Last week I posted about my YA novel, Intentional Haunting, being nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. It’s all pretty cool, I do admit. While I am honored to be included with so many amazing writers, I am also a little confused as to what comes next.
Does this mean anything, the whole nomination thing?
Quick answer? Not a clue.
There are a million things that go through my head as I think of what a Stoker nomination means for my writing career. But the one thing that really stands out is whether or not I can capitalize on this and perhaps get an agent again.
Back story! I had an agent, the very wonderful Adrienne Rosado of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency, and she was actually representing me when I wrote Intentional Haunting (now on sale for $2.99!). She shopped it around and it never found a home. After some time, and a serious career shift for me, I decided that I needed to make a break and go it alone. I was no longer the single manuscript writer, but a churner of pulpy goodness and that isn’t Adrienne’s game. Totally amicable split.
Since that split I have negotiated all of my own contracts and I ended up making a decent living in 2014. I actually made more from full time writing in one year than I had made the year before working at a full time job and writing on the side. This is good. It means my leap of faith (and by my I mean my family’s leap of faith) paid off.
But, I have a fear that my writing career might be stuck in one gear. It’s not a bad gear and I am not complaining, I just happen to be one of those people that is compulsively driven to keep rising. I despise complacency and every fiber in my body screams to move on to the next level.
What level? I don’t know.
Which is why I am seriously thinking of hunting for an agent again.
There is one major problem, though: I don’t have a manuscript to shop.
I am no longer a spec writer. I already have a contract in place to write eight novels this year. I have no need, nor time, to worry over a manuscript that may or may not sell.
What’s spec? It is short for speculative or speculation. It means a writer writes a novel and speculates whether or not it will sell. It is also known as gambling, except instead of gambling with money the writer is gambling with time/labor. Which, as we all know, equals money. This is the traditional way many writers work and there is nothing wrong with this.
And agents want spec manuscripts. That’s how agents work. They sell manuscripts to publishers.
But, being a full time writer with a contract in place, I am no longer one of those writers. Sure, once a writer is established with a publisher, the agent can then sell pitches instead, but I am not in that position. I sell my own pitches to my publisher and get the contracts worked out, but I am in the small press world and I’d love to get into the big press world.
So how the hell do I get an agent without a product in hand that they can sell?
And this is when the eyes roll. I know, I know, I am very lucky to be where I am. I also know that big press publishing is probably not going to treat me as well as small press publishing does. I get that. I also know that small press publishing does not have the reach that big press publishing does. And I like reach (please see my comment above about being compulsively driven to rise).
I want my books to be on billboards and in multiple print ads. I want to have a shot at the NY Times Bestseller list even if it is rigged and decided by an archaic algorithm which involves chicken entrails. I want to see my novels on the front table at Barnes & Noble. I want the possible increase in income that goes with an increase in visibility.
But, most of all, and this is important, I want my novels themselves to take that next step: TV and/or film. I am a huge fan of visual media. Back in high school I wrote my ass off all the time, but my desire was to be a filmmaker. Then I saw the reality of what that meant (this is pre-digital, folks) and decided I neither had the means nor the desire to sell my soul and move to Hollywood.
Yet, now, I could have a sweet hybrid dream of writing full time and seeing that writing end up on the big or small screen. No soul selling (right?) and moving to or really dealing with the Hollywood machine. If I have an agent. If I have someone that can shop my rights around to producers. If I have someone that is willing to be the intermediary between me and the Hollywood machine.
Which brings me back to my original question: will the Bram Stoker nomination help get me an agent? Is it one of those things that agencies look at? Are there people in New York reading the list of Stoker nominees and thinking, “Hmmm, this Jake Bible guy sure is cranking out some books and constantly in and out of the Amazon bestsellers charts. Maybe I should shoot him an email…”. Do those folks exist?
Or is this nomination really more about peer recognition (which is awesome too)?
I have zero answers and I have zero idea what happens now. And what if I were to actually win the award? Is that the golden ticket? Do golden tickets exist in my world of small press genre pulptacularness?
And if I do get noticed by agents, am I willing to hand over 15% of my income to them? That’s a sticky issue right there!
Shit, I actually think this post has raised more questions than answers. Good one, Bible. Good one.
Anyhoo, this is what’s on my mind as I continue my journey through the land of full time writing (the land is not on Google Maps, so don’t bother looking). Maybe one day I’ll stroll this land with an agent by my side. Or maybe not.
I’ll keep y’all posted.
Last Friday of February!
That has zero significance, but I thought I’d say it.
So, before we hop into tonight’s drabble, I have a few announcements.
1. My teen horror novel, Intentional Haunting, has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award! Huzzah! I’ll find out in May whether I’m a winner or just honored to be nominated. (Permuted Press has dropped the ebook price to $2.99! Go get a copy!)
2. Permuted Press has dropped the price of Little Dead Man as well. This is my YA zombie novel filled with plenty of Jake Bible action, just minus my potty mouth. It’s a roller coaster ride of post apocalyptic goodness! Got get a copy while it’s $.99!
3. Z-Burbia is on sale for the next day at $.99! If you haven’t read my bestselling Romeroesque zombie series then this is your chance to get the first one cheap! CHEAP, I SAY! Plus, if you buy the ebook, you can also get the audiobook for just $1.99! $1.99, I SAY! WHAT A BARGAIN!
Just click on the pics below for the novel of your choosing! Be sure and grab one of each!
Now, on to tonight’s drabble!
The sickness spread so slowly that barely anyone noticed. A sniffle in this village one month then a rough cough in the next village a month later. That was it. Just a few sniffles, some coughs, a couple fevers.
The problem was the sniffles, the coughs, the fevers didn’t end, they just hung on for weeks and weeks. People could work, people could socialize, it was never enough to take anyone down.
Not until everyone was sick.
A collective virus, fully activated once a 100% infection rate was achieved.
When it showed its true nature it was over in minutes.
Disclaimer: WHAT A BARGAIN!
So, the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards have been announced. Yep. They have. Holy crap. Seriously. Holy crap.
That’s pretty crazy. Honestly, I never thought this novel would end up on a Final Ballot. It was a novel that my former agent tried to shop around, but couldn’t find a home for. When it was picked up by Permuted Press, it was bundled in a contract with my YA zombie novel Little Dead Man and my forthcoming middle grade scifi/horror series (think Goosebumps meets the Scooby Gang in deep space) ScareScapes. I knew it would be published, but the focus was more on LDM and ScareScapes than on IH.
Not to say I didn’t think IH was a great novel. It has always been a personal novel for me. It hits that John Green meets Stephen King note. Lots of teen angst with plenty of good, old fashioned spooky horror. And gore. Plenty of gore. Plus, because it’s a Jake Bible novel, a nice smattering of snarky humor. I can’t help but bring the humor, even in a dark novel that’s full of horrible parents, abuse, alcoholism, bullying, neglect, love, strength, passion, and Good vs Evil.
Now, with all that said, I am in a bit of a quandary. What the hell do I do with this honor? I’ve never been on a final ballot before. I’ve been in prelims, but those are usually chock full of recommendations from fans, readers, writers. It those long lists that the finals are chosen from. I have now been chosen and I have no idea what to do.
I’ve updated my bios to say “Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist”, but when dealing with a trillion different websites in this social mediapalooza reality, I know I have missed approximately 999 billion websites. Too much to keep up with, yo!
Okay, so bios updated (maybe) and I have tweeted and done some FB posts. Now what? Do I contact my local bookstore? Would they care? Do I put out a pres release? Is that over the top? Do I try to capitalize on this by promoting the shit out of this novel? Will that do more harm than good? Do I just keep my trap shut and be all humble and suppress the “Holy shit I’m nominated for a Bram Stoker!” feeling that’s coursing through my veins?
What the hell do I do?
The short answer: I do not know. The long answer: I do not know.
I’m sure there is some sort of etiquette to this whole thing. I just don’t know where to find that etiquette. It’s always prudent to follow the mantra of better to keep your mouth shut and look the fool than to open your mouth and prove it. Lord knows I have done plenty of proving it in my writing career.
But, if I keep my mouth shut then am I missing a golden opportunity? Am I passing up a chance that may not come again?
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! I DON’T KNOW!
This is the problem with being successful enough to write for a living, but not successful enough to be in the inner circles of the publishing biz. I’m kinda on my own here.
So, for now I’m going to sit on this, let it marinate in my brainpan, and just enjoy the honor. I’ll watch other more experienced authors that have been nominated and see how they act. Sure, lots of them have publishing juggernauts behind them, but I can at least emulate their cool, if not their marketing reach. Best to play it safe, right?
Shit, I’m more confused at the end of this post than I was at the beginning.
Oh, well, no one said it would be easy being a writer. In fact, everyone says it’s hard as hell. I guess this is one of those moments. Huh.
Shit, I need a drink…
But, one last thing, thank you to everyone that has supported me over the years. I do know that I would never have made it this far without all of you! I never say it enough, but y’all rock!
Let the Party begin!
As you read this I will have just seen American Sniper (or still seeing it, depending on your time zone). I am now an expert sniper. You all have crosshairs on you. DON’T EVEN TRY TO RUN!
Just kidding. WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?
So, who’s up for a drabble?
Speaking of drabbles, looks like Dead Mech is on sale for $.99! Go get that. DO IT! STOP RUNNING!
Onto the micro-fiction!
That Explains It
“Wind is sixty-five knots.”
“That’s really fast.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“Can we slow the wind down?”
“Can we slow it down? Maybe to twenty knots?”
“Uh, no. It’s the wind. We have no control-.”
“In the simulations you can slow it down.”
“This isn’t a simulation.”
“So? What does that have to do with anything?”
“Do you understand how weather works?”
“Sure. If you don’t like it then change it. Or go somewhere else.”
“How the holy hell did you get this job?”
“My dad bought me the commission.”
“That explains it.”
“So…about the wind?”
Disclaimer: YOU CAN NEVER RUN FAR ENOUGH!
Oh, yeah, baby! Friday the 13th!
Gotta love it when a Drabble Party lands on a high holy day of horror!
Okay, sorry, the booyah may have been a bit much. Know what’s not much? 100 words of micro-fiction!
But before we get to the delicious drabbleness, I want to remind everyone that Z-Burbia 5: The Bleeding Heartland is available in ebook and print forms. Have a look at the cover, I think it is the perfect book for you to read while more winter storms and snow hits the US. Shit be cold out there, yo!
Now, on to the drabble!
Ice and snow.
That was all Alan could see as he pushed his legs to keep moving. He focused on the horizon, making that his goal even though he knew it was unreachable.
“The ship is still waiting,” he said through chattering teeth. “It was supposed to stay until Thursday. We have one day to get there before they leave.”
When Rebecca didn’t answer, he glanced to his left, shocked to see he was alone.
Yet he didn’t stop. To do so would mean dying in minutes. And he didn’t escape the nightmare behind him just to freeze to death.
Disclaimer: Baby, it’s cold outside.