Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Author Keith Latch

I've crossed paths with Keith Latch a bit in the horror genre over the last oh so many years, and I am pleased to have him guesting today. Keith describes himself as happily married, a father of one, career-minded and a little bit of a square. Nonetheless, at times, he finds himself looking to the stars for orbiting alien spacecraft and has been known to carry an enchanted sword in the trunk of his car. Oh, and that hockey mask and machete in the backseat…that’s just for Halloween
1. You've been working in the small press a while. What's happening there as the digital revolution takes hold?
Well, I have to say that I was fortunate enough to find an excellent small press to publish my work. However, that was a different time, almost five years ago, which in publishing can be a lifetime. I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from it, but now with the digital revolution, I can get the same things: editing, cover art, distribution completed on a timetable that fits me much better.  It’s also a little ironic that you ask. I’ve actually just yesterday received the rights back for three of my backlist books, at my request, from the publisher so that I can actually place those titles up for sale, independently, by mid-summer.

2. What do you see happening with the horror genre at the moment?
In my opinion, horror has always been a niche market. While it has a roller coaster market history, the actual horror fans are a small, yet loyal, group whether it is books, film, or whatever. It may come in vogue every few years, but the swelling in the marketplace that occurs when horror is the new fad…again and again…is a good thing, it allows new writers to emerge. When the bubble bursts, we see only the best and brightest continue to produce work, which in the end is a big win for the reader.

3. You've had ebooks out even before the Kindle revolution, right? What kind of difference has it made?
 I self-published A Ghost Story back in 2006, way before self-pubbing was acceptable. But through word-of-mouth and loyal readers, I actually moved enough copies to attract a small publisher. However, the first version of my first contracted novel Cemetery Things came out in ebook several months before the paperback. For a while, it did not feel like a real book. I still relish the day I got my first print copies. I was caught up with the nostalgia of the printed pulp. I wanted to hold the book in my hand. Back in that time, 2007 it would have been, ebooks were more a novelty than anything. However, there were a few ebook readers available. I actually picked one up from Fictionwise and tried it out. I liked it but the ease in which we have today to purchase and load books just wasn’t there. As time progressed, and the electronic market caught on, I saw more and more readers for the ebook versions of my novels versus the print.
Now, with self-publishing catching on, and the ease in which we can publish, I gain more readers each month than I did in a year with the small press.
At first I considered the ebook revolution both a curse and a blessing. We had more affordable content and a much more diverse catalog to browse. Unfortunately, I also knew that any ninny with a computer could type a few hundred pages, purchase a stock photo, and say they had themselves a literary masterpiece. After the last several months, I‘ve decided that was not so horrible. Instead of the so-called “gatekeepers” of traditional publishing, we could now use our own free will to decide what content we’d like to purchase and read. So I sample a few books, erase what I don’t like, and buy and then read what I do. That’s left me with many options as a reader and just as many as a writer because with the money finally flowing towards the writer, and a much better percentage, I am satisfied with a much smaller readership than I would have needed to be successful in the mass market paperback or even hardcover arena.

4. You write in multiple genres. Do you just follow your moods, an intention to reach different audiences, or is it a wide range of interests? And do you feel if that's made it harder to build what they keep calling the "author brand" these days?
I do dabble in many different genres; horror, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, and even a little romance (that one was a dare from my wife just to see if I could do it…she now thinks I can). I’ve even done a comic book project with Steve Wands, who has among many other things worked on a run of Green Lantern for DC and Mike Fiortentino, a very gifted artist. I actually write the way I like to read. I read voraciously everything from Scott Nicholson (editors note--I didn't pay him to say that but the 15 percent is in the mail) to Stephen King, to Brandon Sanderson, to Clive Cussler, to John Varley. As I write, I like to explore new terrain and seek out new stories that can sometimes be challenging. I feel that keeps the writing fresh and entertaining for the reader.
While it may limit my “branding” in certain aspects, I hope that my readers can identify in all my works, regardless of genre, that the stories are actually about people, relationships, and hope. No matter if it’s a horde of hungry zombies, a mysterious killer stalking the streets of Memphis, or the return of a long-lost friend who believes that all your success in life is due to him and he’s ready for his cut of the pie even if it means your death, I do think the same themes permeate my writing. I also hope readers begin to identify my name with a good story versus a category of fiction. 
Also, I think the ebook revolution has and technology in general has given writers a way to build a common community with not only other writers but also readers and even potential readers and I love the idea of that.

5. What's coming up next for you?
As I mentioned, I just received the rights back to my books A Ghost Story, Bestseller, and No Small Thing. I hope to revise those quickly and place those up for readers by August 1. I’m also working on a very ambitious science fiction project, which I’m very excited about. More details to follow…
Visit Keith online at and follow him at twitter, his username is @keithlatch1

No comments: