Why PDMI Publishing, LLC (Still) Matters To Me

As “Vampire Conspiracy” (book two of the Vampire Syndrome Saga) hits the editing room of PDMI Publishing, LLC, I think this is the perfect time to reflect on how I got here, and why I’m still here.

Back in the last days of 2012, a tiny upstart publisher by the name of PDMI Freelance Publishing was beginning to put some big plans into motion. PDMI sought to change its business model from “freelance” publishing (publishing books by commission of their authors) to a full-line traditional publisher. A small company, with a big dream.

My experiences with submitting my work to the Big Five in 2012 showed me that New York Publishing’s ever-narrowing marketing criteria was leaving a void in the literary marketplace, enough to support dozens of independent traditional publishers of the size PDMI has since become. So what I was searching for was a company with a vision for literary quality and originality, where my work would truly be at home. The size of the company didn’t matter, their mission was what mattered to me.

By the end of 2012, PDMI had signed two authors under traditional publishing contracts. Emily Guido, and myself. By September 2013, PDMI’s transition to PDMI Publishing, LLC, an independent traditional publisher, was complete.

Not that there haven’t been a few rocky paths along PDMI’s hike up the “mid-size” publisher mountain. The transition to traditional publishing was carrying some baggage from PDMI’s old freelance days. Some “squeaky wheels” needed new bearings, or even outright replacement. A few of the “freelance” authors were not happy with PDMI’s transition to traditional publishing, as can be expected.

Once PDMI fully transitioned to traditional publishing, they have grown by leaps and bounds. The dozens of people now with PDMI realize the company’s mission is to grow into a publisher big enough to be reckoned with. Something that will not happen overnight, or without a few growing pains at crucial stages.

I bring this to your attention, because of late there have been a few scattered voices of dissent, of the opinion that PDMI is “growing too fast.” The Big Five’s ever-contracting business models make me extremely happy that I’m with a publisher that’s willing and able to grow, one with a true mission to put authors’ personal visions into print, a company not afraid to take a few risks that must be taken, to achieve the “big dream” and a brighter future. The Big Five’s contractions leave more and more room for those “proud few” who have the vision to grow.

PDMI has charted their growth course very well, but not without having to pass through some rocky waters. The Editorial Department has had to be beefed up to cover the additional workload, by hiring new editors, and also hiring a software developer to design custom programs to facilitate much faster author/editor communications, with both parties working on the same Office 365 manuscript to make sure authors and editors are (literally) on the same page.

I signed with PDMI in December 2012, because even then, the company’s mission showed me they were on track to become what they are now, and are still on the right path to the right future. A few may have taken an Editorial backlog as a sign of “too-rapid expansion”, but I know such problems are akin to raising children. Even a child who grows to surpass your wildest dreams will not have a perfect childhood. We all have rocky paths along our roads to achievement. You can see the rocks as insurmountable boulders, or see them for what they really are: A life experience we must learn from and overcome, to get to the peak of the mountain.

PDMI Banner 2014

Update Aug. 2017:
I’m sad to report that PDMI will be closing down on Aug. 15th.
I’d like to thank everyone involved with PDMI in any way for all their great work and commitment to making our literary dreams come alive in print.
Three authors under the PDMI umbrella (Clay Gilbert, LaWayne Orlando Childrey and myself) are now signed for TV development deals with Joel Eisenberg’s Council Tree Productions.
A great testimony for the originality and quality of PDMI’s published works.

Trending: The Collective Consciousness

Kirkus Reviews – Q&A: Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency

I also find it fascinating that as an agent, I’ll suddenly see a slew of similar-type stories cross the transom via query letters or sample pages—as if writers are somehow unconsciously tapping into some cultural zeitgeist all at the same time. Creative synchronicity in the world.

Like Kristin, I am fascinated by the ‘trends’ agents see in their queries from authors. When many authors are working on similar projects at once (without knowledge of each others’ work), it suggests a ‘collective consciousness of creation’ echoed in the world of invention. Several people ‘invented’ wireless radio, but Marconi gets the credit. Edison’s DC current notwithstanding, our world runs on Tesla’s AC current, and we are finally ‘beginning’ to use the wireless power Tesla demonstrated over a century ago.
If YA/New Adult characters with special needs ever become a ‘trend’, I’ll be able to say I was way ahead of that curve

Leonard Nimoy #LLAP

Nimoy’s autobiographies were titled “I Am Not Spock” and “I Am Spock”. The younger Nimoy wanted to show the world he was much more than Mr. Spock (which, of course, he was!), and the older Nimoy fully realized the incredible impact his beloved character had on the world. Gene Roddenberry’s vision endures because great people like Leonard Nimoy embodied that vision, and made it a part of our culture.
‪#‎RIPLeonardNimoy‬, a shining star whose light leads us to the better way. ‪#‎LLAP‬

Leonard Nimoy Final Tweet

NY Times: Leonard Nimoy Was Not (Only) Spock)

Why Authors Should Pay Attention To Gravity

Well, okay, you should always pay attention to gravity (as in the earth’s natural force), but there is another, graver “Gravity” story you need to know.

Kristin Nelson Pub Rants Article: “Why Authors Should Pay Attention To Gravity”

Quick Summary: Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen brought the suit making a claim that the movie was based on her book that New Line Productions had optioned in 1999. Warner Bros. acquired New Line studios and what is in question is whether Warner Bros, after the acquisition, is required to honor the New Line option agreement.

One thing Nelson didn’t touch on is the possible ramifications for those who are (specifically) pursuing “indie” film adaptations of their novels. For example, it might be quite possible your “vampire novel” is more akin to the artistic spirit of successful recent indie vampire films such as Let The Right One In/Let Me In, Byzantium, Only Lovers Left Alive and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night than middling ‘major’ projects such as Vampire Academy and Dracula: Untold.

If a major studio buys out your indie film producer(s), a situation like Tess Gerritsen’s could easily happen. Authors pursuing indie projects will have to trust their “gut feelings” that the producers are committed to crafting the films that Hollywood won’t or can’t do. 😈

Vampire Syndrome Book Trailer

Here’s the first book trailer for Vampire Syndrome. An old-school creepy Halloween feel!

Bitten By Books – Review of Vampire Syndrome

Bitten By Books Review of “Vampire Syndrome” by Daven Anderson

I’d like to thank Marie for her honest and thoughtful review! 😀

For anyone concerned that using a character with Down Syndrome may be exploitative, do not worry. Jack proves he is capable of filling a valuable place in the vampire community, and he draws frequent parallels to the way regular society short-changes their expectations of people with DS.

As I intended! 😀

There may also be concerns that characters pan a vampire book/movie series based with no veil whatsoever on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.

This may also be a selling point to many readers. 😉
I did use the in-universe “Vampire Moonlight” series as an opportunity to show how I would have written a similar paranormal romance. 17-year-old human Janet Zachary is an apprentice professional drag racer, and at one point uses her race car to rescue her vampire boyfriend. Janet would have more crossover appeal to male readers, and this setup above establishes her as a strong female, not a pushover. Instead of just criticism or satire, I use my in-universe series to suggest how (I think) that particular series could have been substantially improved. And…

…one of the strongest vampire characters loves the series and does not care what anyone says about it, so both sides are covered.

I do want to address this quote below, as this is not the first time someone has made this criticism.

(Jack) uses logic and problem solving skills I found unrealistically advanced for someone with DS.

Jack is a composite of several people that I have worked with over the past twenty years. Two of them have read my book, and they both felt I was spot-on regarding Jack. Jack’s logic and problem-solving skills are in line with those whom I have worked with, who deal with customers in a retail environment on a continual basis. I will admit that it does require a certain level of aptitude regarding logic and problem-solving skills to work in a job requiring constant interaction with the public, but this applies to people at all levels of cognition, and there are many, many people of “normal” cognition who are not at all suited to working in retail. The movie “Where Hope Grows” features a main character with Down Syndrome who works in a grocery store (and its lead actor would be a great candidate to play Jack!).

Tyward Books – Building a Legacy of Literacy

My publisher, PDMI Publishing, LLC, is opening a book store on Monday, February 9, 2015.
Yes, a full-line brick and mortar book store!
I can’t wait to visit there and do signings… 🙂

Grand Opening Tyward Books 09 Feb 2015

Book donations wanted!
Tyward Books
7032 HWY 431
Albertville, AL 35950

Blog Talk Radio: Jeff Trek interviews Daven Anderson, author of “Vampire Syndrome”

Join me on Blog Talk Radio next Saturday, November 29th, 2014 at 5:30PM Eastern Time for my interview, hosted by Jeff Trek.

“Can a vampire with Down Syndrome survive? “Vampire Syndrome”, the novel that truly goes where no paranormal story has gone before. Join us as we welcome Author Daven Anderson and his world of extraterrestrial vampires to the program.”

Author Daven Anderson discusses his “Vampire Syndrome” Saga with Jeff Trek on Blog Talk Radio

Blog Talk Radio Jeff Trek Interview

WHY is there such a thing as “Too Much Description”?

Yes, Virginia, there IS such a thing as too much description.
Why?
Time, or the lack of same.
Attention spans, or the lack of same.

Kristen Lamb has summed this up perfectly in 3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing & Increase Sales.

Attention spans are shrinking. The average time spent on a website is roughly 3.5 minutes. I’d wager most people give a website 3.5 seconds to catch their attention and that 3.5 minutes only applies to those browsers who happen to stay.

 

We can apply these business lessons to our writing, because we writers also have something to sell. Our job is far tougher because 1) discoverability is a nightmare 2) less than 8% of the literate population are devoted readers 3) the remaining 92% equate reading with homework and a chore. Thus, we have the task of convincing 92% of the population to spend time they don’t have engaged in an activity they believe they dislike…and spend money to do it.

One thing Lamb didn’t specify is that we, the “8%”, are the highly influential arbiters for the other 92%. Our rave review of “Book X” might motivate one or more of our “92%” friends to pick up “Book X” and read it.

There’s more to all this than time and money, however.

When I wrote my original “Yes, Virginia…” post back in April 2011, I was wringing my first novel through the hands of a critique group. An environment which encouraged, and “enabled,” lavish descriptions. And yes, I mean “enabled,” in the sense of “enablers” helping you to abuse substances. In this case, words. More than once, I would find myself reading ten pages of beautiful, impeccably-crafted descriptions in scenes where nothing was actually happening.

I found myself motivated to post “Yes, Virginia…”, without elaborating the larger reasoning behind my favoring economy of words.

In the petri dish of the group, many were oblivious to the needs of real-world readers. Without being able to take the entire work in context, people could bring in chapter after chapter of lavish description (with little or no action occurring!) and get “raves” from the group. And the “logical” outcome of this would be a novel full of indulgent prose, crafted for the hardiest of the literati, not the everyday reader.

Kristen Lamb:This tenet applies in a lot of areas. We don’t need flashbacks or lengthy details of why a character thinks or acts a certain way. The more we leave to the imagination, the better.

In general, this is true, but some stories will need a certain level of context to make readers care about the characters. The opposite of the above “description” scenario could, and did, happen. Someone could, for instance, bring the group wall-to-wall action scenes and be lauded again and again, but reading their resultant Kindle novel full of wall-to-wall action (lacking any back story, character development, or any other context which would have made me care about why these characters were fighting) made it clear that the weaknesses of “writing by committee” were hardly limited to an excess of descriptions in lieu of action.

You do have to achieve balance, as well as economy. If you need to describe something, you have to. The trick is to figure out what you need to describe, and what you don’t. You have to figure this out, and not through the process of working with a critique group.

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. ”~ Strunk and White (as quoted by Lamb)

Only Lovers Left Alive

If the Velvet Underground’s “Venus In Furs” could turn into a vampire movie, it would be “Only Lovers Left Alive“.

Pale-as-ice Tilda Swinton as Eve, at last the on-screen vamp(ire) I have always envisioned of her. Simultaneously old and young, ethereal and earthy; qualities even reflected in her on-screen visage.

Tom Hiddleston as Adam, the ageless hipster buried in 45-rpm vinyl and metal-flake guitars.

Eve and Adam

Both mentored by Christopher Marlowe, the ageless bard of Tangiers, immortalized on-screen by John Hurt.

Christoper Marlowe

The deserted dystopia of Detroit, where only the immortal stay. And a tantalizing hint of how the Motor City may yet arise from the ashes, in the foresight of Swinton’s Eve.

Their dark decadence of decay, upended by a visit from Ava (Eve’s bratty younger sister, played by Mia Wasikowska).

Eva and Ian

http://onlyloversleftalivefilm.tumblr.com/synopsis

Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE tells the tale of two fragile and sensitive vampires, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), who have been lovers for centuries. Both are cultured intellectuals with an all-embracing passion for music, literature and science, who have evolved to a level where they no longer kill for sustenance, but still retain their innate wildness.
Driven by sensual photography, trance-like music, and droll humor, Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a meditation on art, science, memory, and the mysteries of everlasting love.