Guest Post by Jeremy D. Brooks

Hi, everybody!  Today we have a special guest post written by the fantastic Jeremy D. Brooks.  He discusses self-publishing and also introduces us to his debut novel, Amity.   Enjoy!

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My name is Jeremy, and I’m a self-publisher.

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows my blog, but I struggled with getting my debut novel “Amity” out to the world. As we all do with each and every one of our works. Publishing isn’t free or easy—nor should it be. You and I both want our bookshelves and Kindles filled with the highest quality, most engaging literature that we can get. That means different things for different people, but at its basest, it probably means a story that someone took care and time to polish as close to perfection as possible.

Once I had gotten Amity through a few solid beta readings and had done six drafts on my own, I sent her out into the world—crooked Dora the Explorer backpack on her shoulders, looking for a home. I waited months for the letter home that would announce her success. That letter never came.

Which wasn’t a great surprise. The few snippets of feedback I did receive mirrored my own opinion of the book: it’s probably too dark for a general audience, I can’t sell this, thanks for playing. I did not set out to write for a general audience; I set out to tell a specific story: the story of a man who becomes ensnared in a sinister online group; a man who has left his humanity behind to play with his online friends, but has to decide if he has enough humanity left to protect an innocent life from those very friends. (It is dark; and a bit heavy; and, at times, moody. But I tried hard not to make it gloomy. You’ll laugh at least once or twice. I hope.)

Let’s be frank: we all know the state of publishing. Big houses aren’t buying much; the economy is pushing more people into trying their luck at becoming professional writers (they may as well try becoming professional poker players) which has dramatically increased the number of agent submissions. The unstated rule to get even a four-digit advance deal seems to be that you have to have a proven back catalog already, or it has to be an out-of-the-box mindblowing book. Even established mid-listers aren’t getting paid on time. Large and small imprints are closing. Small indie shops are buying books with token royalties and runs of as low as 25 copies.

Which begs the question: will I have any better luck doing it on my own?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I was left with two alternatives, and one of those was accepting that Amity would never be published. The tools are out there to DIY, if you’re willing to do some research and put some muscle and time behind it.

And if I can’t sell any more than 25 copies out of the back of my car, I’ll eat my damn keyboard with a side of rice pilaf.

But, Amity is published, and I hope you’ll help me celebrate the 14 months of work it took to draw it all together by picking up a copy. And, just as much, I hope that maybe some of the work I’m doing will help others decide if this is the right path for their work.

Amity is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon, and in most other electronic formats at Smashwords. Check out my website for details: http://jeremydbrooks.com

“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” features Jeremy D. Brooks

(Mostly True) Facts About Jeremy D Brooks
By
Jeremy D Brooks
 
Jeremy is a Las Vegas-based husband, father, full-time employee in an industry that will remain nameless, and, to the thesis of this article, a writer.
 
Jeremy uses his middle initial on the internet in an effort to differentiate himself from the people with  that name who have better Google rankings than he—most notably: a photographer, a technical writer, a convicted murderer, and a porn star. (Mercedes was kind enough to grant Jeremy time on her blog, so he will refrain from making any of the many, many jokes that came to mind while writing this sentence.)
 
Jeremy has written casually since the mid-90s, although he can remember making his first attempts at short stories as far back as fourth grade. He, in an effort to retain his hearing and sanity, resigned his position as singer and guitarist of a short-lived cover band  in the Spring of 2008, and focused his free time on getting some of his written works published.
 
Jeremy does not like mayonnaise—not one bit.
 
Jeremy was flat-out lucky enough to have his first ever submission published: a first-person story about paranoia, murder, and grease paint called “Billy Don’t Like Clowns”, available on Amazon in the September 2008 Niteblade anthology “Lost Innocence”.
 
Ever since grade school, the sight, smell, and consistency of the liquid found in cans of fruit cocktail has reminded Jeremy of eye pus. Unlike mayonnaise, however, he has no problem with eating fruit cocktail.
 
Jeremy has continued to write short stories and prose-style poetry (poetry-style prose?), and has been published at Abandoned Towers and, most recently, New Myths. He spent several months in 2009 writing business journal-style articles for The Examiner—a fun but far from lucrative assignment.
 
He enjoys writing short stories, but spends 95% of his writing time working on various forms of The Novel—understanding that writing short stories, poems, and business articles is personally fulfilling but far less likely to bridge into a writing career than would a published novel (although even that seems dubious at times). After spending two years experimenting with writing styles and honing his skills with fantasy, horror, general literary, and post-apocalypse stories, he is pushing to wrap up the first draft of a 70k word thriller in December 2009, with rewrites starting in January.
 
In the Fall of 2010, he will have a very, very short story published in the first Hint Fiction anthology, alongside the likes of Peter Straub, Mercedes Yardley, Joyce Carol Oates, and over 100 other authors. Not that this makes Jeremy’s work better, but it does almost guarantee that at least 100 people will read his story.
 
Although he has no proof, Jeremy thinks that the secret ingredient in chocolate truffles is “Bolivian Marching Powder”.
 
Jeremy thanks Mercedes for offering the space on her blog for his nonsensical ranting, and would like to invite her readers to join him at his blog, http://gristleandsmoke.blogspot.com or his Twitter feed http://twitter.com/dontlikeclowns .
 
Lastly, Jeremy would like to remind you all that the three-second rule is a myth, the three-days-in-a-hot-dumpster rule is a half-truth, and the been-in-a-hobo’s-back-pocket rule is absolutely, definitely true.

To have your picture and blurb featured here, read the guidelines.  Join us!

WIP Thursday. Just ‘cuz.

WIP

I feel like I’m buried under projects, and I need to dig myself out before NaNoWriMo.  This morning I came to the conclusion that I’m going to have to let some things go.  There are a couple of anthology deadlines that I’m just going to miss, and that’s okay.  I’m trying to prioritize, and it’s interesting how things are shaking out.

So!  WIP Wednes…er, Thursday!  I polished Big Man Ben, which now has a new, less blatant title.  I’m going to submit it today.  I’m working on two different short pieces, but I find that I’m more distracted by my Demon story that keeps popping up in the back of my mind.  I stopped working on that a YEAR ago, can you believe it?  I’ll write a scene every now and then, but the bulk of it remains unwritten.  Who knew.

Good news!  I was accepted into Robert Swartwood’s Hint Fiction anthology!  Apparently I am sharing space with Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen Dunn, Jeremy D. Brooks, Barry Napier, and L.R.Bonehill.  I am stunned, and thrilled, and this just rocks.  Seriously.

Also, Tweet the Meat will be having a Mercedes extravaganza!  They’ll be running two of my horror tweets, one today and the other tomorrow.  They’re also going to have a special Halloween Tweet contest, so stop by and enter.  I totally dig this magazine.  Tasty daily morsels of bite-sized horror?  Sold, baby!