All Together Now: A Zombie Story.
Fatherhood has changed my life in ways I'm only beginning to understand. I'm barely awake most days, so it's going to be a while yet before I return to blogging full time, but I am writing a new story for you (it has zombies in it) and I've got a middle grade book I'm very excited for you to read coming yet this year.
As I write this, my son is sleeping on my chest, supported by a pouch. He's eaten 2 ounces and I just changed the stinkiest diaper you ever saw, so I think I can get to the end of this post if I write fast:) I'm channeling all my thoughts on how amazing his arrival in my life has been into this new zombie story--I think that will make sense when you see it:) So let's talk about publishing.
When I went indie with my writing, I promised I would share my experiences with you so that you could do with them what you will. This is only my fourth month being an indie author, so I'm not sure I'm ready to dispense with advice, but I will say being an indie author is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I expected to fail miserably my first time out, so my experience has surpassed all my expectations:)
To date, I am not an incredibly wealthy and famous author. Neither are the majority of the writers I've interviewed here. If you want to be rich and famous, what are you doing writing!?! But I'm rich in a way I never expected to be so early in my publishing career: I have actual, honest to God readers! Like, for real readers, meaning people I'm not paying, in a critique group with, and who are not my mom! And they like me!!!
Esteemed Reader, after two decades of writing for no one, I teared up a little the first time someone I've never met went on Amazon and wrote me a 5-star review. After years of sending out messages, someone received one and my book did what I always hoped it would: it entertained a paying customer.
Actually, reviewers have been absurdly kind. No one is more in love with my writing than me and even I think some of these reviewers read some book other than the one I wrote:) I'm looking over my shoulder to see the writer they're actually talking about. If you want to keep tabs on my reviews (why wouldn't you!), my guest posts, and my interviews, you can follow them here.
The content of All Together Now: A Zombie Story has not changed. I wrote and published the book I wanted the first time and I think it's a sin to alter more than typos in a book people own. Meaningful changes to a story that no longer belongs to the teller but to the audience is how great storytellers end up with "Greedo shot first" fiascoes. But I could change the book if I wanted and I have made some small changes to the front matter.
The cover, however, needed to be changed. I know this because readers told me so and when Esteemed Reader talks, I'm smart enough to listen. I love Adam Smith's original cover. He designed the image I wanted and I think it's an amazing cover. More, Adam is busy creating artwork for our next release and if I'm lucky, I'll get to feature some of his artwork in every book I ever publish--the books would be poorer without.
I have Adam's cover hanging on my wall. But readers have said publicly in reviews and told me privately that the original cover looked too much like a kid's book, which I like about it. Still, there's a warning on page one of All Together Now for a reason: it is absolutely not a children's book. I wasn't a father when I wrote it and now that I am, I have no intention of letting my son anywhere near that book until he's at least in his teens.
As I am going to be publishing children's books in my name, which will be available right next to All Together Now, I wanted to help parents out and update the cover to convey that this is a scary story for teens and adults. So I reached out to the incredible Steven Novak whose artwork adorns some of my friend Susan Kaye Quinn's titles.
I knew Steven would do a great job, but I'm over the moon in love with his cover. He over-delivered in every possible way. He was absolutely professional and easy to work with. If you're thinking of going indie yourself, I'd hire Steven before demand for his work drives his prices through the roof. Seriously, I didn't pay a fraction of what this cover's worth. Maybe I shouldn't have told you about him as I'm definitely going to want to use him again.
I think this cover would be at home on Stephen King's newest, and it's mine all mine! What do you think, Esteemed Reader?