Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Shout-Out to Canadian Fans of Horror and Zombies

Sometime over the past week a rogue crew of Canadians bought Bleeding Kansas. At least that’s the news I got from Visiting the site for the first time today, I saw I had a 1-star review that’s been sitting there since February, shortly after the second edition came out. 

As for what bothered the reviewer...hell, I have no idea. 

Has this been discouraging sales all along?

I am this reviewer’s sole 1-star smackdown out of 53 reviews. The reviewer generally gives 2-stars to whatever he or she doesn’t like, including one book that had paragraphs and pages missing. I’d like to know what provoked this reviewer to delete Bleeding Kansas from his Kindle library. Seems a rather extreme reaction. I’ve read plenty of stinkers on my Kindle for PC, but I’ve never thought to delete them, let alone go out of my way to sink some poor stranger’s career with a dismissive review.

Of course, this could very well be an honest, visceral reaction to a book that did not follow the usual zombie apocalypse formula. To distill what I explained to our comrades in severed zombie arms in the UK, the SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER series has several very distinguishing features, to wit:

* I am not obsessed with hardware and weaponry. Let’s just kill these things and try and get out of here alive, all right?

* My hero, Derek Grace, is not former military. He’s just an ordinary guy trying to figure this nightmare out as he goes along.

* Yet I have no brief with guns or the military. My big idea was, if I was going to devote all this time and effort writing a proper zombie apocalypse series, it was going to be something different. 

Which, as I said, may have been what caused this person to react. People have these expectations of the way they think things should be, and react negatively when those expectations are disappointed. Hey, me, too. I’m not judging. I’m just trying to figure this out.

For all that, though, I wonder if the following bullet points aren’t even worse

* I write like someone who has read books. Good books, that is, not the usual color-by-numbers stuff of the kind you read from a lot of self-published authors. This can inspire reflexive hatred in people who resented the hard stuff their teachers made them read in school.

* Severed Press in Australia bought Bleeding Kansas while I was still serializing it here on this blog, before I’d even finished it. Another publishing house, Luzifer-Verlag, has translated Bleeding Kansas into German and is set to do the same with Grace Among the Dead

I’ve got fans who actually work in publishing houses who think my work will sell. Which I guess makes me elitist, or something like that. I don’t know these people personally. I wish I could afford to visit Australia and Germany. 

(Apropos of nothing, I did spend a full week in Canada driving from Anchorage to Seattle in 2003. Wish I could afford to do that again.) 

So here are the links. Read the sample chapters. If it’s not for you, I understand. If it is, I implore you to write your own review. Not just for me, but for other authors you’ve read and liked. I’m not the only one the drive-by haters are gunning down for the sake of their mean-girl authors’ cliques.

To the crew up north who recently bought Bleeding Kansas, feel free to email me at l.roy.aiken at the Google mail-thing and tell me what you think. Here’s hoping you enjoy the carnage. It gets even crazier in the sequel.

Book 1 has ONE exploding head on its cover.
Book 2 has TWO exploding heads.
See the pattern here?