By Terry M. West
I’m Terry M. West. I am a horror writer coming back into the publishing game after spending the better part of decade avoiding it. Not because I didn’t love it or felt it didn’t love me. I took the break because I needed it, and I had a family to tend to. So I am here now to discuss my masochistic tendencies, because any of us who choose to walk the path of writer are asking for at least a little bit of pain. I am not a young man, anymore. If I had been a professional athlete, my career would be behind me. As a writer, it’s just starting. I’m a forty-seven year old man who began writing in his twenties, and I can assure you of one thing: you get better as you get older.
When you look at your older work, even if it was well-received at the time you wrote it, it can seem embarrassingly bad. When I put together A PSYCHO’S MEDLEY, I was working with some older stories and, although the work had seen publication and one of the stories had been a finalist for the 1997 International Horror Guild Award for a short story, it still needed polishing. So I went through the stories. I had my trusted reader and editor read and reread the collection. We both put a lot of time into A PSYCHO’S MEDLEY, and I believe it shows.
So now the part that is not so easy for someone who is no longer referred to as kid: Promotion. I am discovering that the promotion end of this business is as time-consuming as the writing itself. I have spent weeks sending out review copies, press releases, setting up interviews. It is an exhausting process but the most important part of getting your work out there. I see a lot of authors in blogs who say things like, “I’m not one for promoting,” and I cringe. You have to be a whore with your publicity. You have to be your biggest fan and advocate. You have to be fearless about who you pursue for reviews and coverage.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way and, despite it all, I am still a fan at heart. I am so glad to be back, lurking in the shadows with you. We have so many dark secrets to share with one another.
There is so much diversity in the horror fiction genre. It can be a little overwhelming. Still, I think it’s an exciting time to be a horror fan. The publishing business has changed so much over the years. The stigma of self-publishing has been replaced by the war cry of the indie author. I mean, shit, the comics and film industries had independent creators for decades; some of whom were looked upon as rock stars in their genre. They were outsiders bucking the system. They were nonconformists. Why should self-publishing be a scarlet letter for a talented author to carry around? There is still a great deal of horror coming from the major publishing houses, but dedicated indie authors are popping up left and right. Some will make the most of their opportunities and emerge. And they have my total support. God bless them.
I love Ebooks. I know a lot of purists are wagging their finger at their computer screen, and yeah, I know there is nothing like holding a physical book in your hands. And what do you do if you want the book autographed? Have someone take a sharpie to your kindle? I am on my iPhone all the time and it is so convenient to do my reading on it. And although ebooks could never take the place of those sacred publications on my bookshelf, I am more inclined to take a chance on a new author because it isn’t as costly.
Whore that I am, I have to take a little opportunity with the space Matt granted me and plug my collection, A PSYCHO’S MEDLEY. Hey, you have to get those plugs in where you can. It is currently available at Amazon.com. If you like psychotic bloody tales, give it a consideration.
Well, I have to wrap this up. I promised a trip to Toys R Us to my five year old who wants to see if they have any Godzilla toys (ah, that’s my boy). I love hearing from people. But not in a creepy way; just to be clear. I love being turned on to new authors and directors. If you have any recommendations, my doors are always open at www.terrymwest.com and you can find me on Facebook.
Now go read something!