Addendum to ‘How Aspiring Pro-Writers Can Avoid Submitting To Bad Markets’

Regarding this — instead of falling asleep to The Venture Brothers, I’ve been lying here thinking that perhaps I was too hard on Ken. I stand by the point of the essay — that if your goal is to be a professional author, then you should submit to professional markets. My intent was to use a current example. However, in hindsight, I think I was too harsh on the example I chose. My friend James A. Moore put it much more politely and succinctly, in the comments. So I would like to apologize to Ken and his staff for that.

In retrospect, I think my reaction can be chalked up to one thing — the place where the original statements were made. Quite simply, Shocklines if rife with staggeringly inept, incorrect information for would-be authors. Most of the good horror-specific info is at Horror Mall or the HWA’s forum (because although the HWA’s forum has a metric fuck-ton of problems, as most recently evidenced by the ridiculous banning of Nick Mamatas, there is still good info for novices to be gleaned there).

But not everyone that posts on Shocklines is a Nickolaus Pacione or a Mike Philbin or a Lawrence Dagstine or a Biledragon or a whoever the troll-of-the-day is over there. There are still a few good people on that forum, novices who don’t know any better, new authors who don’t yet know the messengers and therefore, don’t have the tools to separate the few nuggets of good info from the plethora of bad.

(A recent example — a young lady asked if there were any comic book markets for horror. Seven people told her that horror was pretty much a no-go in comics. This is, of course, ludicrous. Almost all of the major and indie comic publishers are currently publishing horror. But she took the advice she got on the forum, and I have to assume she looked no further).

But I digress. My point is this — more and more, it’s getting easier to tar with the same brush anyone who still bothers to take that place seriously. And that’s what I did with Ken. And I was wrong. And kudos to him for coming here and opening a discourse. Bet you won’t see any of the others doing that anytime soon.

Anyway, apologies to Ken. And as I said, I still stand by my statements that that if your goal is to be a professional author, then you should submit to professional markets, and that publishers who wish to be viewed as professionals have an obligation to treat their writers as professionals. But there is a better way to say it than I did. And that essay is forthcoming.

12 thoughts on “Addendum to ‘How Aspiring Pro-Writers Can Avoid Submitting To Bad Markets’

  1. gryposaurus

    Even if you were a bit hard on Ken in the initial post, I’m glad to have someone who isn’t afraid to speak from the writer’s point of view. Too many writers are afraid to voice their opinions on SL because of the prevailing thought that writers should just shut up and take what they are given, as shown by BileDragon’s and JJBurke’s profanity laced bullying in an attempt to squelch the dialogue (which has been deleted, BTW). With that said, I think Ken’s pub will have a good chance to succeed because as much as he likes to talk, he also listens to other’s thoughts and takes them seriously. I sincerely wish him well. I hope this conversation happens more often and I’m looking forward to your essays.

  2. Richard Eline

    Y’know, all this fussing and fighting is useless and bad for our craft-it distracts writers from writing stories, it breaks friendships, produces excess stomach acid and does not a thing to increase joy or happiness in this world.

    Let others do as seems good to them, but I hereby vow to GET OVER MYSELF!

    This is entertainment, not surgery, creativity, not aggression and our subject matter is fantasy, none of it is real!

    Next thing, some of us will be fighting duels over this-it really should stop.

    So, let us ignore the trolls and agitators in favor of peace, good fellowship, mutual aid and having a good time. Hot words never did a speck of good to anyone, meanness degrades everyone involved and why spoil what little satisfaction this cruel world allows?

    Now, go forth-and don’t worship Rhan-Tegoth. Except on feast days, the fish fry at the Esoteric Order of Dagon is too good to miss. Skip the Refried Paupers, though, it’ll give you heartburn.

    Pace, pace mio Dio!

  3. JJ Burke

    bullying. yeah, that’s what happened. good that so many posts were deleted, or else you might be required to back up your petulant gossip with evidence of who i bullied and how.

    i’ve learned a lot from my brief time at shocklines, such as how to cloak oneself from responsibility with the use of phony aliases. you’re right ‘gryposaurus,’ i should take my ‘prevailing thoughts’ back to the ivory tower of thugs where i belong. i’ll stop haranguing the poor downtrodden small press with all my big talk of… um… what exactly? nevermind, you can fabricate whatever you want. shocklines is all yours.

    i’ll be directly emailing brian keene, since these other channels of communication are so polluted with divisiveness and deception.

  4. Michele Lee

    Brian (I hope you actually see this, ’cause I know you’re busy as hell lately),

    What about those of us who aren’t new, but who haven’t “made it” yet? I know that’s a laughable term in many ways. Here’s what I mean. I recently made my first pro sale. I’ve made a few semi pro sales and a few token sales. My writing is definitely improving, but I can admit that not all of my stories are pro-level. I don’t think they’re shit either, so I send them to semi-pro markets while focusing my new work toward pro-level.

    Is there a combination of pro and amateur, where you’re working toward being a pro but are willing to let some of your earlier or experimental stuff see the light for sheer pleasure rather than for pro rates? Are some stories good, but not Cemetery Dance good?

  5. Brian

    Gryposaurus and JJ: Okay, you both had a chance to state your thoughts, but please keep the fighting confined to Shocklines, rather than here. Thank you both for your consideration.

  6. gryposaurus

    I hope this is ok and I’m pretty sure I’m in moderation so… I just wanted to let everyone know (that was interested in the drama) that I’ve contacted JJ privately about this matter. He gave me more insight into his statements and I misinterpreted his intent on SL. I apologised for calling him out here. He was not trying to hush the dialogue.

  7. JJ Burke

    thanks gryposaurus. i wish i’d had the patience to elucidate my feelings more constructively at the forum in question. i will endeavor to spend less time in negatory habitats like that.

    most of all i’m sorry that krakenten (richard) was made to witness my rogue diatribe. it was like having an uncle walk in while i was shooting heroin or something. bad vibes.

    if anything is to be learned from this, it’s the necessity of greater caution and vigilance. i will be more careful to always represent my views with courteous dignity. and mr. keene, you might take more interest in the motives of those who appropriate your words while traveling the forum circuit.

    looking around a bit, i haven’t found an email link for contacting you personally. if you would drop me a line at, i’ll do what i can to address any misgivings that might still bother you.

  8. Lincoln Crisler

    Indeed, Kim; a veritable breath of fresh air in the midst of the oftentimes fetid and suffocating cloud that inevitably coalesces when genre writers congregate to tackle divisive topics.


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