In March, I got the splendid news that Permuted Press, a renowned small press specializing in apocalyptic horror fiction, was interested in publishing my existing novel Blood Red (formerly Under the Skin), as well as its in-progress sequel. I signed the contract not long after, and I celebrated copiously with friends and family. I’m now looking forward to a trade-paperback and ebook publication around April 2014 (just in time for the World Horror Convention in Portland!).
I first became aware of Permuted Press nearly a decade ago when I saw their titles on the shelves of Borders Bookstores. (And here, allow me to lament the passing of a great bookstore chain, one that offered a top-notch horror section containing books that actually stuck around for a while!) They all had that distinctive double-P logo on the spine, and they always piqued my curiosity. I picked up a few as the mood struck, and in fact I’m particularly proud of my trade-paperback 1st edition of John Dies At The End, perhaps Permuted Press’s most familiar and popular title. It has since been picked up by St. Martin’s Press and re-printed in hardcover to a wider audience, and Don Coscarelli made it into a weird-ass film not too long ago. I also have in my collection one of the very first books that Permuted Press published, a groovy zombie anthology called The Undead. There are more on my shelves, too, terrific horror novels from the likes of Peter Clines, Craig DiLouie, David Dunwoody, and others.
Since my first encounters with those books, Permuted Press has become a steady, reliable force in the horror fiction field, and when I finished Blood Red, it was instantly on my radar. In many ways, Blood Red is an ideal Permuted Press title, playing with familiar genre tropes but tweaking them into something new. As I began shopping the book around and researching markets, I kept returning to Permuted. I liked a lot about what I was finding—particularly the press’s emphasis on community, which was clear on its website’s message boards as well as on Facebook. Here was a collection of writers and readers that were all enthused about the same thing: quality apocalyptic horror fiction. It wasn’t long before I was convinced Permuted would be the perfect home for my weird brainchild, Blood Red.
Through my research, I knew that Jacob Kier, editor/publisher at Permuted Press, opened the gates to submissions only rarely, so it was with some patience that I awaited last fall’s opening. And when he announced his new submission portal, I contacted him the first day.
The process took a few months, and a few back-and-forth correspondences, but in the end, an offer came, and I eagerly signed on. I have to admit that it’s pretty friggin’ cool not only to have a contract for my finished novel but also to have a second contract for a book still to be written. That changes the game for me. It adds a strong new motivator to the mix, for sure. A writer’s group or even National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is one thing … but an actual contract with money and printed books behind it? That’s quite another.
I’m anxious to get into the process of Blood Red‘s path to publication. As an editor myself, I’m happily awaiting the edit phase of the book, to see that from the other side of the equation. In my “editing relationships,” I’ve usually been on the editor side, so to be the writer this time—that’s cool. I’m also geeking out about the art and design aspects. One of the advantages of working with a small press is that you have more of a voice in those kinds of aspects than you might with a large press. The thought of being involved with an artist and helping make design choices is pretty enthralling.
These kinds of choices are all part of the marketing process, and I plan to be strongly involved in that. As a writer in the 21st century, you HAVE to be. I hope to be participating in all kinds of avenues to get the word out about Blood Red, particularly local opportunities. This is a book set in my town of Fort Collins, Colorado, with a vivid geographical sense. I’ve long felt that we don’t have enough bookstores in this city, but you can bet I’ll be visiting the ones we have and ensuring that they carry the book.
But for me, spreading the word about Blood Red begins here at this site, and as the publication date looms closer, and as the book gets on the official release schedule, I’ll keep you updated right here about the process. As I busily write its sequel, Blood Red is about to begin its trek toward a much larger audience, thanks to Permuted Press. Stay tuned!