Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thank you for your help, Amazon

---- Original message:

09/25/12 11:11:04 : Trent Zelazny

This was the option that seemed best to write to. I have a book coming out on October 31st of this year. Rather than pre-order, it has 'email to be alerted when book is available.' It says on the page publication date October 31st, 2012. Could this please be switched to the pre-order option?

Thank you.

Trent Zelazny
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Black Curtain Press (October 31, 2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1617208434
ISBN-13: 978-1617208430

From: " Customer Service", To: ""

Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2012 23:40:01 +0000

Hello Trent, I'd love to help make your book "TOO LATE TO CALL TEXAS" available for pre-order before its release date on our website. However, I recommend discussing this request with your publisher or distributor, as the availability of your book is communicated to us by them. They can work with their representatives at Amazon in order to set this up for you. I'm sorry we're unable to carry out your request, but I hope this information is helpful to you. We look forward to seeing you again soon. Thanks for using Author Central and have a wonderful day!

This e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. To contact us about an unrelated issue, please use our Contact Us form found here:

Best regards,

Sammy B.


---- Original message: ----

'Trent Zelazny' (

Thank you for getting back to me. I just don't understand why it would say the available date then. I've spoken with the publisher. There was no issue with Barnes and Nobel or any other retailer, only Amazon.

---------- Original Message ----------
From: " Customer Service" <>
To: "" <>
Subject: Your Author Central Inquiry
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 11:17:59 +0000

Hello Trent,

I regret that we haven't been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction.

We won't be able to provide further insight or assistance for your request.

Thank you for contacting us.

Best regards,

Esha S

From: "" <>
To: " Customer Service" <>
Subject: Your Author Central Inquiry
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 12:26:08 +0000

So, basically, what you're telling me is to fuck off.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You'd like to make my book into a movie? Great! Wait, what's that...?

I dunno if every writer gets this or not, as I'm not every writer--I'm just me--but I've been both touched and a little surprised at the number of messages, both electronically and on this old thing we once called paper, telling me how much they'd love to turn Fractal Despondency into an indie film, or To Sleep Gently could be a blockbuster.

Really? Cool!

But wait, my first question is, "Who are you?" followed by "Have you ever made a movie before? Have you ever written a screenplay? Have you ever gotten coffee for Matt Damon's double?" This is then followed by my asking, "How much?"

"How much?"

"For the film option?"

The two most common responses:

1. Oh, well. we were hoping we could have a free option, and if it makes money, we'll share it with you.

2. The person laughing self-consciously with an otherwise vacant look in their eyes.

I try very hard to be a nice person. No, I do not always succeed, but I try. A lot of people can attest to that. But here's the thing. My sole income is from my writing, and clearly I'm not a best-seller or even generally in the mid-list. This should give one a little idea of how much money I make. And no, this is not entirely by choice. There are no jobs. If I could get a job, I would. And no, I'm not looking for sympathy on that. What I'm saying is, whether I like it or not, writing is how I make my living, and it is a very non-glamorous living. I work my ass off to receive sporadic checks that, on average, cover a tank of gas and some groceries. And just to get this, I work 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.

So you want some of the most valuable rights an author holds, and you won't pay them anything for them?

Another response:

Oh, but we know this guy. He was a grip on an episode of Breaking Bad and he stood around and chatted with Bryan Cranston for ten minutes.

Good for this guy you know. And you clearly must be close if you can't even call him a friend.

I've worked in Hollywood. I've done work with NBC and with major big-time producers who, if you heard their names, your jaw would drop, then slowly detach from the rest of your face and plop on the floor.

Another response:

I just really, really believe in the material.

Cool. So if you really, really believe in the material, and you think you have the talent and ability or connections to adapt and have this work made, then why aren't you willing to pay the creator anything?

A colleague, Weston Ochse, whom I've met but don't actually know, just had wonderful news.  Metro Goldwyn Mayer just bought his new book SEAL Team 666

First, Congrats to Weston! Okay, now, you never ask someone what they've been paid, but I guarantee you that they paid him for it (and I hope very well). Weston was in the U.S. Army and became an intelligence officer. He was stationed in the Republic of Korea, Fort Jackson, Fort Gordon, Fort Bragg, Fort Carson, Fort Huachuca, Presidio Monterey and Los Angeles Air Force Base. Hell, the dude has peed in the Danube. What does he do now for a living? He's a writer. I promise you when he wrote this book, which I'm very much looking forward to reading, he didn't say to himself, "This book will be awesome to give away. But you know what would be even cooler? If someone optioned the film rights and paid me no money."

Okay, enough of that. I just wanted to pitch Weston Ochse there because he's a great writer and, in our limited encounters, a hell of a nice guy.

One of my titles has some brew ha-ha going on in Hollywood as we speak. I'm not holding my breath even for a second. The point of all this is, this is what I do. As much as I'd love to be in a position like, say, Stephen King, who is kind enough to at times give indie filmmakers free options, I am not in that type of position. My bank account currently has $4.03 in it, and you love my work but you want it for free? You mean you won't even offer me $4.03? I'm not saying you need to have millions of dollars (unless you're looking to option my father's work, but that's a whole other story), but to offer nothing but false promises is insulting as well as ignorant. This goes for many writers, I'm sure. Weston, in this case, talented as he is, was blessed and fortunate and also lucky. It's the way the television and movie business works.

Back to Stephen King, you can take his hugely successful Dark Tower series, attach Brian Grazer to produce and Ron Howard to direct and, still, in the end, it goes down the toilet. It's what Hollywood does.

Okay, long rant that seems to now be going nowhere. Too late to make a long story short. It's flattering, but I/we need to eat.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Help to Promote Too Late to Call Texas

From master wordsmith Peter Giglio:

Trent Zelazny is easily one of my favorite new writers. His work shines bright in the dark corners he explores, but this is a tough market. Trent's looking to take his new release to the next level, and I only wish I was rich and had a bunch of time on my hands, because then I'd take this champ to the big fight and be Mickey to his Rocky. Now, I know money doesn't grow on trees -- authors need no reminder of that -- but please consider Trent's campaign. Many of you, I know, love his work, too, and if you think he deserves a wider market, vote with your wallet. Time to click on the link and let Trent take over. Thanks for your consideration. Cheers!

You can click on the cover to read more about it.

Not everything there is donations of money. A smidge of time, a quick mention, anything and everything is welcome and appreciated.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Free promo weekend from Nightscape Press

Today through Sunday, the first three Nightscape Press releases on Kindle are free, free, FREE!!! Butterfly Potion, World's Collider, and A Requiem For Dead Flies. Pick them up, and pass the word along :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be grateful, not a douchebag.

To all writers when you do a signing somewhere: If it does not go well. If no one shows up, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, take out your frustrations on the bookstore. They work hard enough, and when you come in to do a signing, they are working extra hard, and they are genuinely pleased that you are there. The more people the better, more books sell. You win, the bookstore wins. But this does not always happen. I'm writing this because a good friend of mine who happens to own a bookstore here, which is the store I prefer to spend my money at and, when promoting, prefer to do readings and signings at, just got shit for this reason. She just had a local author tell her that she's unprofessional and childish, and that her business is going to fail because no one came to her reading, and then continued to verbally abuse her.

It is not my friend's fault. It is not any bookstore owner's fault. These things happen. I don't know this writer personally, though I know who it is. I've watched very big names sell between 0 and 1 books at a signing. Doing a signing does NOT MAKE YOU A GOD. Be appreciative that the store welcomes you, that they're putting in extra work to try and help you, and allowing you to hold a promotional event in their store.

Be grateful, not a douchebag.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Lori rated it 5 of 5 stars

Trent Zelazny writes dark, and that's okay with me. As a matter of fact, when I finished the last page of "Too Late to Call Texas," I sat there and wept for a good long while. And it wasn't one of those sweet, dab-your-eyes-with-a-hanky cries either. It was good, hard sobs, snot and sorrow. Still, I can honestly say I enjoyed reading every word.

Trent dredges up those rock-bottom moments in life that bring us all to our knees, then he pours emotional salt into the wounds until all a person can do is cry. You might have nothing in common with his protagonist, Carson. You probably don't. But you'll feel his pain and you'll feel the futility that can make a man take desperate chances. And you'll think "Man, this guy can't catch a break" and remember how many times you've been right there yourself. And his wife, Brittany, bears a lot of the same battle scars from a life lived paycheck-to-paycheck, disappointment-to-despair. You'll feel her pain, too. Trent does that -- he draws his characters so clearly, so painfully honestly, that anyone will find something that makes their own heart-of-hearts ache.

Trent is relatively young, and I predict he'll be turning out more and more high-quality, dark-as-pitch stories in the future. And if he doesn't, why, that would just break my heart.

Enter to win a copy of Too Late to Call Texas before it's even out.

Yeah, kind of neat, huh? All you need to do is go to and enter. The winner will get a signed copy before it's official Halloween release date :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Goodis, Spurlock, Writing and Writers and How Non-Writers View the Occupation, All Thanks to False Time Travel

So, I'd posted a goofy time-travel picture of me annoying my favorite writer David Goodis on Facebook, and friend and fellow scribe Neal Alan Spurlock made some observations I really enjoyed, and felt worth sharing. He said a lot of things I think very often, and he said them well, so, here's the picture, followed by what he said:

So that's Goodis, huh? I remember his name being on the old Superman stuff I was into (I'm a huge superhero nerd). Never knew what he looked like, though. I know the legend of his prolific writing regimen, of course, and often wished I had the same discipline. I envy the writers from the early 20th...they had it hard, in many ways, but at the same time they had a rather simple life with few distractions. It made sense to them, and everyone around them, that they had a job just like anyone else, and that they were going to spend the same amount of time on it as any other job.

Now we have typewriters that are our own biggest distractions (while I enjoy corresponding with my fellow scribblers, words here are words I'm not writing on either MSS...the new short or the new novel), and the whole world seems to think that writing happens automatically and quickly, which means we can also spend our time being full-time PR people, marketers, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseaum, and we don't REALLY need to work.

About six months ago I was despairing about that, and was considering setting my office up to mimic the setting of a pre-information age working professional author. It just turned out to be too impractical...there is no other place to put my computer and assorted junk, I need it for reference and research, etc. In addition to this, no one seems to think of writing as a "job" anymore...people think it means I'm just screwing around all day, thus it's okay to call me, text me, etc., because it's not like I'm "busy" or "at work" the same as other people. Even trying to suggest that it should be seen like this gets sneers and amusement out of people.

It's a strange world. People know that other people must have jobs in these fields, because where else would all those books, TV shows, and movies come from? But they consider any attempt to actually do those jobs as unreal. You have to be Stephen King before they assume that being a writer is a hobby, something we do for fun. There are editors and publishers out there like this, as well, who keep wanting us to do things "for the love" and get to stand on a moral high-ground about it where we shouldn't really expect or want to get paid for our's not really "work", and thus deserves no respect or expectation of compensation.