For those writers who’ve gotten short fiction rejected (aka every writer), I recently learned something that might help put it all in perspective.Continue reading
Horror Fiction: Art, Entertainment, or Business?
A writer creates a piece of horror fiction. To stand a chance of getting it out there, there must be some sort of potential readership. And for it to end up in readers’ hands, it must be published.
These three very different but essential components bring us to the question: Is horror fiction art, entertainment, or business?
JWN #38: The Modern Day Plague (with Jeamus Wilkes)
On episode #38 of Josh’s Worst Nightmare Oddcast, host Josh Schlossberg risks infection with Jeamus Wilkes, author of “That Time Maggie Ghosted Me,” as they survive the ongoing biological horror that is COVID-19.
Pulling the Trigger Warnings?
TRIGGER WARNING: Non-ideological discussion of every trigger warning I can think of.
Now that you’ve been cautioned, dark reader, I want to start off by admitting that I don’t have a problem with trigger warnings. I fully understand that some people have been traumatized by certain life experiences, and to read about them can make them feel anything from discomfort to extreme distress. And in my own writing, I’m completely willing to provide trigger warnings for any editors or publishers who ask for them.
But as a reader I don’t have much use for them, especially in horror, as dark fiction for me is about pushing through the shadow into the light. Personally, I’ve found that refusing to explore something that scares me only makes it loom larger in my life. Yet, mostly, I tend to skip them because I like to avoid anything remotely resembling a spoiler.
So, while I totally get the point of trigger warnings and honor those who advocate for them, the tricky question that no one wants to answer is: What subjects qualify?
JWN #37: The Male Reproductive System (with Tim Eagle)
On episode #37 of Josh’s Worst Nightmare Oddcast, host Josh Schlossberg gets ballsy with Tim Eagle, author of STOLEN SEED, to dissect the male reproductive system.
Stream or download on Podbean or a variety of podcast platforms.
Why You Don’t See More Jewish Horror
THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR, the anthology I edited for Denver Horror Collective (DHC) in late 2021, won a bronze medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, a Silver medal in the 666 Awards, and had previously made it onto the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards. Meanwhile, at a horror writers conference, I lost count of the authors who told me they loved the book, which sold well at the DHC table, as it has been literally around the world.
While readers are hungry for Jewish horror as a unique exploration of the larger genre, I think I finally understand why THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR was one of the only Jewish horror anthologies ever released (all by small presses). And why nearly every working author who also writes Jewish horror tells me they have difficulty getting those stories published.
Because while pitching my Jewish folk horror novel (CHARWOOD will be published in 2023 by Aggadah Try It, the Jewish horror imprint of Madness Heart Press) to the editor of a large, established horror fiction publisher, one of my sneaking suspicions as to what’s been turning off so many gatekeepers was finally confirmed.Continue reading
The Three “CONS” of Writing Horror
Not long ago, I messaged a horror fiction “gatekeeper” to thank them for their work and to ask if they’d be open to reading more indie horror authors. They responded by listing a few well-known names they were promoting, including one whose “Big 4” published novel had years ago been made into a popular Hollywood movie. And then basically told me that all good writers eventually become famous, which is when this person will read and share their work.
As an author, editor, small press publisher, and reader, everything I write about horror fiction is a conflict of interest. That being said, I also have the privilege of seeing the landscape from a variety of perspectives. On top of that, I’ve interviewed scores of writers, followed their careers, and listened to podcast after podcast with some of the biggest names in the genre. The one thing most of them have in common? They were thinking about giving up until that one big break.
After years of processing this information, I believe I’ve come up with the essential elements for getting one’s horror book published and selling. I call them the three “CONS,” as in: CONTENT, CONTACTS, AND CONTEXT.Continue reading
Why I’m Giving Up On Writing Horror
I’ve been “seriously” writing horror fiction for the last six years. During that time, I’ve had a bunch of short stories and one novella published, edited and/or published three anthologies, and just finished a brand-new novel. I also co-founded Denver Horror Collective, a horde of over fifty horror authors helping one other spread the horror.
As a weirdo, my fiction tends to be a bit “unconventional.” Therefore, it’s not been easy to get the products of my mind through the mainstream literary gatekeepers, which is why I’ve so often built my own gates.
For instance, my latest book is a Jewish ecological folk horror novel, and I truly feel it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Although publishers wouldn’t touch my previous two novels, I believe this one is far more marketable and way less controversial. Yet two rejections I’ve gotten thus far—one from an agent, the other from a publisher—are total head-scratchers.Continue reading
JWN #32: The (Super)Natural World (with Daniel Braum)
On episode #32 of Josh’s Worst Nightmare Oddcast, host Josh Schlossberg goes on an expedition with Daniel Braum, author of UNDERWORLD DREAMS, to where the natural world meets the supernatural in horror fiction.
Stream or download HERE.
Is There Money in Horror Fiction?
The second-most common question a horror author gets after, “Where do you get your ideas?” is, “Can you make any money doing this?”
The short answer is, “No.” The slightly longer answer is, “Not really.” But the honest answer is, “It depends.”