Category: editors

Special pre-release sale and pre-orders!

editors, genre fiction, Habeas Corpse, marketing, publishing, reading, release, SHU WPF, zombies October 23, 2013

I started to type the title of this post as BIG NEWS! HUGE NEWS! and then realized that I *might* want to retain a smidge of dignity.

I don’t know why, because I am truly excited for you to finally meet Theo!

First thing, here’s the cover in its entirety… and seriously, Mike Arnzen wrote the most awesome blurb ever.

Habeas Corpse final cover

Here’s the whole blurb:

“Dexter meets Deadite in Nikki Hopeman’s HABEAS CORPSE — and what a treat this novel is. It’s rare that a debut novel can reignite a subgenre, but Nikki Hopeman’s book just might be the most clever zombie story to hit the shelves in quite some time. Hopeman writes a book with brains, in every way:  fun and funny, gory and glorious, this witty tale of an undead ‘Riser’ who bends his unique talents toward investigating crime has single-handedly resurrected my interest in brain-sucking freaks.  Such a clever premise.  I can’t wait to read her next one… but till then I think I’ll happily just read this one again!” — Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Play Dead.

I had the privilege of working with Dr. Arnzen at Seton Hill, and he’s amazingly talented and a really wonderful teacher. I was floored by the blurb and am humbled.

So, on to business!

Habeas Corpse is available at a special pre-release price of $2.99 for the Kindle only for a few days. Get yours here. You can also preorder the paperback edition here.

This has been such an incredible journey for me. I owe a huge shout-out to RJ Cavender, who helped make the book what it is and Marc Ciccarone and Joe Spagnola of Blood Bound Books for seeing the potential in Habeas Corpse. They’ve been so great to work with.

And now it’s up to you, my lovely readers. I hope you love Theo in all his zombie dorkiness as much as I do.

Working with an editor, part 1

angst, editors, genre fiction, Habeas Corpses, marketing, writing life February 14, 2013

Last spring I pitched my book, Habeas Corpses, to the editor of a large(r) house that will remain unnamed. I met with this editor in person at a convention, pitched HC, and Said Editor (SE) expressed interest. A week or so later, I sent the manuscript to SE.

I have yet to hear back from SE. No acceptance or rejection.

To be fair, I should have contacted SE and ascertained that SE received my manuscript, but I didn’t. That’s my fault, and I take responsibility for it.

In the meantime, another large house contacted me about Habeas Corpses after reading an excerpt (I think it was the first chapter) on a website they run. That’s right… contacted me. I may have mentioned this before. This Other Editor (OT) requested the first hundred pages, and naturally I sent them. It didn’t take long for OT to send an email outlining some changes I’d have to make in order for my manuscript to be acceptable. These changes basically consisted of removing all traces of gore and graphic material from my novel because OT felt the gore would turn off readers.

Mind you, this manuscript is a zombie novel. Zombie fans turned off by gore? Has anyone at Large Publishing House bothered watching The Walking Dead? Rant over.

I pitched it again to another small(er) publishing house and was told they liked the characters, but the novel didn’t fit their line. Fair enough, and it was a pleasant pitch and rejection.

Yeah, so anyway, at this point I was completely convinced I was marketing this monster the wrong way. But since I was so close to the story, I wasn’t sure I could objectively call it one thing or another. I tried marketing it as urban fantasy, as horror, as a mystery. I had one really awful critique from a contest (more on contests and why I’ll never enter another one in a different post) that claimed it was utter shit and not worth the paper it was printed on. I entered it as an urban fantasy, and I really think that was part of the problem. I needed some help.

A few of my writing colleagues mentioned talking to a professional editor. I know a few editors from my days at SHU, but no one in the horror genre, so it was clear I was going to have to step outside my inner circle.

I started doing some research and one name popped up in a couple of different places from trusted friends. After some procrastinating on my part (because no one could know my novel as well I do, right?) I contacted The Editorial Department for someone to take a look at it and tell me where Habeas Corpses fit in which genre.

My novel was assigned to RJ Cavender. Fast forward by a couple of months and I’d received RJ’s critique of Habeas Corpses. A few weeks later, my mentor and colleague Scott talked me out from under my bed where I was sobbing and dribbling. He smacked some sense into me and I reread RJ’s critique, after which I signed on to work further with RJ.

RJ’s critique was honest (something which I value very much, but always take some time to digest, hence the sobbing and dribbling) and easily the most helpful assessment of a manuscript I’ve ever had. My first read-through of any critique only allows me to read the negatives, so I missed all the complimentary things he had to say until I came back out from under the bed. He accurately pinpointed my strengths (dialogue) and weaknesses (plot holes), and gave solid advice on how to fix the weaknesses.

He also told me my novel should be marketed as horror. And then he helped me market it.

…to be continued

 

Agents and Editors and Angst

agents, angst, editors, SHU WPF, writing life February 9, 2011

I was mildly surprised and more than mildly delighted when I received an email from a reader asking how I handle nerves when I’m around editors or agents. When did I become an expert?

But really, I have had a small bit of experience in interacting with agents and editors and highly successful authors. Last June I sat down with David Morrell and had a conversation about ebooks. David Morrell wrote Rambo. He’s Rambo’s dad. But more important than who his character is? He’s an incredibly insightful, intelligent person and if I hadn’t looked past my jitteriness and just talked to him, I wouldn’t know that.

Same with editors and agents. My personal rules for engaging with an editor or agent:

1. Be on time. I hate it when people are late, like their time is worth than mine, so I don’t like to do it to others.
2. Be prepared. Have a pitch, know your work, bring a business card at least, even if you don’t expect to hand it out. Better to be prepared (and think positive!).
3. Say hello and ask questions. This also might fall into the “treat them like humans” category. Everyone likes to be put at ease. I asked questions of an agent once (out of nerves mostly), and learned that he coaches soccer at my sons’ rival school. That might not be a good thing for me, but it was fun to laugh with the agent.
4. Be friendly and polite, but above all, be yourself and professional. If this person chooses to represent your work you don’t want them to figure out you’ve misrepresented yourself. Hopefully you’ll have a long relationship with this person. Start it off on the right foot.
5.  Always, always say thank you and send a thank you note or email.

I had the privilege to meet Janet Reid (the Query Shark) last June as well, and she is as funny in person as you suspect.

Best wishes!