By Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine
Even though I’m (mostly) a horror writer myself, it has come to my attention how much of a pain in the ass modern horror fiction has become to me, as a writer, and, yes, even as a reader.
A huge one.
There was a time when I LOVED horror fiction, lived for it. These days, it’s sort of an embarrassment to someone like myself who still thinks Poe and King are the two greatest horror writers who ever lived.
There was a time when I read nothing but horror, a “stale” period in my reading life that went on for a few years, back in my early twenties. Of course, back then I didn’t think of it as “stale” at all. I was having a great time diving into one horror novel after another, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on with equal zeal-- the good, the bad and the downright pitiful. I was young, so what the hell did I know from wasting my time? Hell, at that age, I figured I had nothing but time. Silly me…
Around that time, as I was devouring one John Saul/Dean Koontz/Stephen King/etc., etc., novel after another, two non-fiction books on the subject of horror changed not only my writing life, but my reading life as well.
The first was one that most horror fans have probably picked up at one time or another: Stephen King’s “Danse Macabre” (1981)
King’s book because he opened up the world of horror for me on a broader range than I had yet to be exposed to. He talked a great deal about horror film and its connection to horror fiction, and how the two, in some ways would never, could never, see eye to eye. The audiences for the two mediums are not the same. I have since read the book several times and still get tons of enjoyment out of his insight and theories. It’s a history which speaks to this Horrorhead, loudly and clearly.
The other book was Stanley Wiater’s “Dark Dreamers: Conversations With the Masters of Horror” (1990)
Wiater’s book contained some advice from a well known and respected horror author which finally startled me awake to what I was doing to myself as a wannabe writer (and, on a lesser score, as a well rounded reader). I purchased the book after having read King’s “Danse Macabre” for the first time, and it came to me during a period of my life in which I was thinking of really getting serious about putting ass to chair, and trying to make a real writer out of myself. The advice actually came from several different authors, given in several different ways throughout the book of interviews, so I guess you could say it was well known and regarded advice from some of the best known and bestselling horror authors in that decade or two when horror was king on the bookshelves (roughly late 1970s-early 1990s). I had read the same advice from these varied sources, as I went from page to page, getting the lowdown on how Clive Barker got his start, how Anne Rice’s religious background and the death of her son played the biggest roles in her beginning of her first horror novel, and how Robert Bloch’s long distance pen pal relationship with his mentor H.P. Lovercraft helped make him the writer he would later become…at age 13. But for some reason it was Peter Straub who finally got through to me. He’s an author whom I have admired and tried to learn from since I first read his superior existential horror novel, “Shadowland” (1980) back in 1988.
Having read a few of his books at that point in my life, I already understood that he was a adroit and educated craftsman, who had the ability to make the creepiest moment feel like some kind of dark poetry in motion. He did nothing but give the same advice as those others in Wiater’s collection of interviews, but it must have been his combination of literate and humorous wording which really struck me, because that advice lit me up as a writer and a reader, and acted as a guided post all those years ago.
Still does, over 25 years later.
Is it killing you trying to figure out what golden advice Straub gave Wiater’s readers nearly three decades ago?
It was simple advice and the kind of thing you wonder why it never occurred to you to do, if you’re not already doing so. What he said in essence was that believed to become a great writer, horror or not, you had to be willing to read and learn from any and everything you could put your hands on, both fiction and non-fiction. He said you had to willingly go beyond the boundaries of what you usually found yourself reading, so you got a well rounded education in the written word, and all the possibilities inherent in its powers and limitations.
Now I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that’s about the size of what he advised ALL writers HAD to do. Especially is you were a NEWBIE/WANNABE, and had any desire to develop your craft as quickly and fully as possible.
Well, like I said, I was getting very serious about making a go at the whole writing-as-career thing, so this simple advice sunk in.
Another cog had fallen into place only a couple of years before when I became the one and only young writer to win an award for a horror story in the school newspaper/fiction journal. I hope by now things have changed at good old Fernandina Beach High School (home of the Fighting Pirates!), and some measure of open mindedness and acceptance of such things has become the norm, and not exception, for the present staff and student body. But I was justifiably proud of that award. And I find I still am, even now, all these years later. Back then, winning it was a sort of validation from higher powers that my desire to write for a living was a good thing, the right thing. By then, I’d already had some battles with the people in my life who were older and seemingly wiser than myself, people who told me it was a silly dream, and that I’d die poor and unknown. The people who should have been encouraging me to follow my dreams were the ones stomping on them and telling me I was a fool.
But despite their negativity, there was something happening inside of me back then, something important. Winning that award pushed me over the line, gave some much needed confidence in my meager talents, and made me feel as if putting my time and energy into the writing lifestyle wouldn’t be the waste of time I kept hearing it would be. For I knew enough even then, that if I hoped to be the next Stephen King, I would have to work hard and stay disciplined about getting better and better all the time.
Of course, back then I couldn’t have foreseen just how much time and energy would be required of any person who wants to become a halfway decent writer, let alone the Straub level to which I was aspiring. Back then, there’s no way I could have known how long it would take to hone my dull-edged craft, so that I would finally be able to write something that was actually good enough to call a story.
Years and years.
Hundreds of thousands of words, most of them badly strung together.
Until the last few years, that is. I find now, after all those years of making myself write everyday—no matter what was going on in my life—and reading and researching, that I’ve actually come to point in my writing that I don’t completely suck. People who read my stuff now actually get the story. And sometimes, God help me, I even get an emotional reaction.
Man, you can’t begin to know how proud of that I am.
It must be sort of like the trumpet player who finally hits all the notes right, all the time, through a Miles Davis tune. Or a surgeon who finally manages to tie off his work the right way after countless hours of practice.
But to be honest, even now, there are days when I wonder why I keep sitting down to tell these silly little stories to myself. It certainly can’t be for the money. And while for the past three years I’ve been able say I’ve actually made money off of my writing, the hard truth is that, if one were to sit down with an accountant’s coolly detached eye for pluses and minuses, and broke it to an “hours worked / dollars per hour earned”, the lopsided math would be enough to make the most positive Pollyanna shed some frustrated tears. No one in his right mind would even think of pursuing this writing thing as a career. Hell, not even on a semi-professional basis. There just isn’t enough income to make it worthwhile on a financial level. Unless, of course, you happen to fall into that less than 1% of writers who can say they make a living at it.
Especially now, with all the industry destroying things that have happened to the publishing world just in these last few years, let alone since I first got serious back in the late 1980s. Some of what’s crippled the genre has been the inevitable, and unstoppable, technological advances in publishing, which have undermined the old ways, the old guards and the old “rules of the game”.
Even the unspoken rules. Rules such as Thou Shalt Not Pass Go Without a Gatekeepers Approval, which was hands down the single most important and most debilitating rule of the game for hundreds of years in the publishing business. Editors, publisher, and even other writers, had the power to keep out those whom were deemed unworthy of being published via legitimate industry avenues. I don’t mean the sad-ass self publishing places through which your innocent and trusting grandma might have gotten her memoirs of Backass, Georgia printed and called herself a writer. No, I mean the houses who put millions of dollars every year into making sure worthless mind candy like those thousands of Harlequin Romance novels you see cluttering the shelves of your local used bookstore. You know, the kind of books you read and they feel just like the book you read the day before.
Those houses had the power in the industry. And we all know that old credo about power and how it sometimes corrupts, absolutely. Well, it did in some cases. So much so that those same gatekeepers were responsible for keeping the horror genre in the stone ages in terms of content and style for way too long.
That has changed, because of the technology which allows just about anyone to write, publish and even sell their books online, to people who don’t even have a real book in front of them to read afterwards. E-book readers are the future. Anyone who doesn’t believe that is so better wake up and smell the burning circuits. For some I know in the industry, it’s too late, even at this early stage of the game, to learn, to accept and adapt to that truth. They’re just simply unwilling to allow the world they know to change. But it is, whether they like it or not. That’s the way of the world, as the old 80s Earth, Wind and Fire song goes.
I said those gatekeepers were the single most important thing in the publishing industry, if you’ll remember. I said they had a tendency to choke the world of horror fiction, to stifle it damn near to death, because they were unwilling to allow much radicalism to occur on their watch; change was okay, as long as it was slow and comfortable. If it got to be too much too soon, these same gatekeepers would sometimes shut down and turn a blind eye to the need for such rapid upheavals in their precious Lovecraftian, Gothic worlds.
But this sometimes pernicious attitude was the very thing which was keeping the entire horror fiction industry from falling into ruin. Because, the truth is, sometimes too much too soon can be a very, very bad thing.
And, God help me, though I spent years railing against these assholes gatekeepers and their creaking slow gates that would not allow ME in, I can now look back and see the simple truth: I DID NOT DESERVE TO GET IN.
See, I wasn’t anywhere near ready to be an actual professionally published writer. I thought I was, because I could write some short stories, stories that sometimes worked, but too often didn’t. Back then, more times than not, those stories which I would kick and scream to defend if someone dared to say they might not be as great as I thought, were, at best, badly written pastiches. They weren’t all that good.
I can see that now.
So, by not getting in when I wasn’t ready, I had to make the decision to either “ignore these assholes who were holding me back because they didn’t know what great writing was”, or shut up, listen to what these folks were telling me, and try to improve.
Thankfully, I decided to sit and listen and try to improve.
In 2004, my wife and I attended our very first World Horror Convention out here in Phoenix, right down the road from our home in Tucson. For three days, we got up every morning at 7 AM, drove about a hundred miles to get to the hotel where the event was booked, stayed all day and night, left around 2 AM, drove the hundred miles home, got a couple of hours of sleep, got up and did it again. I was that dedicated. Thank God, my wife was that dedicated to me. And to getting to meet her horror heroes. One of which she still refers to as ‘the sweetest guy in horror’, Doug Clegg, whom she still adores and worships.
And for good reason.
Doug was the first real face to face writer who took me seriously. He spent many hours that weekend giving me FREE golden advice on how to present my work to an editor, who to talk to, how to talk to them, and how to get to where I wanted to go. He was honest (not brutally, but honest, nonetheless) and personable, and I don’t think there wasn’t a newbie at that con which he didn’t try to give advice to over the weekend. There were a bunch of others who we met and talked to about the industry that weekend. Mort Castle was one, a man to whom I will always be in debt to for the help he gave me that weekend. I still use his guidance, even today.
But there was one man in particular who warned what would happen, and indeed was already happening, to a publishing industry without gatekeepers, especially genre fiction.
Editor/writer Stephen Jones is not loved by the little people in horror publishing. I mean the people who believe they don’t need to listen to anyone else, and that their work is gold right now, as is, and why the hell do I need to edit this stuff?
Mr. Jones spent that weekend getting a lot of dirty looks from not only me, but a lot of younger, know-it-all newbie writers, like myself, because of the things he’d said throughout the weekend during panels. Whenever anyone asked him about the state of the horror publishing industry, he told it as he saw it (and I’m afraid the way he still sees it; and I’m even more afraid he’s still terribly dead on. Obviously, since then, I have come around to his way of seeing things, because, like him, I've spent way too much time reading other wannabes works and see how bad they have become, year after year, especially here in the U.S.). He said in 2004 that the modern horror novel, with the exception of the professional bestsellers, such as King, Koontz, Straub, Rice, Campbell, and some other UK authors he named that weekend which at the time I had yet to read, were the only ones worth the paper they were being printed on, but that most small press shit was just that, shit. And he did some finger pointing (a huge no-no at these conventions, where everyone is really busy kissing everyone else’s ass to get their stuff published, to be remembered for an “invite only” anthology), which got him some nasty comments when he wasn’t in the room at certain convention parties, with certain American horror authors who were (and probably still are) convinced that they were the cat’s meow in modern horror. Those are the same dipshits who got pissed at him a couple of years later when he told them their work wasn’t good enough to take valuable convention reading spots from authors who deserved to have those reading rooms because they were professionally published authors. It didn’t help that the authors he had in mind were all, to a man, UK authors.
Which brings me to what happens when those pain in the ass gatekeepers lose control over the gates, when people ignore them, find ways around those gates, and then dump their sub par crap onto the public (who isn’t half as lazy or illiterate as the writers who are doing the dumping think they are…or perhaps it’s because they’re so lazy and illiterate themselves that they couldn’t know the difference). What happens is what Mr. Jones warned us would happen. It’s somewhat like Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolfman monster from the 1941 classic Universal film of the same name, YOU KILL THE THING YOU LOVE MOST.
What happened (and is still happening, and will keep happening until there is nothing left of the familiar horror fiction industry we all knew and loved from the 70s and 80s) was that technology got so cheap and easy that all these simpletons who thought they were already well seasoned enough to be a Horror Author/Writer ignored those scary, evil gatekeepers and started self publishing everything they wrote—good or bad…
Well, mostly bad…really, really bad.
And you’d think the publishers/editors of the small indie houses would be more attentive to their product before it hit the streets. After all, these guys are supposed to be their own best friend in terms of making sure their business isn’t undermined by bad books going to worse.
I’ve gotten recent releases from small publishing companies that I cannot even finish; that’s how badly put together they are. I figure life is too short to spend it reading a bad book.
Seems to me the cheaper and easier it’s become to publish your own stuff, that I’ve seen an equal number of fly-by-night editors/publishers who have sometimes even less right being in the business than the people whom they are helping get published. They know even less about grammar, spelling, writing rules, etc., etc. than the people writing these crappy books. I’m not sure why they think horror fans will lap up anything they send out that has a ghost, vampire or goddamn Lovecraftian monster on the cover. I’m not sure why their respect level for their audience is so low that they feel this is okay.
I have some theories.
One, that the idiot editors and publishers who are doing this sort of thing are just that: Idiots. They honestly don’t think the crap they’re sending down the line is crap. They honestly believe the bad books they publish are good books.
Think I’m just being an asshole? Go to Amazon.com, look up any number of smaller companies and see if you can a preview of their products. Go ahead and read some of that atrocious crap and come back here. Go ahead. I’ll wait…
Two, that these idiot editors and publishers are RIGHT! Horror fans, for the most part, really are morons, who will lap up anything with the above listed creatures on the cover.
Several years back, I made the mistake of spending way too much time on Shocklines.com. I came into contact with some really great folks while I was hanging out on the message board, even went so far as to head up the, then defunct, Shocklines Writers Group, bringing it back to life to help wannabes like myself get better.
But I also came into contact with some rather poisonous people in the industry, some of them authors who I respected up to that point, some of them self-professed horror fans who did nothing but prove the snobs’ claims of their level of intelligence. I mean, I saw some really bad stuff on that board, things that made me question why in the hell I ever wanted to write for these people to begin with (solved that dilemma by deciding to write for myself, first, at all times). It left a bad taste in my mouth about the horror publishing industry and SOME of the people who called themselves fans. I won’t go into gory details here, but suffice it to say, I’m a horror fan myself and had second thoughts about being associated with some of these folks.
So here we are now, coming to the end of 2011, and e-publishing is cheaper and easier than ever before. Anyone with the time, and small amount of money needed, can publish anything.
Doesn’t need to be edited: Because no one but the author of such drivel will be responsible for doing so.
Doesn’t need to well written: Because no one is going to be there to tell you it needs work in the middle because it really drags, or the story doesn’t make sense because you forgot you changed a character’s name back on page 30 and kept right on going with the new name.
Doesn’t even need to be a complete story, with character arcs, a beginning, middle and end: Because, once again, the people who might have told your work was missing some or all of those things aren’t there to tell you.
None of those things matter.
You got the money, honey, I got the time, as the old Willie Nelson song goes:
So you got past the gatekeepers in NYC Publishers Row (which in some ways is justifiably accused of being the epicenter of all things Eastern snobbish and elitist in all things fiction and intellectual in the U.S.), got your works self published, got them online and even can have them ordered in any major chain retail store, let alone the book biggies like Barnes & Noble and Borders and Books-A-Million. You, sir or madam, are an honest-to-God HORROR AUTHOR.
Yeah, so did you think you were the only smart cat in this alley, bub?
Hell, no. You and about half a million other no talent, uneducated, illiterate assholes got a book published before lunch today.
Let’s see…that’s how many self-published books online for e-readers to order for a buck a hit?
So let’s say on the off chance that you really are the greatest thing to hit horror fiction since Clive Barker; you are the best new talent to come along since Stephen King was a struggling young man writing “Carrie” (1974). Let’s just pretend, okay? You and I both know you are not. Hell, I’m not, and I’ve been doing this since I was 13 fucking years old. But for the sake of argument, let’s say you are, okay?
So now you’ve got this dynamite new book out there and it’s stacked up against how many new books that got self-published yesterday? I’m going to be conservative, here, because after doing some research, I found numbers which varied between 100 to 1,000 new fiction e-books are being published a day…in the U.S., alone…not counting the International stuff…not counting the non-fiction works, like advice books, cookbooks, religious books, tourist guides, local and national history books. Yeah, all of those have glutted the market along with your super-duper book.
Can you see where this going? Can you understand now what other value, if no other, the gatekeepers had in this horror fiction industry?
Time for hard truth, Mister/ Miss Horror Author/Writer:
Even if you are the next Stephen King or Clive Barker (and I’m here to tell you after spending a considerable amount of time running a writers group for the largest horror website/message board online, Shocklines.com, and helping to edit fiction for such magazines as DARK RECESSES, chances are you’re neither. But even if you are, your book is going to sink beneath the tide of sub par shit that got published right along with your stuff that same day. That’s not counting the stuff which was self-published the day before, the day before that, the day before that…yada, yada, yada…and the stuff tomorrow and the next day and the next day…yada, yada, yada…and not to mention the books which ARE well written, the books that have been around for some time. You know, books by people like Stephen King and Clive Barker?
Can you see where this is going yet?
Even with the gatekeepers in place, the chances of a book making it big—hell, even making it on the low end of a bestsellers list, anywhere physically or online—were pretty slim, at best. And those were the people who were experienced enough to know a stinker when they read one, and had your best interest at heart, and were trying like hell to make your book a success.
Can you begin to fathom your chances of success without those same gatekeepers we all cursed?
Yeah…so I’ll wait here a moment while you go cry and curse the gods.
Now, imagine if you can, someone like myself, who has been at this thing for years and years, and is just on the cusp of having some small measure of financial success with his works. Now imagine how it must feel to see that tide of self-serving, self-important, self-published crap come down upon me and my work like an avalanche of Pure-D-Shit.
Can you see why people like me, who have put in the time and sweat trying to be the best writer we can be, might loath this modern age of horror publishing without those gatekeepers?
So instead of getting angry, I’m going to try and be positive, and I’m going to attempt to “pay it forward” a little in this column. Here’s some advice for any of you newbie, wannabe writers out there who are convinced you can be the next Stephen King or Clive Barker.
Some items to consider for your future:
1. Learn to write. Most of you who self-publish are doing so because you didn’t want to hear editors tell you that you don’t know your ass from a preposition. The problem still remains, whether you want to hear it or not, that you don’t know how to write yet. You might know some, but it ain’t enough. Trust me. It never is enough and it never will be. And that’s not some weird conundrum-istic, Buddha B.S.. It’s the truth. You never stop learning. The problem with most of you idiot wannabes is that you’re utterly convinced you’ve nothing let to learn. Trust me, again. You do. We all do. All the time.
2. Read any and everything you can get your hands on. It’s the same advice I read in Wiater’s book, from any number of successful, genre masters, old and young alike. From Skipp to Straub. Read newspapers, read fiction, non-fiction, read good books and bad books. Hell, you’d be surprised how much you can sometimes learn from a bad book over a good one, simply because you can see the stupidity of the moron who wrote. So go out and start reading all those self-published books that came out with yours yesterday or this morning, okay? And if you DON’T find half a million things wrong with all of them, then you’re a liar. Or delusional. Or a complete moron.
3. Learn to edit. Editing is the next most important thing a writer MUST learn do correctly and smoothly. Since the industry has changed so much, many of the larger publishing houses, for financial reasons or others, simply don’t have enough staff to help all their writers edit their stuff properly. So what happens is you see books getting less and less editing attention over the years. Think it’s not your fault, not your responsibility, not your problem? Surprise, pal. The reader doesn’t give two shits who didn’t do their job at the publisher. They don’t even know what the editor does in most cases. Nope. They see your name on the book and that’s who gets the blame. And now, because houses know the truth about who is taking care of the editing in most cases, they will also blame the name on the book. The way they see it, you’re the writer, so it’s your freakin’ job to edit your own work. And they’re right. So learn to edit. Which means #1 above is even more important now, right? So learn your grammar, your spelling. Learn the parts of a sentence, and use them the way they were meant to used. Show some intelligence, and don’t look like an idiot…just in case someone is actually reading your book ten years from now. I can tell you from experience, nothing is more embarrassing than someone picking out your mistakes in a roomful of strangers, say, at a convention or a reading. In those cases, you want to crawl under a table and hide. And they aren’t going to listen to your sob story about how tired you were, or how you didn’t feel like looking it up. Writing correctly, editing correctly are your jobs. So fucking do them.
4. Be patient. That’s right. I know you probably don’t want to hear this, especially if you’re one of those who decided the rest of us don’t know diddly and went the self-publication route. But here’s some news: we do know what we’re talking about, because we’ve been there where you’re at. Only we didn’t have the realistic option back then to go off half-cocked and self-publish our works. Trust me, one day, if you’re serious about getting somewhere with your work, like becoming a real writer that writes stuff that doesn’t actual suck donkey dick, you’ll regret the self-published stuff. You will. Because it will come back to haunt you. Big time. Another reason to be patient, is that a lot of publishers will not touch your stuff once you’ve self-published it. To them, it’s damaged goods, and they’ll feel as if they’re going to have to fight against the negativity surrounding self-published works. Because unless you’re King or Barker, people will assume it sucked even if it didn’t. Potential real publishers won’t even talk to you about those self-pubbed works, even if later you’re well regarded. Trust me. I’ve seen it happen with younger authors who could not be patient and put the work and time into getting it through a real publisher. And to a man (or woman), they have told me how much they regret having been so impatient.
5. Stop acting like a newbie/wannabe. There are certain things that you guys all do when you’re trying so hard to be taken seriously, to make people believe you’re the next King or Barker. One of the things that’s a dead giveaway is putting this sort of title before your name: HORROR AUTHOR or something like HORROR WRITER. And it’s almost a guarantee that if you’re going to use such a title before your name, then you’ll also CAPITALIZE the damned thing, too. Almost every single time. Why? I don’t get it. I don’t where the hell this trend started, but Jesus-Jumped-Christ, it’s fucking annoying. Do you think that by doing so, you will somehow convince everyone else of your worth as a writer? Are you going to convince yourself? If you need that kind of validation, that sort of silent scream, every time someone sees your name, then how good are you, really? Because that’s pretty much what putting such a title before your name equates to: A SCREAM!!! LOOK AT ME!!! LOOK AT ME!!! It’s stupid. When’s the last time you saw that on a for-real published book, from a for-real published writer? Umm…let’s see….how about never? Good reason for it. Think about it. Wanna be taken seriously? Take yourself seriously. Which leads me to our last point…
6. You are a writer. So act like one. Think like one. All the time. You need to get ti through your head that there is no time when you are not a writer. If you start acting like one, and know in your heart that you are one, then who is going to tell you you’re not? But that doesn’t mean you get act like one without putting in the work and sweat of becoming one. Any author worth his salt will tell you what I said way up there toward the top of this list is the truth: you never stop learning. So as long as you’re still learning, then you’re still a writer. The day you sit on your laurels, real or imagined, and feel like you know it all, and that there’s no room for improvement, no room for a challenge to your craft and/or abilities as a writer, then you might not be that great of a writer, pal. Think on it. It makes a lot of sense. And it goes for pretty much anything you value in your life. For instance, if you love someone, and you value their love, you never sit on your ass and think, well, no more reason to show my love because I already said I was in love, right? You know it don’t work that way. Well, it might if you like being alone and divorced. So maybe you should think about writing as being in love with the craft, the written word. Just keep proving your love to that craft and that written word everyday and I don’t see how you can be anything else but a real honest-to-God writer. A horror writer. Not a HORROR WRITER, damn it.
Some other advice from such well known writers as Lisa Morton (who has been nominated and won multiple awards in the horror industry, including Stokers) and Bill Breedlove (who has edited several horror anthologies for various publishing houses)…just in case my above advice didn’t sink in:
Be humble. Seriously. I get approached by a lot of new writers, many of
whom want me to blurb their book, and they'll start off the approach
by telling me exactly how great their book is. Or how original the
plot is. Or how terrifying it is (those are especially fun when they
openly compare their book to a genre classic). And then of course I
take a look at the first page, and promptly decide that English is the
writer's second language.
That "be humble" advice applies even if you're not an egomaniac who
thinks s/he's the next Stephen King. Always assume your work can be
better. Never stop believing you can improve. Accept any remarks given
in rejections as honest critique to be studied, and be grateful that
you got the feedback.
"Be humble", btw, doesn't mean "be timid". Don't be afraid to submit
or to approach other writers. Keep a realistic attitude - accept that
it's likely your work will be rejected, and approach writers with
respect for their accomplishments, not hype about yours.
"Read something. Read anything. Read everything."
--hmmmm...now that's some good advice Where have we heard that before? I wonder...
Well, that’s enough from me on this subject. I don’t think there’s much chance this impassioned and snarky editorial is going to stop the headlong rush we horror people are bent upon putting our whole genre into, down in the gutter, with the trash, but I felt I had to at least give it a try. Let’s hope at least one or two people who are about to make the above mistakes will read this and NOT do them. Set your goals higher than just being published. To quote my friend and mentor, Mort Castle, don’t just publish, publish well…
The Black Glove Magazine