Thursday, February 20, 2014

Douglas Preston, Permuted Press and me

So far, this year has been full of surprises. Not all good surprises, but I’m only going to talk about the good ones because I’m a “glass half-full” kind of guy.

Let me start with the manuscript of a book called PRIMORDIAL that I finished writing nearly six months ago. I had already moved on to a new project, a book I’m already about halfway done writing. I started looking for an agent to sell the other book, which is a sequel to my supernatural thriller, LILTIH, and I was getting some interest. One of the agents was still on Christmas vacation, however, so I had some time to polish the manuscript. Looking it over, I realized the book was at least ten thousand words too short.
I started thinking about how I could lengthen the manuscript and when inspiration struck, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Ten thousand words later, I turned in said manuscript to said agent. Said agent said “No, thanks!” So did several other agents. Keep in mind I already had four books published, two with a well-known indie press.

In the meantime, NY Times bestselling author Douglas Preston, of whom I am a huge fan, agreed to read my book as soon as he had time. Two weeks later, I got an email saying “Hey, Toby, I loved your book!” He gave me the best blurb (for you non-writer types, that’s an endorsement) I ever got for a book. I was a happy camper, and did a happy dance in the middle of my kitchen, much to my dog’s chagrin.

I was now suddenly getting full manuscript requests from agents as well as a couple of indie presses I had sent the book to. One of them was Permuted Press, the same people who originally published JOHN DIES AT THE END and other great apocalyptic and zombie-type fiction. Although I knew they were probably inundated with manuscripts, I went ahead and sent PRIMORDIAL and then put it out of my mind.
A couple of weeks later, there was an email from the president of Permuted Press, Michael Wilson. “Oh well, another rejection,” I figured. But as I read, I discovered it was an offer to publish PRIMORDIAL. Before I even finished reading the entire email, I was calling my wife to tell her the news, followed by another happy dance.

The next day, I was talking to Michael on the phone. He offered to not only publish PRIMORDIAL, but the next book in the LILITH series, as well as re-issuing my first book, DIABLERO.

Yep, you guessed it. Dance time again.

Before sending off my manuscript, I had done some research on Permuted Press. The authors I spoke to were very happy with their experience, which was a big plus for me. They are also expanding their operations in several ways: (1) By moving into science fiction and fantasy, as many other horror publishers are doing; (2) By getting their books into brick and mortar stores via Permuted Platinum, (3) By teaming up with big-6 companies like Simon & Schuster for some of their bestselling titles.

In fact, one of the new owners is former Simon & Schuster deputy publisher Anthony Ziccardi, another plus for me.

Some would say all these events are just happenstance, or coincidence, or just plain luck. But when it comes down to it, don’t we really make our own luck?


  1. Welcome to da family. :-)

    Permuted are an excellent publisher and they are definitely going places.

    1. TANK BREAD - awesome book! I started reading it a while back. Love the artwork, too.

      Thanks for the welcome - I appreciate it. I was happy when they made me an offer - Permuted was #1 on my list of indie publishers.