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
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?
Remember back in school when the teacher would give you one of three grades on a test: 100%, 80%, or failing?
Yeah, me neither. But that’s exactly what we authors and readers are up against with the 5-star rating system common to Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere.
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?
On episode #36 of Josh’s Worst Nightmare Oddcast, host Josh Schlossberg gets decadent with Nicholas Kaufmann, author of THE HUNGRY EARTH, as they marvel at the impermanence of organic matter.
Stream or download on Podbean or a variety of podcast platforms.
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
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
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.”Continue reading
On episode #9 of Josh’s Worst Nightmare, host Josh Schlossberg taps into the reptilian brain with Bobby Crew, author of DINING WITH DEVILS, to make ssssssensssssse of the role of snakes in horror fiction.
Stream or download HERE.