Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Brutally Honest Advice for Horror Writers Before or After You Self-Publish

I am writing this post to give self-published horror authors like myself some advice they can either think about and put to use or blow off and do as they please. Remember, I am writing from experience and observation. At the end of the day, I just want you to succeed by doing something you love. Speaking of that (doing something you love), let's get into the list in no particular order:

Have Some Passion, Motherf*cker - If you're simply in the business of writing horror books (any books) for the money, quit now or hire some ghostwriters from a foreign country to create (most likely) plagiarism-filled novels for you to deliver to the market monthly. Building an audience for readership, gathering attention, and making a mark takes time. If you don't love what you're doing, in this case writing books, then you are going to have a very miserable time. You are going to have a miserable time because unless you have over 500 or 1000 followers (and very generous and supportive family members) you are not going to be making a lot of sales. That is why you build an audience, join communities similar to your writing genre, and earn the trust of potential readers, then you will see some success with your books. So yeah, if you're in it for the money, have some passion, motherf*cker, and LOVE what you do.

  • Edit Your Book and/or Get Some Beta Readers - When I first published a book onto Amazon back in 2016 it was a f*cking mess. My format was messy, I had more than a few misspellings, and I messed up on the cover for the paperback version of my book. Now, why did this happen? I was desperate for cash, didn't have a job at the time, so I rushed into finishing my book and didn't take the time to do some research on editing or cover design. And I was also trying to sell a book to people while having little to no audience, and I had zero online presence. Don't make those same mistakes.

  • Edit your book - If you don't have the money to hire a good editor, you can use an excellent app or add-on to your browser called Grammarly. Grammarly helps with spelling and punctuation. The premium version is even better and gives better editing.

  • Get Beta Readers - Beta Readers are taste-testers of the literary world. Experienced Beta Readers can help with little things like punctuation and grammar, and even bigger things like opinions and suggestions. How to obtain Beta Readers? Social media. Ask nicely.

  • Cover Design - if you have a sh*tty cover, do not sell your book yet. If you have a really awful or plain cover that says nothing about your book, don't even bother putting it out yet. We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but in the literary world, it should be the opposite. What captures readers the most, maybe even more than the plot in most cases, is the book cover. Hell, even really sh*tty books with mad errors have sold because they had an eye-catching cover! If you don't have the money to hire a designer, do some research and use software that enables you to create book covers. Adobe has some really good ones.

  • Don't be too short with content - if your short stories are less than 500 words, why bother? And if you like them 500 or less, write flash fiction or prose poetry. In those little bit of words, you're not building character, you're not setting the plot, you're not giving us an atmosphere, so why are you publishing? It could be for the quick cash grab, most likely. Take the time to build character, let us into the feels and the minds of the characters, and reel us in and keep us there.

And if your novel is less than 50,000 words, call it something else, but not a novel.

  • Don't be typical - if you're going to write cliche and typical horror stories, might as well delete that story that started with "It was a dark, stormy night" and find a new hobby or job. Bring something fresh and frightening to the genre. Don't end the story with little to no detail. Don't end the story once something actually happens. Just don't be f*cking typical and boring. Scare us! Create tension, dread, fright! Don't sell us on these keywords and not deliver. People will stay away from your work like the smelly person at the grocery store.

  • Don't copy or plagiarise - write something fresh or find your own fresh take on something like vampires, zombies, and killers (for example). And don't copy! Plagiarism is bad. They taught us that sh*t in school. Don't be a f*cking moron.

I'm not a bestseller (yet) so my advice could either be useful or just whatever. I'm not trying to bullsh*t anyone. I'm here to help.

I truly hope this advice helps. If there's anything else you'd like me to elaborate on, please let me know!

Keep it creepy!


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