Zombie Publishers

The last time I wrote about zombie publishers, I was confused. I got mired in trying to determine the difference between self-publishing and small presses. Admittedly, there is some blurring of the lines. Even so, there are a few small presses who are turning out quality work from zombie authors. These small presses are growing rapidly. I'm thrilled to see this. For ordinary people like me, it's a real plus.

Zombie Publishers Are Accessible

Small presses like Permuted Press, Books of the Dead and Severed Press make zombie authors more accessible to readers. There's almost always some sort of interesting conversation or opportunity to interact with the publishers and the authors they handle. That's a complicated sentence. What I mean is, with these small presses, there's connection. 

Zombie Publishers Outlast Trends 


Large publishers seem distant and aloof. That's part of their deal, I guess. If they didn't have layers of protection, they'd be inundated with frivolous communication. They wouldn't be able to do their jobs. The job of a large publisher is very different from that of an independent press. 

It's a large publisher's job to navigate the deep waters of the mass market. They're supposed to concentrate on handling the huge. Huge money, huge production runs, huge audiences, huge visibility. Those usually lead to huge risk, huge politics, and huge pressure. 

I respect that. I know that when I buy a book from a large publisher, I'm going to get something that's been through a long and time-honored process.

I like that. It just doesn't leave as much room for zombie authors. Sure, zombies are popular right now. But there is no way the bigger houses can afford to miss the newest wave when it comes. And it will come. They'll have to move on. In fact, they probably already have. They have to. The larger publishing houses are working months and years ahead. Right now, whatever is the next big trend is already in the works. And it probably isn't zombies.

Zombie Publishers Are Exciting

Not so with the independent presses I've discovered here. It's like the difference between taking a preplanned cruise on an ocean liner or swimming with the dolphins on an interactive charter trip. With the zombie publishers here, there's room for experimentation and surprise.

Like the charter trip, we might not know exactly what's going to happen, but we know we'll be active participants. The waters may seem more choppy, but that's only because we are closer to them. On a huge ocean liner, the sea life and rough waves are still there, but we don't feel them because we're removed and protected. That's fine. No one wants turbulence at a fancy dinner, or seaweed stuck to $500 designer sheets. But think what you're missing.

Wouldn't you rather be IN there? Wouldn't you rather feel the rhythm of the waves and not quite know where you are going? Wouldn't you rather be surprised? Wouldn't you rather be a part of things? 

Yeah, there will be sharks. (That's a whole 'nother story, for another time. Readers don't need to worry too much, but authors must beware. )

You won't be handed an itinerary. You'll be disappointed or uncomfortable, sometimes. But you'll chatter with your captain and help to chart the course. You'll sleep on deck. Sometimes you'll get wet or cold. But you'll also see the stars when they first come out, for real, in the night sky. You won't have to wait till someone else decides it's time to see them.