Horror Author or Narcissist? You Be the Judge!

Pimping my book is turning me into a narcissist.

“What else is new?” some of you might be asking. In that case: It’s turning me into MORE of one!

Here’s why: It’s the only way to get my shit out there. Allow me to explain.

I happen to have been blessed with an excellent and generous publisher, D&T Publishing. Despite being a small press, D&T has done more to promote my debut cosmic folk horror novella, MALINAE, than the “Big Four” presses do for most of their authors. For that I am eternally grateful and, indeed, it’s the main reason the book has gotten out there as much as it already has, which is quite a bit.

However, in the sales world, we all know that a tiny percentage of products get the vast majority of buys. Take Coca Cola for instance, which snags half of the soda sales in the U.S. Is Coke really the best carbonated sugar water in the country? Not even close (not counting its cocaine-laced days, of course)! Hell, I’ve probably drank fifty different small batch colas better tasting and less horrible for you than Coke. But you’ve only heard of a few of them, and barely, at that. Because it’s not just about the product—which does have to be adequate—it’s about the marketing.

Let’s take this into the horror world. Stephen King alone gets the vast majority of horror fiction reads. Now, before going any further, I’m not here to shit on “the King.” I cut my literary teeth on the man and found him formative in my teens. Today, I still enjoy many of his stories and novels and think he’s a formidable storyteller.

But is he the best horror author in the world, the way sales suggest? Not even close! Hell, I’ve probably read at least fifty horror authors who are better writers and storytellers than him. But you’ve only heard of a few of them, and barely, at that. Because it’s not just about the product—which does have to be adequate—it’s about the marketing.

So what’s my point? That people should stop drinking Coke and reading King?

Of course not. Simply that the playing field is far from level, and we authors don’t have the luxury of simply writing good books and expecting them to fly magically into the hands of readers.

Now, we don’t have to do this alone. Many in the horror community promote one another or have created entities, such as Denver Horror Collective, so a rising tide can lift all boats.

But we’ve still got to hustle. In fact, I’ve learned that marketing and contacts are more important for book sales than the content, itself. Sure, your book needs to be decent by many standards. But you’ll sell far more so-so books with great marketing than great books with so-so marketing.

Yet those of us who write typically hate marketing. I mean, hate it, hate it, hate it. But it’s the only way to generate an audience. And writing without an audience is basically keeping a diary.

And all I want to do is keep writing. Why? Certainly not for fame—I’ve gotten far more notoriety for my environmental organizing. And definitely not to “get laid”—I get way more attention strumming a stupid song on my guitar for three minutes on stage than I ever have for anything I’ve spent literally years writing.

I write because I don’t have any other choice. When your bowels fill, you need to take a crap. Such are the ideas in my head. Plus, I’ve found it’s the best way to occupy my brain, to keep me out of trouble and everyone else around me safe.

So, finally, after all this egotistical rambling, here’s my ask:

  1. Buy my book, MALINAE
  2. Write a review (Amazon and/or Goodreads and/or on your blog/social media)
  3. Tell other people

That’s it. If you’ve already done these things, you are my motherfucking hero. If not, I hope you’ll do so simply to keep me in front of the computer and off the streets. And if that’s not enough for you, then please think of the children.

Darkest Regards,
Josh Schlossberg

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