Category Archives: Acid Indigestion Eyes

Codorus Press Takes New York! Twice! ‘Cause We Have Stamina!

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It’s going to be hard to turn around in New York City this weekend without hitting something Codorus Press related, which means our authors are busy, busy getting the word out about their fantastic books.

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Gerry LaFemina

Tonight (Jan. 24), Gerry LaFemina – NYC punk rock vet and prolific poet Gerry LaFamina celebrates the release of his fantastic literary fiction offering Clamor with a Lower East Side shindig worthy of the book’s main character, Johnny Malice.

The party starts at 7 p.m. at Local 138, 138 Ludlow St. Not only will Gerry be reading from the novel, but there will also be music (of course), food, drink and some tasty giveaways. Don’t be surprised if you bump into a couple of other Codorus folks, including our great and glorious leader Wayne Lockwood and fellow authors Alex Segura and Tom Joyce.

Alex-Segura

Alex Segura

Speaking of which, if you don’t get enough Codorus Press awesomeness at Friday’s event, why not double your pleasure with another dose on Saturday at Enigma Bookstore (33-17 Crescent St., Astoria, N.Y.) – purveyors of literature about the odd, occult, horrific and science fictional – where Alex, Tom and Wayne will be in the house for An Evening with Codorus Press.

Tom Joyce author photo

Tom Joyce

All the authors will read from their works, Alex from his Miami detective noir novel Silent City, Tom from his occult/horror/satire novel The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, and Wayne from Acid Indigestion Eyes: Collected Essays and Musings on Generation X.

All three will have copies of their books for sale and will be happy to sign and dedicate your copy with something that you’re sure to treasure – or at least to show to friends and say “Isn’t that weird?” – for years to come.

Codorus at Kensington

Wayne Lockwood

In addition to reading and signing, Alex, Tom and Wayne are pretty likely to discuss what led to them writing their individual works and how they came to publish with Codorus Press. You can also take the opportunity to ask about what it is Codorus Press does and how we do it and get an answer straight from the horse’s – that would be Wayne’s –  mouth.

And knowing this crew, there’s a pretty – make that excellent – chance that the festivity will carry over from Enigma to a nearby establishment for beverages and what’s sure to be lots more enlightening conversation between our fine authors.

We’re especially excited about holding the event at Enigma, not just because we love them but because they’re also smack-dab in the middle of our neighborhood of Astoria, Queens. So brave the cold and head out to see the fine fellows of Codorus Press this weekend – you’ll be glad you did!

 

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Filed under Acid Indigestion Eyes, Alex Segura, Authors, Bookstores, Clamor, Codorus Press, Gerry LaFemina, Immaculate Deception, Independent publishing, Literary fiction, Marketing, Mike Argento, Mystery, Nonfiction, Promotions, publicity, Silent City, The Freak Foundation Operative's Report, Tom Joyce, Wayne Lockwood, Writers

A Death in the Extended Codorus Press Family (Plus Some Happy News)

The literary world  mourned the loss of Amiri Baraka last week and we here at Codorus Press were especially sad to hear of his deathimamu_amiri_baraka at the age of 79.

For a man who, for much of his life, was perhaps known the most for being controversial, it’s important to note the positive ripples one person can put out into the universe without even realizing it.

In many ways, Amiri Baraka was the godfather of Codorus Press, since working on his final book of poetry was one of the moments that made our founder, Wayne Lockwood, suspect that he could start his own publishing house. You can get a better perspective on the influence Baraka had on Wayne in this post from his jazz blog.

And Now, the Good News …

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Alex Segura, author of “Silent City,” speaks to the crowd at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla.

Codorus Press had an absolutely epic fall 2013, with the publication of three excellent works which spent the subsequent months garnering some excellent attention from all corners. Gerry LaFemina’s Clamor, Alex Segura’s Silent City and Tom Joyce’s The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report were all stellar additions to the Codorus Press catalog.

Each title made its own splash and covered the spectrum of writing from literary fiction to crime thriller to satirical horror. We’ve received a great combination of positive notices from other authors and impressive reader reviews. Each author has participated in his own events – such as Alex’s signings at the Mysterious Bookshop in Astoria, N.Y., and Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla. – as well as a couple of great group events like the Frostburg State University Indie Lit Festival (organized, incidentally, by Gerry LaFemina).

So what’s on tap for 2014? Well, a little rest, for one thing. But not so much that we won’t be busy hustling to sell all our titles at a variety of venues. Along with the regional book festivals that we’ve come to love (and who hopefully love us back), we’re branching out. A good portion of the Codorus crew (Tom, Wayne, Alex and possibly Gerry) will be in the house Jan. 25 at Enigma Bookstore in Astoria, N.Y. Tom and author Scott B. Pruden – the guys behind our two speculative fiction titles – will be appearing April 6 with their sci-fi/horror/fantasy brethren at the Central Pennsylvania ComicCon in Carlisle, Pa.

And that’s just within the next few months. Keep you ears open for more events by our authors individually and in groups, not to mention a slate of fall book festivals throughout the rest of the year (Frostburg will again be a pretty safe bet, and we’re hoping to once again hit the Baltimore Book Festival and maybe another ).

And no matter where it is, we hope to see you, our readers, when we’re out and about. If you’ve got someplace you’d like to see us, let us know. And if you want a Codorus Press author to visit you in your town, just give us a shout.

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Feeling Frosty – The Codorus Press Crew Heads to Frostburg, Md.

Frostburg 2013 logoIt’s a late festival season for the Codorus Press crew, but we’re getting things off to a great start with our second annual appearance at the Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival in beautiful Frostburg, Md.

The first time we hit Frostburg was a bounty of awesomeness for all our authors. Codorus founder Wayne Lockwood and co-founder Scott B. Pruden appeared on a couple of panels each, and the same goes for this year. We love to talk about writing and we’ll do it until your ears bleed, so please feel free to interrupt us before that happens.

Last year we also go to know über prolific author Jessica McHugh, who we’d originally bumped into at the Baltimore Book Festival, as her publisher’s booth was right next door. When Scott sat on the sci-fi and fantasy panel, he joined now Nebula Award-winning short story writer Andy Duncan, also a fellow University of South Carolina alum, in speaking on the topic. (They each managed to refrain from joining in a call-response cheer of “Game!” … “Cocks!”

We also got to know Gerry LaFemina, part of the faculty at Frostburg State University (which hosts the festival), and will be publishing his forthcoming novel Clamor before the end of 2013. Codorus author Tom Joyce, meanwhile, perpetrated the usual lunacy and built some buzz for his novel, The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, which launched over the summer.

All in all a pretty productive visit, wouldn’t you say?

Tom will be back with us again this year with actual copies of Freak Foundation ( or FFOR, as we like to call it), promotional information on forthcoming title Silent City by Alex Segura, and we’ll also be joined by Junior Deputy Codorus Press Intern, Andrew Pruden, Scott’s 9-year-old son, who’ll be offering his own original work, the short story “Animal Crime Fighters.”

Perhaps best of all, we got to meet and interact with dozens of writers, publishers and – most importantly – readers. We have no doubt the same will be said for this year’s event.

We hope you can join us if you happen to be rambling around the mountains of western Maryland tomorrow at the Frostburg State University Creative Writing Center. Things get rolling at around 11 a.m. and we’ll be in the house until 6 p.m..

 

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Don’t Be a Summer Reading Scofflaw!

Summer Reading

We’re certainly not opposed to heavy reading around here, but let’s face it – Fourth of July week is not the time to be diving into some deep tome about man’s place in the universe or the long, thankless slog of birth, school and work that most people endure before succumbing to an unremarkable and wholly unforgettable death. That kind of stuff will get you hauled off the beach by the Summer Beach Reading Patrol in a skinny minute.

Instead, it’s a time for reveling in the things that make America the amazing place it is – wacky religious movements, Elvis impersonators, Dumpster diving, badass gay Marines (and their crossdresser friends), Nirvana, sultry redheads, law studentFreakCover (2) strippers and diets consisting mainly of fast food!

And where can you find all those things? Why, right where you found this – with us good folks at Codorus Press. So when you’re tempted to tote that 500-page biography of Hubert Humphrey out onto the sand, think again and go for a fine Codorus Press title instead – all of which, incidentally, are available in the very beach-friendly Kindle format.

Oh, and don’t forget – not long after the extended holiday weekend we’ll be adding more fun to the mix with the release of Tom Joyce’s debut novel The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, full of con artists, carnies, pagan idolaters, faerie folk and other all-American literary elements.

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Dispatches from the Codorus Universe

The holidays are hopping around the Codorus Press offices as our band of elves looks ahead to 2013 (assuming we don’t all die in a flaming apocalyptic ball later this week … if so: Waiter? Another pint, please?).

But we’re not really focusing on the end of the world. We’ve got too much going on to waste our time on silly things like extinction.

Want to get an idea of how busy we’ve been? Just take a poke around the Interwebs, my friend. There’s plenty of Codorus Press treasure to be found.

You kn3ACIDCOVERTST (2)ow you’ve made an impression on a book reviewer when a few months after he’s reviewed your book he’s drawing upon it to make a point in a subsequent issue of his publication.

That’s the happy situation our founder, musical director and shaman, Wayne Lockwood, has found himself in this month. Andrew Andrews, publisher and editor of the blog True Review, gave Wayne an extensive shout-out, referencing our great and glorious leader’s essay collection, Acid Indigestion Eyes: Collected Essays and Musings on Generation X, in his column Tyranny of the Same.

In it, Andrews riffs on personal damage the devastation of Superstorm Sandy wrought and notes Wayne’s assertion that the Internet has made it possible for all things from all periods of culture to exist at once. We’re nothing if not deep around here.

Earlier in the fall, Mike Argento, author of Don’t Be Cruel, announced the release of the novel’s e-book version through our friends at Don't Be Cruel e-coverCrossroad Press. That means the novel is now available for nearly every electronic reader device out there.

But Mike isn’t just an author of gut-bustingly hilarious crime fiction – he’s also a full-time (and highly regarded) newspaper columnist with some prestigious awards under his belt. You can always keep up on his latest work at the sight for his newspaper (and former employer of much of the Codorus crew), The York Daily Record.

We’re excijess_bookcoverted about the spring 2013 release of longtime Codorus Press team member Tom Joyce’s first novel, The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report. This multi-layered satirical occult thriller promises to appeal to fans of everything from H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King to the Marx Brothers.

Over at Tom Joyce’s Chamber of the Bizarre, he’s been working away perpetrating his usual lunacy and taking some time out to post a favorable review of the new novel Pins by Jessica McHugh, a frequent flyer at many of the book festivals the Codorus crew attends and a valued friend of the press. Oh, and in case that isn’t incentive enough, her book is about strippers. Now, doesn’t that … Hey, where’d you go? Ah, never mind.

Those of you who haven’t abandoned us to go page through Pins looking for the good parts might also like to know that Scott B. Pruden, author of debut Codorus title Immaculate Deception, had a nice essay on his former boss Ray Daub published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Dec. 12. He followed that up with a blog posting relating how Ray influenced a particular character from his novel.

It turns out Ray, who Scott worked for as he designed, built and installed a 3/4-scale walk through display of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol in the mid-1980s, served as the physical inspiration for William Z. Robert, a low-rent, chain smoking demon featured as a major secondary character in Scott’s novel.

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Sleight of Hand, Mighty in Marketing

Codorus Press founder Wayne Lockwood has put forth several great posts recently on our visit to the Baltimore Book Festival Sept. 28-30, discussing how the sleight of hand and magical illusion skills of Codorus author Tom Joyce contributed immensely to our success there. At the risk of redundancy, we’ll talk about a few of them here, too.

From a cash-free shell game crafted to reflect the process of writing a novel to just plain ol’ sword swallowing, Tom’s antics were actually a concerted effort by us at Codorus to ramp up our opportunities to interact with passers by and hopefully sell them some books. Here’s a look:


What we got from this was fourfold. First, people walked by with their mouths gaping 0pen, not really believing what they were seeing. Second, this set up a crowd for Tom’s shell game. Third, since the shell game bit was performed on top of our handy-dandy sheet of butcher paper, we could then invite folks to share with us their favorite books by writing them down (we’ll feature the books from our Baltimore weekend in an upcoming post. Fourth, seeing what they wrote would give us some insight into what they might like from the Codorus Press catalog.

It was easy to see the results. Sales for the three festival days jumped considerably over those from last year, and we saw a noticeably surge in traffic through our booth. And perhaps the best part is that Tom’s interest in things magical directly informed the plot of his upcoming Codorus Press title, The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, slated for a 2013 release.

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Filed under Acid Indigestion Eyes, Authors, Don't Be Cruel, Fiction, Immaculate Deception, Independent publishing, Marketing, Mike Argento, Promotions, Scott B. Pruden, The Freak Foundation Operative's Report, Tom Joyce, Wayne Lockwood, Writers

A Bit of What If

To follow up on our earlier post about really bad book covers, we offer this bit of whimsy from Cracked.com on what famous titles original covers might have looked like. Pretty hilarious, if we do say so ourselves, especially the one here. Check the rest (and plenty of other funny stuff) out here.

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(Bad) Cover Story

We at Codorus Press pride ourselves on our great book covers – whether it’s the pop art goodness of Acid Indigestion Eyes or the Elvis-inspired mannequin on the cover of Don’t Be Cruel.

But there are plent of really bad covers out there. Here’s a collection of a few cringe-worthy examples.

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Love – and Books – for Sale

No, this is not a blog entry about prostitution. But given the reaction some authors have about getting out to beat the pavement and actually sell copies of their work, you’d think it was.

Here’s the attitude that usually results in that reaction. “My book is a work of art, and was born from the deepest depths of my tragic, tortured soul. Therefore, for me to indulge in something as base and crass as selling it to peoplefor money, is simply wrong. People should instead be drawn and ultimately obligated to buy and read my deathless prose because of the sheer gravity of its deep and poignant observations.”

That, of course, is bullshit (I think I’m quoting Hemingway there, but I’m not sure).

No one will buy something that they don’t know exists, and that’s one of the biggest reason the Codorus Press crew is frequently seen out at regional book festivals braving inclement weather, fickle crowds and the prospect of not selling a single damn thing.

But this past weekend we broke our streak for all of the above, landing in lovely Gaithersburg, Md., Saturday for the Gaithersburg Book Festival, where we were greeted with warm sunshine, an amazingly well-organized event, friendly and engaging attendees and a gratifying number of sales for all our authors.

After spending the last two years or so attending these festivals, we’ve honed our approach to selling quite effectively, toying around with what has and hasn’t worked for us and also borrowing (cough*stealing*cough) a few ideas from some folks we see along the way. Our visit to Gaithersburg provided a couple of thoughts that we’d like to share for others looking to get out and market their books at festivals, whether they are published with a large or small press or giving indie or self-publishing a go.

  • We don’t wait for you to come to us. We will come get you – Whether it’s smiling and saying hello, inviting people to our booth to write their favorite or most highly recommended book on a sheet of butcher paper or just randomly complimenting someone’s t-shirt, we constantly engage people as they walk by. This accomplishes several things – 1) it gets them to pull out of the stream of humanity walking by and come over to chat. 2) It allows us to start to engage them on something other than what we’re selling. 3) It lets them know that authors and publishers are human beings and not freaky mutants. 4) It’s an exchange of gratification (thus the title of this post). We have chosen to interact with them, giving them a little ego boost, while we hope they will do us the favor of purchasing (and enjoying) our works.
  • We have refined our shtick … and continue to refine it– We have formulated great quick pitches for all of our books are 

    able to convey each title’s essence in just a few words. We are also equally passionate about the work of our fellow authors"Don't Be Cruel" in the booth. The other authors can sell copies of Mike Argento’sDon’t Be Cruel almost as well as he can. That said, even as we worked the festival Saturday, author and Codorus founder Wayne Lockwood and author Scott Pruden realized emphasizing the “sexy” in Scott’s novel Immaculate Deception would tap the slightly underground market for sexy lit that has bubbled to the surface with the mainstream popularity of erotica aimed at women. For Wayne’s title Acid Indigestion Eyes, knowing that memoirs are immensely popular, we started to emphasize the memoir elements of the book, which is a collection of his work at Generation X columnist for Knight Ridder newspapers in the early 1990s.

  • We get the hell out of our chairs … if we even decide to bring them – It’s stunning how many people we see sitting during these daylong book festivals. In a way, we can’t blame them because we know damn well how tiring it is to stand for eight hours on hot, hard asphalt. But you know what? If you want to sit, you’ve got a couch at home. This goes back to the “readers will come to us” philosophy. The author believes he or she can relax and wait for interested readers (and potential customers) to just wander up. This is a grave mistake. Sitting implies a lack of enthusiasm for the product being sold (and never forget that you are indeed selling a product). This weekend, we were barely off our feet for a moment, putting us at the level of our potential readers rather than forcing them to look down on us. Get up, stand up, sell more books. Which brings us to …
  • We get the books as close to people as possible – We tried an experiment this weekend with some new, lightweight folding tables we bought to replace an ancient ironclad monster we had been using. The new tables have adjustable legs that allow us to get them to almost bar height, putting our work about a foot and a half closer than they would be at a normal table level. This made it easier and more inviting for people to pick the books up and handle them, which immediately imparts a feeling of ownership. And if they don’t pick the books up themselves, we’re pretty likely to hand them a copy ourselves. Touching is one step away from owning, which can only be cured by buying. Which brings us to …
  • We make it easy for people to buy – This weekend was our first opportunity to use the Square credit/debit card reader for iPhone and Droid to allow our customers to pay electronically, and we are absolutely sold on this technology. We are by no means early adopters on this – the tech and app have been around for more than a year – but we’re now kicking ourselves for not jumping on this sooner. In the nearly cashless society in which we now live, it’s just plain dumb to not offer customers a way to pay electronically. Without exaggeration, our Square vs. cash sales ran at least 10-1 for the day. If you aren’t using this tech or something like it and are depending only on cash transactions, you are losing sales, period.
  • We have our gimmicks and we’re not afraid to use them – Really, our gimmicks aren’t that crazy or elaborate, but they serve the purpose of attracting attention. In most cases, our cover art is the best gimmick we could ask for. Adam’s finger barely touching that of an obviously African-American Jehovah? Got it. Department store mannequin dressed as Elvis (and having a gun held to his head)? Got that, too. Bright pink pop art riff on a popular stomach remedy? Absolutely. Variously, we’ve also used fake religious tracts for the sex-and-drugs-based megachurch in Immaculate Deception and place mat menus from the novel’s fictional Cleaver’s restaurants. It never hurts to have a stark or jarring visual to grab people’s attention. Just ask our neighbors at Gaithersburg, who promoted their books using a life-sized Hannibal Lecter mannequin. I think we might need to put an offer on the Don’t Be Cruel cover model now that his keepers at Kenny’s Castaways are closing shop.
  • We have fun … and show it – To quote the folks in the booth next to us, “You guys are having a great time over there.” Damn right. Despite the early mornings, lost sleep, long days and occasionally challenging conditions, we dig hanging out with each other and selling books to the people we meet. Walk past our booth and you’re likely to see all of us smiling and laughing at something one of the group has said. And that carries over to our customers. We joke. We kid. We flirt, if necessary. We make our booth feel like a fun place to be. Really, all that’s missing is a keg. And if Tom Joyce, our development editor and author of the forthcoming The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, is in the house, you can at expect sleight of hand, random trivia, hilariously skewed observations and the likelihood that we’ll be filming another hilarious video clip for his blog Chamber of the Bizarre.

That said, we know we don’t have a lock on brilliant book festival sales tactics, so if you’re a publisher or author (or just a sales person with great ideas), we’d love to hear your thoughts, too

 

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Much Loved Books (Besides Ours)

Tom Joyce here – barstool development editor for Codorus Press. This weekend, I joined Don’t Be Cruel author Mike Argento to man the Codorus Press table at the York Book and Paper Fair in York County. And as always at that particular venue, we had a blast. Kudos to Jim Lewin, event organizer and owner of the York Emporium – one of Team Codorus’ all-time favorite bookstores.

We sold a bunch of copies of all three titles we’ve got out so far: Mike’s Don’t Be Cruel, Acid Indigestion Eyes by Wayne Lockwood, and Immaculate Deception by Scott B. Pruden.

What really made our day was talking to people who’d already picked up our titles at other venues, and wanted to tell us how much they liked them. *Sigh!* It’s nice to be popular.

Since we’re a bunch of bibliophiles (a fancy term for “book geeks”) here at Codorus Press, we figured we’d take advantage of being surrounded by people who like books as much as we do.  We asked everybody who stopped by the Codorus Press table to recommend a book that he or she thinks people should read.

We ended up with quite a diverse list – ranging from classics (The Bible? Doesn’t get much more classic than that) to contemporary mainstream fiction, to history, to genre fiction. A number of people included titles that they themselves or acquaintances had written. As advocates of the do-it-yourself approach to publishing, we approve whole-heartedly. Here’s the list of titles people wrote down:

– “The Hanging of Susanna Cox” by Patricia Earnest Suter

– “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau

– “The Haven” by Graham Diamond

– “Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs

– “1632” by Eric Flint

– “29 Gifts” by Cami Walker

– “Forced Into Glory” by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

– “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel

– “The Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher

– “John Adams” by David McCullough

– “The Greater Journey” by David McCullough (Popular man, that David.)

– “A Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs

– “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

– “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde

– “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann

– “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry

– “Lines of Contention” by J.G. Lewin and P.J. Huff

– “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander

– “Writer of the Purple Rage” by Joe Lansdale

– “The Quiet in the Land” by Henry P. Wieler

– “A Fraction of the Whole” by Steve Toltz

– “Seven Gothic Tales” by Isak Dinesen

– “Watership Down” by Richard Adams

– “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov

– “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger

– “Little Big” by John Crowley

– “Desolation Angels” by Jack Kerouac

– “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo

– “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess

– “The Soloist” by Steve Lopez

– “Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario

– “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath

– “The Bible”

– “Down River” by John Hart

– “IQ84” by Hurami Murakami

– “Floating Staircase” by Ronald Malfi

– “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom

– “Late Late at Night” by Rick Springfield

– “Kitty Cornered” by Bob Tarte

– “Joy” by Jayne Ann Krentz

– “The Witch’s Daughter” by Paula Brackston

– “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

– “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand

– “The Small Catechism” by Martin Luther

– “Indians in Pennsylvania” by Paul A.W. Wallace and William Rohrbeck

– “Empire of the Summer Moon” by S.C. Gwynne

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