Written by A Guest Author March 21st, 2024

How My Novel Was Resurrected From the Dead

By Thomas Smith

My novel, Something Stirs, was one of the first haunted house novels written for the Christian market. Maybe even the first. And as such, the publisher that acquired it had big plans for the launch and subsequent marketing of the novel. In fact, previously a non-fiction publisher, mine was to be the first book in their new fiction imprint. And as part of their big plans, they did something with the novel that had never been done before. Instead of the traditional book trailer that consisted of music, images, and text on the screen or a voiceover, they went a different route.

They hired a movie company and the resulting book trailer was made like a movie trailer complete with actors, a soundtrack, and scenes from the book made like excerpts from a movie. The final result was absolutely amazing.


During a conference call to discuss the marketing for Something Stirs, I had the first inkling that there might be a few “issues” on the horizon. First, they hoped to schedule television appearances with me and an expert on the occult as a team. I would talk about the book and he/she would talk about the dangers of experimenting with the occult. The problem: they had no contacts in the TV industry. In the meantime, my editor was busy setting up interviews and blog post invitations for me. But the kicker from the call was the phrase, “…and we’re going to make the book trailer go viral.”

I, as a matter of genuine curiosity, asked a question that brought the call to an abrupt end.

“How are you going to do that?”

There was silence, followed by, “We need to reconvene after we’ve had a chance to research that.”

Later that day, my editor gave me a schedule of when I would be interviewed, and who I would need to contact about writing guest blogs. The only problem was that all of the contacts dealt primarily with women’s fiction, Amish fiction, cozy mysteries, and prairie romances. And it’s hard to work a house that is actively trying to keep the family inside it from leaving into that context.

I set up some interviews and podcast appearances on my own and had a little more success, but by this time there was so much working against the book, I took a more low-key approach to marketing it, worked on the other contracts I had pending, and resigned myself to letting it die a slow death. I even turned down an offer to make a film from the book because I couldn’t see giving the publishing company a percentage when they had nothing to do with securing the film project. The director agreed, and we put the film on the back burner.

Then, nothing stirred, and the book died quietly.

Fast forward about 10 years. An editor from Cemetery Dance Publications emailed and wanted to know if Something Stirs was available. The company was starting a paperback and eBook division as a way to bring popular horror novels from the past, and those that didn’t originally receive the exposure they should have, to a new audience. He wanted to showcase a wide selection of horror, including faith-based works. And he remembered reading my book when it first came out, and thought it would do quite well. He also knew something of the book’s unsuccessful history, and thought they could do more with it since they deal primarily in horror. And as one of the most well-known specialty/independent horror publishers in the world, they had some ideas.

We began with a completely redesigned cover, endorsements from bestselling authors in the genre, a little rewriting and updating (not a cordless phone or fax machine in sight), and some appropriate marketing. I made appearances on horror-related podcasts in the U.S. and England. Wrote blog posts for the company website. Participated in a big annual Halloween themed event on social media, and was featured on Book Buzz Expo, a two-day event where publishers from all over the world have a chance to talk about their new horror releases for the upcoming year.

The result a year later: Something Stirs is consistently in the Amazon Top 100; the book went from 18 reviews to over 200 new reviews (averaging 4.2 stars); the success has led to contracts for a short story collection and a novella package with the same publisher.

Bio: Thomas Smith’s novel Something Stirs is available from Cemetery Dance Publications and Amazon. For more information, please visit www.thomas-smith.us. Watch the Book Trailer.


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