For a while now, I’ve found myself getting frustrated at the state of publishing. All my short story collections and novels have been finalists for awards or have won awards. Lord knows I’m not comparing myself to Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, or any of the other excellent writers who have inspired me over the years. I believe my writing has merit, yet I’m finding myself isolated from the publishing world in unexpected ways. Some of it is my fault, and others I feel are the fault of the industry.
While there are numerous calls out there, most of the publishers (at least the ones I’m seeing) offer a mere $5 to $15 per story. I’m sorry, I just won’t write a 5,000+ word story for such an obscenely low price. That may sound arrogant, but so be it. The Horror Writers Association, of which I’m a member, considers 5 cents a word as the professional going rate.
Then, of course, there is, what appears to me, a competitive factor – a thought that horrifies me. Everyone wants and needs reviews. Reviews are critical to our success as authors but trying to get another author to read and write even a one-sentence review for Amazon is like finding an eyelash in a pile of compost. No one seems willing to help other authors. That’s part of what I’m trying to change. I buy the books because they interest me or because I want to try a new author. I want to help other authors by reading their works, writing reviews, and posting reviews everywhere.
Yes, this post may be a whine or a tiny violin I’m playing alone in the dark, but hell, it’s dark in my head, and the darkness is where I like to be. I’ve asked friends to read my books and write a review and their answer is usually one of two things. “Sure, I’ll do that for you.” They don’t. Or they say, “I don’t like reviewing things.” If you can’t rely on friends (or fellow authors) to help you out, how can you rely on strangers? It’s maddening.
I’ve been pushing my novel, The Demon Librarian, probably the best thing I’ve ever written. (Sorry no cover design yet) And I will continue to do so. I’m almost done with a new collection of horror stories, Evil Personified, and I’m two books in on a four-book novella series. I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep submitting, and I’ll keep looking for a publisher or agent who sees my work for what it is, likes it, and is willing to sign me up.
Thanks for listening.