I came across an article about zombie novels while Googling, and my interest was piqued. Simon Owens starts his article with a very interesting story. He passes on something an author told him in an interview, where the author submitted some of his manuscripts to several large book publishers. And then one day soon after, he received a reply in his email inbox. “It was supposed to be an interoffice email from the publishing house I had submitted to,” he told me in a phone interview. “And it was a couple of their interns joking back and forth. One of them said, ‘I just batch-rejected 600 authors.’ But they accidentally hit reply all and all the authors were included. They were joking about how they weren’t even reading any of the submissions.
Reading this just helps confirm some of my suspicions about whether there is much point trying to find an agent and a publisher. I have also worked in a bookshop, and I have seen first hand how little chance fresh authors are given to make it. The publisher often releases a couple of books, and if the author doesn’t take off, that’s it, they cut them. And this is in the mainstream; very few big publishers will take a chance on sci-fi, which is why 56 percent of science fiction and fantasy bestsellers on Kindle are self-published.
Anyway I’m not here to moan about the publishing industry’s gatekeepers, I clicked the link to learn about zombies. Unfortunately, the article talks about achieving success with zombie novels in the same way as achieving success in any other genre on Amazon. That means releasing the first book for free and simultaneously paying to advertise it on BookBub.
The only problem with this strategy is, I haven’t spent a dime on my writing, so far, and I am loath to start. Simon Owens did, however, mention one other tactic that could be achieved for free. He says you have to be willing to write a series, and, more important, write it quickly.
If you were to release a free book and not follow up with a sequel until a year later, by then most of those readers will have forgotten you. This means pumping out a new book every two or three months. Many of the authors I spoke to said they’ll often have at least three books in a series completed before releasing the first one. Often, all three will be published on the same day, allowing the writers to hyperlink to the sequel at the end of each ebook.
That sounds like it could work. But, again, my natural contrariness will probably prevent me from adopting this marketing strategy. As soon as I have a new book done, I want it out there, so people can read it. I’m always way too excited to even consider sitting on it to get higher Amazon rankings. It turns out, as you might expect, that finding success with zombie novels is similar to finding success with any other genre.