Today, I’m happy to welcome Kevin Bohacz to my blog, discussing his publishing journey.
The Three Bears of Publishing…
By Kevin Bohacz
My first novel, Dream Dancers was conventionally published in 1993 in a deal closed by the agent I had at that time. In 2003 when Immortality was finally completed I assumed I would be able to get it published since I was already a published author. I soon found myself waist deep in rejection notices from both agents and publishers. All the rejection notices basically said, “We are sure this is a wonderful book but we don’t have the time to read a long manuscript by an obscure author.” In other words, I wasn’t able to even get into the Three Bear’s house, let alone try the porridge or sleep in their beds.
I knew Immortality was a timely, entertaining, and marketable novel. Some extremely successful literary professionals including more than one famous writer had read it and told me they loved it. So here I was a published author unable to open a single door into the major publishing houses. Three years later I had reached the point where I either had to give up or publish it myself. Back in 2006 self-publishing carried the stigma of failure but I had no choice. I knew in my gut Immortality was a fantastic story. So I started a small publishing company, hired an offset-printer, and proceeded to manufacture and sell Immortality.
In 2007 Immortality took off becoming a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Using my bestseller success as bait, I was able to sign with an agent who had represented a smattering of NYTime’s bestsellers. My agent proceeded to shop Immortality to all the big publishing houses. My wife, Mazelle and I were deliriously thrilled. This time the responses from publishers were very different from when Immortality was unpublished and I was un-agented. Across the board the feedback was surprisingly similar, “We love the book but who are you?” What the publishers were really saying was I had no massive following. I did not have a million readers chanting in unison, “We want to buy more books by you…” In other words, the porridge was too cold.
Fast forward to 2010, Immortality was still selling almost as well as it was in 2008, constantly a bestseller in its genre and often hitting #1. In fact 2010 and half of 2011 was one of my best grossing periods ever. By now my agent had done all he could and given up six months prior in 2009. He loved Immortality and was very frustrated and baffled by his inability to close a deal. It was then that I was contacted out of nowhere by a veteran NYC agent who was a senior member in a super-agent firm. This agent told me they had read Immortality and loved it! This agent was convinced they could sell the book. Mazelle and I were wildly excited and told the agent to go for it. This new agent got the book read by a different group of more senior editors. This time the responses really threw me. The feedback I got was essentially, “We love the book but why should we buy it when you have already sold the heck out of it?” In other words, the porridge was too hot.
At this point I felt like I just could not win. Years ago I didn’t have a big enough following, and now that I had a following, it seemed the publishers wanted something more. They wanted an unpublished book. I explained that 95% of the copies of Immortality had been sold on Amazon, which meant that I had tapped less than 50% of the potential market for a book in this genre. So while it was a #1 bestseller, a lion’s share of the meat was still on this bone yet no publisher was interested in the feast. With fractional market penetration I had made a pile of money but there was many times more to be made if a big publisher would get behind the book. Yet it now felt like with regard to attracting a publisher, success was my worst enemy.
Today, three years later I now have a new amazing NYC agent from a top firm, Inkwell Management. This agent has closed deals for other indie authors in exactly the same “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” predicament as me. In the last six months I have received glowing critical reviews, including Publisher’s Weekly who has awarded STARRED reviews to both Immortality and Ghost of the Gods. Both Immortality and Ghost of the Gods are on the bestseller’s lists at the same time. Immortality hit #1 again achieving it’s best ranking ever and Ghost of the Gods was crowned by Amazon as the #1 hottest new techno-thriller. Later this year my fourth novel titled Dream Signs will be complete and a fifth novel is in the works. There is even interest from Hollywood in making Immortality into a movie. I have every confidence that this time we’ll succeed by getting a publishing deal for all three books. In other words, I am hoping the porridge is just right.
Without warning, something has gone terribly awry. In the remote and unnoticed places of the world, small pockets of death begin occurring. As the initially isolated extinctions spread, the world’s eyes focus on this unimaginable horror and chaos. Out of the ecological imbalance, something new and extraordinary is evolving and surviving to fill the voids left by these extinctions. Evolution is operating in ways no one could have expected and environmental damage may be the catalyst. Once discovered, this knowledge changes everything.
Praise for Immortality:
Kirkus: “There is enough power in the premise to leave readers reeling. A novel that will surprise fans of science-fiction and doomsday scenarios…”
Publisher’s Weekly STARRED review: “Bohacz’s vision of a humanity that faces the need to evolve profoundly or face certain destruction is as timely as today’s news and as chilling a doomsday scenario as any ecological catastrophe can suggest…”
Sci-Fi Reader 4 Star review by S.J. Higbee: “This book manages to do what all the best sci-fi does—provide a thought-provoking, alternative viewpoint on the business of existence. I recommend you give it a go…”
Tomorrow, I’ll be spotlighting the second in the series, Ghost of the Gods.
About the Author
I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.
His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.
Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com.
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