than what passes for morning radio.
That said, now that I’m publishing to audio, I think I need to get in the game!
A little over a year ago I began my journey as an Indie author. My job in IT was downsized, I was tired of moving bits and bytes around, and I had little enthusiasm to continue working in the field. Twenty years was plenty. But what would I do to make money? How would I feed my two young children? Pay the mortgage? Ugh!
I wish I could say the light came on and I knew exactly what I wanted. That’s how it works in the movies, right? But what really happened was I decided I wasn’t going to be one of those unemployed guys parked on a sofa playing video games all day, just waiting for that dream job to knock on the door. I kept one foot in the IT world by doing contract web design work to keep some money coming in. At the same time I did a lot of reading online about how to author books and publish them. I had some books I’d written for fun, and I wondered if I could sell them…
In 2014 I wrote my first novel as part of the November edition of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoMo). I was so pleased with the result I began writing a second book in early 2015, and a third in mid-2015. By the time I was let go in August 2015 I was about halfway done with book 3. If I was going to be unemployed, I figured I’d use the time wisely and finish those books and publish them to Amazon Kindle. All the articles I’d read said it was super easy.
At the time I wasn’t necessarily thinking the books would make me any money. The simple act of writing them was satisfaction enough. Publishing was just my way of declaring them “real.”
In December 2015 I published Since the Sirens: Sirens of the Zombie Apocalypse, Book 1. In January 2016 I published book 2. February was book 3. Those were the three books I had already completed, minus editing. Once book 3 went out the door, and the series started to sell, I realized a) this WAS a way to make money and b) I needed to write more books!
For me, #PoweredByIndie helped motivate me to write six books in my zombie series during 2016 — each title was close to 100k words. It was an exhausting process, but sales and reviews have justified the effort. Granted, I’m not making much more money than if I worked for minimum wage at a fast food establishment, but this is the foundation for a career I’m building. Being an indie means I have to learn the craft, learn how to write to market, learn what makes a good cover, become my own marketer, and most importantly learn what works (and doesn’t) for other indie writers. I’ve joined author communities like 20BooksTo50k — designed to help writers reach that magical place called “being an author” full time.
“Being an author” is hard work. It has been the hardest year of my life in terms of employment. I’ve spent weekends editing. I’ve spent Friday nights formatting print books. I’ve sweated deadlines and dealt with the pressure of not making enough to balance the checkbook. But, every ounce of sweat goes into my own business. It helps me improve my next book. It brings me closer to permanently working at the “job” I’ve loved more than any other in my life. After a year of banging keys, I’d say I’m almost there.
Now, I must get on down the tracks. I have another book to write!
I have written six books about the zombie apocalypse, and all six take place in the St. Louis area. Much of the story also takes place in Jefferson County, Missouri, just to the south of St. Louis county. Since this is where I live, it makes it convenient for me to do research.
One of the advantages of all this local lore is that it simplifies author interviews with the newspaper for my county. In fact, they did a nice feature of me on page 1!
On a recent trip to Kentucky Lake, my family stopped at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. As you readers know, rivers play an important part in post-apocalyptic America in my series. In book 6, the confluence of the two rivers–at Cairo, Illinois–becomes a focal point for the story. I thought it would be cool to stand on the very tip of the land south of Cairo and snap a photo of both rivers at their meeting point. Standing in Illinois, the bridge to the left is linked with Missouri and the bridge to the right is linked with Kentucky. A very interesting piece of Geography, and an excellent place to fight zombies!
The photo below is looking south at the muddy Mississippi on the right, and the Ohio on the left.
This is my official unveiling of my newest book cover. Zombies Ever After is about the struggle of my two teen main characters as they claw their way back to each other after being apart in the Zombie Apocalypse. I thought the imagery of them both looking out onto the horizon was very compelling for the book. Even though I think this volume has more characters in play than any of the previous titles, I tried to write it so that Liam and Victoria are the focal points for where the story is going with this one. I can’t wait for you to read it!
Things move fast in the world of my zombie series. I released book 5 less than a month ago, and I’m already 52k words into book 6. I’m calling this one Zombies Ever After. I think it will be the last one, for a while, that is set in the St. Louis area. There are things calling to Liam and Victoria from out of state…and I think they’ll need to go explore.
Part of me worries that spending too much time in the same area will turn people off to my series of books in general, though I’ve tried to make each book unique within the region. If I find myself on the verge of duplicating a location of a prior book–except for very brief stops where it makes sense–I’ll change things up. After 6 books, this will really take the series in a new direction, with new zombie challenges.
I’m taking some extra time to write this novel, and to promote it. As such, I’m not revealing the cover just yet. I just have this teaser image for Zombies Ever After.
My zombie series is reaching a new milestone with this volume. New horizons await Liam and Victoria, though I can’t give anything away just yet as to what their next adventures might be.
The fifth book in the Sirens of the Zombie Apocalypse series launched as planned on June 23, 2016. I’m too tired to really outline the launch–the last week has been hectic, to say the least. However, the ending of the book was just screaming for me to jump into book 6, which I’ve done. I’ve already got the prologue and first chapter done. I had to know how things turned out…
That’s the fun of being an author. I don’t have to wait for the next book to come out.