Thursday, 19 January 2023

Novel Submissions

Black Beacon Books will be accepting submissions for novels in 2023. DO NOT SUBMIT just yet. The submissions window is currently being planned. What you will find below are general details regarding what we'll be seeking, what you can expect from us, and what you'll be expected to do. 

Your submission should include a short synopsis or summary of the novel, a statement of its genre as per below, a biography with social media links, and confirmation that you have read and understood the information below in the body of the email. The first three chapters only of the novel should be sent as a .doc or .rtf attachment. The file should read: Novel Title - First Three Chapters - Author Name

a) We will be looking to publish a very limited number of novels (two or three) per year. As such, there's no point submitting your novel unless it matches the following sub-genres:

* Fair-play Mystery featuring a private investigator or other non-police protagonist. We love traditional mystery puzzles, which means you need to make the reader play along. There will be an original protagonist, a gripping mystery, a limited range of suspects, clues and red herrings and foreshadowing, and we won't know who the culprit is until the final chapter/s. You get the picture right? We're talking Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and John Dickson Carr here. Our mystery titles will give you an idea of what we like. We particularly like a clever locked-room mystery and mysteries in which a seemingly supernatural agent is logically explained.

* Post-Apocalyptic Thrillers. It's easy to work out what we want here. All you need to do is buy a copy of Tales from the Ruins. We want novels in the vein of those short stories.

* Ghost Stories / Folk Horror. There are few greater challenges in the literary world than that of writing a truly chilling ghost story. If you've met that challenge, we'll want to know. Likewise for folk horror, we don't want splatterpunk...give us a truly quirky tale of creeping fear and weirdness, an eerie setting, legend and superstition, and off-kilter characters.

There is no specific word limit but 50,000 to 90,000 is standard. Fully edited and polished manuscripts.

b) What can you expect from us? Well, first of all, we don't want to burst your bubble, but independent publishing is no gold mine. We're a small publisher, so don't expect your book to be sold in airport lounges around the world and don't quit your day job just yet. In a typical month, we sell between ten and thirty copies of all our titles put together. This means you can expect a handful of dollars per year in royalties. That's just how it is. We don't want to turn you off but honesty and clarity are essential to us. This brings us to the third point...

c) The number of books sold per month is clearly and dramatically affected by the amount of time put into social media networking and marketing. We'll do plenty of this, but it's ultimately your job as the author to do the vast majority of this work. Posting on social media platforms, answering interview questions, participating in guest posts on blogs, chatting online with fans and potential readers. The more you do, the more you sell. We don't pay for advertising and we never pay for reviews. All our marketing is organic.

Royalties: The author receives 50% royalties on ebooks and paperbacks. This percentage changes according to how the book is sold, but for a $3.99 Kindle book sold via Amazon USA (the majority of our sales), this will be roughly 70c, and for most other markets it's twice that at $1.40. Royalties to be paid quarterly. Please be aware that your book will be featured in the occasional 24/48-hour free ebook promotion because this generally leads to increased paid purchases immediately afterwards.

Author Copies: You'll be provided with ten print copies of your book. If you'd like to occasionally purchase a small number of additional discounted copies of your novel for direct sale at markets or conventions, this can be negotiated. 

Printing, distribution, and marketing: Black Beacon Books uses Amazon exclusively for both print and ebooks. Our print books are available for purchase directly from Amazon as well as through its broad network of affiliates. Our print books are also listed with Nielsen, making them available for customers to order through bookshops around the world. Our ebooks are exclusive to Kindle, allowing us to make them available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers (this is a huge market of avid readers) and to control giveaways and promotions. We aim to use social media effectively as a means of communication and marketing but we almost never use paid advertising.

Rights: We are looking for exclusive Worldwide English rights for paperback and ebook, which are what we publish. Hardcover, audiobook, and translation rights remain with the author. We ask for four years exclusivity, after which the rights return to the author, and you can choose to remain with us or take your book and run.

Costs: Any and all costs related to the publishing of your work, including ISBN purchase and cover design, are paid for by this press. If you can provide a quality cover design that we approve, we are willing to negotiate an increase on the royalties percentage you receive.

Get in touch with any questions. More details coming soon.

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Kurt Newton

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Kurt,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

I remember reading Harlan Ellison's story "Along the Scenic Route" in Deathbird Stories and being blown away by the sped and action of that story. At that time, I'd never read anything like it. I was also a huge fan of the Mad Max series. I'd read Ellison's story at about the same time which, I'm sure, heavily influenced the idea behind "Chasing the White Limousine". I was also reading a lot of J.G. Ballard, so a post-apocalyptic near-future where a still-intact stretch of Interstate becomes a playground for kids seemed a natural creative playground for me to explore. If there's a statement in there somewhere, I guess it would be: if the world gives you an apocalypse, you might as well have fun with it.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre? 

I think the possibilities are endless. From large scale to small, intimate settings, a future where (to quote R.E.M.) "It's the end of the world as we know it" is ripe with storyline. I think reading about the future in no way prepares you for it. It's like watching a martial arts movie and then going out into the street and putting what you've just seen into action. (Editor's note: Kurt is not necessarily suggesting starting kung-fu fights in your neighbourhood...) I think the appeal is the hope in that, at least, some of us will survive, despite the odds against it.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author? 

J.G. Ballard. His first four novels are about environmental collapse—The Wind from
Nowhere, The Drowned World, The Burning World and The Crystal World. Each deconstructs society until it's just the protagonist learning how to navigate an ever-changing landscape, both physically and psychologically. I highly recommend anyone who hasn't read Ballard to do so immediately.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?

That's a great question. I would have to say ├ćnema by Tool. 

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do?

I'd probably be like my protagonist, Kid. I'd be part of a community but I'd always be looking for something more, something beyond the horizon.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?

A homemade flamethrower made from a can of WD-40 and a BIC lighter.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 

I've worked in industry most of my adult life (machines and I get along very well). In my eighth-grade graduation yearbook my ambition was to become Postmaster General (I collected stamps, so what better way to get dibs on all the latest cool postage, duh?). Lastly, I've never broken a bone, not for lack of trying.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

In most of what I write, you'll find a journey and an emotional core that, hopefully, will carry you along that journey, which can be harrowing at times and very dark, but usually ends with a glimmer of hope.

What are you working on now? 

I'm getting old, so it's time to work on my St. Peppers, my Psycho, my Dark Tower. Time to distill what I've learned in thirty years of writing and pour it into one magnum opus. It's been conceived and roughly plotted. The characters are already speaking to me, the scenes are already lining up. It will be a horror trilogy on a grand scale. That's all I can say.

Where can we find you online? 

facebook.com/kurt.newton.56
twitter.com/kurtdnewton
instagram.com/kurtdnewton

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands! 

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Let's Work Together!

Independent publishers can't, unfortunately, rely on quality alone. We know we're putting quality original fiction out there. We know our books are professionally edited and made available to the reading public worldwide. That, however, isn't enough. Realistically speaking, it's not even what matters most in terms of "moving units". All that really matters is marketing, marketing, marketing...and while big publishers can afford billboards and paid promotions, we can't. This is where you, the avid reader, comes into play, and you have all the tools needed to help us get the job done right here on our website. Below are three simple steps to follow to help us grow.

1. Buy our books. Sure, it sounds obvious, but we're producing top-notch books and not enough are being sold. Don't leave this site until you've ordered at least one of our books either as an ebook or paperback.

2. Become a patron. You can support us and reap the exclusive benefits by becoming a Patreon patron. There are five tiers: Shipwreck Survivor, Moonlight Smuggler, Sea Witch, Assistant Keeper, and Lighthouse Keeper.

3. Simplest of all...support us on social media. Follow our pages. Likes our posts. Rate and review our books. Our social media platforms are listed here: https://linktr.ee/blackbeaconbooks. We're particularly active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and we have our own profile on Goodreads, which is the best place to find reviews and ratings of our books, and of course, to leave your own.

Come on and get active in 2023! The more you support us, the more great reads we can give you!



 

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Michael Picco

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Michael,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us? 

The idea of writing about a pandemic occurred to me before the emergence of COVID-19, but I believe that a super infection could happen in the next one hundred years. I chose a hemorrhagic fever simply because of the gruesome symptoms associated with that variety of virus, but there are plenty of bugs out there.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre? 

I think post-apocalyptic fiction, like most of horror, gives voice to our darkest thoughts and musings. There is a visceral and hard-boiled quality to most apocalyptic narratives. I think all of us believe that we could survive in that kind of world, but I suspect that the majority of us would quickly succumb to any number of deprivations : hunger, disease, cold, heat, thirst, injury (or fall prey to whatever else roams the post apocalyptic landscapes). We are very insulated in our modern living, and quite over-confident in our ability to survive in any number of adversity. There is a cockiness to our thinking that I believe will lead to our undoing.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author? 

I enjoyed Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury. I also found World War Z (Max Brooks) particularly entertaining. I enjoyed A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. even if I found it to be a little long-winded.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story? 

Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. ;-)

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do? 

Probably suffer the same fate as my protagonist. I’d survive the apocalypse only to be killed by something dumb and mundane.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice — what’s in your hands?

Great question! Again, like my protagonist, I have a really large crowbar that could probably crush the skull of a grizzly bear (if I managed to get close enough to one without getting mauled in the process). The one I describe in my story is exactly like the one I have: it’s ugly and covered in scratches. The paint is missing off of most of it; it’s speckled with rust; and the pry bar at the end is dented and notched. It’s at least fifty years old and has seen a lot of use. I would imagine that it would be quite handy when fighting off mutants or zombies.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 

I love to paint and draw. I find that both inform my writing but, I am constantly torn between my two muses.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

I try to give my readers something that they aren’t expecting or haven’t seen before. Horror readers (like myself) tend to be very jaded and easily bored. When I am writing, I try to keep the reader guessing.

What are you working on now? 

I am steadily putting together my third collection of short stories, titled These Wretched Bones. This collection will feature some extended versions of previously published work as well as some new material. I hope to have this collection released by 2024.

Where can we find you online? 

www.michaelpicco.com
www.amazon.com/author/michaelpicco

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Louise Zedda-Sampson

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Louise,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

What a great question! My stories often have themes that are about the human condition and having to come to terms with something and move on. This story is about a mother and son trying to adapt to new and difficult conditions, and a dilemma a mother may face in a harsh and challenging environment as part of the experience of raising a child. The theme is universal, but the world they live in in this story is one I hope never comes to pass. However, after the last few years, I believe anything might be possible, unfortunately even this situation.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

Post-apocalyptic fiction often offers hope that life continues, even after seemingly extinction-level events. It shows us the beauty of humanity in adversity, as well the ugliness, and more so how light can be discovered in the strangest and darkest of places. I think of so many stories that bring light after the dark, hope after the collapse of society. One of my favourites is The Book of Eli, where one man has made it his life’s work to pass on certain teachings in the New World. The dedication to the task and the success against all odds is something that tells us to keep striving. There are so many more books and movies where we see the green shoot in a desolate world. I think this can offer hope that change can come, and that not everything is bleak. Although, the reality is, as in my story, some things are bleak, and even though there is hope, there is also a lot that is lost. Post-apocalyptic fiction perhaps offers both views. Imagining different futures gives us a lot to think about. Any book or story that has a reader ask, ‘what if?’ on any level is great for everyone. We need a world with enquiring minds. So, in answer, yes, the world would be better off if people read more in this genre.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author?

So many authors, so the answer is no. I’ll name a few books that have stuck with me, even though there are so many more I could mention. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is chilling, and dated, but I love it. Society has collapsed, and many don’t even realise, and are falling victim to propaganda and illusion. Of course, this fits the theme of other classics such as Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, and also the movie, Soylent Green, based on a book written by Harry Harrison called Make Room, Make Room!, although in Harrison’s version there was no cannibalism. Being raised when Mel Gibson was Mad Max certainly gave me an idea of what a wasteland and post-apocalypse world could be.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?

I’m not one of those! Music doesn’t help me to write; I like total silence. For this story, I imagined the sounds of the bush, and the friendly – and not so friendly – banter of the characters, then the silence in that moment when it’s the calm before the storm.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do? 

Look for a fortified underground safehouse. Hope I had a well-stocked bunker including shelves of ammo and communication equipment that worked.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?

A shovel. Handy things, really, for before and after. Maybe not so handy against the monsters in my story though. Would need guns and explosives!

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

What is interesting is dependent on the reader! Here are a few things not generally known about my working and writing life.
1. My career for many years was as a debt collector.
2. My writing ranges from New Age to sport history to horror.
3. I returned to study in my 40s and completed a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. It wasn’t until then that I remembered one of my childhood ambitions had been to become a journalist.

What do you aim to give your readers?

Something that makes people feel or makes people think. An enjoyable read.

What are you working on now?

I always have a short story or two bubbling along and these range from literary to speculative to horror. I also write non-fiction and am researching Australian horror history. I received a HWA Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship in 2022 for this project, so I’ll be focusing on that next. After that, it’s a new non-fiction project. I have written one cricket history book and have another I hope to get out soon. One day, I hope to try my hand at a novella then a novel. But, plenty to do first.

Where can we find you online?

Website: www.louisezeddasampson.com.au
Twitter: @I_say_meow
Instagram: @louisezed
Facebook: Louise Zedda-Sampson 

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Saturday, 31 December 2022

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Malcolm Timperley

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!


Hi Malcolm, 

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

Three ill-matched guys holed up in a remote farmhouse isn't that rare an event (been there, done that). Giving the threesome no alternative but to be there following social collapse is a realistic scenario, but it’d likely be for more prosaic reasons than the particular apocalypse this bunch are fleeing.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre? 

It’s the feeling that this might happen to me but, thankfully, it isn’t doing. Yet. I don’t think reading more post-apocalyptic fiction would affect the world either way. Knowing that it’s fiction allows people to escape for a while, so they can leave the everyday and slip into something more comfortable. Like denial.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author? 

They’re all dead. And you wouldn’t believe what happened to them...

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story? 

I listen to music or I read, never both simultaneously. If music is on I shut it out completely to concentrate on the story. So choosing a soundtrack song is difficult, but I’d go for either Unfinished by The Dunes and/or Down in the Water by Oddfellow’s Casino. Sorry, that’s two choices, isn’t it? Tell you what, you listen to both of them and decide; they’re both on Bandcamp.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do?

Try to go back to sleep. If that failed, I’d probably do pretty much exactly what the protagonist does in the story.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands? 

The firewood axe from the shed. It’s sharp and has a neat non-slip handle for when things get hairy. And wet. And sticky.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

1. I have dozens of friends. I keep them downstairs, arranged alphabetically.
2. I’m not one of those people who loves to hear only the sound of their own voice. I listen to
all of them.
3. I recently went a whole week eating nothing but left over bits of Waffles. I miss that dog.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

Haloperidol.

What are you working on now? 

A tale involving the ultimate horror scenario – a corporate team building awayday.

Where can we find you online? 

Wading through the sludge that sinks to the bottom of the internet. Try Twitter @MalTimperley

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

Thanks. Who said I was playing?

Tuesday, 27 December 2022

Black Beacon Books on Goodreads

You've probably noticed that Black Beacon Books is active across most social media platforms - particularly Facebook and Twitter - but did you know we have our own profile on Goodreads? This is the best place to find reviews and ratings of our books, and of course, to leave your own. Click the image below to visit our page and "follow" it. While you're there, you can add our books to your "want to read" list or rate and review those you've already read.

You can find our complete list of links here: https://linktr.ee/blackbeaconbooks

 Feel free to share our links and promotional images with your book-loving friends.