By Rob W. Hart
On the evening of September 10th, I submitted my novella to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. By the next morning, it was live (but only at Amazon–more on that later). The Last Safe Place: A Zombie Novella has a handsome little ‘buy’ button next to it, and I get reports on how many copies have been sold, and someone I don’t know posted to my Twitter account that the preview text got her to buy it.
How cool is that?
So, what’s it about? Glad you asked!
It’s been two years since the outbreak of a plague that turned New Yorkers into flesh-eating corpses. The city’s population has dwindled to three hundred refugees on Governors Island, a park and former military outpost situated in Upper New York Bay, a few hundreds yards from Manhattan and Brooklyn. The survivors struggle with supply shortages and flaring tempers, but the monsters they call ‘rotters’ can’t swim. The island isn’t comfortable, but it’s safe.
That sense of safety is shattered when Sarge, a former cop and the island’s head of security, comes face to decomposing face with a rotter while on an early-morning patrol. There’s no conceivable way for the creature to have gotten on the island. What’s worse is that its stone-like skin makes it much tougher to kill.
Faced with the prospect of an evolving enemy, and desperate to find antibiotics for his dying wife, Sarge has to get into Manhattan, do some recon, forage for supplies, and get out—without drawing the attention of the millions of rotters that now roam the city.
It’s really, really satisfying to see a story through to completion. I’ve written two novels–one that was rubbish, one that needs a lot of work. And here’s a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It feels done, and I’m happy to lock it into a static state and move on. I’m high on accomplishment, and that high is pushing me to produce more work, which is a great place to be.
At the same time, self-publishing feels like a half measure. Not to say I regret doing it, or that I think I should have gotten a traditional deal for it (it’s a novella, I doubt anyone would have taken it). But people have been congratulating me on it. My mom even read it (making me regret how many times I used the word fuck). I feel like I accomplished something… but something worthy of celebration? I don’t know.
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