Tag Archives: Shock Totem Publications

The Horror Booth Reviews The Wicked

A relatively new site–at least it appears that way–called The Horror Booth has reviewed The Wicked. We didn’t send them a copy, so it’s a nice surprise.

“Newman’s writing is very easy to devour in this book and I am curious to read some of his other stuff to see how it compares; he has certainly set the bar high with this one.”

Another great one! You can read it here.

Have you picked up your copy yet?

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Announcing Shock Totem #5…

Shock Totem is proud to announce that we will finally be unleashing another great issue of darkly weird fiction!

Our fifth issue was originally scheduled to come out in January, but for reasons which you can read here we made the hard choice to delay it until July. And now with July nearly upon us, that wait, thankfully, is over.

For those who have yet to see it, here is the cover for issue #5:

Another brilliant piece of work from Mikio Murakami, who has done all our magazine artwork since issue #3.

Here is the official Table of Contents:

* Taking Root, by Mercedes M. Yardley (Editorial)
* In Deepest Silence, by Ari Marmell
* Girl and the Blue Burqa, by D. Thomas Mooers
* Digging in the Dirt: A Conversation with Jack Ketchum, by John Boden
* Hide-and-Seek, by F.J. Bergmann (Poem)
* Eyes of a Stranger, by Nick Contor (Essay)
* Postmortem, by Kurt Newton (5-Part Illustrated Micro-Serial)
* Jimmy Bunny, by Darrell Schweitzer
* Strange Goods and Other Oddities (Reviews)
* Little Knife Houses, by Jaelithe Ingold (2011 Shock Totem Flash Fiction Contest Winner)
* Canon, by Anaea Lay
* Bloodstains & Blue Suede Shoes, Part 3, by John Boden and Simon Marshall-Jones (Article)
* The Catch, by Joe Mirabello
* Three Strikes, by Mekenzie Larsen
* To ‘Bie or Not to ‘Bie, by Sean Eads
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Author Notes)

We’re really pleased with how this issue turned out. It’s unlike any of our previous issues, which were themselves unlike previous issues, yet as always it is still clearly Shock Totem. We think you’ll enjoy it.

Look for it next month, in print and digital formats. And if you want to get it out of the way now, you can preorder the issue here.

As always, thank you for your continued support!

Posted in Alumni News, New Releases, Publishing, Shock Totem Digital, Shock Totem News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

And the Contest of Dune Winner is…

Desmond Warzel

Desmond figured this one our real quick. About an hour had elapsed between the time we posted the contest and he correctly guessed the answer.

This was a very simple cipher. The letters represented their corresponding numerical place in the alphabet—A being 1, B being 2, Z being 26, etc. Below < and Below _ referred to keys on a keyboard—the comma being below the less-than symbol, and the dash being below the underscore. Dots were just that, dots (i.e. periods).

There were a couple other minor hints, but once the rest was deciphered, you had this:

43.709207,-124.179583

Coordinates for the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The Oregon Dunes, for those who don’t know, was the inspiration—or the inspirational catalyst—for the original Dune novel, published in 1965, by Frank Herbert.

So congratulations to Desmond!

Until next time…

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Contest of Dune

Update: Contest was over nearly before it began. See the comments for the answer.

Interested in winning an audiobook copy of Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert’s upcoming book, Sisterhood of Dune?

If so, solve this:


[ it’s not as tough as it looks ]

Post your answers in the comments section below. First person to get it right wins the Sisterhood of Dune audiobook. If you have an e-reader, we’ll throw in a copy of our special holiday e-issue, which features Kevin’s short story “Santa Claus Is Coming to Get You.”

Good luck!

Posted in Alumni News, Contests | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s a Long Way Down

Doing a free promo was a great high, watching the numbers go up and up and up. But the higher you go…

Expected, but the visual is depressing.

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Only Time Will Tell…

As noted in my previous update, we opted to make our digital issues exclusive to the Kindle and lowered the price on a few of them so that they’re all priced at 99 cents. A lot of people dislike the 99-cent price point, suggesting it cheapens the product and conditions buyers to expect that price for all e-books. A valid argument, but it’s something that doesn’t work for us. Not now, at least.

So all digital issues are priced at $0.99. Future issues will likely be priced higher, but not much. For now, though, sales are good. Of course, selling a hundred copies nets $35, so “good” isn’t necessarily monetarily good. But this is about readers, and more readers is what we desperately need.

The digital issues have helped with that. And in an attempt to boost our readership, on Sunday, December 10, we made available for free through Amazon the digital version of our fourth issue. On the surface, it was a great success.

In the span of 24 hours, issue #4 was downloaded 408 times. Sounds fantastic, right? Well, only time will tell. I learned long ago that people love free stuff, but not necessarily for any other reason than it’s free. At conventions, you’ll sell more, in my opinion, if you don’t have a table loaded with free bookmarks, stickers, pins, candy, etc. Just have your product visible and you’ll make more sales.

So the question is, how many of those 408 people will read Shock Totem #4? I am not crazy enough to think they all will, but I’m hopeful enough to think a lot of them will. (Hopefully we see some positive reviews in the future.) If even a dozen read it, enjoy it, and eventually check out more work from our authors or pick up our other issues, then it will have been worth it. But again, time will tell…

We peaked at 587, I believe, on the Free in Kindle Store list. It would have been great to hit the top 100, but we stayed in the top 1,000 nearly the entire 24 hours. Can’t complain about that. But the funniest thing of all, was this:

A once in a lifetime achievement, I’d say. And a fitting one at that.

Thanks to everyone who downloaded issue #4. If you read it, please let us know what you think. I’ll post again on this subject in the future…

Posted in Shock Totem Digital, Shock Totem News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WE ARE 99 CENTS!!

As many of you know, all issues of Shock Totem recently were made available in digital format. As of today, all issues are now just $0.99.

However, I’ve made the decision to make them exclusive to the Kindle. For the time being, at least.

Here’s why…

Amazon recently introduced a program called KDP Select, and it piqued my interest. It made other writers scoff. Essentially, it allows Amazon Prime members one free e-book download per month through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. And those authors/publishers who make their work available exclusively through the Kindle—which we have done—can participate.

So if you have an Amazon Prime account, you now have the option to read any Shock Totem issue for free.

My reasons for doing this are very simple. No, I do not expect us to make a lot of money. Though Amazon entices people with big numbers, that’s simply Marketing 101. What this new program can do for us, is get our issues in front of new readers. And at this point, for Shock Totem, exposure is very important. More important than money, because without new readers we will never be a self-sustaining business.

My budget includes the costs of running Shock Totem Publications. I’d love to use less out-of-pocket money and more money from profits for the cost of our issues, but if that is ever going to change, we need new readers. We need to be seen by people outside of the small press, and this KDP Select will, hopefully, help with that.

We’ll see…

Posted in Shock Totem Digital, Shock Totem News | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

And the Wicked Awesome Shock Totem Contest Winner is…

Bec Zugor

Bec guessed The Wicked, which is the correct answer. As I stated in the contest post below, all the clues you needed to lead you to the answer were in that post. The first, and probably least obvious, was “wicked” in the post title. But the real clues were in the image itself.

Figuring out what kind of car that is was probably the hardest for most people. It is a Bugatti. Minus the “atti,” and you’re left with Bug. A gold one, thus “Gold Bug,” or “The Gold-Bug,” Poe’s well-known tale of cryptograms and secret writing. You will also see Poe himself in the dashboard/windshield area near the steering wheel, as well as a raven on the roof.

The numbers at the bottom represent words within “The Gold-Bug,” and the first letter of each of those words spells out The Wicked, which is the title of our upcoming novel. More on that soon.

So congratulations to Bec!

And thanks to everyone who gave it a go. We plan to have more contests like this one in the future.

Posted in Contests, Shock Totem News | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Wicked Awesome Shock Totem Contest

As some of you know, issue #5 has been delayed until July 2012. However, in March 2012 we will be publishing our first novel. In celebration of that, I thought we’d hold a contest.

The first person to figure out the cypher at the bottom of that picture will win the following:

    1. One copy of our upcoming novel (title to be revealed once the contest is won), signed by the author.
    2. One copy each of the first four Shock Totem issues.
    3. One copy of Werewolves and Shapeshifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within, a massive tome edited by John Skipp and featuring our very own Mercedes M. Yardley, among other greats.
    4. A one-year (12 issues) digital subscription to one of my favorite publications, Apex Magazine.
    5. And because I have an extra, one old-ass (but in very good condition) copy of The Magazine of Fantasy of Science Fiction, from July 1970, which features the only appearance of Dean Koontz’s “The Mysteries of His Flesh,” the short story that would later be expanded to become his sixth novel, Anti-Man*.

      * Trivia: Dean’s preferred—and better—title was the same as the short story, “The Mysteries of His Flesh,” but the publisher thought it sounded “too gay.”

      Obviously this contest is a bit tougher than most, but I want you to work for those prizes. That said, it’s not as hard as it looks. All the clues you need to lead you to the answer are in this post.

      Post your answers in the comments below. First person to post the correct answer wins!

      (Some of you are ineligible to win, as you know the answer. We know who you are!)

      Amendment: If you guess right, I will ask how you got to that answer. A wild guess that happens to be correct will not count. If you have truly figured it out, you will have no doubt that your answer is correct.

      Amendment #2: If you think you have the correct answer, please post it in the comments section below like others have been doing, that way your answer is time-stamped. But also send me an e-mail at ken@shocktotem.com explaining how you came to that answer.

      Posted in Contests, Shock Totem News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments