Dare to Read

January 19, 2012

My Road to Publication

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today we have with us my friend and fellow author Chris Bauer.

I met Chris at the Bucks Country Writers Workshop when Chris was writing his wonderful and scary, and wonderfully scary novel SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD: THE DEVIL’S BIBLE. So I was privileged to have a first peek into his story, while accessing his expertise as beta reader for both TWO MOON PRINCESS and its sequel THE KING IN THE STONE.

I confess I am no fan of horror stories (life is scary enough as is) but I loved his protagonist and was enthralled by his strong and distinctive voice.

I highly recommend you try this book, it’s above all a well written and compassionate look into a human soul

Why did you write this book?

SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD: THE DEVIL’S BIBLE started as an attempt to exorcise some demons re an apparent cluster of mentally and physically impaired children in my old northeast Philadelphia neighborhood in the 1960s. It ended up with a more epic sweep when my research turned up a religious artifact known as the Devil’s Bible, a 13th century manuscript with a demonic legend. The massive book became a spoil of more than one European war, and is currently on display in the Royal Library of Sweden.

What genre is it?

Urban fantasy/horror. Maybe horror fits its description best, considering it was an EPIC Awards finalist as best for that genre for 2010. Alas, it took home the silver as runner-up. It’s been blurbed by multiple Bram Stoker award winner and NYT bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and Scott Nicholson, a majorly independent horror/thriller writer who is currently breaking some records in self-pubbed offerings. (Wow. This sounds like boasting. Sorry.)

Who is the expected audience?

Folks who liked Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and to some extent The Da Vinci Code might like this. I’ve been asked if it’s a religious book. Nah. There’s a religious bend to it but the subject matter dictated this bend, and it’s not preachy in the least. Anyone who enjoys a few twists, a forty-year love story and some apocalyptic mayhem would be the intended audience.

Who designed your cover?

Deena Fisher, publisher, Drollerie Press. Drollerie Press is kaput, sorry to say, because of Deena’s debilitating health issues. (Hi, Deena. Hope you’re feeling better.)

How does the cover reflect your story?

It depicts the misty, eerie quiet of an early morning in the small town of Three Bridges, PA, just before tragedy strikes. People have asked me about the black bird. He’s just hanging out, waiting for something bad to happen, and it does.

In which formats is your book available? Ebook, hardcover, paperback?

Ebook if you want me to earn anything on it. A small number of trade paperbacks are still available on Amazon from the original publisher but I doubt I’ll ever see those royalties. Plus the ebook has some revisions vs. the original. Here are the links: amzn.to/tV3K0g (Amazon); bit.ly/smashwords_scars (Smashwords).

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Aforementioned sudden closure of small press Drollerie Press, the original publisher. Closed its doors in October 2011 and returned all rights to me plus threw in the cover art. Yes, it was kind of ugly the way it went down (internet silence from the publisher as she mended from a devastating illness while the press tanked), but she tried to do more right than wrong for her authors. I could have either a) held off as I shopped my new book, hoping I could entice a prospective agent and/or publisher into re-launching SCARS as part of a two-book deal or b) re-launched it myself. Extremely unlikely a publisher will be interested in it as a second book, considering its only modest success when originally published. And let’s face it, Amazon and Smashwords now have some very attractive royalty programs. And don’t forget that much of a book’s success depends on the author’s own marketing, which I have to do anyway. So why not try to direct that chunk of income into my own pocket, you dig?

What is your marketing plan?

Hit up as many reviewers and bloggers as I can find. Giveaways, guest blog posts, reviews. Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, other social media. So far I’ve had a number of takers, all breadcrumbs for this new bend in the changing publishing environment. Here’s where the breadcrumbs lead, in case you missed the earlier links: amzn.to/tV3K0g (Amazon); bit.ly/smashwords_scars (Smashwords).

Any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

It looks very attractive, but it’s deceiving. Authors who are doing well by self-publishing their work brought their platforms and readership with them. J.A. Konrath and Scott Nicholson are examples. Then, of course, there’s Amanda Hocking, whose success has been freakish. My advice: Have your work critiqued (a must): peers are good, professional is better. Read your work aloud! Attempt to take the normal road to publishing first. Find an agent who can sell your book/series to a traditional publisher and establish a readership before entertaining self-publication. I’m following my own advice, am currently pitching a new novel to agents. But going the traditional route is easier said than done. Rejection sucks. Do it anyway.

C.G. Bauer writes horror, crime, mystery, mainstream and anything he damn well pleases, most of it really good. In addition to his novel SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD his short stories have appeared in Shroud Magazine (“Zombie Chimps From Mars,” Spring 2011 print edition) and Thuglit, and his “You’re A Moron” short was podcasted by Well Told Tales (tale #60) with more than 94,000 free audio downloads/plays to date. “Sink,” a short-short, will be released late January 2012 in the new anthology 100 HORRORS. He’ll be releasing a collection of short stories later this year.