WHEN THE LITERARY WORLD DOESN’T LIKE YOUR GENRE
You’ve all heard the old ism, “life’s tough.” In the world of literature, it seems that when it comes to icky bug (okay, horror for those of you that aren’t familiar with my terminology), this genre is tucked away in a back corner and given little heed unless you’re Stephen King or Dean Koontz. Period.
The excuse is it doesn’t sell. I beg to differ with that by saying it doesn’t sell because it’s given no promotion or marketing whatsoever, even though I know there’s an audience for it.
Look at Sharknado. Even though it’s a movie, I rest my case.
WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?
Good icky bug has to have, of course a good story. Period. Case closed. The trappings are different, but it still boils down to the basics: A good plot, interesting characters and a payoff in the end. Just because there be monsters, doesn’t mean it should be excluded from the mainstream. Just ask SyFy Channel. They do pretty well for themselves Saturday night with their cheap B-movies, when they have one available.
It boils down to prejudice. There I said it.
It chaps my ass (don’t get me started on clichés) to see the expressions on an agent’s face when I present one of my icky bugs. I’ll tell the story of The Factory. Then they say, oh it sounds like Stephen King bla bla bla. Ah, nooo it’s not anything like Stephen King! Just because it’s icky bug and involves machines in an industrial environment doesn’t make it the same as that Stephen King story. That’s like saying every mystery story ever written is exactly like Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express. Attitudes.
When I present my fantasy or a thriller to an agent, they don’t automatically say it sounds just like so and so. However, when I mention my other icky bug, The Greenhouse, they automatically compare it to Little Shop Of Horrors. Once again, The Greenhouse in no way is anything like Little Shop Of Horrors, yet because it’s icky bug, that’s what they automatically say.
Its attitude and out-and-out bias and it sucks!
SLASHER IS NOT HORROR TO ME
Look at how popular slasher stories are. To me they’re not even icky bug. There’s nothing supernatural to them and there are no monsters. Those monsters are real people. All too often, those things are happening in real life also, especially nowadays. That’s real horror, something I’m not too keen to read about. Guess what? These slasher stories are usually classed as either thrillers or suspense now instead of horror. Nobody bats an eye at that! All you have to do is change that simple category to horror and some magical switch flips in an agent’s brain and all of a sudden, no matter what you’ve written, it’s a cliché.
HARD TO SELL BECAUSE IT’S HARD TO FIND
There’s a good reason icky bug is hard to sell. It’s hard to find! Especially now that the only book store left, Barnes & Noble, at least on the west and east coast, Hastings in the Midwest, has deleted most sub-categories, you have to scour through the literature and fiction to find anything.
I constantly scour the shelves, looking for new authors and rarely run across new icky bug. I got lucky in the past month and found two. Frankenstorm came out last month and it wasn’t really a true icky bug. However, it wasn’t too bad, though it had flaws. Then just last week, I found what I’d call a true and pure icky bug, The Montauk Monster. I’m in the middle of reading it and so far, I am quite impressed. You don’t see those books come along often. They’re like finding a diamond in a hill of granite.
I won’t call it a conspiracy, but the literary world looks down their noses at icky bug. They don’t give it much of a fair shake even though there is an audience for it. They say there isn’t because they don’t allow enough books out there for anyone to find.
How many of you write in a sub-genre and have these same issues?