Monthly Archives: May 2008

Bits of the Dead

One week later, I have another anthology announcement.  My short story “Another Lonesome Day” will be appearing in Bits of the Dead, an anthology of zombie flash fiction.  I’m quite proud of this one.  “Lonesome Day” is one of the most emotional stories I’ve written.

This one should be available either summer or fall.  I’ll keep you updated.

I’m a Mountain State Legend

Well, not really. But I am pleased to announce my short story “For Just One Night” will be appearing in the anthology Legends of the Mountain State 2, which will be available this fall.  I’ll be sure to remind you about this one further down the road, because this story is one of my personal favorites.

Goals

Somebody much smarter than me (or not as smart, but better at coming up with catchy little phrases) once said that life is a constant process of redefining your goals.  Or something.  I’m paraphrasing.  Wouldn’t you like to be a paraphraser, too?

It’s a slow day.  You will deal with my shitty jokes.

Anyway, as I sit here pondering what my current goals are, I thought it might be a good idea to write them down.  And since anything worth writing down is worth sharing (except the directions to all the dead hobos I buried last December), I figured I would go ahead and share them with you.  Because really, what the fuck else am I gonna blog about this week?

NATE’S GOALS FOR 2008 (in no particular order)

1. Sell two more short stories.

2. Finish rewrite on current novel.

3. Write first draft of next novel.

4. Sell out entire run of secret project number one.

5. Announce secret project number two (should probably announce project one, as well).

6. Establish a third secret project (because that would be awesome).

7. Come up with something spectacular for Shawna’s birthday.

8. Afford said spectacular thing.

9. Maintain sobriety.

10. Finish the Dark Tower series.

So there you have it, friends.  Don’t you feel like we’ve shared something?  Do you have any goals for 2008?  Does this look infected?  You gonna eat that last fry?

Speak!

Looking Back… To the Last Man

Way back in the summer of 2004, I had an idea for a graphic novel about a man cutting a swath of vengeance across Texas. I called it To the Last Man, and I wrote the first half of it in an old notebook I happened to have with me while in San Diego. Once I returned home, I started refining the script.

A month later (this would be August) I had an artist contracted to draw the whole thing for just over $3000. I sent him the first quarter of his payment and waited. Month a later, I received character sketches (after bugging said artist for them).

Then my job canceled all available overtime, and I had to kill the project. Every now and then I really miss that $750.

I rewrote what I had of the script. The end was refusing to come together, but I didn’t let that bother me. I’d figure it out. Without an artist, I had all the time in the world. During this phase, To the Last Man took on a different flavor. While it was still a gritty revenge story, it took the occasional turn toward the fantastic, such as an Act Two action sequence involving our hero driving a ’49 Mercury up against a pair of redneck survivalists with enough weaponry to take over a country.
It was awesome.

During all of this, I tried various artists who were willing to work on the project. Standard operating procedure went something like, “I’ll have those character sketches for you in a day or two,” followed by the artist’s disappearance or decision to work on something else.

So I changed my plan. With two months and change left before Comic-Con 2005, I called up Ben Dale, an artist I’d met the year before, and asked if he’d be interested in penciling and inking five pages for a pitch. He read the script and agreed. We hammered out a few details concerning what we’d expect from each other if the project sold, and two months later (and after some lettering by yours truly) we had a pitch ready for San Diego.

I hustled that pitch around to every publisher I could find. Oni, Viper, Boom!, Planet Lar, and everybody else who wasn’t Marvel or DC.

Every last one of them turned it down.

Eh, you live and you learn. The odds were again me from the start, anyway. I went back to the drawing board, getting more pitches ready. Those are tales for another day, however. We’re here to talk about To the Last Man. See, I’ve always been a little sad that nobody got to see it.

I think today’s a good day to change that.

Because I love you all, I am presenting you the five finished pages from To the Last Man.  Maybe they’ll amuse you or inspire you or make you wonder What the hell was this guy thinking?  Either way, I hope you get something out of them, because they’re all I have to show for a year of work.

Enjoy!

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5

Copyright 2004, Nate Southard.
Art Copyright 2005, Ben Dale.

The Marketing Problem

I find myself thinking about marketing a lot lately.  Yes, there’s a reason for it.  No, I’m not allowed to tell you the reason. Yes, that annoys me, too.  End of the day, however, I’m still thinking about marketing.

I’m sure you’ve noticed we’re splat in the middle of an economic shit-bucket.  That’s going to lead to less people buying books, and it’s going to lead to a lot less people taking chances on new writers.  Of course, this happens at a critical time in my writing career.

At the end of the day, it just means I have to advertise and market upcoming books to the best of my ability.  Wait, scratch that.  I have to do better.  I have to get folks talking.

See, there’s always the ads that pepper various trade publications and genre mags.  If you’re anything like me, you probably glance at those ads and then keep flipping pages.  I do believe there’s a place for them, and I’ve seen them work very well (especially if you have a Nate Kenyon-level of ad saturation), but they’re just a part of the approach.

Then there are book trailers.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go to youtube and run a search.  You’ll find plenty.  In fact, I think they come free with your average myspace account.  I liked book trailers when they were for good books by good authors.  Now everybody’s got one, though.  I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of ominous footage broken up by blurbs and back cover copy.

What do we have left?  There are always interviews I can hustle and attempt to land.  Those always help, but are they good for word of mouth?  Do they light a fire?  I want to get things burning.

I would love to do something online, an interactive experience like Year Zero’s campaign.  Something that big would cost a lot of money, though.  That’s money I just don’t have.

So maybe there’s something in the middle, some way to make it all work.

And I have ideas, fun ideas.  Good ideas.

I just need to get to work.