Archive for September, 2016

2016 J. Ellington Ashton Awards/Awards in General and how the right kind of attention could benefit you

Around this time every year it seems I write a post regarding awards, so while this one essentially won’t be any different, it will address a couple of things other than mentioning specific awards.

In any case, J. Ellington Ashton Press recently held their annual awards and it was great to see a whole bunch of well-deserving authors, staff, artists and books receive acknowledgement for their assorted achievements throughout the year. My brothers in metal or splatterpunk or WetWorks, extreme inkslinging, whathaveyou, Toneye Eyenot, John Ledger, Michael Fish Fisher won some truly deserved awards as did many others who have gone above and beyond in 2016. As for me, I snagged this little beauty hereaoty2016

In addition to that Rejected For Content was runner up for Anthology of the Year. This would be for RFC4: Highway to Hell I would assume since Volume 3: Vicious Vengeance came out in October last year. Not too bad considering Highway to Hell has only been out a few months.

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I’m pretty sure I say this with each post as well, but I’m going to say it again anyway. I don’t write for awards. If you do write to win awards or that happens to be your motivation for writing, shit, get out of the game now.

I write because I love to write. I love to tell stories, I love to create the kinds of things I personally love to read; I have a restless, twisted imagination full of things that need to be spilled onto the page. I just love writing and that’s why I do it. If people happen to dig the freakish horror tales that make their way out of my head and splatter blood all over the pages, then that is awesome. If those same things garner the sort of attention that results in awards or other forms of acknowledgement, appreciation etc. etc. then that’s pretty cool too. It’s always great to be acknowledged by peers, fans, readers, the general public and so forth, but it will never be (and should never be) the principal motivation to write.

And as for winning awards, well I sure as hell can’t tell anybody how to win them. Because I don’t know. I can’t tell you how to win awards and nor can I tell you how to be the best author or anything like that. But I can tell you how to increase your visibility (so if garnering awards of any variety is one of your motivations, maybe your chances will also increase, hell, who knows) and try and maintain a profile.

Write. Keep writing. Keep releasing things. Be prolific. Don’t rest on your laurels.You can’t expect to maintain a high profile if you write one book, sit back and wait for the world to discover it (sure, there might be exceptions to this, but I can’t think of any right now). Let folks know about it, make people aware you have something out there they should be reading. Don’t assume people are just going to stumble across it without having a few pointers in the right direction. Interact with readers, other authors, potential readers, fans you might already have. Know your fanbase. Increase your fanbase (easier said than done I know, but it can be done). Be approachable. Be supportive of others. Writing isn’t a competition; there’s a fuckload of us out there and it makes more sense to support those fellow creatives than trying and wage war with them. Folks don’t always remember who is there sharing their shit or whatnot, but they sure as hell remember who did some underhanded shit or who tried to make enemies of them or just did some all round general fuckery in the name of climbing up that ladder a little higher. Sure, not everybody is going to get along, there will be those who like to step on others or use others to give them a leg up and then promptly forget who helped them out in the beginning, but again, it’s always a better option to take the higher ground there. Don’t involve yourself in drama. Fuck that shit. Of course, some of it is unavoidable, but for the most part it is. Stay away from it. Nobody wants to be remembered as that writer always getting embroiled in some kind of happy horseshit. Save that for writing. Wasting time on vitriolic rants, vendettas, targeting others or whatever is the in thing regarding drama these days is productive writing time wasted.

Promote yourself. Market your works. Identify your target market and ensure you’re directing the right information to them. No good pitching to folks who won’t have a bar of what it is you’re writing; try and win over a new fanbase or broaden into different areas after you have an established one. Keep potential readers and current fans updated on your releases, upcoming projects, current projects and plans. That again is easier said than done, and there’s often a fine line to tread between promoting and spamming or overkill, but that’s for each to find their own balance.

Create a brand for yourself. Build up a resume of work. Submit to markets. Hell, submit to anthologies and markets that don’t pay shit. I do and I’ll continue to do so, namely because there are so many great projects out there I want to write for, regardless of whether there’s any money in it. If you’ve got grand designs on subbing to the same places over and over because they pay top dollar and you keep getting rejected, might be time to expand horizons a little. There’s no creating a brand for yourself if you’re not getting anything accepted anywhere. That doesn’t mean write and sub for everything under the sun of course. Be choosy, but be a little smart about it. And when you do get rejected-it happens to all of us-be gracious about it. Don’t go on a tirade, don’t assume you know better than whoever knocked you back, they have their reasons. Editors always remember those who can’t take rejection graciously.

Bottom line. Don’t be a prick, asshole, bitch, cunt, whatever. It’s easy enough to achieve, unless of course that’s ones natural persona. In which case, consider your career longevity to not be overly long. Once more, probably exceptions to the rule, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest folks didn’t always get where they got by being any of the above to others, particularly on a constant basis.

Be gracious, accepting, supportive, approachable, proactive, creative and keep on writing. And don’t write for awards. If you do do enough to earn them the way they should be earned, they will come.

I’ve got a novel to write before this month is out, so rather than ramble on any more here, best I get to doing that.