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.

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Monsters of D&T: ELDER HORROR on July 29

A knife to the brain takes out a zombie. A stake to the heart finishes a vampire. And a silver bullet puts down a werewolf. But the only way to beat old age is to, well, die.

In the first of its “Monsters of D&T” virtual events on Thursday, July 29 at 5 pm PT / 6 MT / 7 CT / 8 ET, D&T Publishing’s Dawn Shea hosts three authors whose new books examine aging—aka “elder horror”—in very different ways.

Summer Feaker (HAVEN MANOR TRILOGY), Josh Schlossberg (MALINAE), and Mark Towse (NANA) will read briefly from their latest works, share their takes on the elder horror subgenre, and reveal their greatest fears of getting old.

Reserve your free ticket now via Eventbrite!

Writing Horror is Hard

Josh perplexed black and white daguerrotypeI’m not gonna lie: it ain’t isn’t easy being a horror writer.

First of all, it takes years—if not decades—to develop your writing to the point where anyone wants to read it at all (if you’re lucky). And then, if you want to get published anywhere, you’ve got to make it past the gatekeepers—the editors, whose tastes are highly subjective.

Next, you’ve got to produce an original—but still comfortably familiar—novel that’s smoothly written, excitingly plotted, and populated by unique but realistic characters.

If you’re going the traditional publishing route, you’ve got to query dozens of agents (the majority of whom are focused on finding the next bestseller) or an independent publisher whose specific niche you can fill.

Even if you land an agent, that’s no guarantee of a sale to a publishing house. And if you are published and the sales aren’t very good, your agent or publisher will likely drop you. Then, you’re back at square one—with the added albatross of a poorly selling book hanging over your head.

I’ve written two complete novels thus far and while I’ve had some offers from independent publishers, none of them were the right fit for me, so I declined. While self-publishing was—and still is—a viable option, just for the hell of it I’m going to give the traditional route a third try.

Right now, I’m working on the second draft of my new horror novel, Malinae, about a disabled elderly man living with a wife who suffers from dementia. As her behavior gets increasingly strange—and eventually dangerous—he starts suspecting something far worse than her disease is at blame.

Whether it’s through traditional, independent, or self-publishing, Malinae I intend to leash it upon the world within the next year or so. I greatly appreciate all of you who might be reading this or any of my fiction. I won’t forget it.

Darkest Regards,
Josh Schlossberg