Shock Totem Radio
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Tag Archives: Goodreads
How important is a review? In today’s publishing world, especially on Amazon.com and its international sites, a good review (four or five stars) is worth quite a bit. Dozens of them are priceless.
Shock Totem does most of its sales—nearly 400 a month and rising—through Amazon. The bulk of which are digital sales. That’s a great thing, particularly for our authors. Readers are their lifeblood. Ours as well, but while readers keep us afloat on a pride level, we need revenue to sustain us for years to come. Priced at $0.99 (the magazine) and $2.99 (The Wicked), four hundred digital sales comes out to, roughly, $150 a month. We’ll take it. There was a time, after all, when we were making much less.
But each of our issues costs around $1,500 to produce. Upfront, out of pocket. As any business owner will tell you, we’d love to pay for an entire issue using profit from sales. Self-sustaining. That’s the goal.
Now, this post isn’t intended to come off so oh-woe-is-me. We knew all of this going in, and we’re committed to continuing to produce quality fiction in our magazine and other products. But you can help us. Greatly, in fact.
The debut issue of Shock Totem is our biggest seller. Thus far in August, it’s outselling all of our other releases three to one. This is typical for every month. On Amazon, where it matters most, our debut has 21 reviews. That’s twelve more than the closest second, which is issue #2, with nine reviews.
Why does this matter? Because Amazon has a ranking algorithm, among other things, that helps authors sell books. One of the biggest theories, and it’s a good one, is that the more four- and five-star reviews a book has, the more it is shown to potential buyers.
Again, our debut issue has at least a dozen more reviews than any of our other books. Signs point to Yes, the algorithm is real.
So how can you help? By posting reviews of our work. They don’t have to be long or have literary flair; they just need to be honest. (And preferably four or five stars.)
The more our sales increase, the longer we’ll be around. When so many publications are using Kickstarter to fund their projects, we’d like to earn people’s money. So if you’d be so kind, please consider reviewing anything of ours that you have read. We’d be very grateful.
In parting, and this applies to not just our books but any book, please note the difference in ratings between sites.
Three stars on Goodreads is not the same as three stars on Amazon. (There is another theory that any review given with less than four stars on Amazon seriously impacts a book’s rankings—kicks it right into the gutter, in fact. Again, this is a theory, but based on authors’ experience, it’s a good one.) For instance, a two-star review on Goodreads should be a three-star review on Amazon, as both mean it was “okay.” Therefore, a three-star review on Goodreads should be a four-star review on Amazon, which helps the author quite a deal more. Again, in theory.
And finally, thank you! This month marks the four-year anniversary of when John, Nick, and I started Shock Totem. It’s been a hell of a ride so far. Help us keep the wheels on!
I have probably stated before, quite a few times, actually, the fact that I am just about zombied out. So when I received a package containing Dead Things, by Matthew Darst, I read the blurbage and sighed. Zombies. But I won the book through a Goodreads giveaway—and hey, Free book! Better yet, a signed free book.
I started it that night, and within two or three nights had finished it. It was that good.
The debut novel is set nearly twenty years after the “zombie event.” The dead have risen and eaten folks. Society has collapsed and rebuilt itself. Religious fanatics have lots of control. Our main characters are literally thrown together in a plane crash and forced to stick together to survive. Adding to the tension of outrunning the hungry dead, there is the fact that no one trusts anyone else, as anyone could be a mole for the church. I’m talking Witch Hunt kinda-church.
Darst uses a number of nifty maneuvers to keep this a fresh offering. The dialogue is smart and witty. The science behind the story is very well thought out and smart. In fact, I’d say the weakest point would have to be the ending, which seemed a bit rushed—literally rushing headlong into and messily hitting closure in a chapter.
As I stated, this is a debut novel. A well-written, smartly entertaining debut. Integral to the plot are the zombies; however, it is more than a zombie novel. It’s a novel about humans being, a novel where the monsters we become are far more frightening than the things shambling from the graves to gnaw on our flesh.
Dead Things is available from Grand Mal Press.
In 1992, James Havoc released this wonderful book of bizarre and repulsive word swill. I loved it. Still do. Then he went missing. Dropped right off the face of the earth.
Gone. Never to be heard from again.
Like a meth-fueled mixture of William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Michael Gira and Chuck Palahniuk being poured down the eager throat of Edward Lee, Satanskin is that hardcore. Graphic as anything you can imagine. Surrealism carved in the faces of the damned with a rusty razor equals Satanskin.
Havoc didn’t paint with words…he fed you the words then reached down your throat—or up your ass—and then finger-painted your brain with them. These stories are prose-beasts. Skulking ugly creations that stumble in and out of cohesive narrative. There are vampires and nameless things, aliens and undead creatures. Depraved children and Demonic butt-sex. It’s an explosion of supreme insanity and chaotic cringe-worthy debauchery. This is Bizarro, from a time when the tag didn’t really exist.
This title was released in 1992 via The Tears Corporation/Creation Press. In 2011, the 20th anniversary e-book edition, which includes the bonus story “Third Eye Butterfly,” was released by Elektron Ebooks.
We’re giving away a copy of our latest release, The Wicked, by James Newman. If you have an account on Goodreads, throw your name into the hat.
Three copies of Epitaphs: The Journal of New England Horror Writers, the Stoker Award nominated anthology featuring work from Kurt Newton, Rick Hautala, Christopher Golden, L.L. Soares, K. Allen Wood (that’s me!), and twenty-one others, are being given away through Goodreads.
If you’re interested in this fantastic collection, toss your name into the virtual hat by clicking Enter to Win below.
Our Goodreads Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Will Prescott and Samantha Williams. They each won a copy of Shock Totem #4!
Stay tuned for more contests…