I’m back after an unexpected blog vacation. I had a few authors lined up, but it didn’t work out. Them’s the breaks I suppose. The good news is, this week I’m back with a growing publisher of horror and genre fiction. I first heard about Post Mortem Press in my last year at Borders. There was an e-mail going around the office about a store employee who just published a short story collection called Detroit Macabre. I wanted to make sure the book landed with me instead of with the Regional Buyer, so I reached out to Joseph directly. Unfortunately, Borders liquidated before I could do anything special with the book, so I’ve always tried to support him as much as I can since then. Through this new friendship, I learned more about his publisher, Post Mortem Press. I liked what I heard (especially the owner’s commitment to his author’s success), so I checked out a few of their anthologies. Great stuff! I recently reached out to Post Mortem Press head honcho Eric Beebe to participate in my Friday 5 feature and he graciously accepted. Below are his answers.
With a book industry where places to buy physical books are shrinking due to eBooks and online shopping, what made you want to start up Post Mortem?
After years of working in “corporate America” and an increasing distaste for the things I was being forced to do, the stars aligned and my job went away. At first I looked for another job within the corporate world, but to be honest my heart wasn’t into it. After some soul searching, the good fortune of several months of severance and a highly supportive wife, what started as a one anthology experiment turned into Post Mortem Press. I have a background in marketing and management and I understand sometimes the best time to jump in the pool is when the water is lowest. We don’t rely on brick and mortar stores, the hands on retail model for books is no longer relevant. Sure, if you want the latest NYTimes bestseller, why not. But to find something new on-line is the place to be. The same can be said for eBooks. All of our titles are in eBook. There is absolutely no reason not to offer our books in that format, none. Many small presses have come and gone since I started this little venture, but we continue to grow.
What’s it like being in charge of your own publishing house? Are there any challenges you face that people wouldn’t necessarily think about?
I love the vast majority of what I do. It’s not always fun, but it’s always a challenge. Because we are “author centric” sometimes I run into some interesting challenges. The biggest one is balancing the needs/wants of the authors with the needs/wants of the business. I spend some significant time helping authors gain some perspective on realistic expectations. I would love to pay for giant promotional campaigns for all of our books, but realistically, the expense is almost always too high for the return.
The other challenge dealing with internet schemes launched by less than ethical people seeking money for “services”. While the $99 press release is a common sight, more and more people are offering things like $500 to promote your eBook, and $1,500 for book trailers, etc. These are scams and our experience tells us book trailers do little but line the pockets of the people who make them. Sometimes it is hard to convince an eager author this is not a good way to spend money – be it theirs or Post Mortem Press’.
For aspiring authors, what kind of fiction do you look for…and, are you open for submissions?
We just reopened for submissions for inclusion in our 2014 release schedule. We will remain open until the end of July. Our core business is dark fiction and we are expanding into paranormal non-fiction. On the fiction side thrillers, mysteries, and realistic supernatural themes are what we are most interested in for now.
We are also interested in dark science fiction, like our anthology FEAR THE ABYSS. Hard science fiction, not so much. .
Now some may say paranormal non-fiction is an oxymoron – and perhaps it is – but that’s what we’re interested in. Our first paranormal book Amityville: House of Lies, presents forensic evidence from the DeFeo murders and the Lutz “haunting” and lets the reader decide. This is exactly the kind of thing we’re looking for.
What is your proudest moment so far as a member of the book industry?
That’s a tough one. There are so many “little moments” that make me proud. But I suppose the best moments probably involve recognition as someone who is doing it right. I have had people approach me with projects simply based on the reputation of Post Mortem Press, this still amazes me.
What’s next for PMP?‘
Slow and steady wins the race. We grew exponentially in 2012 and I have intentionally slowed this down for 2013 and 2014. I want to be sure we are able to focus on providing readers with the best books we can produce. We’ve had some success with slow growth bestsellers, movie options, award nominations, higher profile notice for our authors. etc, and I want to keep that momentum moving without a detrimental impact on our current titles. Our bestselling book took a year before it broke 100 sales and then it just exploded. Now it has since slowed down, but it still sells pretty consistently. This is what I hope for all of our books. I like writing big checks. I really do.
As I noted earlier, we are expanding into the paranormal genre. There is a strong and growing interest in the field, yet on the publishing side most things I have seen are poorly executed. To me this is an opportunity to become a leader in the genre by providing the community with a quality product.
Post Mortem Press’ latest releases include …
• Brad Carter’s (dis)Comfort Food. Publishers Weekly says (dis)Comfort Food is “an unsettling story that goes from appetizing to nauseating as the narrative plunges from dark fantasy straight into horror, where familiar ingredients bring unexpected results.” General release is April 30th, but you can find it in paperback on Amazon now.
• Kenneth W. Cain’s Dead Civil War. Bestselling and award winning author Joe McKinney describes Dead Civil War as “Patrick Henry goes to Zombieland”. This one is a must for fans of zombie fiction. It is available now on Amazon, B&N, etc in trade paperback and eBook formats.