Writer of Horror Fiction

Posts tagged “publishing

My article over at Indie Inside has gone live!

I’d mentioned that I’d written a brief article for Pat Douglas, a fellow author, over on his website, http://indie-inside.com.  It has gone live now, and I hope you’ll click on the full link and head on over there: http://indie-inside.com/the-joys-of-the-other-stuff-guest-blog-w-patrick-dorazio/.  For anyone who has become a writer and believes that when they get published that they can just sit back and bask in the glory of being famous, this article is for you.  It’s also for anyone else who ever wonders how you can get the word out on a writing project.  Whether you self-publish, get with a smaller publisher, or manage to swing for the fences and get with one of the big publishers out of New York, much of the promotional work responsibility is in your own hands.  There is tons you can do to help promote your stuff, and my article goes over just a small smidgen of that.  So pleased check it out…it might make you cringe, but perhaps it will bring a smile to your face…because I tried to be funny (just a little bit-probably failed, but give me a B for effort).

A word to the wise for those who are writers or plan on becoming one in the future.

For the most part, my posts on this blog have been related to my work and the work of others: reviews, updates, and promotion of my work and the work of my fellow writers.  There have been a few commentaries on my experiences in writing and I will admit there probably needs to be more.  While I am far from an expert on how to get published or just in the craft of writing, I have learned a few things along the way and continue to learn new things every day.

One thing in particular that I have learned is that there are so many people out there who genuinely care for one another in the writing community.  They may make their living writing, editing, publishing, doing formatting…or they may be doing it more as a sideline-hobby/passion/dream of making it big someday (most of us are like that, in fact), or they are fans of the different genres: horror, science fiction, fantasy, bizarro, etc who have dreams of getting more involved down the road-maybe making movies, writing, creating their own publishing company, or something else.  They pour their blood, sweat, and tears into what they do, and care about it enough to make sure they do the best job possible-not just for themselves, but for everyone else who is relying on them.  Social media has allowed pretty much everyone to share their thoughts, connect, and join in the conversation with a very wide ranging community that is all over the globe.  I’ve learned a lot from a lot of different people.  Not just about writing, but about the business side of things-what it takes to get a book out there, how to promote your work, how do you hook up with filmmakers, etc.  I’ve been lucky because I’ve associated myself with people who not only care about what they do, but they behave in a very professional manner.

But you hear stories now and again about someone who steals stories from other authors and claims them to be their own, or publishers who refuse to pay the artists for the work they put out there.  It is unfortunate, but the people who share their experiences and send out warnings pave the way for the rest of us to be able to avoid the same pitfalls, and because of that, we all are grateful to these brave souls.  Sometimes the lessons are more simple, such as avoiding getting provoked by a review of your work that you disagree with.  Tales of woe for authors abound on this front.

This brings me to the main topic of this post.  Yesterday, I saw two separate warnings posted on Facebook from two separate authors, both of which are fairly new to being published.  Quite a few people have since shared their information with everyone on Twitter and Facebook that they know, and I am joining their ranks.  As some of you know, I tend to keep my opinions to myself beyond of the topic of the writing I do or someone else’s work…and when I do comment on anything anyone else does, I do my best to be constructive and professional about it.  I have avoided more flammable topics, but for right now, I feel it’s important that I share these two tales with anyone who reads my blog.  Take away from them what you will.  It is my hope that what has happened to these two writers doesn’t have to happen to anyone else because of what they’ve shared.

The first post is from horror author Alyn Day.


The second is from author Mandy De Geit.



I think it is fair to share these blog posts with the world, as I think it would also be fair for me to share any rebuttals that the publisher has to offer to either or both of these authors, if I hear of one in the future.  Because there is always two sides to the story, and even with the information shared above, I would be curious to see what response there may be to these accusations.  It is a shame when things like this happen.  But as so many others have said and I have as well, the fact that this information was shared makes all of us the wiser and more prepared as writers going forward with our efforts.


So always be alert and concerned about what is going on around you as a writer.  Find out as much as you can about a editor, a publisher, and everyone else involved in working with you before you hand your pride and joy over to them.  Just as you expect a mechanic to be trained to work on cars and a doctor to have a medical degree before you let them tell you to bend over and cough, you should know the history of who you are looking to work with in advance of agreeing to anything.  But if you do end up making a mistake (and we all have, on many different occasions), don’t hesitate to share with others, so they can learn and avoid those same mistakes.


Check out Tim Long’s interview of yours truly!

Tim Long, a fellow zombie novelist and all around great guy shot me over some questions a little while back.  Some were normal, some were odd, and some…well, just check it out.  I chat about my books, about my zombie slaying skills (well, sort of), I ramble a bit, and I chat about a new project I’m involved with that Tim handed the reins over to me on.  So I am handling my first editing project.  I will provide more details down the road as the book shapes up a bit more and is ready for primetime, but for now, give a looksee at the info on it over on his website:  http://timothywlong.com/an-interview-with-patrick-dorazio/.

Thanks Tim for a fun interview.  Oh and do Tim a favor and check out what else he has on his blog.  He is in the process of releasing a couple of books and has a some others that have been out for a while…all of which I have read, and all of which I can heartily recommend…though a couple of them are pretty odd.  But Tim is a pretty odd guy.  And that, my friends, is a good thing!

The Dark Trilogy is now on Kindle!

Just a brief while after it hit smashwords, my trilogy is now on the kindle!  I am pretty thrilled about this one because it is FINALLY on the kindle, without the errors that the faced the original release of Comes The Dark that led to my publisher and I agreeing not to do any more kindle releases until the entire trilogy was ready to go.  And now, it is ready to go!

Here is the description:

Patrick D’Orazio’s Dark Zombie Trilogy (Comes The Dark, Into The Dark, and Beyond The Dark), was originally released on the Kindle in an unedited form under the first book’s title, Comes The Dark. It is being re-released with the entire trilogy as it was meant to be read: edited and expanded, with additional chapters not appearing in the original Kindle version, along with the Dark Stories that have appeared in the author’s blog that provide a full fourth book of additional stories about many of the secondary characters appearing in the trilogy, including Megan, George, Jason, Michael, and Ben. The Dark Trilogy, Revised, Expanded, and with Additional Stories is over 250,000 words of an intense saga of the zombie apocalypse.
The end came with a whimper, not a bang. The mysterious virus came out of nowhere and engulfed the world in a matter of days. Everyone who was infected seemed to die…and rise again. Governments collapsed, armies disappeared, and entire civilizations turned to dust as the human race tore itself to pieces. Jeff Blaine had a good life: a beautiful wife, adorable children, and a nice house in the suburbs. He liked his job, loved his family, and spent his lazy suburban Sundays out on the deck, barbecuing with the neighbors. Things were perfect until everything fell apart. And no matter how hard Jeff tried, he could not spare his family from the horrors scratching at the door. Now, with his family gone, his life in ruins, the only thing left is raw anger and pain. As the world continues to sink into darkness, Jeff does as well. So he ventures out into the desolation with no better plan than to destroy as many of the monsters that stole his life away before they destroy him as well. But soon Jeff will discover other survivors unwilling to give up. They will force him to decide whether or not to give in to the venom that gnaws at his soul. Should he continue to fight to survive, or succumb to the things in the darkness?

Just click on the picture below and it will send you on over to Amazon so you can pick up a copy:

It slithers towards the light, from Beyond The Darkness…it is almost here!

Well folks, the short delay on Beyond The Dark is almost at an end, with the formatting being completed tonight on the book, there is very little else to do but to put the cover and back cover together and wrap it around a proof, make sure it looks like it should, and then get it out there!

In addition to the final book of my trilogy being released very soon, the Kindle and other ebook form of the entire trilogy will also be released.  It will be entitled The Dark Trilogy: Revised, Expanded, and with Additional Stories.  I know it is a mouthful, but just call it The Dark Trilogy, for short, heh.  My publisher and I have discussed price points for this electronic release and agreed upon $4.99, which will be for over 250,000 words, including the three books plus every last story that appears in the Dark Stories page of this blog…and another little one that doesn’t appear here as well.  250,000 words is a hefty sum, so that price should be a pretty decent one for the zombie fans out there who have e-readers.

I would say that Beyond The Dark should be ready for createspace within the next couple of weeks (and I think perhaps sooner), and then amazon maybe a week or so later.  The kindle version should also be available very soon.

For any of you good folks reading this who haven’t checked out any of my trilogy, check out the first three chapters of Comes The Dark, which I have moved to its own separate page for easy access.  It will give you a taste before you buy.  And then, feel free to hit up my bio page and you can click on the links showing both Comes The Dark and Into The Dark, with Beyond The Dark to soon be joining them.

For now, here are copies of the front cover of Beyond The Dark and a rough up of the back cover as well.  Stay tuned, more will be coming soon as the release happens!

Check out my article on Flames Rising’s website about “Comes The Dark”

The folks over at Flames Rising let me take a swipe at talking about Comes The Dark and my writing experiences in general.

For folks not in the know, Flames Rising is an online resource for fans of Horror and Dark Fantasy entertainment. This horror fanzine offers reviews of Games, Fiction, Movies and more ranging from Top-Selling authors to the coolest Small Press and “indie” publishers. The popular Interviews at Flames Rising include Horror authors, artists and other creators of dark entertainment.  So you should be checking them out!

And more to the point, check out my article, here:  http://www.flamesrising.com/comes-the-dark-essay/

COMES THE DARK is live on Createspace!

It has finally happened.  My book is live on Createspace.  The publisher has approved the proof and this book is now available to the world!  This is the first step.  It will be available on Amazon and other online sources within a week to ten days, and then will be available on the Kindle (no release date on that as of yet).  You will be able to pick it up in PDF format via The Library of the Living Dead website for a very aggressive price as well.

More to come on all of that, but here is the link which will allow you to purchase my book from Createspace.  Again, it should be available from Amazon very soon for those of you who want to wait for it’s release there.  But don’t wait, buy a copy…buy 2!  Buy several for your friends, family, your dog, your cat, and anyone else you can think of!


Thanks to everyone who has made this book possible…too many to thank without making this post a mile long, but you know who you are!

Final Cover of Comes The Dark complete as well as formatting…as well as a few other things

Well, the file is pretty large, so it would be tough to add it here, but the finalized cover is complete for the book and it looks great.  Philip Rogers did a fantastic job with it and was able to fit all the blurbs on the front and back along with all the logos and other little touches that will make this complete.

Since it’s a pdf, it’s too large to effectively post here.

Also complete is the formatting for the inside of the book.  An ISBN number needs to be set up for the book and then a proof will be ordered from the printers, which I get to look over and make sure it looks good.  If it is all set, then the book gets rolling.

In some ways, it is pretty scary that things have gotten to this point so quickly.  I sort of find it hard to believe that my first book is this close to being completed so that I can start bugging everyone to start buying this sucker.

In other ways, it feels completely right after such a long saga.  Many thanks to Michael West, aka Dr. Pus, for making all of this possible.  I can’t repeat that enough.  The man is driven and dedicated to his authors, and I have always felt as if the Library is a wonderful home for a lot of great people, with Doc as our wonderfully wild patriarch.  Imaging a trip to Pittsburgh in September to meet him and everyone else is almost too much to imagine.  It’s going to be a profound experience.  Especially since I will be on one of the author panels with the chance to read from my book.

As Doc has told me more than once:  “Buckle up and keep your hands and feet inside the cabin-it’s gonna be a wild ride!”

Update: I was able to get a lower sized version of my wraparound cover saved…so here it is:

My handout for Comes the Dark

As the date of the release of my book, Comes The Dark, gets closer, I am working to do what I can to promote it as much as possible.  That includes creating a flier that I can pass out at events like a convention I am going to this weekend to help out a fellow author to promote his recently released book.  Since I’ve gotten a rough draft of the cover of my book, I can add few images to the brochure to add a little punch.  Here is the text of the piece.  Big thanks to Tim Long, another fellow author, who showed a flier that he had created for his book, The Zombie-Wilson Diaries, on The Library of the Living Dead message boards.  I essentially copied exactly what he did.  I think it will help tremendously.

Well, here it is:


The end came with a whimper, not a bang. The mysterious virus came out of nowhere and engulfed the world in a matter of days.  Everyone who was infected seemed to die…and then rise again.  Governments collapsed, armies disappeared, and entire civilizations turned to dust as the human race tore itself to pieces.

Jeff Blaine had a good life: a beautiful wife, adorable children, and a nice house in the suburbs.  He liked his job, loved his family, and spent his lazy suburban Sundays out on the deck, barbecuing with the neighbors.  Things were perfect until everything fell apart.  And no matter how hard Jeff tried, he could not spare his family from the horrors scratching at the door.

Now, with his family gone, his life in ruins, the only thing left is raw anger and pain.  As the world continues to sink into darkness, Jeff does as well.  So he ventures out into the desolation with no better plan than to destroy as many of the monsters that stole his life away before they destroy him as well.

But soon Jeff will discover other survivors unwilling to give up.  They will force him to decide whether or not to succumb to the venom that gnaws at his soul.  Should he continue to fight to survive, or succumb to the things that come with the dark?

Patrick S. D’Orazio

Patrick D’Orazio resides in southwestern Ohio with his wife, Michele, two children, Alexandra and Zachary, and three spastic dogs.  He has been writing since he was a teenager but only recently clued into the fact that unless he attempted to get published, no one else would really care.

Several of his short stories appear in various anthologies from Library of the Living Dead, including “The Moron’s Guide to the Inevitable Zombocalypse,” “The Zombist,” “Night of the Giving Dead,” “Zombidays,” and “Letters from the Dead.”  He will also be appearing in May December’s “Eyewitness: Zombie” anthology and Pill Hill Press’ “Daily Bites of Flesh 2011.”

Comes The Dark, the first book of a trilogy, is Patrick’s first novel and is being released by The Library of the Living Dead Press this September.

Undead Praise for Comes The Dark

Comes the Dark is well-written, relentless, fast-paced horror.  Be ready for blood, carnage and a wild ride in this tale of the Zompocalypse! –Stephen A. North, author of Dead Tide and Dead Tide Rising

A tense apocalyptic survival tale with a powerful heart at its center. -David Dunwoody, author of EMPIRE and UNBOUND & OTHER TALES

COMES THE DARK by Patrick D’Orazio is a high speed adrenaline ride through the madness and insanity of the zombie apocalypse.  From beginning to end you question your own sanity and strength through the eyes of the characters.  Can’t wait to get my copy! – Benjamin Rogers, author of FAITH & THE UNDEAD.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Jeff bit his lip as he tried to maintain a grip on the aluminum baseball bat in his sweaty hands.  He splashed through a slick puddle of blood as he continued running down the sidewalk.

The backpack jounced up and down and he slipped his hand around the strap to make sure it stayed in place.  The tin cans and boxes of crackers thumped in time to his footsteps.  Increasing his speed, he tried to suck in another lungful of air.

The howls of rage had grown distant but slowing down wasn’t an option.  Not until he was safely back inside.  As he crested the hill a smile tugged at Jeff’s lips—there were only a few more houses to pass and he would be home free.

Pulling tighter on the frayed strap hanging over his shoulder, he moved onto the grass to avoid hearing his own footsteps.  Eyes darting back and forth, he spied no movement as his house came into view.   It was hard to believe it had only been an hour since he had crept out to go on a hunt for food.  He spotted the dark brown side door, which stood in stark contrast to the light beige siding that surrounded it.

Skidding to a halt in front of the door, Jeff’s eyes narrowed.  There was a smudge near the knob.  A rusty red finger-shaped outline caused his heart to skip a beat.

Feeling a rush of white hot terror flooding his system, Jeff looked around, eyes shifting to the bushes at the back of his neighbor’s house.  He could feel his heart racing and pulse accelerate as he tried to keep his breathing normal.  Turning quickly, he looked across the street at the other houses, scanning for movement among the shadows.  Ignoring the moans and howls off in the distance, he tried to reassure himself no one was watching or waiting to pounce.  Taking a deep breath, he tried to tell himself that everything was going to be okay.

The smudge had not been there before.  He recalled staring at the door after shutting it earlier and wondering if leaving, even if for a little while, was such a good idea.  There had been no scratches and certainly no blood on the door when he left.  That was not something the detail oriented man would have missed.

Jeff dug into his pocket and curled his fingers around the house key.  Regardless of whoever…or whatever…had left the mark on the door all that mattered now was getting back inside before he was discovered out here.

As the key touched the knob and the door moved slightly, Jeff’s eyes widened and his hand began to quiver.  The door was already unlocked.  Worse, it wasn’t even shut.  He began to shake his head and whisper “no” over and over.  It couldn’t be.

Jeff knew he had locked the door when he left.  He had hugged Ellen, told Frankie and Mary to behave for mommy, and then…

A cold, stark fear for his family’s safety overrode the slow itch of terror in Jeff’s gut as he slammed his fist into the door and burst into the garage.  Staring into the darkened space, he nearly stumbled but somehow his watery legs managed to hold him up.

Mark, his next door neighbor, was bent over Ellen, teeth buried in her neck.  A wide pool of bright red fluid gushed from where he gnawed at her torn flesh.

Jeff froze in the doorway as he desperately tried to comprehend what he was seeing.  The guy he had shared a few beers with over discussions about politics, baseball, and the Horton’s Rottweiler crapping in their yards was tearing into his wife’s throat.  Jeff couldn’t quite see Ellen’s face because Mark’s blood-drenched hand was clasped over her eyes and nose, but it was definitely her.  There was a faint scent of jasmine in the air mixed in with the rich coppery scent of blood.  It was that perfume she always wore.  The tenth anniversary diamond ring he had given her a year before sparkled in a splash of sunlight as her arm flopped to the side.  Jeff’s eyes gravitated to the ring but it was hard to catch more than a brief glimpse of it as his wife’s fingers twitched violently in response to the tearing motion of Mark’s teeth.

For more info on the book, head over to http://www.patrickdorazio.com

Comes The Dark

The ongoing saga of becoming a published author…

Yep, it continues to be an interesting journey for me.  Currently, I am dealing with plenty in my life and the writing aspect is only one sub-section of that, but even with all the administration that goes into getting a book ready and prepared for the publisher, it is a fun experience.

I haven’t written for a few days due to other distractions, but I want to focus on it full steam over the next couple of weeks.  I am starting to feel the compelling need to begin writing my next novel, since I have been so short story happy that the idea and outline has been sitting there, collecting dust for a long time.  It is going to start beating on my brain pretty soon, demanding that I start paying it attention.  That is the thing about writing.  It’s all in there, in the brain, hanging out in various locked rooms, banging on the doors trying to get out.  Sooner or later, the wood starts to splinter and you either let it out or it overwhelms you, keeping you from doing anything else until you appease it and pay it some much needed attention.

In other news, I finally got my Amazon author page going.  Here is the link, but do NOT prepare to be dazzled…at least not if you are reading this around June 1st, 2010…when all of one anthology is listed.  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003O5GJBC.  Still, it is a beginning.  I still have not taken the plunge and gotten a Facebook fan page going just yet.  I will definitely do so in the near future…before the book comes out.

I reached out to an artist today to see if he would be willing to work on the cover of my novel.  Since nothing is official yet, I will remain quiet about who this artist is but he sounds interested, which is exciting.  He is an excellent artist and will do the cover great justice if he takes this project on.

I am currently waiting for the edits to approve for Comes The Dark, which will allow me to start getting blurbs going with several other authors and a reviewer who publishes their reviews on the net.  Now the blurbs are assuming that they like the book (fingers crossed) and as such will give it a nice comment.  I have done what needs to be done as far as other things that will appear in the book: introduction, biography, dedication, etc.  But until the edits are done, things are pretty much in stasis.

But as time rolls on, I get the privilege of seeing more of my short stories come out…promoting them, making sure they are listed on my Amazon Authors Page, and trying to convince anyone and everyone to check them out.  I am also waiting to hear back on several submissions outstanding…and I need to start writing again.

The real trick is to keep writing, despite how many distractions there are.  I could focus on all the mechanics of the book and just keep the writing to a minimum and feel like I am accomplishing something, but that really doesn’t cut it.  The first rule for me seems to be: write as much as you can, read as much as you can.  The rest tends to follow that.

This stuff is hard

As the world rolls on and I try to “become” an author through all the other processes involved with the translation of writing a book to having a book actually published, I have realized that this stuff is hard.

This belief stems from the fact that I have spent all day today trying to create an introduction to my novel, Comes the Dark because my publisher, the esteemed Dr. Pus, asked me to start putting together all the little things that surround the novel.  I have had the back cover written for a long time, which has undergone a few changes but has remained close to what I originally created back in 2008, which I foolishly believed I had finished the book…the first time.  But its the other little things that I am now focused on: my biography (not just for the back of the book, but to post on Amazon with the book), the introduction, the dedication, an extended description (once again for Amazon)…and various and other sundry things.

You see, a book is not just about getting it accepted by a publisher, getting it sent to an editor to do that voodoo they do so well, having an artist create a cover, and then slapping it all together.  Nooooo, it is far more complicated than that!  I am sure if you are in the biz, you already knew this and are having a nice little giggle under your breath at this point.  But for those out there like me, who are novices, you have to understand what all goes into this, even when you are dealing with a lean and mean publishing house like Library of the Living Dead.

I never gave much thought to the inside of a book.  Now I am not speaking about the actual story itself (duh) but the outline of the book.  The table of contents, the font used, the way it sits on a page…but there is someone handling that little tidbit, and as I have discovered, that person has to deal with all of your mistakes, just as the editor and publisher do.  How you format the manuscript makes a difference as to how they have to deal with the layout of the document.

A manuscript is expected to be in a certain format, whether you are writing a short story or a novel.  The biggies, as I have seen them, are 12 point courier, double spaced, with an indent at the beginning of each paragraph.  But watch out!  Different publishers want different things.  Some want headers, others do not.  The gentleman who does outlining for Doc at the Library does not want the indents set automatically, but manually.  Italics that you use in a story may or may not be acceptable in an manuscript.  Some publishers want you to underline everything that is to be italicized, while others want the story to appear as you want it to be when it comes out as a novel.

In addition to the stuff I have listed above, I have the duty of seeking out blurbs for my book.  What are blurbs you ask.  Blurbs are the comments made by other authors that you want to appear on the cover and inside of your book.  So how do you get these?  Not by being bashful, of course.  You submit a request to the authors (hopefully, you already know them) and provide them with an edited version of your book if they are willing to take a swipe at blurbing your work.  Of course, you have to cross your fingers that they like what you have written and will get you something back before all the formatting and book design occurs.

Yep, this stuff is hard.  It’s fun, so don’t get me wrong, but writing a novel is just the beginning of this process.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention all the promotion and “pimping” I need to do as well…things like getting a Facebook fan site going, an author page on Amazon (both still in the works), promoting the book on this blog and promoting it via other blogs, as well as doing interviews, attending events like Horror Realm, and other stuff that will come about as I continue to move forward.
More on that later.  Right now, I need to keep rocking and rolling with all of this, while I try to find more time to write and read other folks stuff as well, which is something I love doing.  It keeps you busy, that’s for sure!

My first interview!!!

Tim Long, Horror and Fantasy Writer Extraordinaire, was kind enough to include me in a interview he did with several different up and coming writers who are getting published in various Library of the Living Dead Press works.

It was a blast to do.  There is plenty of other good stuff in his podcast for the horror fan, so check it out!


My experiences with the writing, editing, and publishing process.

Its almost surreal, this experience I have been going through lately.  Well, when I say lately, I mean over the past three and a half years.  July 2006-That is when I got “serious” about this writing stuff.  I, like many people I know, had always sworn they would become a writer some day.  We all have ideas, we all have plans to sit down and write chapter after chapter and create the great American novel.  Or at least, the novel that someone might want to read, even if it is just our wives or husbands and maybe the rest of our family members.  But honestly, how many of us end up doing that?

I have a friend who encouraged me every step of the way.  He was impressed when I told him that I had written a hundred pages, he was impressed when I finished my first draft.  He had started his own book, and trashed the efforts, countless times.  He could never get past chapter one.

Well, for me, the journey was about kicking myself in the ass and not playing around any more.  The disconnect was never after I had sat down and started writing, it had been moving from the idea stage to reality.  Once I actually started writing, I never looked back…

Now, please understand, I think it is fair to say that everyone writes differently.  You can’t say that there is a step by step process that everyone should take to become a successful writer.  Certainly, I can’t recommend On Writing by Stephen King enough.  That guy is a machine, and he is a regimented, highly organized writer who keeps to a schedule and perhaps even follows all the rules he has in place for how things are supposed to go.  Me?  I doubt I will ever be like that.

Some folks I know sit down with an idea and just start writing.  It flows from that point and grows from there.  They have a general idea in their head where they want to end up but don’t limit themselves by organizing their thoughts too much beforehand.  Me?  I over think EVERYTHING during the writing process.  Let me put it this way: I started writing my novel back in July of 2006 and I believe my first draft was not completed until January of 2008, a year and a half later.  Now let me say this: that was not me simply writing and writing.  That process involved outlining, revamping outlines, trashing big chunks of what I had originally written, and laboring over individual sentences at 3 a.m. as I tried to make it sound right.  By the time my first draft was completed, it was well over 360k words.

Let me repeat that for those of you in the cheap seats: 360k words.  Stephen King’s The Stand was originally released with 150,000 words cut from the manuscript.  It was still well over 800 pages (honestly, I can’t remember how many pages there were) but my book was about the size of the originally released version of the stand.  Now even with my meandering mind could I ever hope to top Mr. King, whose unabridged version sits at approximately 520k words.

So, move forward from my triumphant evening sitting at the keyboard, when I typed out that last sentence and officially announced to friends and family that I had finished my book.  It felt like a relief, like I could scratch off something on the bucket list, etc.  I was 39 years old at the time and I had written my first novel before hitting that big middle aged landmark.  I was over the moon.

Then I started to realize that even with all the editing I had done, all the effort to put together something presentable, that my story was monstrous.  I approached a publisher.  Someone I had been having a dialogue with previously, because I had been reviewing books they had come out with and they had been so kind as to send me review copies of other books to also review on Amazon.  The publisher was more than willing to look at my book, but…and this was a big BUT, could I turn it into a trilogy?  The reason for this was because at 360K words, it was far, far, far too large to ever be considered for publication with them.  He liked a maximum of 120K words per book, and that was even pushing it.

Sooooo, that leads us to the second part of this process-my efforts to turn my book into a trilogy.  Thankfully, that was not as hard to do as I had originally though, because as I started looking, I saw three natural splits in the novel-cliffhanger endings that set up the following segment of my tale nicely.  So that was done, along with some more compulsive editing.

Alas, this is where I began to actually learn a few more things about writing that became invaluable to me.  The first came a month after I submitted my manuscript to this particular publisher and the gentleman came back and said that he could not publish my book.  He was kind enough to provide me with feedback and the key thing I took away from that was this: I was doing a hell of a lot of telling and not nearly enough showing.  In other words, I was dumping a lot of information on people and not allowing them to discover the story for themselves.

I thanked that publisher and admitted to myself that he was absolutely correct in his assessment.  I also realized that my book was massively over bloated and I needed to mercilessly start to slice and dice it down to what it should have been in the first place.

So my editing journey continued.  The publisher had actually suggested I leave this story on the shelf and work on other stuff for a time and after getting published with other novels or short stories, then return to my story later.  I had given that some thought but in the end, I couldn’t help but return to the story that had been in my dreams and nightmares now for two and half years at that point.  It was the beginning of 2009 by then, and my novel had just gotten rejected by a publisher and as a side note, my job had just been eliminated.

So, I was unemployed and focused on finding a new job.  I did leave my book on the shelf…for about a month or two.  Then I went at it with red penned zeal.  I should probably say at this point that other people were reading what I had written.  They had been doing so for quite some time.  I definitely took a lot from their thoughts.  Mind you, I didn’t change everything based on their suggestions, but having those other folks to bounce things off of was invaluable.

I was bound and determined to get my book published.  Let me put that a different way.  I did not want to self-publish.  Period.  A writer by the name of Rhiannon Frater has written a trilogy of zombie apocalyptic fiction entitled As The World Dies.  She went the self-publishing route.  Her success is well known in the world of zombie fiction.  I can’t say that I know Rhiannon personally, but I do know her through the wonderful world of the internet-Facebook and message boards, etc.  Her success has been definitely the exception to the rule.  Rhiannon has a business savvy and loads of smarts that allowed her to self-publish and create something that was terrific and create something that people have bought.  Word of mouth has been a big part of that.  That is my plug for her work: go buy her trilogy.  Its fantastic.

But Rhiannon’s success is the exception.  There are good self-published novels, sometimes by jaded authors who got sick of trying to go the normal route to publishing.  They write terrific stories that will really blow you away.  But in addition to those novels, you are going to get a LOT more novels that probably were taken out of the oven way too early.  That is my polite way of saying that a professional editor would have gone a long way for those folks who so desperately wanted to get published and were willing to do whatever it took to achieve that dream as fast as possible. On top of that, you have to consider how much marketing responsibility you have taken on by becoming your own business entity.  Rhiannon was able to do it, but I daresay she is a unique person.  Did I write a book so I could become famous and read by thousands or millions?  No, but if I am going to get published, I would like to have a company standing behind me with not only an editor, but the ability to effectively market what I have written.  They can promote my book in the back of other books they produce, they can take me to trade shows, put excerpts from my book on pod casts, etc.  Being in a stable with other authors is also invaluable.  I have interacted with a much larger group of people because of my relationship with the Library of the Living Dead.  Not only is Dr. Pus, the benevolent publisher, someone who I have gained valuable insights from, but I have also had the privilege of bouncing ideas off of published authors like Tim Long and Steve North.  That guys like that (amongst many other terrific writers) are asking for my opinion on what they are currently writing is mind blowing.

Whew!  That was quite a tangent, wasn’t it?  So anyway, back to my saga.  I pulled down my manuscript and started slicing it and editing it about another million times.  The end result?  About 162K words.  At the same time, I introduced myself to the Library of the Living Dead and Dr. Pus, who was so kind as to create a section of his message boards where I could post chapters of my book for others to read and critique.  What a difference that made!  It introduced me to a lot of people.  Folks like those I have mentioned above, including Rhiannon Frater, who has not only been self published but also published at the Library as well.  Tons of other writers of both novels and short stories, as well as fans of the genre, were there, supporting me every step of the way.

So after I felt pretty strong about my novel, I submitted it to the Library.  But again, at 162K words, it was a bit large, but still could be turned into a trilogy that would make sense and worked quite well.  So I spoke to Doc about that and less than a couple of weeks ago, he agreed to publish it as a trilogy.

Once again, I was over the moon and thrilled.  But the journey, in many ways, has just begun.  Doc is assigning me an editor, who I will become very familiar with over the next few months (and beyond), I am sure.  We have chatted about artwork for the cover of the first book, the description on the back, and any sort of promoting that I can do, including creating a website (thus this blog, which is the tip of the iceberg for me).  I will be at Horror Realm in Pittsburgh in September, which will be occurring shortly after my book is released in September.

I will likely be talking in detail about my experiences with the publishing process in later blog installments.  Its been an interesting ride so far.