Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Succubus for Halloween picks up a review on Monster Librarian

It’s a little ironic.  Last post I was moaning about the lack of places to find reviews of horror books and then I find out one of my collections picked up a nice review on last month:

So this is the point where the sales take off . . . ?

Well, actually no.

The same thing happened when the same collection received a lovely write-up on the Horror Fiction Review.  It’s what I meant last week when I was talking about the difference between “for other fans” and “for other writers”.  Is the audience avid readers looking for the next book to read, or avid writers eager to see how their book will be received?  One is an expanding universe, the other a shrinking bubble.

That’s not a fault of sites like Horror Fiction Review and (If you know of any others, please plug them in the comments—I have a kindle, and it’s always hungry for fresh words), they’re doing a fantastic job.  It’s the reality of the world we live in.  If we can’t offer a compelling reason for people to put down their game controllers and TV remotes, then we scribblers of fiction don’t deserve to exist.  Harsh, but that’s how it is.

A review isn’t just an advertisement, it’s also valuable feedback, and especially important if—like me—you’re (sort of) self-published.  The great thing about having no snooty gatekeepers around is it means we can write whatever the hell we want to write.  The bad thing about having no gatekeepers around is there’s no one to stop us from walking out of the front door without any clothes on.  A positive review is a nice confidence boost.  It means I’m not deluded, I’m not wasting my time and I can write well enough to justify a seat at the table.

That’s not the end of it, though.  It’s an okay review rather than an “Ohmigod!  You must read this writer RIGHT NOW!” kind of review.  Being able to sit at the table without feeling like I’m dirty bum fresh from the street is nice, but being competent is not enough.  I’m not a Lovecraft, a Barker or a King.  I need to work harder on my craft and write better stories (while still keeping the same level of heat as a blazing hot porn film, because that’s my thang, and we all need a thang).

I also need to remember to send my other books out for review . . .

(and finish Succubus Summoning 201.  I know, I’m sorry)


  1. You fell victim to the promised deadline curse, a lesson I've also learned. Never promise, yes I'll have a book done on such and such date, especially when you're still tinkering with it. A good book is done when it is ready to be done and no sooner ;-)

    1. Plus it's bloody hard to maintain a decent writing pace with a full-time job. :)

      Most of the time I'm fairly good at playing writing projects off against one another. If one isn't working I'll switch to something else until the block on the first one breaks.

  2. Hm, an odd review as you say; it's complimentary, but it doesn't have any real substance to it, and I find it curious that they only mention it's erotica writing right at the end!

    Also, a curious question; they refer to you as a ' she' in the review; is that a typo or correct? I just always got an impression from your writing style and the viewpoin tthat you were of the male persuasion!

  3. Typo or possibly confusion over the 'M.E. Hydra' pseudonym. The opposite used to happen for female writers of SF years back.

    The shortness is typical of most online reviews from what I've seen. I've been trying to practise the same in some book reviews I'm going to put up in the next few weeks hopefully.

    Curious that Big Black Bed came in for special mention. Reaction to that was fairly lukewarm on Lit. Possibly because it follows a more traditional Cosmic Justice horror story trajectory.