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.
Armand Rosamilia and Mark Tufo interview E.E. Isherwood on Arm N Toof’s Dead Time Podcast. It was my first voice interview and I couldn’t have found a better venue. Two of my favorite zombie authors work together (or against each other, you never really know) and gave me an hour of their time to talk about my books. At one point I was even described as a genius for how I marketed my books, but I was so dazzled by the egos in the room I forgot to mention the name of my book, the name of my book series, or the name of my website. SOME GENIUS!
Those guys are hilarious to listen to anyway, but being there was an author’s dream. NSFW (language).
This is the week when I finally get caught up! I’ve been trying for months to get my zombie books into print, but there is always one thing or another that gets in my way. I should have the proofs this Friday for Books 3 and 4. People have been asking about this for just as long as I’ve been writing, and now I can finally put this baby to bed. Book 5 might hit print at about the same time it goes digital. That’s the dream anyway!
So zombie book 5 is titled Zombies Vs. Polar Bears. What does it mean?
In my universe the United States is very similar to present day. The (opposition party) won the presidency in 2017 (when the book takes place). Lots of Americans rose up to protest, and the movement became known as the Patriot Snowball because it kept growing larger and larger. Their flag had an angry polar bear on it. No one messes with a polar bear. Thus, if you were a Patriot, you were nicknamed a polar bear.
This book digs into a little of the origin of the movement, and the results. Liam is always digging for the truth, and the official word from government-sanctioned media is that the Patriot Snowball released the zombie plague on the world. A ridiculous claim, especially since Liam and Victoria have an inside line on other aspects of the plague and where it came from. But can they prove anything in a world where the internet is collapsed and the loudest speakers are controlled by the government?
And the zombies continue to intermingle. The “climbers” from Chicago have spread out far and wide, making it as far south as Cairo. The “dreamers” from Kansas City have reached the suburbs of St. Louis. And what’s so special about St. Louis zombies? We still don’t know…