The Road Out of Town: Life After DEADSVILLE

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On September 15th 2015, Deadsville was released.

With the one year anniversary fast approaching, I thought I’d take a minute to talk about some of the things that have happened over the past twelve months, as well as give you all a heads up on what lies ahead for Mr. Trask and Yours Truly.

As soon as Deadsville hit the shelves (quite literally – we were fortunate enough to have the book in an indie bookstore at the same time as it went live on Amazon) the marketing process began. Actually, the marketing officially started a few weeks prior to the release date, when we received the finalized cover from Gary McCluskey, the supremely talented artist who created it for us. Definitely look Gary up (garymccluskey.carbonmade.com) he’s richly experienced, excellent in all genres, and a helluva nice guy to boot!

So I began posting and tweeting. And tweeting and posting some more. The early response was encouraging. As the likes and retweets began to accumulate, and with our very first book signing scheduled, I felt confident we’d soon be adding some reviews to add to our growing collection of likes and retweets. Sure enough, we did just that. The incoming reviews were overwhelmingly positive (always a bonus!) and supplied me with plenty of quotable material to generate loads of new social media posts. Happily, that trend has continued, as the book recently reached that glorious milestone of 25 Amazon reviews (the point at which their sales-boosting algorithm supposedly kicks in) as well as glowing reviews on prestigious sites such as Cemetery Dance Online, Goodreads, Shotgun Logic, The Scary Reviews, and others. To learn more about Deadsville, click the cover image.

On average, I spend two hours a day marketing the book. In addition to posting on social media, I’ve also booked two additional signings over these past twelve months, (we now have the book in a total of three indie bookstores in upstate NY) in addition to a podcast appearance on THE NIGHT KEEP, (you can find the link at the bottom of the HOME page on this blog) guest post gigs on other blogs, held contests to give away copies of the book, shelled out a few bucks to have the book featured in online book clubs and a slew of bookworm blogs, with a total outreach well in excess of 100,000 readers.

Balancing the marketing with working on new fiction has not been easy. In fact, it’s been a real bitch! I find the time to write every day, but I’m not lighting the world on fire production-wise, not that I write very quickly to begin with. I edit new work as I write it, and I’m something of a perfectionist. Shooting an entire day on a single page is not at all unusual. And once my editor gets his hands on my manuscripts, the process starts anew, as the stories are broken down and rebuilt, hopefully transforming from attractive, practical transportation to bad-ass muscle cars!

From the beginning, my co-author Terry and I wanted to have a website. When we finally found the right person to do the job of building DEADSVILLE AFTER DARK for us, I deadsvillecoverwas excited…and a little bummed. In addition to all the other jobs I was doing for the book, now I was going to have to create a steady supply of content for the site! Having a partner like Terry who can contribute blog posts on here is great. He would share the marketing burden as well, but he’s very uncomfortable with self-promotion, something he’s currently getting therapy for.

Okay, he’s not getting therapy! BUT… he is learning to accept the reality of dedicated, consistent (hopefully not annoying) marketing, and the reasons why it’s crucial if your book is to stay afloat in the endless, treacherous waters of the Amazon ocean. And that’s a good thing, because his new solo jobanthology, Banquet of Souls, is set to release SOON.

Terry used Gary McCluskey, the supremely talented artist behind the Deadsville book cover (and the artwork on the HOME page of this blog), to create the cover you see at the top of this post, and once again Mr. McCluskey delivered!

“Blood Pressure,” a humorous vampire story from Banquet of Souls, will soon be performed on the forthcoming Season 7 of The Wicked Library podcast. In Season 6, TWL performed his Deadsville story, “A Job’s A Job,” and knocked it out of the park! From a marketing standpoint, having The Wicked Library perform your story prior to the release of your book is one helluva score. TWL does excellent work, bringing stories to life through professional voice acting. Click on the image to the right and give “A Job’s A Job” a listen!

As for me, I’m hard at work on Bone Deep and Blood Red, my first-ever solo anthology, as well as Thorn Man, a short novel. The cover for Thorn Man, created by Luke Spooner, another phenomenal talent in the art and graphic design world, is already done and appears at the bottom of this post. In one of my rare occurrences of putting the cart before the horse, I commissioned Luke to come up with the cover, at the time thinking that, as an in-demand and thus very busy artist, it would take him some time to complete the job. Little did I know that Mr. Spooner is one of the fastest artists I’ve ever seen. He completed the cover below in slightly over twenty-four hours!

Amazing! In a future post, I’ll discuss the artwork of Luke Spooner in greater detail.

At the time, I envisioned Thorn Man as a short story I could release as a single, with the thought that I could use the story to help market Deadsville. I would soon discover that Thorn Man was to grow well beyond the boundaries of the standard short story length of three to five thousand words. What was that saying about God laughing while we make plans?

If you’ve read my Deadsville story, “What Happened on Black Hill Road,” you’re already familiar with Thorn Man. This new tale is something of an origin story. Set once again in Rock Creek, this time in the 19th century, a young boy named Ambrose is terrorized by a dark entity he believes to inhabit the oak tree outside his bedroom window, manifesting itself as a pointy-shadowed menace determined to force him into serving some nefarious purpose.

Years later, having dismissed his supernatural encounter with Thorn Man as nothing more than the irrational fears of a child, Ambrose finds the past catching up with him as he discovers grisly signs around the farm marking Thorn Man’s return. Soon, he finds himself in a battle to save his family – and his own sanity – as the entity returns to stake a claim on his soul.

Currently, I plan on Bone Deep and Blood Red to be a mini-anthology consisting of around a half-dozen stories, released exclusively as an ebook sometime in 2017, with Thorn Man to follow – in both paperback and digital editions – soon after.

Will there be another Deadsville book? Terry and I have been discussing that. As soon as we get these other projects wrapped up and released, a return to Rock Creek with a fresh set of horror tales could certainly be on the horizon. Until then, Banquet of Souls will have stories set in Rock Creek, as will Bone Deep and Blood Red.

For now, Terry and I are riding out of Deadsville in style, eating up the highway beyond, cradled in custom-tailored bucket seats and accompanied by the throaty, high-performance growl of eight cylinders under the hood.

Watch for us, Deadies!

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