It’s been a pleasing week, seeing how much people have enjoyed my story on Facebook. If you’ve not been following the story, not to worry—head on over to The Macabre Author and go back to the beginning of October to catch up. All told, it’s a less than five-minute read about a severed finger and the man who loved her.
Now onto this week’s final FAQ that I get as a writer.
When I tell people I’m a writer, I typically get a slew of questions. Aside from “are you published?” (yes) and “where can I buy your books” (here), I’m tackling the most common ones that people seem to like to ask me, how I feel about those questions, and which ones you should never ask of any writer.
- Where do you get your ideas?
- How much money do you make?
- What’s your writing/book/short story about?
- What is your writing process like?
- I want to write a book about [x]. How do I do it?
- Do you ever get writer’s block?
- Why do you write horror? What’s wrong with you?
- Why don’t you write like Harry Potter novels or something? Those make lots of money.
This is sort of related to question number seven, and I often get those two back-to-back by people who don’t understand how publishing works.
Horror is a niche, yes. But so is fantasy and sci-fi. Not every novel is Harry Potter level of fame. If I say a name like J.K. Rowling, yes, many people know her name, but if I say Mercedes Lackey, not everyone knows her name.
Mercedes Lackey is one of the elite ten percent—a prolific author who is a NY Times best seller who has written over 130 novels and can sustain herself exclusively by writing books. She’s a damn good writer, too.
Yet she is not a household name like Rowling is. Perhaps someday when some movie studio picks up her Valdemar series or something, but for now, I get “who?” when I mention her name.
How about Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series? He was more clever than Rowling and an even better writer (don’t get me wrong, I love Rowling and Harry Potter is dear to my heart, I’m just saying that Pratchett is the gold standard and though Rowling shines, she is nowhere near his mastery YET), and yet people I speak to about him give me blank stares.
As famous as Lackey and Pratchett are and were, and as much money as they’ve made off their stories, they are still known only to a small percent of the population.
When it comes to horror, please try to tell me how Stephen King is not rich from his books. Tell me how he is not the first thing so many people think of when you say “horror novel.” Even if you personally don’t like his writing, you’ve heard of him. That makes him a household name. He’s known for horror.
Peter Straub is also known for his horror fiction. He, like Lackey, is not as well-known as King. But he’s well-known enough to be part of the elite ten percent.
What about Dean Koontz? He’s a writer who is well-known for horror as well.
So tell me, please, how does horror stack up? In the right agent’s hands with the right publishing company at just the right time when a novel gets marketed. While an agent can and does know what’s commercial and what isn’t, no one can accurately predict what will become the next Harry Potter or the next whatever-it-is that’s all the rage.
I write horror because I enjoy it, it’s fun for me, and I like to tell creepy stories that entertain people who also enjoy horror. If the public enjoys it enough to make me a best seller, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too. I’ll write until I’m out of words.