My Experiences in Self-Publishing and the Indie Press Scene

I read a really cool article from Sci-Fi & Scary. It was about small presses and self-publishing here in our indie writing world.
Here’s the link if you missed it: Let’s Talk About It: Small Press Publishing
Having worked in both arenas, I just wanted to share some of my own experiences.
In 2013, I broke into the publishing world with a serial novel I, for lack of knowing any better, self-published in e-Book on Amazon. I did all the editing and formatting, and had a good friend doing the art. Launching off on my own, it could have been a complete disaster. It could have ruined my writing career before it even got started. Luckily, my stories and characters, combined with Jason Lynch’s fantastic cover art, garnered me enough positive attention to make a safe landing.

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One of the scariest things I did while creating this serial was reaching out to review sites and asking them to check out my work. Part of that fear was the everyday creatives insecurity. The other part was knowing that I needed an editor. I was lucky not to be slaughtered by sites like Matt Malgaard’s HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS, and to Joe Hempel’s TOP OF THE HEAP REVIEWS.
It was also in this initial toe-stepping into the self-publishing world/ review site reach-out that I met Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. OH, FOR THE HOOK OF A BOOK reviewed my serial and gave me one of my first interviews. Our shared love of Ronald Malfi really bolstered our instant friendship. Erin’s been editing or helping with book publicity ever since.
Having Matt (R.I.P.), Joe, and Erin in my corner early on was invaluable. This trio saw something in my work that gave me the confidence I needed to keep going and to work harder.
After my 2013 self-publishing experience, I learned that I needed to push harder to get published traditionally. I set my sights on cool indie publishers like Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and Nightscape Press with an ultimate goal of landing a book with Don D’Auria and Samhain Publishing.

At the time, PMMP was doing these monthly novelette/Novella releases in a series called, One Night Stands. They were down to their last spot of the year, and I had just finished writing a ghost story/small town mystery novella called, ABRAM’S BRIDGE. I sent it to PMMP and got word it was strongly being considered along with seven other stories for the last spot in the One Night Stands series. It did not get the final spot, but I couldn’t have felt any better. Knowing that I had written something good. Really good. That it had made it past the slush pile and into the ring with the big boys, I was elated. I sent the editor a response to the rejection letter that probably surprised him as much as anything. It was 100% positive and probably the most enthusiastic thank you on a rejection they ever received.
Armed with a story I now had validation was good, I decided to take my chances sending it to Don D’Auria and Samhain Publishing.
That was in December of 2013. In April of 2014, Don sent me an email letting me know that he loved ABRAM’S BRIDGE and that he’d love to send me contract if I was interested.
I ended up signing three novellas and two novels with Don. I got to sit at the Samhain table at the Bram Stoker Awards with a bunch of real writers and got to sell books at the Samhain table at two Horrorhound conventions. By 2016, I had achieved all my writing goals.

In 2016, Samhain announced that they were going under. Samhain’s demise was followed by a number of other small presses closing shop, most notably, Dark Fuse.
I managed to land a fourth novella (CHASING GHOSTS) with Sinister Grin Press, but by mid-2016, I decided I was going to try my hand at self-publishing again.
In my experiences, I’ve learned a few things. If you are going to self-publish, you must have a good editor. One that will tell you if something doesn’t work, or that you can do better. You must have professional looking cover art. And you have to actively seek reviews and readers. You are in charge of getting your book out there. It is a ton of work. And it will try to break you. But in my experience, the rewards can be well worth it.
For example, the year I’ve made the most money from writing? Had to be with Samhain, right? No. It was actually this year. A year when I’ve almost exclusively self-published. To be fair, the success I’ve had this year would not have been possible were it not for the small platform I made as an author on the Samhain roster.
As Joe Mynhardt, head of Crystal Lake Publishing, suggests in the Sci-Fi & Scary article, it is wise for authors to dabble in both traditional indie publishing and self-publishing simultaneously. Plus, working with and having a book contracted by a respected editor or company like a Crystal Lake Publishing legitimizes you and gives you a little extra street cred in the self-pub world. It let’s readers and reviewers know that you’ve been vetted.
As a writer, it is way easier to have a publisher in charge of editing, cover design, and helping to put together a publicity tour. They’ll also submit your book to reviewers and the Bram Stoker Awards jury. That’s a load off a writer’s shoulders. As Joe said, the publisher needs to earn that royalty cut.
I have continued to work with indie’s like CROSSROAD PRESS (they have ABRAM’S BRIDGE and THINGS WE FEAR-which Joe Hempel did a fantastic job on the audio book performance) and SINISTER GRIN PRESS.

Personally, I enjoy the madness that comes with being in charge of all that goes into creating, releasing, and promoting a book. I have a great team to work with Erin and Jason being my top picks for editing and covers.
That said, I am looking forward to a break soon. As with all goals in life, once you’ve achieved all the ones on your list, you create a new list.
In 2019, while still releasing my own work, I will begin my pursuit of this new batch of goals.
I hope you guys enjoyed this unofficial companion piece, and hope you’ll consider checking out one of my works.
Cheers!

LAND OF BONES

Untitled design

“A rising star in the genre!” – Ronald Malfi, author of BONE WHITE
“A vital part of this generation.” – Brian Keene, author THE RISING

Demon lights, granted wishes, strange things, and brutal love at the Lucky Lounge Motel. A haunted sister, desperate parents, a little human touch, and the end of the world…

These are the stories whispered among dead leaves, the script etched bare for all to see. When the chills sink deep and your heart begins to pound…are you alone?

Welcome to Glenn Rolfe’s LAND OF BONES
14 tales of the strange and macabre

 

THE WINDOW

What kind of demons await you tonight?

For Richie, life’s constant cheap shots are adding up. When he finds something is watching him, he never dreamed that it would show him everything he ever wanted.

When his son, James, comes to stay for the last month of summer, the changes in his father’s behavior come to the forefront. What is his father doing staring into the window in the middle of the night?
Was the fiery spark in the dark real? Or is Jame’s imagination getting the best of him?

Summer’s almost over.
And life is about to change.
Will James be able to save his father? Or is it already too late?

The Window holds the answers…and the key.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW! Early reviews are coming in…This anthology is going to rule the world (we hope).

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“Each story brings something new and exciting to the table.  I couldn’t just stop at just one story. I had to devour this anthology completely in one bite…this anthology will win a Bram Stoker Award.” — Cedar Hollow horror Reviews

“…the tales within are consistently high-quality, both in terms of their prose and the depth and breadth of imagination on display. Deserving to be on the shelf of any discerning horror fan, Welcome To The Show might just be the best anthology that Crystal Lake Publishing has ever published…” — SciFi and Fantasy Reviewer

(Full CHHR: https://www.cedarhollowhorrorreviews.com/2018/07/welcome-to-show-edited-by-matt-hayward.html)

(Full SFFR review: https://scifiandfantasyreviewer.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/welcome-to-the-show-17-horror-stories-one-legendary-venue-doug-murano-matt-hayward-eds-review/)

 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW

We all know the old cliché: Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now, add demons, other dimensions, monsters, revenge, human sacrifice, and a dash of the truly inexplicable. This is the story of the (fictional) San Francisco music venue, The Shantyman.

In Welcome to the Show, seventeen of today’s hottest writers of horror and dark fiction come together in devilish harmony to trace The Shantyman’s history from its disturbing birth through its apocalyptic encore.

Featuring stories by Brian Keene, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Max Booth III, Glenn Rolfe, Matt Hayward, Bryan Smith, Matt Serafini, Kelli Owen, Jonathan Janz, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, Alan M Clark, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering and Jeff Strand.

Compiled by Matt Hayward. Edited by Doug Murano.

Bring your curiosity, but leave your inhibitions at the door. The show is about to begin…

 

 

Add it on GoodReads now and stay tuned for the pre-order link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40725438-welcome-to-the-show?ac=1&from_search=true

(BOOK REVIEWS) WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells and THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD by Ed Kurtz

Two for one!

The last two books I finished in December were two of my favorites of the year. Here are my reviews from Goodreads and links to purchase them.

The Rib from Which I Remake the WorldThe Rib from Which I Remake the World by Ed Kurtz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD is one of those special novels in the horror world. For me, that magic is in any story that brings me back to the great Leisure Book Horror days. While Ed Kurtz delivers this horror tale in more of a noir style, the story is pure LB Horror Club.

The protagonist, George “Jojo” Walker, is easily my favorite character in a book this year. The title is also my favorite of the year.

The story takes place during WWII, in a a small Arkansas town. Jojo was a deputy with a beautiful wife and nice life, until he slept with the wrong woman. His world is turned upside down as he finds himself jobless and alone. He takes up a job at the Litchfield Valley Hotel as the hotel cop. He’s got a few people left in town who don’t look at him like he’s a worthless POS- his boss, Charles the bellboy, the woman at the diner, and Georgia. His life isn’t perfect, but he’s living it until he’s not. Smokes, drinks, and does his job, that’s pretty much it. Until the circus comes to town…

Barker Davis and his band of actors show up to take over a three-day stint at the local cinema to show a film they call, “Motherhood Too Soon!” With two showings a day, one for females, one for males, the real show is the invite-only midnight showing.

What is the midnight show? There’s magic involved…and nobody leaves the same.

By the time Jojo Walker gets involved, meeting with the elusive Mr. Davis, the townsfolk are changing. Jojo gets a dose of his forgotten past that turns his world on its head and sets him into a war at home to save his town and the people that gave up on him.

This is a wonderful horror book that had me thinking back to the great works of Bentley Little, Gord Rollo and even a little of last year’s Consumption by Heather Herrman.

I give THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD 5 stars! One of my top favorite 2016 releases.

View all my reviews

Where the Dead Go to DieWhere the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing, heartbreaking, and cut-throat story! Authors Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells, bring us a new type of zombie fiction. Note- outside of The Rising by Brain Keene and Habeas Corpse by Nikki Hopeman, zombies are my least favorite horror trope. It takes something special to make me push through and read zombie fiction. WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE is just that kind of book.

“I’ll build a bridge from me to you out of corpses”

The story centers around Emily, a woman who lost her husband, and has to try and raise her daughter, Lucette, in a world that has learned to live with the threat of zombies. Emily takes a job at a hospice for zombies. A terrific idea that the authors execute to perfection. When twelve-year-old boy, Robbie, is brought in, Emily connects with him, feeling his pain more than most, being that her daughter is the same age.

Robbie’s story is sad as hell on its own. Watching Emily, then Lucette, connect and empathize with him is touching. Dries and Gunnells nail you time and time again with revelations, stirring every emotional pool within you that they can find.

The zombie hospice isn’t the most accepted business in town. Groups of protesters gather outside the building day after day demanding that the place be shut down. This brings in anther dimension of realism to the story. You could easily see “Trump-ites” casting hate at people trying to do something positive in a world of monsters.

The ending….damn, the ending is great.

I give WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE 5 stars!
Buy now!

BUY THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD

BUY WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE

View all my reviews

Enter to win Where Nightmares Begin. Also, grab a nice 99 cent Mark Allan Gunnells collection!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Where Nightmares Begin by Glenn Rolfe

Where Nightmares Begin

by Glenn Rolfe

Giveaway ends April 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Enter above to win!

I’ll also have a Blood and Rain giveaway starting next month. Stay tuned!

Also, if you haven’t yet, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this collection from Mark Allan Gunnells- Flowers in the Dumpster.  Click the cover below to get the eBook for 99 cents!

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Cheers!

-GR

 

Preliminary Stoker Nomination News and More

The preliminary ballot for this years Bram Stoker nominees came out this week and I was happy to find out that two books that I’m included in have made that list. This doesn’t mean either will make it through to the final ballot, but it is still pretty cool.

In the non-fiction catagory:  Horror 101: The Way Forward  (Crystal Lake Publishing, 2014) 

This one features a TON of authors and editors, etc.  The eBook edition contained the interview I conducted with Leisure Books/Samhain Horror maestro, Don D’Auria.

Horror101

Horror 101: The Way Forward – a comprehensive overview of the Horror fiction genre and career opportunities available to established and aspiring authors.

Have you ever wanted to be a horror writer? Perhaps you have already realized that dream and you’re looking to expand your repertoire. Writing comic books sounds nice, right? Or how about screenplays?
That’s what Horror 101: The Way Forward is all about. It’s not your average On Writing guide that covers active vs. passive and other writing tips, Horror 101 focuses on the career of a horror writer. It covers not only insights into the horror genre, but the people who successfully make a living from it.

Covering aspects such as movies, comics, short stories, ghost-writing, audiobooks, editing, publishing, self-publishing, blogging, writer’s block, YA horror, reviewing, dark poetry, networking, collaborations, eBooks, podcasts, conventions, series, formatting, web serials, artwork, social media, agents, and career advice from seasoned professionals and up-and-coming talents, Horror 101 is just what you need to kick your career into high gear.

Horror 101: The Way Forward is not your average On Writing guide, as it is more focused on the career options available to authors. But don’t fret, this book is loaded with career tips and behind-the-scene stories on how your favourite authors broke into their respective fields.

Horror 101: The Way Forward is perfect for people who:
• are suffering from writer’s block
• are starting their writing careers
• are looking to expand their writing repertoire
• are planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
• are looking to pay more bills with their art
• are trying to further their careers
• are trying to establish a name brand
• are looking to get published
• are planning on self-publishing
• want to learn more about the pros in the horror genre
• are looking for motivation and/or inspiration
• love the horror genre
• are not sure where to take their writing careers

Includes articles by Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Edward Lee, Lucy A. Snyder, Emma Audsley, RJ Cavender, Scott Nicholson, Weston Ochse, Taylor Grant, Paul Kane, Lisa Morton, Shane McKenzie, Dean M. Drinkel, Simon Marshall-Jones, Robert W. Walker, Don D’Auria and Glenn Rolfe, Harry Shannon, Chet Williamson, Lawrence Santoro, Thomas Smith, Blaze McRob, Rocky Wood, Ellen Datlow, Iain Rob Wright, Kenneth W. Cain, Daniel I. Russell, Michael McCarty, Richard Thomas, Joan De La Haye, Michael Wilson, Francois Bloemhof, C.E.L. Welsh, Jasper Bark, Niall Parkinson, Armand Rosamilia, Tonia Brown, Ramsey Campbell, Tim Waggoner, Gary McMahon, V.H. Leslie, Eric S Brown, William Meikle, John Kenny, Gary Fry, Diane Parkin, Jim Mcleod, Siobhan McKinney, Rick Carufel, Ben Eads, Theresa Derwin, Rena Mason, Steve Rasnic Tem, Michael A. Arnzen, Joe Mynhardt, John Palisano, Mark West, Steven Savile, and a writer so famous he’s required to stay anonymous.

The second book that made the prelim ballot is in the Anthology category: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction (Pleasant Storm Entertainment, INC, 2014)

This one is edited by Terry M. West and features a ton of great writers and one of my freakier pieces, “Killing Jessica”.

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It would be cool to make the final ballot, but this is still rad, too.

On the downside, my debut novel, The Haunted Halls (James Ward Kirk Publishing, 2014) was ineligible, because I had self-published pieces of it in 2013.  😦   Oh well, you live and learn.

HH Promo

Another thing that surprised me was the lack of consideration for any of the stellar Samhain Horror titles from 2014. The company (yes, they happen to be my publisher)  released a ton of terrific novels and novellas that I believe should have appeared….somewhere on the Stoker lists.

Releases from Adam Cesare, Jonathan Janz, Hunter Shea, Tim Waggoner, JG Faherty, Catherine Cavendish, John Everson, David Bernstein, Eric Red, Matt Manochio, and many, many others all went unsung. That’s some sort of shame.

I proclaim 2015 the year of the SAMHAIN ARMY!   We will make our presence known!

Let’s get the word out starting NOW. Click the logo and grab some great horror.

AA SH

“Share the Horror” Why? Because We’re a Happy Family, That’s Why/

I recently read an article posted on Jim McLeod’s GINGER NUTS OF HORROR site (you can read it HERE). He made some good points and got me thinking. As horror writers and musicians, we’re constantly forced into being self-promoters. This makes us look like egotistical dicks most of the time, but it comes with the gig. If we don’t shout it out loud over and over and over again, people aren’t going to know we (or our goods) are here and available.  Well, Jim went brought up something that some of us may do (whether intentionally or not I can’t say), and that’s a lack of sharing. You know, on social networks, the “Share” button? Yeah, we have all of these friends and comrades in arms on Facebook and Twitter and we’re all pushing our Brand, but Jim pointed out that it feels like some of us think we’re all fighting for one piece of pie. Like if I share your book, that somehow loses me a chunk of cherry, or a sale if you will. Now, I don’t know how many of us do this with with the dark side of the Force coursing through our veins, but I think it’s something to consider. I know if I just add “Please share this” on Facebook, I get like five shares out of the hundreds of friends I have. Now, they could be busy, or have their settings so that they miss my post, or they just don’t want to do it. I don’t know. A lot of times they just hit the “like” button. (Hey guys! The “share” is right there next to it!) I don’t want to come off as a whiny baby here, because when I really have something important to share and I go to my friends individually, 9/10 come through for me and help me out. But that’s me. I’m not afraid of rejection or the word no, or someone telling me to fuck off!

With all of this in mind, I decided to spend Black Friday sharing books I’ve read this year that I loved. And you know what? It felt GREAT! Not sure if I helped anyone, but I know a few friends added some of my “shared loves” to their Good Reads, and a bunch more commented and shared them with their friends. I’d say my self-less campaign (coined “Share the Horror”) was a smashing success. And I’ve decided to try and make it a monthly thing. I invite all of you to do the same.

Here are the 20 books I shared:

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JJ DD

DOW BM

KD SI

DS MM'

CN HELL

BK BP

ACCON j

AATK

AA HH

AA BT

pldg (1)

AA KL

AA WM

AAPD

AANK

AANC

AACATH

AACB

These are the 20 I shared. I tried to stick with smaller writers, but Barker and Keene slipped through the door.

If any of these covers look good to you, click on them and they will redirect you to the corresponding Good Reads page.

Buy ’em and add ’em to your to-be-read lists!

SHARE THE HORROR.

Thanks for a great first quarter! I am eternally grateful.

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2014 has been a very busy year. I’ve sold three short stories, had two published that were accepted at the end of 2013, managed to get the interview I did with editor Don D’Auria included in Crystal Lake Publishing’s Horror 101, and landed my first big deal with Samhain Publishing. My novella, Abram’s Bridge, will be released in the first part of 2015 from what I consider to be the best horror line on the market (no disrespect to all of the other fine dark fiction publishers). My serial novel, Becoming, has maintained its rank among the top 20 at Jukepopserials.com…and if that’s not hectic enough, my band, The Never Nudes, released our debut self-titled EP a couple months back.

Obviously landing a piece with Don D’Auria at Samhain is my greatest writing achievement thus far, but a close second to that is the fact that I’ve committed to donating all of the money I make from short story sales and JukePop Top 30 payouts to the National Children’s Cancer Society. So far, I’ve earned $115.00 from sales and payouts. I donate as I receive the money owed to me, so the amount officially donated sits at $45.00. Not too bad for a guy who never thought he’d be in any of the positions I’m in.

I’d like to take a quick second to thank some of the wonderful people that have contributed to my first quarter success: James Ward Kirk, Geoffrey Liu, Lori Michele, Jacob Haddon, Hydra M. Star, Joe Mynhardt, Don D’Auria, and all of my great writer/editor/sounding board friends: Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi, Kristin Dearborn, Todd Keisling, Erinn Kemper, Selene MacLeod, Chris Martin, Caroline Phillips, Mike Braun, and of course, my terrific writing group, The Tuesday Mayhem Society: Peter Dudar, April Hawkes, Jo-Jo Mason-Schnopp, and Sylvia Bourgoin. And last, but not least, anyone who has read, voted, or shared the link to my serial novel, Becoming.  Each and every one of you has helped me out far more than I deserve. Should the rest of this year turn up with zero sales from here on out, I shall still consider it my best.

Also, HUGE thank you to my wife and kids and everyone at The Hampton Inn Augusta, Maine for putting up with me.

I’m now gearing up for a number of things: First up, my family and I will be heading out to Portland, Oregon for the 2014 World Horror Convention and to attend the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony for the second straight year. I’m not going empty handed. I have a new novella (Boom Town) that I will be pitching Saturday to my publisher, Don D’Auria, and also to Michael Baily at Dark Regions Sci-Fi.  I’m also looking forward to getting a chance to meet two of my writing heroes, Jack Ketchum and Brian Keene.

Once I return home, I will began the next round of edits and re-writes on my debut novel, The Haunted Halls (being edited by Robert S. Wilson, and published by James Ward Kirk). I am very proud of this haunted hotel story and look forward to sharing it with you by the end of July. After that, I’ll be trying to finish two other novels I currently have in-progress.

Keeping at it one sentence at a time, I look forward to crafting more quality dark fiction. I also look forward to meeting  many wonderfully demented, like-minded souls throughout the rest of the year. Thanks for reading this. Thanks for being so cool.

Cheers,

Glenn

 

The following anthologies/magazines/books my 2014 works can be found in:

Ugly Babies 2 (James Ward Kirk Publishing)

Pavor Nocturnus Volume II (Parasomnia Press)

Dark Moon Digest 15

Infernal Ink Magazine April 2014

Horror 101: The Way Forward (non-fiction, Crystal Lake Publishing)

Vignettes From the End of the World (Apokrupha Publishing)

 

These can all be purchased via my Amazon Author page:

http://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Rolfe/e/B00AXYEBTY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_2