This post is third in a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. These interviews focus on three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing and those who are taking the self-publishing path must develop strength: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work. None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to JackDouglasHorn@gmail.com.
Josh Vasquez is the author of the Savannah Zombie Series. He lives in Savannah, Georgia with his wife and daughter.
The city is currently zombie-free.
100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!
Nineteen, a college dropout, and working as a grocery store clerk was not how Jeremy Riggins imagined the prime years of his life. Helping his mother with bills, while his father lives in luxury not too far away, life does not seem fair.
Then the zombie apocalypse shambles into Savannah, Georgia.
Jeremy has to fight his way through the city, search for family, and fight off the undead horde. He’ll join up with a diverse group of characters to make it out alive. Could his mother’s religion be right? Is this the end? Can he survive the zombie apocalypse?
Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?
Huh, what? Just kidding folks.
This may be super weird, but I actually enjoy editing. Writing is fun, don’t get me wrong. It’s all, “YEAH! WORDS! IDEAS! THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER BEEN WRITTEN!”
But then it comes the time to actually read what you wrote and you’re like, “Holy crap on a mechanical pencil. I wrote this? I wrote this. This is what I wrote.” And you just sit there and stare at the steaming pile that wafts up from your keyboard. (Or paper, if you still use that stuff.)
Editing is taking that pile and molding it, shaping it into what you really meant, taking your word vomit and turning into a gosh darn novel. You see all the little nuances and side stories you subconscious put there, because you’re freaking awesome and that’s how you roll. (Go you!)
For me, what this looks like is taking my first draft and shaping it into a longer 2nd draft. THIS IS FOR MY EYES ONLY! I read it, add to it what it needs, and subtract what it doesn’t. Then I copyedit the thing and let some trusted people read it. Since I’m self-published, this is a list of people who know books and love books. But, I also try and get someone who is not a reader, because if I can keep their attention, I can keep anyone’s attention.
From there a third draft fixing anything they caught or stuff I missed the first couple go arounds. Then I hit that scary little button that says, “PUBLISH.”
What steps have you taken/are you considering taking to build a social platform to promote your work?
Originally, I had a Facebook page, a personal Twitter account, a book Twitter account, and a website/blog. I ran a Facebook ad for my Facebook page and got a bunch of Facebook likes, which in the end, was really only a waste of my Facebook dollars. So, I dropped that platform. To be honest though, I’m at an age where Facebook is super lame, but I’m still like, “Snapchat can suck it.”
Right now I focus on hanging out on Twitter. The important thing with social media is do what YOU like to do. It’s not to sell books. Don’t be a spam bot. Nobody wants that. Be a human being.
I like playing hashtag games and will RT/Like you if you’re funny. There’s enough negativity in this world; I’d rather share some laughter.