I have awakened from the Texas Frightmare

Some of you may recall how I was giddily running down the list of Conventions I would be attending this year. MegaCon in March, the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhuthon and the Salt Lake City Fan Xperience in April, then the Texas Frightmare in May, and so on.

However, reality has a way of saying, “Not so fast, pal.”

MegaCon, which I could have attended for free and stayed at for free thanks to the awesomeness of author Kimberly Raiser, is in Orlando, and even Spirit Airlines (“Home of the Nothing Special”) wants almost $400 for me to sit on a chicken crate while their fresh-from-rehab pilots work on building up enough flight hours so they can get a job at a better airline. That, and I would have to either mail my books to myself out there or just not try to sell any books and just hang out looking at overweight Darth Vaders try to impress shapely Slave Leias. (I kid — I LOVE these kinds of things, but still, Darth, why don’t you force-choke yourself to stop all that food going into your belly?)

“Join me, Luke … at the buffet.”

So no MegaCon. I also was interested in the Spooky Empire Con later in the year in Orlando, but I faced all of the same difficulties plus I’d have to pay for a table and a place to stay, so no dice.

That said, I do still have the Lovecraft Film Fest and the SLC Con, at both of which I will be an official guest giving talks and such. My buddy Greg in Portland is letting me stay with him for the former and some new friends in SLC are letting me stay with them and their brood for the latter. I’ve ordered my own books to sell at these Cons. I will be taking Spirit (“Fly the Frugal Skies”) to Portland and purchased my ticket to ride the dog to SLC so I can work on the way, something frowned upon if one is driving.

Today’s “Marmaduke” ain’t gonna read itself, officer.

The Salt Lake City Con is one of two there I will be attending this year, thanks to having had the luck to meet Dan Farr (the head of the SLC Cons) at the Walker Stalker festival last November. We hit it off immediately and he told me that he wanted me at his Cons not only for my awesome books, but also for my personality, which, I must admit, is pretty fun when I get wound up. He’s a great guy and their staff has been very accommodating. Also, I’ve never been to Utah, so BAM! (I have no idea what BAM means in this context. Just roll with it, baby.)

The Lovecraft Con is something I would have paid to attend in the first place, and all my eldritch heroes will be there … and I’ll be sharing a stage with them. Whoa. If I can sell half of the books I’m bringing there, the trip will have more than paid for itself.

And if I can sell a hundred times more books than I’m bringing there …

But whither Texas Frightmare in Dallas, you ask? My PUBLISHER (I’m now like that obnoxious woman on Seinfeld who kept referring to her FIANCEE every five seconds) let me know that Permuted Press would have a table there and I was welcome to join them and sell my books from “our” table (SQUEE!). However, I just learned that I’d have to pay to attend the Con, which I am not at all averse to, but money, airplane tickets, &c are not happening with all the other outlays for the earlier Cons. It’s cool, although I had wanted to attend most of all to stalk George Romero like the simpering fanboy I am. Hell, not going is probably just saving myself some Taser burns from security.

“Um, is this the photo op? Mr. Romero? Why is it so quiet?”

My pals at Permuted get only two passes, so they actually have to pay for some of their employees to attend the Con just to work at it! So I hardly feel aggrieved. Also, I would have had to fly Spirit again (“Passengers, would you mind putting your arms out the windows and flapping a little?”) and who needs that? I’ll plan to go next year when I is all famous and whatnot.

Another little catch is that I won’t be selling copies of Deadtown Abbey after I go through the 25 or so I have left because, of course, Permuted has bought the rights and will be putting it out themselves in the next 18 months or so. I could go to horror conventions just with some Darwin’s Dreams and Ain’t That America, I guess, but I get enough pitying looks from just driving my rather boot car around Vegas.

Obviously, I can’t get rid of it now that I know it can talk.

Next up: The bittersweet feeling of removing one’s own books from Amazon. Stay tuned!

What different sorts of publishers are out there? Do you need an agent to submit work to them?

As some of you know and fewer of you care, I teach creative writing for SNHU Online, the biggest not-for-profit school on the Web. One of my excellent students recently asked me what I thought about agents and publishers regarding who can send what to whom. That got me rolling on the different kinds of publishers in the Age of the Internet, and I thought you might find my reply interesting.

First, let me say that my time in the trenches has taught me that “publishing” is not a monolith. Especially since the rise of the Internet, there are as many different kinds of publisher as there are markets for books. To wit:

Big publishers: This is your Simon & Schuster, Random House, FSG, and so on. Each of these have many imprints as well for their different lines like romance, mystery, &c. They pay big advances and put lots of books into stores — which is why you see so many of their books in the remainder section of those stores when they don’t sell all 500,000 copies in hardback. It’s still a successful business paradigm, but less so in recent years when there are so many more ways for readers to buy books. (Some “publishers” that may seem like small houses are, in fact, imprints of these big houses. That SOMETIMES mean they play by small press rules, but not always.) Agents are most always needed to get one’s manuscript considered by the big publishers.


Of course, first you must convince an agent to take you on.

Small publishers: A lot of smaller presses want to stay that way, giving authors and editors the chance to focus sharply on each work. Smaller presses publish fewer books than the big publishers, of course, but offer an advance and do “big publisher” promotion for their authors, like TV and radio interviews, book trailers, and so on. The general rule here is that agents are helpful to get your manuscript read, but they aren’t always strictly required, especially if their focus is on genre books like romance or mystery. The volume of books needed to keep up with the demand of genre readers mean that their submission rules are often looser than those of the big boys, as a steady stream of new manuscripts is needed for this.


Also, some writers work slowly.

Niche publishers: Although small publishers may focus on one genre (or may not), niche publishers work not just on one genre, but often on one subgenre within that genre. Permuted Press, my new publisher, is a niche publisher. They focus like a laser beam on apocalyptic fiction and thus are the biggest name in that field. Niche publishers are often not as well funded as small publishers since they aren’t an arm of a big publisher, but they work hard for their authors: Their books get in stores, they send authors to conventions, and all sorts of good stuff like that. They may or may not offer an advance, but they work with their authors personally, building a relationship the way they did it in the old days of Maxwell Perkins and the Lost Generation writers. A big difference between niche publishers and small/big publishers is that an agent is almost never required for submissions of manuscripts to niche publishers. (This then means that their response time might be ridiculously long, but that’s the price you pay for access.)


There are a lot of different subgenres.

Micro-publishers: My good friend, who is a PhD and professor of English, just saw his book of short stories published by what I term a “micro-publisher.” What this means, in essence, is that this publisher has no more access to markets, reviewers, bookstores, and other means of promotion and distribution than would someone who was self-publishing (see below for my definition of “self-publishing”). These micro-publishers are a category created by the rise of Print On Demand (POD) technology and Amazon.com (as well as other, smaller online distrbutors). A “pro” of getting your work published by a micro-publisher is that your book is receiving the imprimatur of an outside entity, which looks much better on a resume if you’re trying to get teaching gigs or speaking engagements. A huge “con” of micro-publishing, however, is that the publisher has almost no investment in seeing your book sell even one copy — micros never pay advances, so they don’t need to push your book in order to recoup their investment. Essentially, a micro-publisher should be avoided unless the author him- or herself is really good at self-promotion. (However, if that’s the case, why not self-publish?) An agent can send your work to a micro, but is not at all necessary. It’s best for, as in my friend’s case, publishing as support for tenure in education. Also, his book is great.


You could click here if you wanted to.

Self-publishing: This is not the same as “vanity publishing” (defined below) … but it’s close. These days, anyone with a manuscript can see it put into print (using POD) and ebooks (using electricity) with self-publishing services such as CreateSpace, iUniverse, Lulu, and more. If you have design chops, you can do your own cover, or these are offered by the services and you can let them do what you can’t. (For a price, of course.) I’m very fortunate in that I know how to use Photoshop and have a little bit of an eye for design, and my wife is a professional book editor who makes sure everything on the interior is shipshape. My first novel was with iUniverse way back in 2000, and then I used CreateSpace for my second and third novels as well as my short story collection. (I had shopped Ain’t That America and Darwin’s Dreams around to agents and publishers and got NO play whatsoever.) I was a full-time professor at the time and just wanted my books out there. A few copies sold here and there, but the end result — with Deadtown Abbey, my last book published with CreateSpace — is that they got noticed and I got a 10-book contract with an actual publisher. A physical book (or ebook, I guess) is something that can be put into the hands of people who might be able to look at it and recommend it to the Publishing Powers What Is. It worked for me, and it could work for anyone. You obviously would not need an agent, since you’re submitting this to yourself, if you will.


“I’m a tougher negotiator than I realized. Darn you, me!”

Vanity publishing: This category is for those “authors” who have a manuscript that they pay to get printed, edited, have a cover designed, and everything else that a publisher would do. They rarely have access to a distribution pipeline like self-publishers have. (But sometimes they do.) This is for books with little to no value in the marketplace, such as family histories, many books of poetry, or screeds for or against something or other that no one other than the writer would want to be associated with. My novel Asians Are Bad Drivers, rejected at every level of publishing, would fall into this category.* Anyone who could possibly get an agent to do anything for them would never fall into this category. It’s as embarrassing as forgetting to bring your fruit aspic to a Mormon picnic.

I hope this is helpful. You must identify what markets your book would be best suited for, and then figure out what publishers or agents you need to submit to in order to get the book to that market. Other than short stories, I recommend that writers always keep in mind where a book might be most profitably published (and that means more than money profit). Short stories rarely require an agent, especially for online magazines and journals.

Some markets are swankier than others.

Finally, get thee a copy of the current Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market and use it. It will save you much heartache and wasted time.

Excelsior!
Prof. Sean

* This is a joke. There is no such book … yet. But seriously, even self-pub presses such as CreateSpace won’t accept works advocating violence or hatred against anyone. That’s one HUGE difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing.

The Germans must like zombies

After being interviewed for several German news outlets, I thought I’d be used to the Teutons asking me about the living dead. But no! In my latest escapade in the land where no one jokes, the German magazine Wissen identifies me in a pullout quote as Sean Hoade, Zombie-Experte, and quotes me as saying, “In den USA gab es großes Interesse an Zombies.” I didn’t even realize I knew Deutsche! Anyway, check out the article below by clicking on the image, my lovely little Strudel-munchers.

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Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

This is reblogged from the second-greatest blog on the Web, Maria Popova’s BrainPickings.org. We all should be so lucky as to be
one-tenth the wordsharp that Mr. Leonard was.

RIP, Elmore Leonard: The Beloved Author’s 10 Rules of Writing

“If it sounds like writing … rewrite it.”

How heartbreaking to learn that the wonderful Elmore Leonard (October 11, 1925–August 20, 2013) has died, and what a bittersweet invitation to revisit his timeless contribution to the meta-literary canon: On July 16, 2001, Leonard wrote a short piece for The New York Times, outlining his ten rules of writing. The essay, which inspired the Guardian series that gave us similar lists of writing rules by Zadie SmithMargaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman, was eventually adapted into Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing (public library) – a slim, beautifully typeset book, with illustrations by Joe Ciardiello accompanying Leonard’s timeless rules.

He prefaces the list with a short disclaimer of sorts:

These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.

Leonard then goes on to lay out the ten commandments, infused with his signature blend of humor, humility, and uncompromising discernment:

1. Never open a book with weather.

If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

 

2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s O.K. because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks. . . . figure out what the guy’s thinking from what he says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . . Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That’s nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don’t have to read it. I don’t want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story.”

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.


4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” …

…he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs.”

 

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

 

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

 

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavor of Wyoming voices in her book of short storiesClose Range.

 

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

Which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.


9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

Unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison. But even if you’re good at it, you don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

And finally:

 

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.


Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing. (Joseph Conrad said something about words getting in the way of what you want to say.)

 

If I write in scenes and always from the point of view of a particular character – the one whose view best brings the scene to life – I’m able to concentrate on the voices of the characters telling you who they are and how they feel about what they see and what’s going on, and I’m nowhere in sight.

 

What Steinbeck did in Sweet Thursday was title his chapters as an indication, though obscure, of what they cover. “Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts” is one, “Lousy Wednesday” another. The third chapter is titled “Hooptedoodle 1” and the 38th chapter “Hooptedoodle 2” as warnings to the reader, as if Steinbeck is saying: “Here’s where you’ll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, and it won’t get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want.”

 

Sweet Thursday came out in 1954, when I was just beginning to be published, and I’ve never forgotten that prologue.

 

Did I read the hooptedoodle chapters? Every word.

The economics of a ten-book contract

Before you read this examination of the whys and wherefores of a ginormous contract like this, please allow me to explain that I’m about as far from an economist – or even a solvent U.S. consumer – as one can get. So I might say some things in this post that have little to do with reality, but this is the way I understand them. This understanding has been my rationale behind getting SQUEEcited about the Permuted Press contract that will extract 10 books out of me in a little less than three years. I will also discuss why this is perfect for me.

The turnip chuckled bitterly when it was reminded that it had asked for this.

If you are an economist or other smarty-farty money person, your thoughts on my charts and such are mildly welcome in the comments. Until then, here’s my take on things:

Book sales as a function of Gaussian somethingsomething and … um … how about a picture?

So I was talking to Best Friend Unit Conner about the Magnificent Ten-Book Contract of Magnificence last week, and I thought I’d blow the dust off of some old analytical geometry knowledge by saying, “So the great thing about a large multi-book contract like this is that sales will follow a logarithmic curve, starting from zero, then jumping as the books get known and word of mouth happens, and finally tapering off according to a log(x)-type function and giving me a monthly (or any period) total of sales that will stabilize as it approaches the asymptote of whatever will be the usual sales.” (Actually, what I believe I said was, “It’ll be a logarithmic function.”) That kind of function would look something like this, and the period could be months, years, days, whatever:

I put the “ass” in “asymptote.”

See? This shows the books leaping off the shelves in the early days (one’s definition of “leaping” being somewhat tempered by having been a self-pub author for so long), and then, once the groupies and fanboys have gotten theirs, gently but inevitably sliding into a sakes rhythm that approaches, for the sake of this graph, five books per week. (Or day. Or month, unfortunately.) This graph — although it is about to be “Connerized,” meaning “brought back to reality with a herring slapped across one’s face” — shows how a contract for many books will eventually give the author a fairly constant royalty.

See, let’s say that five per week is the magic number, aka limit, aka asymptote, aka “I happen to know the word ‘asymptote’ and am going to obnoxiously use it at every opportunity.” Five books per week, resulting in, let’s say, R dollars in royalties per week (paid quarterly, but that’s another discussion). Here’s the great thing and why I am especially chuffed about having 10 books in the pipeline (that’s industry lingo, don’t feel bad because of my insider awesomeness). When the contract is fulfilled at the end of 2016 (and the books are all out sometime by the end of 2017 or so), my function will change from

y = log(x)

to

y = 10*log(x)

So if the asymptote (or final resting number, if you will) of the first function is R dollars, then that of the second function would be ten times R dollars! (This is assuming my backlist sells evenly for the sake of this discussion.) So let’s say I get $1.00 in royalties for a single book, so R = $1.00. Selling five books in a week would make R = $5.00 (I duz math) and when all the books are out, that would be 10*R, or $50.00 every week just from royalties, which means I don’t have to do any additional work to have that sweet coin rolling in. I’m very good at not doing more work than absolutely necessary.

Of course, there will be things I must do to keep sales up (things that just about every writer dreams of, like interviews, readings, and signings) and there could be money from audio sales, movie rights, and other ancillary wonders. But focusing just on the royalties as described here, $50.00 a week for doing nothing extra is a pretty sweet deal. (These numbers are all arbitrary, of course. I could sell one book a month, and that being to someone who buys it because he can carve it out and hide his .38 Special in there. Or I could sell 20 books a day. But I digress.)

This is all well and good, as they say, but then …

The Long Tail and a slight reality check courtesy of “Connerization”

Young Mister Conner took my suggestion that my sales would follow a logarithmic curve and very gently, very politely, laughed in my face. No, not really, but he pointed out that sales of books or other unique items available digitally (meaning both actual ebooks and books that are printed on demand rather than the traditional model of making a set number and selling them until they run out with no more available until another fixed press run) don’t follow y = log(x) but instead follow something along the lines of y = x½ + 5 (the constant that here is “5” being whatever one thinks the ultimate asymptote of book sales during a period will be):

Assuming that my sales start at infinity.

You can see here that “The Long Tail” is essentially the logarithmic function turned upside down, and it (perhaps obviously) assumes that sales start at a high number (or get to a high number very quickly) and then taper off precipitously, selling slightly fewer and fewer until the asymptote of five books per time period is approached for the rest of the book’s lifetime. This is, I must admit, more plausible than my original conception — in that it doesn’t hold that my books will rise to a certain high level and stay there, but instead that my book sales, like that of most unique consumer items, will start off high and then decrease as demand is satisfied except for the lower number of people who discover it later.

Still, the result is pretty much the same: With one book in an author’s backlist, s/he will receive royalties of R = y(x). But with a contract eventually swelling that backlist to ten books, it would be R = 10(y(x)). If you’re Stephen King and you have 50 books, not only would it be 50(y(x)), but your asymptote would be at more like 1,000. So if you possibly can, be Stephen King, I guess? Sorry, I got distracted thinking about royalties.

Uncle Scrooge had a hell of a backlist.

So there you have it. The best thing about having a contract for many books isn’t the small-but-still-OMG-appreciated advance on each book, but the very good chance that one will have royalties coming in every quarter that will support the writing of even more books. Also rent. Food is also a plus.

Until next time, amigos!

Sexy Bad Ass Zombie Hunters

How do you keep the Zombocalypse idea fresh in film? Make even the mobile phone commercials the sexiest, most bad-ass movie ever.

The Zombie Blog

Here is a video you lads might enjoy. It is a video from the I think telephone company Boost Mobile. Anyway it from the channel AUSBOOST. They’ve got a whole bunch of nice zombie scenes. Here is one of a few Bad Ass Sexy Zombie Hunters clearing out a supermarket. Enjoy

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The contract is inked. Now I become one with my desk until 2017.

Both of you who have been following my saga of writing and publishing in this strange new world will know that I didn’t want to say who the publisher was who offered me the ten-book contract until their and my Cock Hanjohns had been placed officially upon the scroll of wonders. (Or PDF that I needed to print out and send them, if you’re not feeling poetic.) That has now been done and my soul officially belongs to Permuted Press. (For-real motto: “Enjoy the Apocalypse.”) Go into any bookstore and seek out the coolest and most unsettling fiction, then look on the back of the volume: It will most likely say “Permuted Press.”

Perhaps applicable only to certain values of “enjoy.”

Permuted started out publishing only zombie books, which ten years ago didn’t even exist as its own subgenre, most zombie tales being told in the medium of film. But after my dear friend Max Brooks (disclaimer: we’ve never met) came out first with his insanely great The Zombie Survival Guide in 2003 and then followed it up with (IMHO) the best zombie novel ever written, World War Z, in 2006, it took off. Now, I know a movie called World War Z exists and is, you know, okay, I suppose, but it has exactly Jack Squat to do with the masterpiece that is the book. If you haven’t read it, do so now. I’ll wait.

Okay, all done? Excellent, moving on: Permuted started publishing zombie books just as the genre exploded. And when I say exploded, I mean literally blew up (disclaimer: not literally). You can go into any Barnes and Noble now and really literally see a hundred different titles stocked in the store about undead monsters, undead lovers, undead cheerleaders and football stars, undead detectives, and the list literally goes on until it stops. Undead movie stars. Undead strippers. Undead robots, fer Pete’s sake. And when I say “undead,” of course there are pantloads of vampires and werewolves—although the less bigoted term seems now to be “shifters”—and maybe even mummy-type formerly living folks. But mostly, “undead” now means “zombie.”

There might be some overlap.

Brooks got the ball rolling, but Permuted picked up that ball and ran for a goal at home plate. (I’m not good at sports metaphors, being a lifelong “indoor kid.”) Permuted Press first published the book John Dies At The End by David Wong. You know, the bestseller about the fecking CHAOS that ensues after you drink soy sauce. (It makes sense in the book.) They made a very entertaining and faithful movie adaptation of it, starring Paul Giamatti, who could recite the Russian alphabet a hundred times in a row and make it a must-see event. They also published the phenomenon known as Day by Day Armageddon by J.L Bourne. Great stuff. This is my publisher now, and for my next nine books.

“Wait,” an observant and completely nonexistent reader of this blog might say, “the novels you mentioned in the earlier blog post are, at best, tangentially related to zombies. What gives?” Well, first, let me say that I admire your use of 1940s hipster lingo. Second, I am at the vanguard of Permuted’s expanded mission, which is to publish books that are about the end times, the Apocalypse, any eschatological scenario set either right before it happens, while it happens, or after it happens. Zombies are everyone’s go-to Armageddon, it’s true, but Permuted is growing and wants to publish all kinds of novels dealing with the end of humanity, whether actual, potential, or already achieved. My Lovecraftian novels are perfect for this wider scope. (I am also doing zombies, natch, because ZOMBIES.)

See, Permuted Press started out as a labor of love that—because of the emergence of Zombiestan as the premiere scary destination over the past ten years—turned into a successful publishing imprint. The founder recently sold to a veteran of New York  publishing circles, and this new owner is bringing Permuted into the big leagues.

Remember, kids: Don’t do chew.

That’s where I come in. Apparently my on-a-whim submission of Deadtown Abbey to Permuted sparked something in the new owner and he called me personally, his own self, from New York a month ago or so and essentially told me that he wanted me to be part of their Great Leap Forward. Then I got involved in some contract negotiations which essentially went like this:

Permuted Press: We want Deadtown Abbey.

Me: Okay!

Permuted Press: We also want more books from you.

Me: Okay! Here’s nine more novels I have rolling around in my brain that fit the Permuted Press vision.

Permuted Press: We’ll take them.

Me: Okay! Which ones?

Permuted: All of them. We will give you an advance every time you get one to us.

Me: Okay! How much money?

Permuted: X dollars.

Me: Okay! <thinks for a moment> But how about X + (very small Y) dollars per book?

Permuted: Done. Now go write.

Me: Okay!

As you can see from this historical re-enactment, I am a complete shark in the waters of contract negotiation. All right, actually more of a flounder. Okay, okay, actually more of an old sneaker that someone dropped off the side of a boat. But still, this is the greatest thing publishing-wise that has happened to me since … well, ever. Self-publishing is noble and wonderful, but as I said in an earlier blog post, this kind of support is an entirely new level of endorsement for my work. The next nine books I write are already accepted. Meaning I’d better get off here and get my bad self to work.

Help! Tell the world my story about me telling the world my stories!

Next: Finally, the discussion of the economics of a ten-book contract. I promise.