Shock Totem #10 (Jan 2016)
- Closing for Submissions
- Shock Totem Returns!
- Apex Publications Acquires Shock Totem Book Line
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 8
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 7
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 6
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 5
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 4
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 3
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 2
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Tag Archives: The Wicked
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 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.
We’ve been around for five years and each of our issues costs around $1,500 to produce. They say most businesses take five years to become profitable. Thankfully, we’re almost to the point where we’re paying for each release with profit from sales. Our last issue, Shock Totem #7, cost $236 out of pocket, which is wonderful.
We’d love to get to a point where we’re not only paying for issues with profit but also making money, enough to expand, raise our pay rate.
And that’s why we still need your help.
The debut issue of Shock Totem is our biggest seller. This is typical for every month. On Amazon, where it matters most, our debut has 28 reviews. That’s eleven more than the closest second, which is issue #2, with 17 reviews.
Our latest issue, however, has just two reviews. And we’re having a hell of a time getting review sites to respond to review requests these days. Not sure if there’s so much self-publishing going on that they’re overwhelmed with review material or if we’re so established they don’t think we need reviews; but whatever the reason, the reality is, we do need reviews.
Why? Beside the obvious reasons, Amazon.com, where sales are highest, has a ranking algorithm (among other things) that helps authors and publishers 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 nearly a dozen more reviews than any of our other issues and it’s our biggest seller. Signs point to Yes, the algorithm is real and that issue is being put in front of more potential readers than our other issues.
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.
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 not only to 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! Five years strong. We’ve lost some staff along the way, but we’re still dedicated and committed to the long haul. It’s been a hell of a ride so far. Help us keep the wheels on!
Getting a Google Alert that links a review of The Wicked on a site called Brutal As Hell is a scary thing. Not having heard of the site before, I was worried that it was some elitist website run by a bunch of literary snobs that just shred anything read by more than 3.75 people.
Luckily, Brutal As Hell is a site we should all be reading. Fantastic stuff over there! And I’m happy to say, the reviewer, Marc Patterson, gave The Wicked a great review. If you have a moment, give it a read, or at least bookmark the site.
“At 325 pages long The Wicked is a surprisingly quick read thanks to Newman’s immersive storytelling that propels you deep into the pages at a frenzied pace. Time will be lost quickly as you rabidly consume this horrifying tale.”
Have you picked up your copy yet?
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?
The almighty Jassen Bailey has given The Wicked a great review over at The Crow’s Caw.
“This is one of the coolest paperback I’ve ever laid eyes on. This is the total package.”
You can read the review here.
More than that, however, Jassen has allowed James to guest blog about The Wicked, specifically the excellent characterization found within the book. It’s a wonderfully insightful read.
And if that’s not cool enough, they’re giving away two copies of The Wicked and one copy of James’s fantastic collection, People Are Strange. All you have to do is go to the comments section and post your top 10 favorite horror novels and movies from the 80s. Couldn’t be easier!
Again, you can find the review, essay, and contest here. Dig it!
James Newman…a Southern Gentlemen who gave us the novels Midnight Rain and The Wicked, as well as such novellas as the co-authored Night of the Loving Dead, with James Futch, and Holy Rollers. And his latest novel, Animosity, was just released through Necessary Evil Press.
Newman was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to sit and chew the fat with me…
JB: James, we’ve known each other a few years, met up—where was it, the old Horror Channel board? I don’t recall, do you?
JN: I think that’s right. Of course, I can barely remember what I did last week, half the time. I used to think it was because I’d smoked too much weed back in the day. Now I know it’s just ’cause I’m getting old.
Seriously, though, thanks for asking me to do this. It’s always a pleasure talking to you, John.
Most artists live in the shadows of their work—and few see them.
We have sold thousands of copies of Shock Totem, and one thing we’re consistently complimented on is our cover art. This happens all the time. Think about that. We get complimented for something we did not create. All the time. The artist, for the most part, is ignored.
Sure, someone from Taiwan got on his back a tattoo of a slightly altered version of the cover art for issue #1—which is flippin’ brilliant—but that’s an extreme compliment. How many people have just e-mailed our artists to tell them how great their work is? Few, if any. I’d bet a lot of money on that.
But they tell us. Again, all the time.
Much like the fact that most people don’t understand how much time and effort an author puts into creating his work, I don’t think people understand or appreciate how much goes into creating cover art—or album art, a painting, a cartoon, etc.
On our Facebook page, we have a photo collection called Resonance. In it you’ll find a series of photos that includes numerous drafts of ideas for cover art we didn’t use, as well as early/alternate versions of the cover art we eventually did use. We want people to see part of the process, because it’s a long one that takes a lot of time and hard work.
As mentioned recently, we will soon reissue James Newman’s ode to 80s horror, The Wicked. We commissioned new artwork from Jesse David Young, as well as numerous interior illustrations. This process began back on September 16, 2011. Over six months ago. To give you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, I’ve put together a little slideshow which begins with the very first sketch idea and ends with the final product.
(All the artwork was done by Jesse David Young, but the layouts for final three covers shown were done Mikio Murakami, Rex Zachary, and Yannick Bouchard, respectively.)
Scroll down this page a bit, and on the right sidebar you’ll see a section labeled Artists of the Totem. Below it, links to all the artists that have helped make Shock Totem great. Check them out, hire them—or, at least, if you like their work, let them know.
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.