This past weekend, I was a guest at the Rapture Horror Expo in Tempe, AZ. I’ve done a lot of book signings over the past couple of years with varying degrees of success, but without a doubt this has been my most successful to date. While I’m not surprised that my most successful and highest attended signing for Blood Splatter was right on my front door, what is interesting is that it was almost two years after it was released. It’s really satisfying that there is still plenty of mileage left in the book.
Another high point of the weekend was hosting the Ladies of the Living Dead panel with Judith Ridley and Judith O’Dea who played Judy and Barbra respectively in George A. Romero’s seminal classic “Night of the Living Dead”. After the event, which I might add was extremely insightful, I was able to talk with both Judith’s in depth about their careers. Needless to say, it was a huge honor and definitely a high point of my career so far.
Although I’ll hopefully be submitting “Don’t Make Me Come Down There” to a traditional publisher instead of going the self-publishing route, I’ve started designing the cover to help give the project a visual theme as I work through the last of the text. Whether or not this ends up being the final version is irrelevant at this point. It just helps me with the overall package of the book. Instead of working on print outs, I order proofs from Amazon because I am able to edit my work far easier with a physical proof in my hands. Seeing it as an actual book helps me to see how the final version is going to look and I thus become far more critical of my work. The version I’ll hand off to my editor will be as complete and accurate as I can make it.
I decided to reach out for a designer to help with the cover and registered with Elance.com. I received numerous bids for the project and one in particular came in from India. As this wasn’t going to be the final version, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it. After a week, I started receiving drafts in my email and one in particular stood out. It was of a zombie sitting on a bench with the Grim Reaper standing behind it. The artist told me it was an original piece and it really highlighted the themes of the book. I gave him the go ahead to put a final version together and I had the money put in escrow. In the meantime, I was poking around online and low and behold, I found the picture of the zombie on a stock footage photo site based out of Australia. I reached out to the artist one more time to clarify that it was indeed an original piece and he swore it was. When I forwarded him the links to the image he immediately got defensive and said how was he supposed to know it was from another site. The licensing was double the price he was charging me for the cover, so I knew he had just ripped it off. I pulled the plug on it and went on my way.
Had I intended this cover to be for distribution, I would have gotten into some pretty hot water as I had inadvertently not paid the licensing fees for the image or its distribution. As an author, especially if you are self-publishing, it is imperative that you make sure your cover designer is using images with the right licensing. Ultimately it is on you to make sure that the book you are putting out into the world has all of the legal i’s dotted and t’s crossed. The big thing to keep in mind is you get what you pay for. If the cover price seems to good to be true, there is probably a good reason why.
As I have said on numerous occasions, writing the book is only half of the puzzle.
The promoters of Laughing Moon Con have announced that the upcoming event has been rescheduled. The only information I have about a new date is Spring 2014. As soon as I get the details on a new date, I’ll keep you posted.