At just 16 years old, Mike Omer had the remarkable thrill of seeing his very first novel published. Despite that early success, the Israeli native found himself working in journalism and programming as he grew up—but his love for writing led him back to fiction. Omer began self-publishing English-language books, like the thrillers in his Glenmore Park Mystery series, and building an international fan base. Based on readers’ responses to the character Zoe Bentley, an FBI profiler loosely based on his own wife, Omer wrote A Killer’s Mind.It wasn’t just his fans that loved Zoe—since the book’s release last fall, Omer has seen exciting new success, signing a deal with Amazon imprint Thomas & Mercer and topping bestseller lists in 2018.
What was it like publishing your first book at such a young age?
It was a dream come true and incredibly exciting. Seeing my book in bookstores, especially at the age of 16, when my ego wasn’t exactly thriving, felt amazing. Like most writers, when I look at my teenage writing, I cringe and look around for a time machine. But at the time, it was the best feeling in the world.
When did you decide to pursue writing full time?
I knew that I wanted to do something else. I began reading author blogs. It was the first time I ever saw a writer talk about living from writing as something that anyone can do in the world of self-publishing, with very easy-to-grasp, step-by-step actions. I knew I was going to do this. My co-worker at the time said he’s never seen me so excited about anything.
What was the biggest challenge you faced self-publishing?
It took me some time to understand what people wanted to read. I assumed that I could just write whatever sounds fun and readers would follow. So my first series was a horror series aimed at middle-grade readers. Talk about a niche genre. It was almost impossible to find readers for it. I worked on that for a year, sold close to nothing, and then began to think that maybe I should actually write in a genre that has a crowd. That’s when I started writing crime thrillers.
How did you get involved with Thomas & Mercer?
I’d seen the success other writers had with T&M, and it seemed like a good idea to try. I sent [A Killer’s Mind] to my agent and asked her if she thought Thomas & Mercer might be interested in it. I told her that I intended to self-publish the book in two months. I was over the moon when she told me they were interested.
What do you think has helped A Killer’s Mind to stand out?
It had a lot of eyes on it. It was on Amazon First Reads and was a No.1 Amazon bestseller for 12 days straight. I was also lucky that the Netflix series Mindhunter came out half a year before. A lot of people were excited about FBI profilers. And frankly, it’s simply the best book I ever wrote. Both the dynamic between Zoe and her partner, Tatum, and the unique antagonist in the book serve to make it a book I’m incredibly proud of.
What are your plans for upcoming installments in this series?
The second book, In the Darkness, is in editing right now and will be out in June. I’m crazy excited about it; I think it turned out really well. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but it’s really gripping, and the antagonist is creepy as hell.
Rhett Morgan is a writer and translator based in Paris.