It’s exactly one year ago today that I officially launched my first book, VEGAN TEENAGE ZOMBIE HUNTRESS, to the world. And it has been a wildly fun ride. I consider myself so very lucky—the book has been well-reviewed, has been in the Kindle Top 10 list for the Teen Humor Category, and was even a Horror Honeys Book of the Week! I’ve gotten to be on so many fun interviews and podcasts, and other public appearances in relation to the book, like judging zombie costume contests for charity, boogying my butt off at a feminist dance party for charity, and doing a reading at a local theater’s season premier viewing of the Walking Dead.
I have had serious fun this year, and I owe it all to my little book.
That’s all great, some of you curmudgeony, fun-hating, bottom-line driven skeptics are saying, but what about the money?
Great, I love talking about money! So let’s have an honest chat.
As an independent female, I believe it’s critical to understand money, where it goes, what it does, and to talk about it openly. In regards to my book, by now, everyone knows that I took the entrepreneurial route—bringing the book to market myself, with the help of a team to handle stuff I couldn’t do on my own, like e-book formatting and editing. I’m happy to say that, in the space of a year, I have earned back 2/3 of my investment in the production and marketing of the book. Pretty good, right? And I’m sure that in few months, with some concerted sales efforts, I’ll have broken even and the rest will be profit that I’ll funnel into the production of book 2 (hold onto your shorts—we’ll talk more about book 2 another time). So, let’s be brutally honest, I’m not getting rich money-wise off this endeavor, but, the true rewards—the fact that I pulled off the publication of a cool little book, the fans I’ve earned, and the fantastic people I’ve befriended through my writing— have been far, far greater than any money in my pocket. In the friends and experiences category, I’m rich beyond measure. My new friends have changed my life. (Shout-out to Steve, Stacy, Margo, and K-rock. WASSUUUUP!)
The best experience so far this year was the day I got to visit the Tukwila Foster Library to speak to a group of teens. It was supposed to be a zombie prom event. We had a table of prom-themed books and zombie-themed books, and we had brownie snacks because brownies are a key part of my story. I did a little reading from the book and then we did a Q+A, which has been, by far, one of the coolest experiences of my life. You see, most of the kids at the event were refugees from war torn countries who are now just trying to be normal everyday American kids. These kids were not only immigrants, but were from places where one could be viciously beheaded for speaking freely. One girl mentioned that friends of her family had been executed by a dictatorial regime for making public commentary about the oppressive government. As you can see, our conversations took an interesting turn. We talked about Freedom of Speech, and how it is an essential American right. How we, here in America, are given the ability to write, or make music, or art, and it is protected. We cannot go to jail (or worse) for simply expressing a belief. Interestingly, all of the kids in the room wanted to be some kind of artist when they grew up, either a writer, visual artist, songwriter, or rapper. We talked about how they can, if they work hard enough, live their dream.
That day I drove home feeling my heart swelling with love for those wonderful kids and all their hopes and dreams. And I had a rosy afterglow that lasted for days. Any time I feel down, and writing seems like a struggle, I think about them, and I think about you, and all the people who are counting on me tell them a story, and I soldier on.
Because I have the freedom to live my dream.
Ok, wipe those tears from your eyes, because I have some announcements to make.
1. Because this is book birthday month, I’m celebrating with a Goodreads giveaway! WOOOOT! Go to Goodreads and throw your name in the hat, and maybe you can win a paperback copy of VTZH.
2. I’m also participating in zOctober! What is zOctober?
Well, it is only a fun-filled month-long event of authors who write zombie stories, brought to you by Toni Lesatz of MY BOOK ADDICTION. Starting October 1, there will be plenty of chances to meet and interact with new authors, learn about books you might enjoy, and to win prizes. Seriously, lots of books will be given away, so visit the Facebook event page every day. My day will be October 27, and I will be sharing some fun interviews with characters from my book, and will also give away some books too. In the greater spirit of sharing the zombie love this month, I may have some zombie authors appear on my blog too.
3. I’ll be appearing at the Puyallup Book Festival for the Local Author Spotlight at the Puyallup Library on Oct 24, between 1-4 p.m. I’ll be selling signed books, and there will be so many cool authors appearing there. Come visit us! Details here: http://www.puyallupfestivalofbooks.com/event/local-author-festival/
4. Last, but not least, I’ll be doing some readings from VTZH at some open mic nights around town, and will be bringing signed copies with me to sell. Watch my social media feeds to stay in the loop.
Happy Book Birthday to VTZH, and Happy zOctober, everyone!
Go eat some cake!
P.S. If you want to read about cake-eating zombies, go read my friend K.L. Kincy’s middle-grade book DEADLY DELICIOUS. It is literally all about cake-eating zombies. Om nom nom!