Jessica Meigs

The Grand Unveiling: The Cover of The Becoming!

Since Permuted Press has posted this on their facebook page, it is obviously okay for me to post this here.

I give you, for your perusal, the cover of The Becoming, the first book in The Becoming Trilogy!

 

The font will likely change, but the art is 100% done.

Thoughts?

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Updates on The Becoming and an Important Note

Dropping by to give a few updates on the statuses of certain upcoming novels of mine. I figured it’s about time for that. 😛

First, as an aside: I’ve been getting a lot of commentary/comments from people asking when Year One will be out or saying they’re looking forward to the third book. I must stop and reiterate the new format for the trilogy.

Originally, The Becoming was intended to be a series of five novellas. However, since the series has been picked up by Permuted Press, it will be a trilogy of three full-length novels instead.

The first book will be made up of very much improved, heavily edited, quite frankly better written versions of Outbreak and Safe House. They’re mashed together to create one novel as opposed to two separate novellas.

The second book will be made up of what was going to be the third and fourth novellas (specifically Year One and Ground Zero).

The third book will be a drastically expanded version of what was going to be the fifth novella.

My point here? If you decide to wait until “the third book,” you will be completely lost, because in theory, you’ll be skipping novellas three and four. If you want to follow along where you left off, I’d highly recommend you purchase the Permuted Press edition of the first book and follow from there, as there have been some serious changes to certain aspects of the story to bring it in line with books two and three, and you will almost be TOTALLY lost if you skip the first book thinking you can just pick up where the novellas left off.

If you have any questions, feel free to prod me, and I’ll explain it a little better.

Anyway…

The Becoming

Book The First: I HAVE SEEN A SKETCH OF THE POTENTIAL COVER, AND IT IS GLORIOUS! The friends and family I’ve shown it to have loved it, and I am incredibly excited to see the finished product. However, the artist has requested that unfinished copies of the cover not be posted online, and seeing as how I have no desire either to piss him off OR to impede his creative output, I will be complying with that request. Hopefully, I’ll have something to show you guys soon, though. 😀

Book The Second: …is currently in the second stage of editing. It’s gone to my editor, been returned to me, and as of this morning, has gone BACK to my editor for the second round.

Book The Third: Currently still writing. I’m almost to the halfway point. I’m FAR ahead of schedule, and it will definitely be done in time to make it to my publisher by November, barring any unforseen horrors.

That said, I must share this, because seriously? It looks awesome. I cannot WAIT to get my eyes on the second season of this show this fall!

Edit: And I see that WordPress decided to EAT MY EMBEDDED VIDEO. *sigh* Here’s a link to the page where I first saw the video. It’s embedded properly there.

Another Interview and A Couple of Links!

Link drop! Few new things to share with you guys today. 🙂

In case you missed it when I posted about it last time I updated, fellow horror author G.R. Yeates posted an interview with me on his blog last week. It is, of course, still available over there for your perusal if you feel the need to read me trying to take myself seriously. 😛

In a more entertaining vein, also fellow horror author Kevin J. Burke did a back and forth interview with me for his blog and got it up for everybody to read. So now it is available on Kevin’s site for your perusal if you feel the need to read me being my normal, absolutely silly self. Just to get you started, here’s an excerpt:

A few months ago, I made Twitter friends with a young lady named Jessica Meigs. It quickly became apparent that we were leading creepily parallel lives. Our novels starring zombies were both picked up by Permuted Press. We signed our contracts on the same day. (Pretty sure it was literally the same day.) We both pay the bills by working mind-numbing jobs at the world’s largest retailer. (We’re not cashiers! …not that there’s anything wrong with that.) And it turns out we both feel really strongly about the importance of good grammar and editing when self-publishing. (Typos make you look like an amateur! You would think more indie writers would feel that way.) Naturally, we became friends and colleagues, but oddly enough, we each have not actually read the other’s work. If my book coming out is the most highly anticipated book release in my life, then The Becoming by Jessica Meigs is second.

The Becoming Trilogy now has its own Facebook page, where you can “Like” the trilogy and follow the latest news and updates about it right on your Facebook stream. To access the page, you can click here. Be sure to spread the word and get your Facebook friends to like it too! And, as always, you can follow me on Facebook right here and Twitter too!

And, because I never get tired of shameless self promotion, you can preorder the first novel in The Becoming Trilogy, which will be entitled The Becoming, from Barnes & Noble for the super-awesome low price of only $10.08! That’s another link you can pass around to all your buddies. And, as always, please keep in mind that 12/1/11 is, so I’ve been informed, a place holder date until we have something more definite. 🙂 And hopefully, I’ll have more news soon regarding eBook copies from B&N and Amazon!

Check out G.R. Yeates’ Interview With Me!

UK horror author G.R. Yeates interviewed me on his official site today! You can read the entire interview here, but here’s a little snippet to whet your appetite for what’s on the other side of that link.

What do you think makes The Becoming unique?
…[O]ne of the major things that makes my trilogy fairly unique is that it’s a zombie book that isn’t about zombies. It’s really more a story about survival, about friendship and love and finding out who you are and what makes you human and digging your nails in and never letting go of that. It’s about recognizing your destiny when you find yourself facing it, and taking hold of it and fulfilling it. It’s a trilogy that is very much character-driven … The zombie apocalypse is just the circumstances the characters live in; the weapons are just the tools they use to survive.

You can preorder The Becoming on B&N here for only $10.08! (The paperback copy is the only version available at the moment, and the 12/01/11 release date is a placeholder date. I’ll keep everyone posted on the official release date when I have it!)

And you can check out G.R. Yeates’ ebook The Eyes of the Dead on Barnes & Noble and Amazon for only $0.99! I’m only about halfway through it at the moment, but so far, it’s excellent!

The Becoming Now Available for Pre-Order on B&N!

So I’ve been intending to make a quick post over here with this announcement since Saturday, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had the chance.

Now that I DO have some time, though…

I’m happy to announce that The Becoming, the first book in The Becoming Trilogy to be released by Permuted Press, is now available for preorder for only $10.08 + S&H from Barnes & Noble!

To preorder the book in paperback format, you can click here to view the page on Barnes & Noble and find out more information about the book!

Sadly, there’s no book summary up yet; hopefully we’ll have that up soon, as I’ve just sent it to the publisher. No idea when there will be cover art, either, but you guys will, of course, be the first to know when it’s up and ready to go!

The date that’s listed on B&N (December 1, 2011) is, as far as my understanding goes, a placeholder date until we have something more concrete. I’ll keep everyone updated if that date changes.

So I’m hoping everybody goes out and preorders the book from Barnes & Noble; even if you’ve read the self-published versions, I’d highly encourage you to pick up the re-issue, as it’s got much MUCH better editing and some changes to the storyline that will be important for books two and three.

Interesting Post from Zoe Winters on Piracy

Another article of interest that’s been posted and caught my attention. So I, of course, felt the compulsion to share.

Zoe Winters, self-published paranormal romance writer (there seems to be SO many of these around now!), made a post on 6/7 entitled, “The Thing that REALLY Pisses Me Off”, where she addresses the growing issue of eBook piracy. And let me tell you, she totally hits the nail on the head. Her thoughts are my thoughts put into words that I can’t manage, because I get so annoyed when I attempt to write about it. I encourage you to read the post in its entirety, but here’s a taste of what you’ll find inside:

We are entering a world of increasing entitlement where more and more people either think what they steal doesn’t matter and won’t affect the artist or they just fucking don’t care. Because they feel entitled to free entertainment and they don’t care what happens to the person who made it, nor do they care about the hard work that went into creating it. … This idea that “piracy doesn’t really hurt anyone but instead benefits everyone” is beyond asinine. And even if the people who say this were right, that doesn’t mean you have the right to take shit from other people that doesn’t belong to you just because you want to. If someone says: “This is mine and I don’t want you to take it without paying” then taking it is WRONG. How hard is that? Are you so morally bankrupt you can’t figure that out?

And this is definitely my favorite part of the entire post and totally deserves the boldfacing:

If you steal from an artist, you are not their fan. You can call yourself whatever you want, but with some very rare exceptions those artists will look on you and your kind with disgust and contempt. And someday your action may result in that artist you stole from no longer producing work for you to steal. … Bottom line… if you like the work of an artist, you should pay for it. Whether it’s music, movie, or book. Because just taking it is equivalent to spitting in their face. Funny how nobody likes being spit on.

I encourage everyone to take a stand against piracy, if only for the sakes of those you claim to enjoy and be fans of. They have to make a living too.

On Amanda Hocking and Self-Publishing

(Here’s to hoping I don’t regret posting this, but at the same time, I do enjoy a good debate!)

I was involved in a discussion a couple of days ago on the Indie Writers United! group on Facebook regarding Amanda Hocking’s writing, and I came out of it so incensed that I had to stop and take the time to write this post. Pardon me if I step on anyone’s toes or if any of this doesn’t make total sense, but I am making a point, I promise! (And I swear I’ll try to keep this short.)

First, I’d like to state that I am in no way envious of Amanda Hocking and her success. I applaud her for doing what she feels is best for her. This is nothing to do with her personally; this has all to do with her writing itself. Please remember the key rule of any author: criticism of the writing does not equal criticism of the writer.

That said, a little history for those of you who don’t know the story of Amanda Hocking (since it seems there are still people who haven’t even heard of her):

Amanda Hocking is a “mega bestselling indie heroine” who has, somehow, managed to sell thousands and thousands of copies of her self-published books on Amazon and B&N and has made hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so. She’s been signed to traditional publisher St. Martin’s Press for a purported $2mil advance to write a series of four YA paranormal romance novels. This is, by all accounts, the epitome of success in the indie publishing world.

Except…

It all started a few days ago when fellow indie author Ben White (of the excellent novel The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud) posted to his blog an article entited, “Is it Laziness or Efficiency? Baby It’s Both: Good Writing vs Good Promotion” (go read the whole thing; it’s pretty much my thoughts put down a little more eloquently), in which he puts forward the idea that Amanda Hocking, while a “success,” is not a good writer. To quote White:

I don’t begrudge A[manda] H[ocking] her success or wish her ill or anything like that, and I’m certainly not envious of her position. When I say ‘she’s not a good writer’ I mean her sentences are clumsy, she often uses the wrong word, her characters are flat, her dialogue is cliched, she head-hops a lot and so on. … Additionally, her books are poorly formatted and in serious need of editing; just reading the sample for Hollowland I picked up dozens of basic errors.

To be quite frank about it, I agree with White. Hocking is not that great of a writer. Or perhaps I should say I don’t take her as seriously as I should as a writer, because her editing or lack thereof smacks of unprofessionalism. This segues into my point about indie publishing, though, and it’s something that I feel really needs to be said. There’s no other way to put it either, so here goes:

Just because Amanda Hocking does it, doesn’t mean you should do it.
Amanda Hocking is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself.

You as an indie author will likely never see the sales that Amanda Hocking has seen. She is a perfect case of luck and the “right place, right time” lottery. While I’m sure she has compelling storylines, I found it incredibly difficult to get through even a chapter of either of the two novels I tried to read by her, because every typo, every misspelled word, every missing word yanked me right out of the story as I stumbled to try to figure out just what she meant to say. It made it difficult to get into the story to begin with, and I found my attention drifting away from the book more often than not, rather than having it focused solely on the page in front of me and the characters and their adventures.

From the perspective of both reader and writer, this is something that should never happen.

As an indie author, you are playing the game of writer, editor, publisher, marketer, and every other -er in the business. You are your own employer, and you are your only employee. You are the only one to blame when something goes wrong with your manuscript or your sales or your marketing techniques. You can’t just say, “Oh, my editor fell down on the job,” or “Oh, my publisher isn’t marketing my book like I want them to,” or “Oh, the market just isn’t there for this kind of book right now.” You are the publisher. You are the marketer. You are the editor. And as editor, it is your responsibility to make sure your manuscript is up to snuff.

There’s a lot of talk in the indie/self-publishing world about how indie authors and indie publishers are going to take down the “traditional” publishing houses (such as, for example, Random House, Scholastic, etc.). There’s talk of the abolishment of physical books, of millions of dollars to be made and of having full control over your own manuscript and not having to worry about those pesky editors screwing with your book without permission (never mind that you are required contractually to approve of each and every change to your manuscript, even wayward commas, and if there’s a change that can’t be made, all you have to do is state your case and they’ll roll with it, because, contrary to belief, ultimately, you are the boss of your manuscript).

I’m sorry, but indie authors will never be able to “take down” the traditional publishers with the attitude that some have that “grammar isn’t important if you’re able to tell a good, compelling story” or that “typos are okay.” (While they do happen, and someone will invariably find one somewhere in this post, that doesn’t make them okay.) The traditional publishers, contrary to the belief of indie writers, do not have any reason to take most indie authors seriously with this type of attitude, because all you’re doing is putting out work that enforces the mindset of self-publishing equals sub-par. I actually had someone tell me yesterday that it’s okay to have poor editing in a book that someone only paid $0.99 or $1.99 or $2.99 for! This is incredibly unprofessional and incredibly disrespectful to the reader (you know, the person who’s actually buying your books) and a serious disservice to yourself and your fellow indie authors.

If you want to compete with the big boys, you have to offer a product that actually competes with the big boys. No ands, ifs, or buts about it.

Self-publishing a successful book, even a moderately successful one, requires a combination of creative skills and technical skills: creative in that you can tell a fantastic story with amazing three-dimensional characters and vivid settings that emotionally connect with the reader; and technical in that you can be grammatically and structurally correct, both on the high-level and low-level, throughout the entire novel. There’s no way around this. You can’t have one or the other. You have to have both, and if you call yourself a professional indie author, then this is non-negotiable.

With the attitude I’ve had thrown at me that grammar and great editing aren’t important, and with the apparent reinforcing of said attitude by high-profile, poorly-edited self-published authors like Amanda Hocking, I can honestly say that I can’t see indie authors being able to compete with the traditional publishers anytime in the foreseeable future.

I’m open to debate. Lay it on me! lol

Latest Updates on the Becoming Trilogy

I figured I’d drop in and give everyone a quick update on what’s going on with the trilogy, just so you know where things stand at the moment.

Book One
Still with the publisher. Still no news here past what I said last time. Will update you whenever I have something new to say.

Book Two
Book two’s first completed, fleshed-out draft is DONE! The final word count was 102,201, and it’s currently being edited down and fixed up by me before I let it sit for a month while proceeding for a bit with book three.

Book Three
Speaking of book three…I actually wrote the first scene and about half of the one following it in this book last week, but I haven’t gone anywhere past that, because my main focus at the moment is finishing the second draft of book two. Not sure of a current word count on this one, but I’ve updated the sidebar to add a word count meter so you guys can track the progress as you see fit. 🙂

Also, a new review has popped up of The Becoming: Outbreak on BuyZombie.com (a little late in the game, and wow is he looking at an old version!) You can read that right here if you so desire, but please keep in mind he’s reviewing a very old version of the first novella (a self-published version), and the vast vast majority of the problems he’s mentioned in his review have been corrected for the better in the Permuted Press version that will be available later this year. (The reviewer has also been so kind as to be in contact with me on facebook, discussing some of the problems and giving me tips and information that will definitely help me out in the future, so I thank him for that. One of the nicest reviewers I’ve ever dealt with!)

Updates on The Becoming Trilogy

Hi, everybody! So sorry I’ve been so awful about updating over here lately, but considering I’ve been doing nothing but working on the trilogy, you can hardly blame me, right? 😛

So I figured I’d post a quick update on the statuses of the three books in this particular zombie trilogy.

Book One
The first book is officially in the hands of the publisher. As of May 8th, editing is officially 100% done and the book is turned over to the publisher for whatever the next step happens to be. Needless to say, I’m excited. I also have confirmation from the publisher that the first book will definitely be out by the end of the year, barring some unavoidable circumstance causing a delay (which is unlikely, but let’s prepare for the possibility anyway, yes?).

Book Two
I’m currently a good deal of the way through with this book. If you’ll take a look to the left side of your screen, you can see a word count meter that gives you an idea of my progress in the book. The book itself needed some expanding, by about 20,000 words because it was running short of the approximate length requirements for Permuted. Which is fine, because I had a good deal of stuff to add anyway (speaking of, BETA READERS! I need you guys to get in touch with me!). My goal is roughly 95,000, which will put it not far off the length of the first book. As you can see, I’m not that much further away from it! 😀

Book Three
This one is in the planning stages, essentially. At the moment, it’s nothing but a glorified outline and a handful of loosely connected scenes. As soon as I’m done with book two (which I predict will be by the end of the week), I’m immediately diving into book three for about two weeks before I go back and begin edits and adjustments to book two. (Does that make any sense? No idea if it actually does or not lol.)

Most of my updates on the status of the book are being posted mostly on Twitter. I’ll try to remember to summarize the news on here about once a week, and I PROMISE this whole month-long non-update thing won’t happen again!

My Mind STILL Can’t Wrap Around It

So in case anyone actually managed to miss the news the day before yesterday, I’ve been signed to Permuted Press to have my little series of novellas called The Becoming published as a trilogy of zombie novels. In case you did manage to actually miss the news, the announcement is located here on my website and also on Permuted Press’ facebook page:

Permuted Press is proud to announce signed Jessica Meigs’ THE BECOMING zombie novel trilogy. Jessica published the first 2 parts in the series OUTBREAK and SAFE HOUSE–to be published together by Permuted as Book 1 of the trilogy–and they have been tearing up the Amazon Kindle charts. Read Jessica’s take on this transition to Permuted Press on her blog at http://www.becomingzombies.com

As I said in my post, I’m absolutely thrilled at the news. I really, really am. I think “thrilled” is actually an inadequate description of just how excited this news has made me. I’m also happy to inform everyone that conracts have officially been signed and mailed, and, even better, I’ve actually already turned in my completed version of the first book for editing way ahead of schedule. This is good, because the sooner I get it to them, the sooner an editor can start working with me. We’re already debating cover art.

My life has become one big bucket of unreal.

If you had told me at the beginning of the year that by April I’d be discussing publication with an actual publisher, I’d have called you crazy. I probably would have inquired which drugs you happened to be using that week. In no way, shape, or form would I have even imagined that I’d be sitting where I am right now, writing this post and trying to wrap my head around the news. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I did to catch the attention of Permuted; I’m totally baffled.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from other indie writers over the past couple of days or so. Most of the questions have consisted of the, “How did you do it?” variety. They want to know how I marketed my book, how I promoted it, how I managed to get it onto the bestseller lists on Amazon, and how I managed to do it so quickly. (Keep in mind that Outbreak was initially released on December 20, 2010, with Safe House soft launching February 23, 2011.) I am more than willing to write up a series of blog posts discussing techniques, but first I need to know what exactly would you like to know? Feel free to comment to this post or email me or nudge me on facebook or twitter or whatever you’d like to contact me by with your questions, and I’ll get busy on these blog posts in between drafting and writing!