Month: December 2015

AFTER I’M GONE

513LQbW-8CL._UY250_Got Christmas money? Have a Kindle? This is the book you are waiting for.

Let me start by saying that After I’m Gone is a romance with paranormal elements.

I write and read horror for the emotional jolt. When I delve into literary fiction, on the other hand, what I’m looking for is prose nuance and characterization. Reading Michelle Alstead’s After I’m Gone, I get everything.

Alstead’s book is about relationships (don’t revoke my guy card, please), with a paranormal twist (which serves my speculative urge). The prose is sharp and clean, though the fine writing is not the very best thing about the novel. Have you ever read a book and found yourself in love with the characters? Get ready.

The plot would appear to be familiar. Gabby’s husband Casey dies in a motorcycle accident. The trauma causes Gabby to miscarry. The tragedy carries the additional weight of past events, making the heartbreak more poignant. Then, the supernatural opportunity to change the past comes. But don’t think Peggy Sue will get married, or that Groundhog day will repeat. Alstead is too intelligent to serve up a platter of expectations. I was knocked out by the clever path the author cuts for the reader.

I don’t want to give away too much, because the book’s revelations are a pleasure. You’ll enjoy every moment you spend with Gabby. And the good news is, the author intends a series. Not a direct follow-up to Gabby’s story, but an exploration of peripheral characters—a guarantee of hours of great reading.

I loved this book. (Five stars out of five)

ZOMBIE MARKETING: THE EPIDEMIOLOGY OF BRAND AWARENESS

LarsonThis is a time of empowerment for independent entrepreneurs, who have access to global markets for the very first time. And in the wake of the Indy revolution comes the realization that the artists still must still reach an audience, and that connection must be made in the middle of a marketing blizzard. Bowker reports that in 2009, more than a million books were published in the United States. More than two-thirds of those books were self-published.

Jack Larson is an artist living in New Mexico. His book, Zombie Marketing: The Epidemiology of Brand Awareness, examines marketing strategies for independent creators. Larson comes by the zombie metaphor honestly—with art most often focused on the undead. His book is a brilliant examination of the use of social media for the modern entrepreneur. Prior to recent changes in the artistic marketplace, access to niche markets was too often impractical. Larson contends that now, “creativity and strategic thinking matter more…than a big advertising budget.”

Larson bases his approach to independent brand building on the World Health Organization’s five main phases of a pandemic. Want your art to go viral? Larson will tell you how. His approach isn’t a gimmick; any more than the viral marketing concept is merely metaphorical.

The book is every bit as entertaining as you might expect, given the approach. Better, the pandemic analogy is an effective way of approaching the subject. Along the way, Larson uses his own experiences marketing his art to illustrate simple (but profound) principles. His examples are designed to trigger ideas, rather than providing a bullet list of mass market strategies. As I read the book, I kept coming up with more and more applications—enough so, that I had to start listing them.

I would recommend Zombie Marketing: The Epidemiology of Brand Awareness to every writer, musician and artist. Whether you play guitar in a garage band or write for a big publishing house, you need to read this book. (Five stars out of five)