How I ended up becoming a published author is really a story of coincidence. I had never intended to publish. When I started RISE back in 2004 it was a hobby. I needed something to do since I was at a crossroads in my life. As a fan of the zombie genre I had seen many of the films, and read a few of the online stories. What had always struck me as absurd about the movies especially was the fact that the characters acted stupidly out of character, and died for it. I understand that it’s a movie, yes, and they don’t always make sense.
What I set out to do with RISE was explore a little bit of what might happen if reasonably intelligent people, faced with a Romero-style zombie apocalypse, were to learn from experience. But never mind that, this is about getting it published.
A few years after I finished RISE, and was a ways into the sequel, AGE OF THE DEAD, I got an email from a Spanish publisher. I had put up my email address and invited comments on the story on an Angelfire website where I posted the fiction, and had gotten several dozen emails from all over the world from people with comments on the stories. The email in question came from Dolmen Editorial, a Spanish publishing house that does translations of books and comics from other languages to distribute in Spain. They also have Linea Z, their Z Line of zombie fiction that they publish. Apparently it is a big thing in Spain, this whole zombie genre. So the email said that zombie fiction sells pretty well in Spain, and would I consider having RISE translated and published?
After a few emails back and forth I asked my wife what she thought. With her encouragement I asked for a contract, and signed it. That is how “EL DESPERTAR DE LOS MUERTOS” came to be, the Spanish language translation of RISE, published in physical form before the English language version was even a thought. To date the book has sold 1100+ copies in Spain.
What this did was open doors. It made me think, can I sell English copies here? I decided to try Lulu, a print-on-demand free internet publishing company. I uploaded a copy of RISE with some cover photography I had done myself to the Lulu site, and ordered myself a copy. It arrived, looked pretty good, had an actual ISBN number and everything. So I approved it and it was for sale in electronic and physical form. I sold 22 copies. If you have one, it’s a collectors item. If I ever meet anyone who has one I will happily sign it for them.
About a year and a half ago I was on vacation in Vancouver, walking across the plaza in front of the hotel we were staying at, when I decided to check my email on my iPhone. There was an email from Permuted Press, publishers extraordinaire of post apocalyptic fiction. I had received one email a long time ago from them, back when RISE was nearing completion, but I never followed up on it. This new email wanted to know, since they had seen that it was now available in Spanish, would I be interested in publication in English?
This was a no-brainer for me. I had done nothing other than write a book. Both times, publishers CAME TO ME. How could I not do this? So I replied, we talked, and I mentioned that I had just finished the sequel. Soon there were two book contracts to sign, I am writing two more books, RISE has been published in many forms, the Lulu version and the free online versions are long gone, and AGE is going to be published this fall. Both books had the attentions of a real live editor who did a great job of cleaning up my rough framework and turning them into intelligible words. Thanks Felicia!
Ebooks and Audio books are a huge market. The physical book is cool to have in your hands, but the real frontier of publishing is electronic. I have read three or four books just on my iPhone, and my daughter has an eReader that she has read many books on. I see people on the bus and train all the time reading on their iPads and Kobos and such. Expect far more of this in the future.
That is the story of how the books came to be. Like I said, I had to do almost nothing other than the original writing.