Thursday, August 23, 2012

Special Guest Post - Taking on the Dead with Annie Walls

A while back via Blogger, I met indie author, hockey fan, and all around awesome chick, Annie Walls and learned of the existence of "The Famished Trilogy", a series of novels she's currently working on getting done and promoting. The premise seemed like something I would dig, and I enjoy helping promote indie artists in any way I can, especially those who are attempting to make a living doing what they love, and I inquired as to where I could buy a copy of her first novel, "Taking on the Dead". Turns out I wasn't quite ready yet, but via Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, we continued to stay in touch. Fast forward a few months, and Annie is gearing up for a "Taking on the Dead Debut Celebration", which I of course asked to be a part of.

She graciously accepted my request to join in the fun, and to my surprise she offered to let me post an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from the book! That's right folks, you're only gonna see this here in the Batcave. For your eyes only, a little taste of what we will be reading when Taking on the Dead finally arrives:

Taking on the Dead Excerpt by Annie Walls

I sneak around to the garage, and by luck the door is still open from my escape. Going in slowly, I hear a commotion underneath the floor, confirming they’re below. Instead of going by way of the kitchen, I tip toe through the formal dining room into the master bedroom. Removing the two bottles of tequila from my pack, I use half of one and pour it on the bed. It takes a minute for the tequila to chug out. Lighting it with a lighter, it goes up in flames instantly. I watch to make sure it still catches after the alcohol burns. I open the window so the air will feed the fire. Dry things, like my parents oak furniture that hasn’t been polished in four years, will feed the flames too.

I dump the other half of the alcohol on the couch in the living room. I light it and move on to my bedroom. After opening the window, I dump half of the second bottle over the bed and carpet. I’m moving into the kitchen when raised voices roar up outside. They’ve realized the house is on fire. I glance in the living room – the dry furniture caught fire quickly. There’s a pang in my heart, but my dad would be proud that I’m doing what I need to. 

 I soak the counter and floor the best I can and pull a rag from my back pocket. I put it on the counter to soak it before setting it aflame. The blaze travels across the counter and drips in little fireballs onto the floor, helping the fire spread. It sounds much cooler than it is, because it happens in a split second. Flames lick across the ceiling from the hall and living room, with smoke filling the house. I’m quite satisfied with the job I’ve done. Sweat beads down my abdomen from the heat. The smoke is getting thicker; I need to get out of here.

I race out of the house and pull my crossbow strap over my head so I can carry it by hand. Flames shoot out from the window of my bedroom. Imagining my white washed bed burning and black with char, I inhale the smoke. There’s yelling and shouting in the backyard. Feeling elated, I race through the privacy fences. It’s dark, but I’m worried about the living dead. The fire will attract them more than me. I bump into something, and it grabs me. “Ah, shit!” I stumble, swinging up my crossbow.

What a cliffhanger! I want more NOW! Ahem... Not content with merely doing a guest spot to talk about The Famished Trilogy, and giving me that awesome exclusive excerpt, Annie asked for a topic to talk about for her post. I thought about it for a bit, and asked if she would be interested in writing about being an indie author, putting in the hours and hard work trying to get published. I was worried that it might be a bit of a boring subject, but honestly I feel like most of us who put in the time to blog are, in some sense at least, aspiring writers. Maybe not novelists, but interviewers, reviewers, whatever. It's certainly a topic of interest for me anyway. She happily obliged, so without further ado, here's Annie...

Jumping into Indie Publishing
I just want to say how much Mitch rocks for letting me take over his blog. I feel kind of cool being in the Batcave. Why is he letting me take over his blog today? I’m getting ready to independently publish my debut novel, Taking on the Dead, Book One of The Famished Trilogy! I want to share some things I’ve learned and picked up on along my publishing journey.
Taking on the Dead was written a few years ago. In fact, the whole trilogy is completed. I didn’t know I wanted to publish until I had some family tell me it’s a story that needs to be shared. I wrestled with the idea. Mainly because I’m an introvert. I can’t stand the thought of speaking in front of people, meeting new people, signing books, or just being the center of attention. My own wedding consisted of 25 people, and that was fine by me.
Anyway, I did my research on publishing and come to find out there are several ways to publish. It’s really overwhelming, but it comes down to what you want and what’s right for you.
The worst thing about Indie Publishing is anyone can do it. It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry are publishing their work. This isn’t that great. I mean, sure follow your dreams and all that. Just don’t sell yourself short and do it half-assed. Why do I say this? I read A LOT of indie books. Only one out of ten are good. Maybe one out of twenty are spectacular reads. I’m not saying their stories are bad, just the writing. Writing is a craft, even if you’re the next Stephen King, that can be constantly improved. There are all kinds of writers, even if you just blog on your passion in life, you're a writer, BUT you should never stop wanting to improve. With that said, I'm always submitting for review requests, and some book bloggers completely overlook me because I’m self publishing. I understand where they come from because I’ve gotten to the point where if I’m editing on the first page, I stop reading it. Sadly, this is almost always the case. And no, I’m not saying I’m great or better, and my story is the next best thing since fish sticks. I’m only saying indie authors have a bad rep for laziness and taking the easy way out because most of us are lazy. And every single one of us knows if we are the bad apples or not. You know if you are doing it right or not. Indie publishing has ups and downs with pitfalls along the way. It’s a learning process. 
There are certainly good aspects of traditional publishing, and I’m not saying that I hate it or it’s a bad thing. Honestly, if a publisher were to offer something... I’d give it some serious thought. The first thing, in my opinion, the reason some people go through the angst of submitting to agents and publishers is for the simple fact they’re looking for someone to say, “Your book is the next best-seller, and I want to take a chance on you.” Just remember major publishing companies receive over 100,000 submissions a year. So, if you’re looking for someone to say, “You’re the best I’ve ever read! Your going to make millions!” With the hopes for mass production, you’re not going to get that. At all. That brings me to another grand point of trad publishing, having your book available ANYWHERE! It takes MOOCHO MULA to distribute to different platforms in print for paperback and/or hardback. I have to admit walking into Walmart and seeing my book on the shelf, would be AMAZING! But, like I said, chances are slim. The last, and in my opinion, the best point for going traditional is you can focus more on your writing. I spend 60% of my time promoting and marketing my book, when I wish I were writing instead.  
Now that I’ve probably pissed off every single author on the face of the earth, there is a point to all my truths here. Why would I want to deal with this seemingly terrible backlash of independent publishing?  
For the simple fact of, I don’t like being told what to do. Period. This is my way of fighting the traditional system. If one should do this, they should do it right. I can’t tell you how many revisions I’ve made to Taking on the Dead. Two years worth. I’ve got an editor. I’ve got a graphic designer. I’ve got a street team and several beta readers. A small platform of loyal readers and a major support system of authors and writers. I take my time, think things through, and I have goals (that I have to reset because I’ve met most of them by a landslide). I also do not expect to be the next best thing, and if you want to publish realistically, then you should set realistic goals. On my release day, I’ll be extremely happy to sell one copy for each one given away. That is a realistic goal. Honestly, by what I’m already doing, what’s a publisher going to do that I can’t, besides mass produce? Even now, big publishing houses are encouraging their authors to take more time connecting with readers.
The best thing about indie publishing? All the awesome people you meet. If I didn’t start blogging and building relationships, I don’t know what to say to that because my life has certainly changed in the past year of promoting Taking on the Dead. I’ve made a few friends, joined a writing group with other writers, just like me, that want to do it right. It changed my whole outlook on publishing. When things are bad, the support system is there to help you through it. Not to mention, all I’ve learned and how much better my writing has gotten and continues to get better. In fact, I hope it never stops getting better. I’m starting to thrive on the friendships I’ve built with like-minded people. I’m glad I didn’t send in my MS to any agents, it’s not what I’m looking for. I love connecting with the readers and sharing their excitement. For me, this long, frustrating, anxious journey has been worth it. 
Indie Authors are also the best at communicating with readers on a personal level. I take the time to read and respond to messages. Granted, some might not have the time, but I’ve never known one to not respond to me.  
Great Ways To Support Indie Authors
-Buy our books, they are cheap.
-Leave a review on the distributer site or a star rating on a book site such as Goodreads.
-Share! Share, share, share! Share with everyone, especially if you loved the book. Pimp us whole-heartedly, we do not care.
-Tell a local library or bookstore about your favorite indie reads. If you request it enough, they’ll grab a copy to stock!
-Don’t accept pirated copies! We work our butts off and spend countless hours writing, revising, editing, and promoting so we can share the landscapes of our imaginations. If you want to read it, request it from your library! =D 
Mitch has posted an exclusive excerpt from Taking on the Dead. I hope you like it! Don’t forget to visit me on my site, Facebook, or Twitter! All week long, there are giveaways for Taking on the Dead. I’ll also be doing another guest post on The Good, The Bad, and The Undead: The Hardships on Writing the Apocalypse and Zombies.

This was freakin awesome of Annie to do, and I want express my gratitude to her for taking the time to do a write up for the Batcave. Be sure and follow along with the progress of The Famished Trilogy, and the rest of the Taking on the Dead Debut Celebration by visiting Annie's website, liking her Facebook fan page, checking the book out on Goodreads, and giving her a follow on Twitter. Do your part to help support indie writers!

1 comment:

Roscoe said...

Sweet blog. Looking forward to reading this.