An Odd Path To Publication – Guest Post by Norman Prentiss
For my moolah, Norman Prentiss is one of the best writers out there in Author Land. And I don’t just mean the horror genre. He’s publishing his latest book via the Kindle Scout, a path I know plenty of people are interested in. Check out why and how it all works. And then hop over to the KS page, read his excerpt and vote!
I’ve got a new book that I’m very proud of, ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER, and it’s currently on view at Amazon as part of the Kindle Scout program: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/31CCF08HMHST3
Kindle Scout is unusual, because it allows readers to preview a book that’s not yet selected for publication. Authors supply a cover image, description and bio., and a 5,000 word excerpt, and then reader “nominations” help the book garner attention from Amazon. The program begins as a kind of popularity contest, measuring web traffic over a period of 30 days to gauge reader interest and a book’s marketability; however, the ultimate decision lies with Amazon (high-traffic books have been rejected; average-traffic books have gotten a contract).
Now that I’m posting a book at Kindle Scout, a few folks are asking me why I didn’t work with the horror specialty press, where I’ve had previous success (Cemetery Dance, Dark Fuse, PS Publishing, and Thunderstorm). Why go the Kindle Scout route for this one?
Well, I’ve been shopping this book around, and have gotten a lot of very positive feedback–but one of the key comments was that it fit too many categories. It’s kind of a “queer pulp roadtrip adventure,” with horror and fantasy elements. As an added wrinkle, the adult-themed adventures are surrounded by a frame tale that’s kind of YA in style: a coming-of-age story as a daughter attempts to understand her fathers’ past. On one level I think it’s my most mainstream book, likely to appeal to people outside horror because of its social themes and, ultimately, the emotional content of the book’s overall effect. At the same time, it might be, to repeat a word in the title, too ODD for mainstream. Writing it (I realize now), I was aiming for something like a “cult-movie” type of readership.
How does a book like this find its audience? One strategy, I guess, would be to publish it modestly and hope people find it eventually (maybe in a few years…or even decades, when I might not around to know it!). But if the book doesn’t fit the usual categories, then an unusual or new-fangled path to publication might be exactly the right way to go.
Another important factor in my decision is that ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER is different from my other stories, to the point where I briefly considered publishing it under a pseudonym. It’s maybe a little sexier, even a little more fun (pulp instead of literary in places) than my other work. The queer themes set this book apart from some of my other fiction, as well–the adventures explore homophobia in a supernatural context. Ultimately, though, the book is still ME, and I want my name on the cover. So instead of the pseudonym route, I thought a different publishing path could help distinguish this book (and the two following titles I’ve planned for the series) from things like INVISIBLE FENCES, my Dr. Sibley stories, or THE FLESHLESS MAN.
No matter what path this book follows to publication, I think my horror fans will dig ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER. It’s definitely got some chills and unsettling scenes, and monsters all the way through. And I’m hoping a lot of new readers find me through the Kindle Scout campaign.
In the meantime, please consider giving me a boost by checking out the excerpt from this book at Kindle Scout (https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/31CCF08HMHST3), and nominate it if you find it worthy. I’m happy with the excerpt, and can promise that the whole book has a lot more surprises in store. And if Amazon chooses to publish it, they’ll provide a free advance copy of the full eBook to folks who nominated it!