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New Releases!

I am very pleased to announce a couple of new releases!

First, allow me to introduce you to AntiBio. This novel is my return to military scifi. Now, a lot of my novels have military themes, elements, badass Teams ready to rip some bad guys apart, but this is the first one that isn’t a horror novel, but a straight up, high-tech, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, military  science fiction novel.

Phew. That’s quite a mouthful.

If you liked my Apex Trilogy then you will love AntiBio! And here’s why:

Anti1 Antibiotics.
They have failed.
All that’s left are the Strains- bacteria so strong they have brought the world to its knees.
But humanity has fought on, carving out pockets of civilization in a wasteland known as the Sicklands, creating the super high-tech Clean Nation cities.
And from the cities GenSOF has been born- Genetic Special Forces Operations. An elite military branch of the government that enlists men and women with specific genetic anomalies that allow them to be hosts to bacteria that even the Strains cannot defeat. Under the watchful eye of Control, GenSOF protects the Clean Nation cities from the ever encroaching Strains and the diseased inhabitants of the Sicklands.
But now Control has other plans for GenSOF, and possibly the Clean Nation cities themselves, and it is up to the operators of GenSOF Zebra Squad, and their cloned Canine Units known as bug hounds, to find out what those plans are.
Or die trying.

How ya like them apples? AntiBio is a crazy mix of Blade Runner and Damnation Alley. You’re gonna dig it!

The next new release is the audiobook for Z-Burbia 2: Parkway To Hell! It is currently available on Audible.com, but will also be on Amazon and iTunes shortly. Stay tuned for those announcements!

Oh, what’s that? You want to know what’s coming next from me? Okey doke!

May: Mega 2 (Severed Press) and Little Dead Man (Permuted Press)

June: Kaiju Winter (Severed Press)

July: The Apex Trilogy audiobooks

And so much more! I’ll announce the rest of 2014 as soon as my schedule is nailed down.

So go and spread the word about AntiBio and Z-Burbia 2: Parkway To Hell!

Cheers!

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Thirteen: Writing Is Not A Community Endeavor!

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

For today’s post I want to talk about how writing is not a community endeavor. Which you already guessed since that’s the title of the post. So let’s move on, shall we?

I am part of many Facebook writing groups. Some are public, some are private. Most duplicate each other because they are populated by insecure, needy, know-it-all, egotistical, depressed individuals. Writers.

On one of these groups there was a “discussion” about reviews and whether or not a writer should listen when a reviewer, or reviewers, mention a part of the writer’s style they do not like. My take is to always, always, always, always, ignore reviews. Did I mention the always? Yeah, always ignore reviews. Why? Because they are written by reviewers, not writers. These are readers that have opinions, not professionals with actual experience or insight. Also, reviewers are people. And people are flawed. Just because someone read your book and then posted a review about it, doesn’t mean they are smarter than you or their opinion actually holds weight.

Hell, they could have written it while doing meth off Bigfoot’s three foot dong, for all you know.

Ignore reviews and move along.

I stated this on the group and one individual decided that I was wrong, that you should listen to reviewers because if they all start commenting on the same flaw then you should change how you write to please them. They are the readers and you write for the readers.

Bullshit.

This person also started talking about critique groups and agents and editors and publishers and blah blah blah. That, as a writer, you should listen to them.

Bullshit.

I responded that writing is not, nor ever has been or ever will be, a community endeavor. That person did not enjoy that statement. They proceeded to write paragraph after paragraph about how I was wrong.

Bullshit.

Let me explain why, in very simple terms, this person is, and shall forever be, wrong: Because only you write the novel.

Are there others involved like agents and editors and publishers? Yes. But they don’t write your novels.

Are there readers and reviewers out there that want and expect novels to be a certain way? Yes. But they don’t write your novels.

Only you are the author, the writer, the creator. It is fair to say that there are plenty of professionals willing to offer you advice, but it is never fair to say that writing a novel is anything but a solitary experience. Unless you write with a partner, then it’s a dual experience. Whatever, you get the picture.

Your agent and editor and publisher can all say they want you to change Chapter Five. But you don’t have to do that. If Chapter Five is perfect the way you want then you can leave it. It’s your novel. Or, if their advice holds water, then make the decision to change Chapter Five.

Either way, it’s up to you and you alone.

This isn’t a hippie, dippy food co-op where everyone has to hug it out and have good vibes, man. This isn’t the PTO wanting everyone’s kid to feel special so let’s have a bake sale where there’s no gluten, peanuts, fats, sugar, corn, air, fun. This isn’t an HOA where you need a quorum for Bob Jones to be able to put up a fence that is one eighth shorter than the mandatory fence height.

This is none of that. You are a writer and the final decision is up to you. Always.

Now, I’m not talking quality here. Maybe the committee is right and Chapter Five needs to be jettisoned out of the airlock into deep space. Could be. Doesn’t matter. Still your choice.

Writing is not, nor will it ever be, a community endeavor.

You may not be all alone, but you are the writer and in the end it is your novel and you control what you keep, what you toss, what you like, what you don’t, and what the reader gets in the end. If you approach it from any other angle then find a new profession. You aren’t meant to be a writer.

Sound harsh? Sure. But it really isn’t. Why? Because if your novel bombs, even after taking everyone’s advice into account, guess who gets the blame?  Your agent? Nope. Your editor? Nope. Your critique club? Nope. The fans and readers? Nope.

If you take the advice and your novel fails you will be the one that is blamed.

So if the blame isn’t spread to the community then why should any of the creative process be?

Take what advice you want to or not, but always as a conscious decision based on your instincts and feelings. Never because someone told you to.

Because you are the writer and it’s your damn novel! Always.

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

 

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Ten: Rules Can Eat A Bag Of Dicks!

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

As you can see by the title of this post I am not a big fan of rules. They hold you back, keep you down, and get in the way of FREEDOM!

But, before we begin, let me disclaimer a bit. I’m not talking about rules such as basic human decency or paying your taxes. Don’t break those. Don’t.

Nope, the rules I am talking about are those that constrain writers because someone, somewhere, got an insect inserted rectally and wanted to make things pissy and difficult for others.

I was going to bullet point this shit, but I think I’d rather ramble. It might trigger your brain so you can come up with a rule or two that you’d like to consume a Luis Vuitton’s worth of penises.

My first one is the notion that authors shouldn’t shamelessly promote themselves.  Can I point out that the first word is “shamelessly”? As in, without shame? Like authors are above “business” and if they even hint at the fact that they are slaves to the almighty machines of commerce then they should feel shame.

That rule can eat a dick!

I think every author out there should be able to promote their work sans shame. Stand up and be heard! From rooftops, from soapboxes, from street corners where I first met your mom (mom joke FTW!), from Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Goodreads, what the hell ever! It’s your career as a writer and you are building a business. I have never once heard someone say, “Oh, you have a business? Yeah, market and promote that less.” Doesn’t happen. Of course, there is a right way and wrong way to do it. Gauge the response, know your audience, and pick the correct venue. Pull back before you hit consumer burnout. That’s Marketing 101. But, whatever you do,  don’t feel bad that you want to promote your work. Get out there and shill, shill, shill, because no one else will do it for you.

I also hate the rule that says authors need to be marketing machines because the publishers won’t do it for you. Oh, what? Am I contradicting myself? Not really. There is a notion in today’s publishing world that writers have to be self-promoters as well as, well, writers. I call BS on that. If the publisher is worth their shit in salt then they should be more concerned with their writers actually writing and not standing on the corner dressed in a Statue of Liberty outfit while dancing to Miley Cyrus playing in their oversized headphones. We ain’t selling foot long subs or close out mattresses. We are writing books. That is the job we are paid to do.

But, too many writers get all wound up that they aren’t promoting, promoting, promoting, enough. I see post after post after post by authors looking for help on how they can better promote their work. The anxiety level gets insane. I can smell the flop sweat through my dual monitors. So many writers spend all their time thinking about how to promote their writing instead of, wait for it…writing!

Screw that. Just write, man, just write. The best marketing advice I have ever heard is to just write your next book. A solid body of work is what promotes your writing the best. I’m lucky enough to have a publisher like Severed Press that gets that. I asked, “What blogs should I be emailing? What interviews should I be trying to get? What reviewers should I go a courting?” Their response? “Don’t worry about that. Just keep writing.”

That’s good shit right there.

Another rule I that can eat a dick is the “show, don’t tell” rule. This is the biggest rule myth out there. Because it’s bullshit. It has also created a glut of “gotcha!” readers, reviewers, writers. For example, Soandso grew up reading <insert bestselling author>, but now Soandso is a writer and has learned that you are “supposed” to show and not tell. Soandso picks up <insert bestselling author>’s latest novel and WHAT IS THIS? THIS BESTSELLING AUTHOR SHOWED ME SOMETHING! THEY CAN’T ACTUALLY WRITE! THEY DON’T KNOW THE RUUUUUUUUULLLLLLE!

Poop farts to that.

Why? Because if that rule were true then authors like Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Henry Miller, Cormac McCarthy, and a ton more wouldn’t even be noticed. Jesus, Stephen King alone shows all the time with his style where he basically inserts himself into his prose as a weird  narrator. And Michael Crichton? Try “showing” all that sciency stuff. Not gonna happen. Stupid rule. If the prose is sound then the author can show whatever the fuck they want. Could be a total info dump, but if it is an interesting, well written info dump then who freakin’ cares?

Plus, and this will blow your mind, the rule wasn’t created to apply to prose writing! Sure, there have been variations on the idea for generations, but it really didn’t come into popularity until it was coined to be used in reference to -ready for this?- screenwriting! It is a Hollywood maxim, folks, not a literary one. And in the context of a screenplay, which will have to be produced into a visual medium, then it works.

Otherwise? Screw it. Write what feels right for the story.

Passive voice? Should I go after that one? Maybe. Because passive voice is annoying. It is. But then it isn’t. How can it be annoying and then not annoying? Style, my friends.

If the passive voice sounds natural, fits the style of the prose, and is part of the voice of the writing then no one will notice. Unless they are looking for it. But why look for it? Just go with the flow. Reverse what I just said and you know why passive voice doesn’t work. Simple rule that can be broken at will.

No prologues? Eat. A. Dick.

I like prologues. I have never read a book where I was all, “WHAT? A PROLOGUE? I CAN NEVER GET THOSE TEN MINUTES IT TOOK ME TO READ IT BACK!” Prologues, and epilogues, have a place in stories where they have a place. Argue all you want, prologue haters, but I am currently reading a novel that has a prologue. Guess what? It worked. Why? Because to call the prologue Chapter One would have been stupid. It isn’t Chapter One. It’s the fucking prologue.

So, to sum up: eat a dick, prologue haters.

Oh, and the rule about friends and family not writing reviews? More dick eatage with that one.

Sure, don’t tell them to write it or what to write. That’s stupid. But the idea that a friend of mine or a family member that has actually read one of my novels and wants to review it is somehow unethical? Have I mentioned the eating of dicks? Yeah, do that. I will take any honest review from any source. My mother-in-law has every right to post a review of one of my novels if she likes it. She is a reader and I trust her opinion.

Let’s face it, folks, there are way less sincere reviews coming from total strangers that are just uber-fans. You know the ones I’m talking about. If their favorite author writes a novel about a pile of poo that just sits there, they’d still give it five stars. And don’t get me started with the one-star trolls!

Saying that friends and family can’t write reviews just doesn’t make sense.

Oh, and that rule about first person narrative being “lazy” writing! Eat my first person dick! Oh, and the side rule that you can’t switch perspectives in the same novel. I have read plenty of novels that go from first person to third person seamlessly.

What other rules are there? TONS!

But I won’t get into those. I have listed the ones above that drive me nuts. There are plenty more, trust me.

The point is that for some reason there are a ton of people that insist on creating rules because they personally don’t like something. Fuck them. Who put them in charge of making the rules? I promote how I need to, write what I want to, and let it all sort itself out in the end. If my career tanks then I will have to step back and see where it went wrong.

And lastly, and this is the point I want you to walk away with, most of the people making these rules are writers. Yep. Writers. And writers are known for their sanity, stability, positive life choices, clean living, selflessness, lack of ego, etc, etc. Right? Yeah, right…

Think on that the next time one of those rules that has been drilled into you decides to rear its ugly head and bring your writing to a halt. Just because it is said over and over and over doesn’t mean it’s right. Or even a rule. It could be just an alcoholic with his panties in a wad because he wanted FIFTEEN YEAR SCOTCH, YOU FUCKERS, NOT TEN YEAR SCOTCH!

Rules: they can eat a bag of dicks.

Cheers!

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Nine: Ignore The Internet, It’s A Mean Place.

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

I had a whole other post brewing in the ol’ brainpan, but I decided I’d wait on that one and go a different route. Something else is troubling me.

The Mean.

Or, as it’s commonly known, the Internet. But I’m going to start calling it the Mean. It’s more apropos.

You see, there is one theme that runs through all those wires and servers and hubs and routers and doohickeys (possibly a couple of doodads, also), and that is the idea that since you aren’t in the same room with someone, don’t have to look them in the eye, and they can’t physically touch you, then you can say whatever you want, do whatever you want, and treat people however you want. You can be mean on the Mean without worrying about getting your ass handed to you.

Which sucks.

That in-person fight or flight mechanism that is coded into our DNA is there for a reason. It tells us when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, when to walk away, and when to run. That’s the natural order. But on the Mean? Nope. You can be as cruel as you want and a fist won’t turn your nose into jelly. No limits, no consequences.

Many say the Mean has allowed them to truly feel empowered and speak up for themselves. That may be true for a small (very, very small) minority. But for everyone else? I call bullshit.

Because it’s actually all about just being mean.

Empathy is not allowed on the Mean, only cruelty.

You are asking what this has to do with writing. I’m getting there, trust me.

I won’t go into the psychology of the Mean. No need. It’s about as textbook grade school as you can get.

The Mean has become the psychological and emotional dumping ground for every unstable persona on the planet. When I open Firefox and connect to the Mean it takes less than one minute to find someone drinking up someone else’s sorrow then spitting it back in their face. Try it. Go to Facebook and read your feed. How long does it take you to see someone rolling in the Mean and reveling in the hateful stink they’ve rubbed into their nooks and crannies?

The Mean is now a place where introverts become bullies, bullies become trolls, and trolls become monsters.

And those bullies, trolls, monsters lay traps.

What’s that? What are these traps I speak of?

The Rules.

Oh, the Mean has Rules. No one knows where they came from or who decides that they are Rules. Just one day there they are, posted for everyone to see. Rules. They make sure people stay engaged to the Mean. They trap people into thinking they don’t have a choice, that they have to respond or argue because, you know, the Rules.

Fuck Rules.

I didn’t sign a contract with the Mean. I have zero intention of abiding by Rules created by those that suckle at the teet of the Mean. I’m going to conduct myself just as I would in public, with decency and honesty and freedom. The Mean can get mad, but I don’t care. I honestly don’t.

I won’t even list examples of the Rules because the Mean is all about ignoring intent, spirit, and substance. The Mean likes to argue minutiae. It refuses to see the bigger picture, the grand design, the overarching theme. Because then the Mean would have to see itself in that picture, design, theme. And that would not be pretty.

Again with the textbook psychology. Rules are a classic way that abusers assert control. They create insane Rules that no sane person can possibly live by in order to force a showdown so they can feel justified in abusing those they have forced the Rules on in the first place. If it wasn’t so destructive, I’d laugh at the transparent idiocy of it all.

So, again, fuck Rules. Fuck the Mean and its Rules. They hold zero power over me.

What? Writing? You still want to know how this is about writing?

Here is why this is about writing: because the Mean is made of words. Sure, there’s YouTube and Instagram, but the vast majority of the Mean is words. Facebook and Twitter dominate. And they are words.

As a writer, my words mean something to me. They are my livelihood, how I support my family, how I express myself as an artist, how I share the stories in my head with others. Those words I type, type, type everyday are more than just representations of the alphabet. Way more. They are an extension of who I am.

And I don’t want those words to be mean.

I have a thousand metaphors I can use, but there’s no point in writing them. I have actually deleted at least a dozen while composing this post. They don’t need to be said. I’m not debating, I’m not arguing, I’m not even asking for a polite discussion.

I’m just pointing out how mean the words are on the Mean. Mean, mean, mean. And like I said above, I don’t want my words to be mean.

My New Year’s resolution was to ignore the Mean and not get wrapped up in it. I have done wonderfully. I see posts about this, about that, about whatever and I don’t engage. I just scroll on by and shake my head. No need for me to get wrapped up in that crap. No good comes of it. And no one cares what anyone else thinks anyway, so what’s the point in engaging?

I shared that with you because that’s how I am treating my writing career. I’m not getting wrapped up in the manufactured drama or pointless arguments. I’m gonna write. I’m gonna put more and more novels out there for my fans to read. That’s where my words are going to go, not a Facebook post that serves no purpose other than to hurt someone else.

I’m not going to be mean. And I’m not going to pay attention to the Mean.

I’m also not going to tell anyone what to do. Not my place. If I’m saying fuck Rules then I sure as shit am not going to be adding to them by telling you how to act.  Take this post how you will. Everyone is free to do and act as they want.

Personally, I plan on acting with kindness, with courtesy, with respect, and with gratitude. Everything good in my life has come from those actions. Everything bad has come from when I was mean. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do that math. If I can’t respond to something with kindness, courtesy, respect, and/or gratitude then I won’t act; I won’t respond. I’ll show restraint and exercise my genetic right to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and by golly, know when to run.

So, to sum up: No mean for me. The Mean will just have to find a different writer. Hopefully that writer isn’t you.

Cheers.

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

A professional writer since 2009, Jake has a proven record of innovation, invention and creativity. Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Eight: The Working Writer!

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

Today we will be talking about how I, as Captain, gets the booty! No, I don’t mean how I sweet talk Mrs. Captain into dropping her pantaloons. That’ll have to wait for Episode Twenty, at least.

Nope, today I will chat about what it means to be a working writer. And getting paid to do it.

Do I need to define working writer? Yeah, probably.

By my definition, a working writer is someone that solely makes their living from their writing. In previous posts I have explained that a professional writer is someone that gets paid for their writing, whether $1 or $1 million. But the majority of professional writers do not earn enough to live off of. It’s a sad fact, but very true. However, a working writer can live off of what they make with their words. Writing is the income and vocation. Bam!

Why talk about this? Because there are a lot of attacks and nose-snobbery aimed at being a working writer. “Write for money? Not for art’s sake? How very droll.” That kinda crap.

I am specifically going to talk about fiction writing, since that is what I know. Write what you know, eh, eh?

I started making money as a writer back on 2009. Slowly, but surely. Then I was lucky enough to be part of that Wild West frontier known as the eBook Gold Rush that happened a few years ago. For about eight months I was making more money than I could imagine. It was great!

I was this close (I’m holding my fingers really close together) to quitting my day job and diving into full-time writing. Good thing I didn’t. Because then the rules were changed by Amazon and other ebook retailers and that shit-volcano that Chuck Wendig speaks of started to erupt. Kindle Select meant every nimrod on the planet could put there work out there for free. Only for about five days, sure, but multiply that by a million self-published authors, and add in the fact that self-publishing blogs were talking about how “selling for free” gets your novel up the charts and you can’t lose and there’s exponential room for growth and blah blah blah. No one wanted to buy ebooks when they could get ebooks for free.

The pyramid scheme crumbled. Well, it wasn’t exactly like a pyramid scheme, but it felt like it. My sales plummeted. Dropped to 10% almost overnight. Good thing I didn’t quit my job, right?

Fast forward a few years and I’m still getting royalties off those ebooks, but at a fraction of what I was before. There was no end game in sight and I honestly expected to keep working full-time and writing part-time for a good long while.

But I was laid off. Fired. Sent packing. Given the boot. Handed a pink slip. Shown the door. I was unemployed.

Not good.

What could I do? Get another customer service job? Nope, they don’t pay what I was making. Go back into sales and spend weeks away from the family? That’s not the husband and father I am. Return to food service and cook again? Makes even less than customer service.

In short, I was fucked.

Except I have an amazing wife that has faith in me and she decided I should make a go of writing full-time. She asked, and I quote, “If you write full-time can you get our income back to where it was?” I said, “Yes.”

Another bam!

Except I didn’t have the time to write (or finish) a manuscript, submit to my agent, and sit and wait months for responses from publishers. I needed income right away! So I emailed my publisher, Severed Press, to see if they had any work for hire jobs or anthologies that might pay. The answer, while being “no”, was better than I could expect.

No work for hire, but they were looking for someone to write a zombie series that was Romero-esque. They would pay an advance and I would have some money coming in. I didn’t come up with the idea, it was given to me. But, being a collaborative type of personality, I brainstormed and came up with a a novel that would be true to the Romero style zombies (no gimmicks or fast ones or viruses) while also still being all Jake Bible.

I look on that email as a writing prompt. As if someone said, “You have to use classic slow zombies, but also have a military element, scavenging, and survivors trying to deal with the apocalypse.” I looked back at Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead movies and remembered the social satire and commentary those possess.What if I applied that to my novel? What could I comment on?

Oh, right, the suburban silliness I deal with every single day.

Z-Burbia was born.

And the rest is history!

But not quite. Why? Because small press advances do not an income make. I needed more. MORE!

So I asked Severed if they needed anything else. They did. I looked over their ideas, sent them some of mine, and we went with what they thought they could sell. Let me say that again, because this is important, they went with what they thought they could sell.

This is how publishing works, folks. If you think it is about “art” you are way the fuck off. It’s about commerce. I don’t care what publisher it is, they do not buy properties they don’t think they can sell. It’s that simple. Your novel may be genius, but if a publisher doesn’t know how to market or sell it then it will never see the light of day.

Makes you wonder why there  are five million self-published books that no one has even heard of, huh? Oh, right, because there is no market for them! Publishing is not a “write it and they will come” business. It’s a “they want to read it, so we better find it, or have someone write it, so they will come” type of business. If you can’t handle that reality then do not try to hack it as a working writer. Do not even try.

Which brings me to my next step.

I also noticed that Permuted Press was picking up a ton of authors, many self-published, and that they were looking for YA and Teen horror. I had my YA zombie novel, Little Dead Man, just languishing in self-pub hell, hidden with all the other fifty million self-published works that Amazon’s algorithms made sure weren’t the first on their search results. (Don’t think they do that? Puh-leeeze.) I also had a finished Teen horror novel manuscript that needed a home. I sent an email, got a response, and we went from there.

Oh, but let me backtrack a bit.

During the talks with Severed, I came up with a pitch for a middle grade horror series called ScareScapes. It’s Goosebumps in space, basically, but with the Jake Bible twist. There’re cyborgs and shit. Severed passed since it wasn’t something they thought they could market well. See what I’m talking about? A successful publisher knows what works for them and what doesn’t. Severed Press doesn’t really do YA or Teen horror, Not because they don’t like it, or want to, but because it doesn’t sell for them.

Are you catching on yet?

The reason I wanted to do a middle grade horror series in the first place was for two reasons: the first being we have a lot of friends with younger children that asked if Z-Burbia was appropriate for elementary or middle school kids. It is not. Also, my daughter is eleven and she wanted to read my novels. But that wasn’t happening. Not yet.

I came to the conclusion, after some market research, that the middle grade horror market was ripe for the picking! I knew one fellow author that was diving into it and I figured I could too. [side note: R.L. Stine has announced that he will be bringing his series, Fear Street, back. This is good for middle grade horror.] I reworked the pitch and sent it to Permuted and they said yes. Suh-weet!

This meant I had contracts with Severed Press and Permuted Press. But, both being small presses, the advances weren’t going to get me a house in the Bahamas. So still had that good ol’  financial uncertainty looming  in just a couple of months.

My novels for Severed were doing well and I was building a relationship with Permuted. These were things I could capitalize on. Because you strike while the iron is hot in publishing!

Negotiations (and love songs?) ensued, numbers were thrown back and forth,and after it is all said and done, I will be writing novels from now through June 2015. One a month, to be exact. While being financially secure enough not to freak out every time I fill up my Jeep at the gas station.

Triple bam!

Why say all of this? Because I read and hear a lot of writers talk about the “art” of writing and how “real” writing can’t include “compromise”. I have also read where writers slam others for being prolific. “You can’t write a good novel in a month!” I have also had writers say certain POVs (first person) are shit writing. “It’s the lazy way to write!”

Well, fuck and you, thank you very much.

That’s just justification bullshit. That’s what writers say when they don’t have any self-confidence. That’s what writers say when they look for excuses as to why they aren’t doing what others are or don’t have what others have. It’s jealousy and it’s lame.

I have confidence. Did I come up with some brilliant inspiration out of the blue? Was there a eureka moment? No. I had to have financial motivation. I had to be handed ideas that my publishers thought would fill the market and could sell. Then I took those ideas, those 100% market driven ideas, and made those bitches mine!

Quadruple bam!

Okay, okay, I’m done with the bamming. I want you to know I’m not trying to rub anyone’s face in success, simply because until I can take a breather and slow down to writing a novel a quarter, instead of every month, I don’t consider myself a success. What I’m trying to say is that writing is writing and if you want to make a living at it, a full-time living, then you have to be willing to play the game. You have to be willing to listen to those that watch the charts, study the numbers, talk to distributors, interact with readers, etc. You have to be willing, more than ever, to look at writing as a job.

It’s a pretty fucking cool job, but it is still a job. You sit your ass down and you get the writing done. You don’t phone it in. You don’t sit on the couch watching Netflix for “inspiration”. You plop in front of your PC and/or Mac and you put in your time. Then you hand in your manuscript and do it all again.

You never wait, you just do.

So, in closing, my mateys, if you want to be a working writer and make a living at it then you have to not only look at the word “writing” you must also look at the word “working”. And if work was all fun and art and inspiration and glorious champagne parties and book releases and all that shit then it wouldn’t be called work, would it? To be a working writer you must be willing to go where the work is. Like I said before, and will say a billion times more, you have to look atwriting as a job. It’s that simple.

Get your head out of the clouds, stop making excuses, reach out to people, talk to your connections, do the time, and get to work!

That’s how you make it as a working writer.

Cheers!

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

A professional writer since 2009, Jake has a proven record of innovation, invention and creativity. Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

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