Archive for December, 2010

Horror fiction can be a commercial success

People love to be scared. If they didn’t there would be no need for horror films, Halloween, or the nightly news. It’s in our nature to crave that rush we get by fright. Alfred Hitchcock once said “People like to be scared when they feel safe.” And this is very true. Why? For some it’s merely a means to feel “alive”. Maybe it’s a hidden desire to be reminded just how safe our every day lives are. To some connoisseurs of the macbre, the viewing of a good horror film is more an indictment on the ever-crumbling state of society.

But what about fiction? Horror fiction seems to not enjoy the same truths as are applied to horror cinema. Although it would be unfair to say that the majority of horror lovers are more prone to watch a movie than read a book, that is most likely as safe a spring board as any.  Think about it this way: Of all the book genres, Romance consistently pulls in a staggeringly high percentage of book sales each year (some years as high as 51% of all book sales).  Why is that? If I were to venture a guess I would say the vast majority of romance readers are women and since women also outnumber men in readership – the genre already has a leg up on all others. And since the majority of horror fans tend to be male, the genre already has a hurdle to over come.

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The new publishing paradigm

The world of book publishing is changing. It used to be a writer would labor over their work for as long as it took for the manuscript to be perfect…or as close to perfect as it could be. That writer would then submit a clever query letter, to agents and publishers and then pray to the writer deities that someone, anyone would actually read the query before they send it to the abyss. After countless rejections, some lucky agent or publisher would decide that manuscript was worth a look and would request a sample. If they liked the sample they might, on a good day, request the full MS. If, after months and months (of the writer stressing and fretting), they still liked what they read, they would choose to represent the writer or publish the manuscript (after an infinite amount of rewrites.)

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