A sugar-coated turd is still a turd.

dec-2012-golden-poopThe below article, which was published in The Independent Publishing Magazine recently, is an innocent-looking, apparently informative and helpful piece BUT HERE BE TYGERS. I read it with growing concern until my fears were found to be on track: This John Hunt Publishing reveals right at the end that it charges an average of US$1,600 for any books they decide won’t sell well enough to pass some unspecified floor of sales.

John Hunt hisself says that “self-publishing” isn’t a real thing because authors must somehow reimburse their publishing houses for printing, marketing, &c. To which I say: DUH. OF COURSE THEY DO. But legitimate companies in the self-publishing biz make their money back — and then make profit — from BOOKS BEING SOLD. John Hunt Publishing wants it both ways, and that is a definite ripoff of independent authors.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: NEVER pay for publication of your book. There are add-ons every self-pub house offers such as help with cover design, typesetting, and other skill-requiring aspects of book production. A modest fee for those makes sense, since in a traditional house this would be deducted from the allover advance-and-royalties offer made on the book in the first place.

But never, NEVER pay a nickel for a publisher to take on your book. That way lies madness, bitterness, and great regret. There is a plethora of self-pub houses who WANT to get your book and make money on it through it being sold to readers — go with them. For realsies.

So read the article below so you can have disdain for it and know what NOT to do.

Alternative Publishing and Self-Publishing | John Hunt.

harumph anew at them.


This piggy went to market(ing)


This piggy went to market(ing)

As both of my regular readers know, I promised today to unveil my promotional postcard for Deadtown Abbey today, and here it is! I have included on this sample postcard an indication of where the stamp, postmark, bar code (from the P.O.) and address would go.

The front is essentially my final book cover design, and the back is the jacket copy from the book. I added a cool banner reminding peeps to go to the website and read the first chapter. I will have ordering info and more book information on the site by the time I send these out. Any thoughts? All gushing and noncritical opinions are welcome. 🙂

I ain’t never made bookmarks a’fore. Now I has.

Pardon the ungrammatical title, but I’ve been doing graphics stuff all day. (And if working on a daily newspaper taught me anything, it was that graphics people do not like to bothered about grammar and whatnot. This isn’t a putdown — we all have our wheelhouses and bailiwicks.)

But the hours I spent slaving over a hot computer have paid off. I’m going with OvernightPrints.com (which is ironic because I don’t need them overnight) to make up some promotional bookmarks for Deadtown Abbey. I worked and slaved on these and tried different designs and different fonts and then that wasn’t readable enough so I went back and fiddled with it and Photoshop and lots of caffeine and then I finished. Please see below for the finished front and back designs.

If you have any design critiques, please write them on a piece of paper and enchant someone else with them. (There are times I ask for critique-like comments. This is not one of those times.) Please do feel free, however, to gush about how much you love it. Thank you.

Tomorrow: Promotional postcards.


Deadtown Abbey cover concept


Deadtown Abbey cover concept 09-10-2013


The first fiction book that I’ll have coming out before The Act or Reviva Las Vegas will be my “undead homage,” Deadtown Abbey. As described in an earlier post, of course this is a fun parody of the wonderful Beebs show Downton Abbey. This book, plus a nonfiction collection of my zombie lectures, will be debuted at the Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta in November. This image uses copyrighted photos, so it’s just to show the concept. I’d love to hear what you think!

To Kickstart or not to Kickstart? That is my question

Friends, I have been working feverishly on my two books coming out next month: the 2nd edition of my comic thriller, Ain’t That America, and the first publication of my science fiction novel, The Act. Both worthy projects, of course, and both deserving of your custom when they are published. But there is another project upcoming, and I think I need your help with it.

You may remember that in this blog a week or two back, I plugged the Kickstarter project for The Walker Stalker Con, an all-things-zombie convention that will rise in Atlanta the first week of November. (You may remember me getting all frothy at the mouth over the fact that Judith O’Dea will be there.) I helped them get over their fund-raising goal, which in turn meant that I was going to be invited out to give some of my awesome “zombies in society” talks at the Con.

Well, shit happens. And it happens specifically that although they did make their fund-raising goal, they’re still not the most flush organization, and a plane ticket to come out and speak looks like it is, sadly, beyond their means. They broke no promises — I want to help zombie promotion organizations, and the Walker Stalker podcast is one of the best. They were more saying that they couldn’t do it if they didn’t make their goal, not that they could necessarily do it even if they did. Seriously, it’s all cool.

In fact, their frugality is actually kind of a good sign for the Con, because all of the money is going to make it fantabulous for all zombie lovers, and it’s not being spent on plane tickets for (admittedly awesome) zombie experts such as myself.

That said, I am still invited to speak and I still want to go make some magic at the three-day Con. I want to sell my books there — in fact, I will have my first actual ZOMBIE BOOK unveiling at Walker Stalker Con 2013. It will be called Reviva Las Vegas! and will feature four interlocking novellas about zombies in Sin City:

  • “Pawn of the Dead,” which shows how an unwitting group of Las Vegas reality TV show pawn shop workers unleash the Zombocalypse;
  • “Hoover Damned,” a story following a group of Vegas ne’er-do-wells as they try to save the city they call home from the rising dead;
  • “Dead Man’s Hand,” the story of a post-zombocalyptic drifter gambler who has to play a “sudden undeath” game of poker if he wants to leave Vegas alive; and
  • The title story, “Reviva Las Vegas!”, in which Sin City stages its last stand against the undead.

In addition to all this goodness, there will also be an extra section in the back with a transcript of all of my “Zombies! The Living Dead in Literature, Film, and Culture” lectures on iTunes U. This is the only place where these will be available in print form!

So you’re no doubt thinking, “Heck, Hoade, I’ll take one!” and while I appreciate that enthusiasm, hear me out for the rest of this. You’ll be glad you did, methinks.

This book, chock full of the zombie goodness you know and love, will be unveiled at the Walker Stalker Con in November. That is, if I can make it there, get a table to sell them, and so on. (You see where this is going. I’m thinking a Kickstarter project in order to raise said funds.) I have calculated the approximate costs thusly:

  • Round-trip flight to Atlanta (or vicinity): $400
  • “Artist’s table” at Walker Stalker Con: $300
  • Lodging for 4 nights at hotel holding the Con: $500
  • Meals for 4 days (3 at Con + 2 half-days of travel): $150
  • Production costs for books to sell at Con: $400 to $600
  • Miscellaneous: $150
  • WAY approximate total: $2,100

These estimates are kind of off the top of my head, based on other Cons I’ve had experience with. So you might be thinking, “Heck, Hoade” — that’s kind of a verbal tic you have — “why the hell should anybody support you to go make money off your own dang books? GET A JOB, HIPPIE!”

Okay, that’s harsh, but you’re a little emotional right now. I understand. But this is where the incredible bonus rewards come in. I’m thinking of setting up a Kickstarter of $2000, with the following irresistible awesomesauceome kickbacks for different levels of support:

  • Up to $24.99: An ebook copy of Reviva Las Vegas!
  • $25 to $49.99: An ebook copy and a signed hard copy of Reviva Las Vegas!
  • $50 to $74.99: The ebook, the signed hard copy, and you will be thanked by name in Reviva Las Vegas!
  • $75 to $99.99: The ebook, the signed hard copy, the thanking by name, and a character in Reviva Las Vegas! will be named after you (or given a name of your choice).
  • $100+: All of the above, plus ebook and signed copies of all of my books — the novels Ain’t That America and The Act as mentioned above, and also the literary historical novel Darwin’s Dreams and my crazy-ass collection of short stories, Inappropriate Behavior!
  • Any level of support: My sincere gratitude, OBVIOUSLY.

NOW HOW MUCH WOULD YOU … wait, sorry, wrong sales pitch.

With these kinds of incentives and the sheer amazingness of the project, do you think it is worth pursuing as a Kickstarter? Right now I plan to do it, but if everybody thinks it’s a damned bollocks of an idea, I could reconsider. So please share your thoughts — no obligation will be implied or assumed by your adding your opinion.

A Tale of Two Fonts


sample paperback font for blog2

I take a quick break from the 24/7 aural assault that is my 17-year-old daughter being obsessed with One Direction to share some book design stuff.

After the … shall we say, “slightly” … disappointing hard-copy proof I received of the new edition of Ain’t That America, I thought about fonts. I know that I wanted that pulp-fictiony font from the ’50s and ’60s, the kind that was in every paperback. So, in a stroke of partial awareness of the outside world, I searched for “paperback font.” And, um … there it was:

Paperback 12 Roman

It was free for commercial use, unlike the actual font used in those paperbacks of yore, which is called Times Ten and costs more than I expect to make from this book, so there ya go.

I was going with a font called “Bell MT,” which had a lot of the old-school I was going for, but wasn’t quite there. As in my first marriage, I was prepared to settle. Bell MT was good, although a little too classy-looking for what I wanted. The Georgia font I used for Darwin’s Dreams was really not what I need here … but since the hard-copy proof needed to be redesigned anyway, I took a little extra time and found the font of my dreams.

In this image, I’ve placed the old font choice on the top (the heading font is called “AR Darling”) and the new one on the bottom (here the heading font is my new cover font, “American Purpose,” a good ’50s-looking ad font I adore).

What do you think? I’ve heard from a blog reader who prefer the AR Darling over American Purpose, which is interesting because this person has read Ain’t That America and so has an informed opinion. Your thoughts are very welcome.

BTW, a couple of cool zombie posts coming up tomorrow! Stay tuned! Or logged on. Whatever you kids are calling it these days.