My first novel, Loose Ends: A Zombie Novel, is going to be released in paperback by Hazardous Press. Robert Helmbrecht has shown good faith as a publisher and as a person. Second only to wanting to do well with the novel for my own potential writing career (and out of control ego), I don’t want to let down his leap of faith in my work.
We met through my submission to the anthology call for A Quick Bite of Flesh, a zombie flash fiction anthology that turned out even better than the sum of its wonderful, dark parts. He took a look at my novel and offered me a generous contract for e-book. He fronted the costs and work on editing, cover art, etc. He took the risk as he ventured to build a fledgling publishing company.
Reviews have started to come in for the book and so far so good. It is still a leap of faith on Robert’s part to include my novel in a paperback campaign as he works to build Hazardous Press into a publishing house of note in the field of speculative fiction, horror, sci fi, and fantasy. When he approached me with the idea and then the contract, I signed with confidence. I signed more out of confidence in the company and the man than in the standard language of the pdf contract. I have been treated with great respect and support through this entire process even though I have no strong history in publishing as yet to earn that confidence. In all, I have about 30 published works of various sizes in the full range of the middle level publishing world’s various formats. (Not all the works are on this serach link and not all of these are mine. I didn’t work with Waylan Jennings, for instance, but it would be awesome if I did!) There are horror stories out there about dishonest dealings with publishers in the Internet age. I have only been treated well by everyone that has taken on my work even though I had no background on most of them before submitting. I try to give back to these publishers through my promotion, recommendations, and endorsement. I happily submit to their charity anthologies for that reason as much as any other. This time of e-book infinity and online publishing glut may be a new golden age of writing for the horror fiction world specifically and speculative fiction more broadly. Good people with day jobs are sacraficing time and savings to work in the dark night as editors and publishers. These folks conduct themselves with missionary like fervor and compassion with the promise of great reward hoped for as they toil for love in the present. How can I allow myself to disappoint people like this?
I have about 12 completed stories of various levels of quality that are sitting and waiting as I troll for markets. I have about 20 pieces and counting that are waiting in slush boxes. I complete and submit more weekly. A number of these are with publishers that have taken my work in the past. There are some of them that I submit every time they have a open call. I’m trying to make a run at this life of writing and these publishers have allowed me to improve by doing even though they often had to work with me to refine what I was giving them. They were polite when they accepted, rejected, and revised my submissions.
As my first novel is prepared for paperback, I want it to be successful for my own selfish reasons, but there are others that have invested blood and bone to the work. There are also readers that have paid their bills and fed their families. After that, they have used their remaining funds and limited time to buy and read my book. If it is lacking, then I have done them wrong. I’m not angry if they give a poor review. I don’t want them to have sacrificed their capital and moments of their lives on less than my best.
There are other lives effected by my work in various degrees. I strive to get better so their investment isn’t wasted. I put what I am into Loose Ends and I hope for its success for me, for them, and for it. Writing has the magic to outlast our individual time on this planet and I want to have marked the Earth in a way that impresses, challenges, changes, and moves. Is that so much to ask?