Tim Lieder (marlowe1) wrote,

Perplexed by the Unprofessionalism in the Horror Community

So that discussion about my dismissal of Black Bed Sheets Publishing (no really, that's the name of the company - presumably the bedsheets are black, which leads to questions of whether it's in the wake of the crash of Crimson Comforters and Purple Pillows) as a company with cheesy advertising gimmicks, ugly covers and serious issues if it thinks that declaring that it doesn't charge the writers to publish is a selling point (I compared that to a guy telling his date that he isn't going to put a roofie in her drink) morphed into an amazing long and tortured discussion which I only checked in with intermittently (sic?) to see the dysfunction.

Highlights
- Several writers talking about how this kind of behavior was tearing the science fiction community apart
- Why can't Tim be nice?
- Kevin Lucia calling me a tool based on the Anthocon panel on religion (the one where I was the only one who had an opinion outside of the "you should be very careful about religion" and "the Exorcist was great because it was about Good v. Evil") and then said that he dropped me as an FB friend because I "ranted" about Gary Brandner's death.
- Someone else reading that as me wishing Brandner dead (he was already dead when I called him an asshole)
- An old argument I had with a now defunct publisher about their Charity anthology (for the most part I think that Charity anthologies are bullshit that only serve to make the editors feel good about themselves and never make a profit - there are exceptions - that one wasn't one of them)
- RJ Cavender (of the now defunct Dark Recesses and other dead markets) telling me that NO ONE cares what I think for several entries. He also found the Amazon link to King David & The Spiders from Mars, misread the publication date in order to claim that it had been out for 8 months and un-reviewed. When I pointed out that the date was March 4, 2014 (you know - in the future) he posted links to my Indiegogo campaign to mock me for only make $600 instead of the $1500 I wanted. So the dude gave me a ton of free publicity. So thank you RJ Cavender, your hatred is making me stronger.
- A couple started just posting the same old internet bully memes
- I wrote up a fairly rational response about 15 hours after it began concerning the fact that this argument is going to keep going because it's not about me. It's about the state of horror writing. I then posted that My Little Pony/Wu-Tang Clan video that makes me happy.
- I'm not sure, but I think that some guy posted a picture of my book covers in an attempt to go "I know you are, but what am I" and claim that my covers are ugly too.

Oh yeah and this - vampirepunk

As amusing as this pile-up might be, it's also pretty sad. I told a small press publisher that his books were ugly and that he was unprofessional and a collective screech went up from the rest of the small press publishers who were just as committed to their ugly books and their Stephen King ripoff writers. The tone policing wasn't so much "Tim Lieder is an asshole" as "How DARE you say that we aren't all beautiful little snowflakes?" Oh sure, sometimes a small press publisher is too hostile and crazy and his amateurish bullshit gets exposed for all the world to see. Nick Pacione is the normal scapegoat because he is like a player piano - put a coin in and a string of profanities and gay-baiting comes out. Tony G was haunting AnthoCon spewing his "expert" opinion and in the context of a small convention full of people trading their books with each other, he only seemed a tad less myopic than most. The fact that ANY writer would sell their story to him and see it turned into a Tony G original is pathetic.

But for the most part, the small press horror community acts like the worst creative writing class in the world. Even if everyone is reciting shit, you are supposed to be "safe and supportive", meaning you are supposed to only give positive feedback. And if you stay in that community long enough, you start thinking that you're a genius because you are the best one of the bunch, but when the bunch is putting out crap about teenagers who are totally special but then become vampires and get their revenge, how fucking noteworthy is that?

Patton Oswalt recently had an article about plagiarism in the comedy world and he said that when he was told that he accidentally plagiarized another act, he reacted with his Big Ego - the ego that tells him that he can do better than he is doing and that he needs to succeed on his own. That's opposed to his little ego which would have gotten defensive and angry. This is what I'm thinking about in this discussion. These people for the most part were reacting with their little egos, their sense of entitlement, their ability to deny that they were just crawling along the gutter looking for pennies.

And I get it. But I react with my Big Ego - the one that says that I can put out great books and that I don't want to get my stories published if I am going to look at them and cringe. I've done that. I also put out Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre which gets KILLED on Amazon reviews. And I don't hate the reviews because they are wrong and how dare that bitch/asshole say that about me - but because I failed to make this person happy (I am talking about the genuine reviews that showed that the person read the book. There's a douchebag review on She Nailed a Stake Through His Head that is obviously a troll who never even looked at the book) and the desire NEVER to put out a book that is "just good enough" (sorry to the TBCM writers - your stories were good but they could have been better and that's my fault as much as yours) for this crowd but to put out a book that is excellent and praiseworthy.

This is why I edit all of my stories constantly and don't send them out until I am sure that they are ready and regularly take them out of circulation when I edit them and don't like them (this might be counterproductive - I very much envy people who just whip out stories and send them off to markets). This is also why I put up 24 versions of the cover for King David & the Spiders from Mars until my friend Jacob designed a cover - when I was using public domain art. Caravaggio did 80% of the work and yet I was committed to not fucking up the remaining 20% with ugly fonts.

But not everyone has that commitment. They want to be "good enough." They want to put out ugly books and they want to bask in the mutual praise of fellow amateurs. I can sort of see it, but why get into a field especially one as competitive as writing if you aren't trying to put out amazing fucking books that will outlive you?
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