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

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“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.

(REVIEW) EXORCIST FALLS by Jonathan Janz

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“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” –Brian Keene

EXORCIST FALLS (Sinister Grin Press, 2017)

Chicago is gripped by terror. The Sweet Sixteen Killer is brutally murdering young women, and the authorities are baffled.
When the police are called to an affluent home in the middle of the night, they learn that a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his family. The boy exhibits signs of demonic possession, and even more troublingly, he knows too much about the Sweet Sixteen killings. Father Jason Crowder, a young priest assigned to the case, must marshal his courage in order to save the boy and the entire city from the forces of evil.

But this is a darkness mankind has never encountered before. It craves more than blood. And it won’t rest until it possesses Father Crowder’s soul.

Jonathan Janz’s brand new release brings the original novella that started it all—Exorcist Road—and a brand-new full-length novel (Exorcist Falls) together for a shattering experience in supernatural terror.

MY REVIEW

Hmmmm. This was my most anticipated release of 2017, so my expectations were high. Maybe unfairly high.
This book starts with the original novella, EXORCIST ROAD, one of my favorite pieces by Janz. It was great to re-read it here and love it just as much.
That brings us to the follow-up, which is maybe a short novel or long novella, EXORCIST FALLS.
This story was pretty great, overall.
I loved not knowing what was going to happen. Every time I thought (or hoped) I knew where Janz was going, he took my someplace else. He really did an amazing job of keeping you off guard throughout.

Father Crowder is definitely the star of the show, and you’ll be praying for Danny Hartman to get his. There’s a lot of great gore and wildly imaginative action going on that is also well balanced with the internal struggle between Crowder and his curse. Janz’s writing is on point.  That said, we had a few characters that fell flat (Liz) or seemed to be a little inconsistent from start to finish (Father Patterson, for instance). That said, neither character ruined the experience for me.

The ending….I won’t give it away, but it was both really awesome and disappointing. Sound confusing? Yeah, it’s a frustrating thing. I LOVE where Janz goes here, but I think he should have taken the time to write about three more chapters and brought the story to an even more amazing conclusion. Oh well. Not everything works the way we want it to.

I give EXORCIST FALLS 4 stars, but this one should have and could have easily been 5.

Still, I know people are going to love it. So I look forward to seeing it on many, many year end lists.
Overall, a terrific start of what is gonna be another great year for Janz.

You HAVE to pre-order your eBook copy now. EXORCIST FALLS by Jonathan Janz

 

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Visit Jonathan Janz’s website: JonathanJanz.com

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And be sure to keep up with all of the great titles and merchandise at SinisterGrinPress.com

And keep you eyes out for all things Janz and Exorcist Falls related from Oh,ForTheHookofaBook

(Review) THE EIGHTH by Stephanie Wytovich

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“Paimon scanned the roads, looking for any hint of light, but the swathe of black that painted the night remained solid. Even the stars seemed to have dimmed, casting haze through the trees that bled out onto the forest floor like smoke.”

Stephanie Wytovich’s debut novel, THE EIGHTH, is littered with fantastic prose, the majority of which stand up next to any author I’ve read.  Better known for her horror poetry, it doesn’t surprise me that she’s this good.  I thoroughly enjoyed her vision of Hell, the Devil, and many of those who the Devil has in his troop.

The Devil sends one of his collectors, Paimon, to fetch the soul of Rhea. Things don’t go as smooth as they’re supposed to, and we find ourselves thrown into the story of multiple evils each seemingly with their own agendas.  The story does a great job keeping you in as you try to figure out what is going on.

“…their leaves shriveling and falling off forgotten appendages that collected on the ground like dead bodies after war. “

Character-wise, I never really liked Paimon or Rhea (who was pretty interesting in the front part of the story, but lost points with me shortly thereafter).   The Devil, The Seven, and especially, Arazel stole the show.  Toward the end, I finally began rooting on Paimon  (finally!). I’d say the ending isn’t what I hoped or thought it would be, but it was good.

Overall, this is a pretty amazing creation of Hell and its story, dressed up in a lot of beautiful writing and some epic bloody scenes. Definitely, definitely worth a read.

“Paimon watched as a man reached for the lock, and within seconds, the sinner’s limbs were torn off and he was skinned alive, eaten from the feet up.”

 

I give THE EIGHTH 4 stars!

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THE EIGHTH

Rhea Harmon is a living target for the Devil as she possesses the power to detect one’s deadliest sin at first glance. Intended to be used as a weapon of war, the Devil sends Paimon, his right-hand man and top collector, to claim her soul and bring her to him in Hell.

But the Devil isn’t the only one who is interested in Rhea.

When Paimon arrives to collect his payment, he’s immediately taken with her and the resemblance she bears to his late-wife, Marissa. He falls in love with the mortal girl whose soul he is supposed to claim, and instead vows to protect her, thereby severing his allegiance to the Devil and sealing his fate as a traitor.

Consumed by rage and fear, Paimon and Arazel, the Devil’s blood slave and ring leader to the circle of Lust, flee Hell in an attempt to save Rhea, but are instead forced to confront their pasts and their presents as they reevaluate the definition of sin and punishment. So what happens when a demon has to confront his demons, when Paimon has to turn to something darker, something more sinister for help?

After centuries of living in exile, banned from their home and their right to rule, The Seven, the keepers of the deadly sins, are only too happy to answer his call, and if Paimon thought it was dangerous to make a deal with the Devil, then he had no idea what it meant to be blessed by the creators of sin.

Stephanie M. Wytovich, Biography

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an instructor by day and a horror writer by night.headshot-2-2

She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, and a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction.

Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry collections, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness,Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Brothel earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her debut novel, The Eighth, is simmering in sin with Dark Regions Press.

Follow Wytovich on her website and on twitter @JustAfterSunset.

Praise for Stephanie Wytovich

“Stephanie Wytovich’s The Eighth is a savage tale of betrayal, regret, and the dark side of love in its many forms. The poetic imagery she sprinkles throughout balances the brutality with beauty.”  Chris Marrs, author of Wildwoman and Everything Leads Back to Alice

“A fierce and emotionally intense debut.”- Craig DiLouie, author of Suffer the Children

“A brilliant debut from a major new talent, full of darkness, fire, and devilry. Indeed, the sins in this novel are so well realized that I fear just a little for Ms. Wytovich’s soul.”- Rio Youers, author of Westlake Soul and Point Hollow

The Eighth is a stellar horror debut from Stephanie Wytovich. An intimate, painful map of personal and literal hells that would make Clive Barker proud.”-Christopher Golden, New York Times best-selling author

Get your copy HERE

(Review) THE NIGHT PARADE by Ronald Malfi

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The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi

Kensington Horror

First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began . . .

They call it Wanderer’s Folly–a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.

After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he’s bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he’s on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.

Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they’re running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .

REVIEW by Glenn Rolfe

Author, Ronald Mafli (Little Girls and Floating Staircase), delivers in his new novel, The Night Parade. In this story, Malfi unleashes the next great plague upon humanity– Wanderer’s Folly. You daydream, you forget, you see things, until you finally lose it. Some go screaming, some jump to their death, and some wander into a fiery demise. No one knows how it’s spread or why some contract it while others don’t, but one thing is certain—it’s getting worse.

It’s a story that’s been told before, but as with all familiar tropes of fiction, it is the author’s voice that provides the melody over these familiar chords that make it something new, something special. I’ve been a huge fan of Malfi since reading his novel, Snow, and that awe, that amazement over his talent I felt then grows with each novel. The Night Parade is another fine example of his incomparable grasp on storytelling.

This is a beautiful story of a man named David, and his daughter, Ellie, as they struggle with all that has just happened in their world. David has lost his wife and knows that he must do whatever he can to keep his daughter safe. Escaping into the night, they hit the highway, leaving what’s left of their quarantined town behind.

I’m not going to tell you the story. I want you to enjoy the ride yourself. Let me just say that Malfi’s ability to craft these amazing stories and characters in such tight fashion, where you breeze through nearly four-hundred pages like it was a two-hundred-page book is astonishing and wonderful. You don’t want it to end. You want it to stay a little longer, to linger, so you can wrap up in the magic and keep the cold, harsh world at bay. Yeah, even if the story is about a deadly plague. That’s a testament to how good this guys is.

I loved this book. Definitely in my Top 5 of 2016.

I give The Night Parade 5 stars!

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Ronald Malfi, Biography

Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including The Night Parade, this summer’s 2016 release from Kensington.

In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.

Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.

Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at http://www.ronmalfi.com.

Praise for Ronald Malfi

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting, the words, the ending. Color me impressed.” –Melissa Reads on The Night Parade

“The Night Parade has a creepy vibe and some genuinely terrifying moments. I even teared up a time or two. It’s everything I look for in a great read.” – Frank Errington on The Night Parade

“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
—FearNet

“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books

“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon

“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”
Suspense Magazine

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Want to feature this book/author?

If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature The Night Parade or Ronald Malfi in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com. Thanks!

Follow the Publicity Tour here:

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Boom Town is a Hit!

boom-townMy new novella, Boom Town, has been out for less than a week, and I can’t stop smiling. The people have spoken and Boom Town is a hit!  Check out some of the praise this piece has garnered.

“Boom Town brings a bit of the classic sci-fi horror feel back to a whole new generation of readers.” – Book Worm Reviews

“Boom Town is a fun, fast-paced read packed with action, copious amounts of alien slime and an aura of creepiness that is sure to appeal to both Horror and Science Fiction fans.” – The Horror Bookshelf

“I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next…Horror and Sci-Fi lovers everywhere will want to grab this 5-star read!” – Horror Maiden’s Book Reviews

“Glenn Rolfe’s writing is a breath of fresh air, followed by a jolt of adrenaline.” – Iain Rob Wright, author of The Final Winter

“I love Horror and Sci-Fi. Put them together in a well-crafted blend and I’m a happy reader. Boom Town proved to be just such a blend.” –Catherine Cavendish, author of The Pendle Curse

Boom Town is an alien invasion novel with teeth…blue gelatinous teeth, to be exact. Rolfe weaves a wonderful tale of big, bad things happening to a small, good town. A sure winner!” – Hunter Shea, author of The Montauk Monster

I just want to say thank you to all of you reading this story, reviewing this story, and taking the time out of your busy schedules to let the world know what you think. You have had me gushing all week and I love you for it.

Special thanks to Tim Busbey for the rad new header for this site. Thanks, Tim! Cheers!

Click to order your copy of Boom Town HERE Be sure to follow the rest of the Boom Town Publicity Tour HERE boom-town-tour-logo