The “Right” Way to Self Publish is to Quit Writing Completely

So Erin and I spent this passed weekend in Louisville, KY for the Fright Night Film Fest at the Fern Valley Hotel & Conference Center. While I’m not going to go into a post about the hotel and con in general, creating a blog that takes three days to write, I want to start by saying how rad some of the artists we hooked up with were – artists who gave us some pretty sweet prints that I hope to share photos of in the next couple of days. Big shouts to London 1888Chris Kuchta and his Gallery of HorrorsAlpha Sketch by Bradd Parton – and Lydia Burris for the sweet artwork you sent us home with.

What I do want to spend some time talking about in this post is how I pretty much hate my own kind – and always have, apparently. Starting in the days of me waiting on tables and being the strongest voice behind the “we hate servers” squad all the way up to this con where I watched as I was surrounded by a couple thousand other horror fans there for the same reason as Erin and I, disliking nearly all of them. While most everyone there acted like civilized, decent humans, there were some who still think that somehow either being loud, drinking in the middle of the day or bragging about how wasted they plan on getting later in the night makes them more hardcore, more edgy, therefore more “horror,” than anybody else. Funny – that’s the same behavior I see in frat boys. Yet I was in the same crowd as them and I looked a lot like most of them. As much as it pains me, being surrounded by my audience nearly makes me want to swear off of the horror genre – and alcohol – in general.

And writers. Good grief, man. While we bummed around the FandomFest portion of the con, which housed a few other lesser-known celebrities, some artists and some toys, we noticed that it was made up mostly of independent writers. That’s initially a cool thing because when we hit the Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Film Festival I spoke with an indie writer for quite some time and learned about some new outlets for my writing – so it couldn’t be too bad, right?

…I was wrong. I stopped talking to anybody after I was totally annoyed by the first several that I came into contact with. I realize they are trying to sell their work and by being at a con doing so, they’re obviously doing better than me, but if I learned anything from the writers I met this past weekend, it’s a crash course in everything I don’t want to be like. I hate to stereotype entire genres because I know this isn’t the case, but it seems that most of the writers who fill up this type of con are all the same. If you’re not a sweaty, extremely overweight, balding male drooling over the bikini clad girls and those dressed like superheroes, you’re an equally overweight female with a head band that gives you the appearance of a human sporting feline ears, probably a dress that’s too little for you while trying to sell your books about vampires and sex. Still not one of the above? Then you’re probably the anorexic, quiet, plain and nearly-Amish-looking girl trying to sell your books about vampires and sex.

Oh – or you’re the comic writer guy who is a pleasure to speak with (Way to go Sean Taylor, writer of Gene Simmons’ Dominatrix, and House of Horrors.)

The books I passed all had equally horrible names, indicating that the story was either about homoerotic vampires, love making on a horse (on – not with – I hope), or a tiny man given the task of saving the world armed only with a rubber band. Titles like “Blood Passion,” “I Need a Hero,” or “That’s a Pretty Horse, Baby, Let’s Do It” line the tables, bringing me to my next disappointment – cover art. Nearly every table had books that looked the same and one table had at least five or six books that used the same template and colors, subbing out the small photo that took up about 1/4 of the small page. I know that cover designs aren’t free (or cheap) and sometimes the cheapest possible route is the best way to go but you gotta put more effort into it than that.

I don’t even have my own book published yet and I know that unless you’re Aesop’s Fables or the Tell-Tale Heart, a cover will sell the contents – not the other way around. And according to this convention, I don’t have to be a professional to write like one – as made apparent by, you guessed it, a “sweaty, extremely overweight, balding male drooling over the bikini clad girls and those dressed like superheroes” who tried to sell me about about the “right way” to self-publish that allows you to grow rich off of your work and become famous. He was desperate to talk to me – and his line was nonexistent. He also didn’t sell me anything.

Afterward, I was overwhelmed with the urge to just…stop…writing. And if I don’t, Lord help me not be like those guys…

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