Category Archives: writing
Just popping out of summer vacation hibernation (or “writing” as i like to call it) for a quick blog post on the touchy subject of internet piracy.
I meant to post this sooner (but i’ve been writing, see above), following an interesting debate on Farcebook sparked by an alert sent out to a bunch of authors whose books were listed on an illegal download site.
For a long time, I’ve held the belief that people downloading my books for free were stealing from me and taking the food from my family’s table. (and look no further than Brian Keene’s impassioned, insightful post on this aspect of internet piracy)
But i was also painfully aware that piracy is inevitable in this day and age and could, in effect, provide a free marketing campaign for an author’s work. (who else but Neil Gaiman can sum this up for us so eloquently?)
Then author/filmmaker/all-round-mighty dude John “yer pal” Skipp showed me the way, and the light. He said (by the way I, ahem, stole the following quote from the aforementioned Farcebook debate thread):
The thing is: the first time I got file-shared, I went fucking ballistic. I got ahold of the perps, took out my psychic reaming tools, and gave them a good what-for. Once I was done screaming, they kinda shrugged and went, “Okay. We took it down. Didn’t mean to piss you off. Take care.” And by the end of the conversation, I felt kind of like the dad who finds his kids partying in the rec room and loses his shit. They didn’t actually break anything. They just got high and watched TV. I never liked that dad, and sure as shit never wanted to be him. And that’s when my perspective began to change. I guess what I’ve come to accept is that a lot of my readers are outlaws. You make outlaw art, you get outlaw fans. GO FIGGER! (John Skipp)
Outlaw books, outlaw readers. Hadn’t thought of it that way before.
And then Carlton Mellick III added (again, quote stolen from Farcebook):
Two things to keep in mind: 1) these people wouldn’t be buying your book if it wasn’t free. It costs you nothing, but you might gain a reader who might spread the word about your work or start buying your work in the future. 2) most file-sharers are also the biggest consumers. I admit that I download stuff all the time, but I also spend at least $1000 a month on books, movies, comics, video games, and mp3s…mostly by creators I discovered through free downloading. (Carlton Mellick III)
An interesting distinction. These people wouldn’t be buying your book anyway.
I took a peek at one pirate site and one of my novels has had over 1,000 illegal downloads. That would buy a lot of groceries for my family if the pirates were to buy those books. But they’re not. They never intended to buy the book, and if no pirate copy was available they still wouldn’t buy it either. They’d just go on to the next available title.
But now they’ve read it, maybe they’ll recommend it to others, leave a glowing/or damning Goodreads review, or (saints preserve us!) maybe even buy my next book.
That’s how it is now, so maybe we should all stop worrying and learn to love the pirates.
What do you think, me hearties? Yarrrr? or Arrrrgh?
Comments below please – i’d love to read ‘em!
I think visually, so when it comes to writing a new novel a mood board is an essential I can’t do without. Lucky for me there’s so much foliage around these parts, as when the time came to draft my new Samhain Horror novel ‘The Jack in the Green‘ (out in paperback and ebook, October 1st) I found inspiration during every stroll.
Some of the images made it straight into the text (readers of ‘The Jack in the Green’ will know the importance that trees joined at their roots have in the overall story), while others simply served to get me in the mood before writing. Like music (or in my case in addition to music) an evocative image can help fast-track you into your writing process. And, as was the case with many of the images included in the gallery below, I occasionally got lost inside of them.
I hope if you pick up my new book that you’ll enjoy getting lost in those forests too.
Just watch out for ‘The Jack in the Green’. “He’s in the trees…he’s waiting.”
The postman came a-callin’ today with a big box o’ books, and I knew it was that George McFly ‘Back to the Future’ moment as I tore into it and saw the Samhain Horror logo peeking out from a gap in the cardboard. It’s an undeniably good feeling to hold your new book in your hands and sniff the pages. If it ever stops being so, it’s probably time to hang up the pen.
Yes, my author copies of ‘The Jack in the Green‘ had arrived. Aren’t they handsome?
There are only 10 of these author copies in existence and you can grab one by entering the Goodreads Giveaway.
And I hope you’ll check out the book anyhow when it releases on Oct 1st in ebook and paperback.
He’s in the trees. He’s waiting…
It came as a shock to hear of James Herbert’s untimely passing last week. Just a few days earlier I was walking to work and paused to admire a bookshop’s window display for ‘Ash’, the great man’s latest – and now last – novel. Much has been written about Mr Herbert hence, and I particularly enjoyed Colum’s thoughtful piece at Dreadful Tales, which also includes tributes to David B. Silva and Rick Hautala, two more genre giants who sadly passed recently. Christopher Fowler’s brilliant blog gave further insight into the phenomenon of Herbert’s fiction and author Hari Kunzru evoked the school kid hobby of passing around dog-eared copies of The Rats and The Fog in an attempt to out-gross one another.
From a personal perspective, a couple of blog posts ago I mentioned how I admired Mr Herbert from afar during an interview he did at The London Dungeon many years ago. I remember how starstruck I was to see the great man in person. Now I think of it, so was everyone else in the room (or rather, the dungeon) that day as he wrapped everyone around his finger with his charm and fantastic sense of humour.
And I remain starstruck to this day.
Sure, the numbers are one thing (23 novels, worldwide sales of over 54 million copies) but the man’s ideas are another. Each and every book brought something fresh, enticing and fun to the party. An author friend posted online that he felt sad that there would be no more James Herbert books. I feel that sense of loss too, but the great thing about true legends is that they never really die. I haven’t read ‘Ash’ yet, and I’m looking forward to savouring each and every page. And I realised when I snapped the photo to accompany this blog entry that I never finished reading ‘Portent’. And when I’m done with those? Books like Herbert’s demand to be read and re-read, over and over.
Because true legends never really die.
R.I.P. James Herbert. May your tales haunt the nightmares of generations to come.
Thrilled to announce my short story ‘So Much to See’ will be included in ‘When Darkness Calls’ from Screaming Spires Publishing. My thanks to Emma Audsley for including the tale.
‘When Darkness Calls’ is a charity anthology in support of a special needs school in Cheshire and Autism Awareness, two very good causes.
It’s an honour to be included with such amazing authors (including genre legends Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton) - you can check out the full line up here.
A sneaky peek at the cover art (by the insanely talented Daniele Serra) is below.
I for one cannot wait to devour all of these dark tales when the book is released!
The October 1st 2013 release date for my new Samhain Horror novel The Jack in the Green is a long way off, but I can now reveal the synopsis for the book which is also available to pre-order through Amazon.com.
Check out the synopsis and link at The Jack in the Green page.
If you wanna chat horror screenwriting, or just the horror genre in general, join me on Twitter for Euro #scriptchat.
(go to TWEETCHAT or search the hashtag #scriptchat on the web, Tweetdeck or Seesmic and jump in)
Thanks to the #scripchat team for inviting me to be their guest tonight. Look forward to chatting HORROR with you!