Tag Archive for cemetery dance

Genre Schmenre

People often ask: “What genre do you write in?”

Anymore I will respond: “Whichever the publisher puts me in.”

TPWK Limited Edition Cover

Horror or crime? Flip a coin.

Discussions of the pros and cons of genre labels have been going on for some time. Not long after I first started writing for horror markets, the big debate was whether horror writers were better served by being stocked on specific horror shelves at Borders or by being mixed into the general fiction or literary section at Barnes & Noble. Some writers preferred the former because it was an easy way for their audience to find them, while others jumped at the opportunity for the latter as an escape from the “horror ghetto” and into—to paraphrase the attitude—legitimate territory.

I understand the arguments on both sides. There is no question there are fans who seek out the hardcore horror and would go straight to the horror section to browse the shelves. However, there are books that cross genre boundaries and could just as easily be labeled horror as literature or general fiction (The Road is a popular example). I imagine similar arguments are made in crime fiction circles, and there’s still that segregation when you get to science fiction & fantasy and romance, even if they are much larger sections.

Does it matter anymore? With the Internet, word of mouth in specialty shops, and countless online retailers’ recommendation algorithms, readers have all the information they need to find both their favorite authors and new authors they might like. Discovering Cemetery Dance and its reviews and ads back in the day opened my eyes to the small press and the plethora of killer horror writers and publishers it contained. Today? Readers have forums, news sites, blogs, and podcasts that do the same thing.

I think genre is more a convenience for publishers. Labeling a book helps them sell it not to readers, but to retailers. They know which reviewers like horror, so they say “here’s a horror novel.” They know shops like Borderlands Books and Dark Delicacies cater to a horror audience, so they say “here’s a horror novel.”

In fact, some publishers embrace their genre status. Consider Deadite Press, for example. Take one look at their covers and there’s no mistaking their audience.

Trolley 1852

Wait, don't tell me... it's a bodice ripper, right?

Writers know their audiences, and audiences know their writers. Let the publishers and marketers and retailers figure out the rest, especially now that so much of the work is available electronically and there is no ghetto anymore.

Yeah, sure, readers can still browse Amazon by genre, but again, who sets the label? The publisher. And the recommendation engine knows what the reader is really reading and buying, so before long it still becomes irrelevant.

Writers, just write. If you have a successful string of horror novels under your belt and you get an idea for an epic, sci-fi space opera, then write it. If you’ve made a career on romance and you get an itch for police procedurals, then why not go for it? Hell, fuse genres, if you want to. If it’s good, your readers will follow you.

Which brings me to the exception: rookies.

For rookie writers, genre is a convenience of marketing. By shouting out “Look, I wrote a horror novel!” it helps readers get an idea of what they’re dealing with. It’s an icebreaker before getting into the heavy petting that parts the reader from their money.

Just understand it’s more about marketing than it is about defining or confining the work. The horror genre label tells Rue Morgue they may want to review it. It tells Mark Justice you may be worth interviewing for Pod of Horror. It tells Borderlands and Dark Delicacies their readers may be looking for something just like it.

Or, if you haven’t gotten that far yet, it tells prospective publishers whether they should even take the time to read your manuscript. It helps you sort out small presses and the things they like to read. Deadite, for example, is not going to read your bodice ripper.

Well, not unless there are tentacles ripping said bodice, anyway.

In short, genre is a tool. Use it like one. Genre only becomes a ghetto for you and your work if you allow it to be one.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke & Mirrors

Cemetery Dance has just made Smoke & Mirrors available for preorder. This compilation of comic scripts and screenplays includes the script from “To Fight with Monsters” by myself and Brian Keene, as well as work from genre luminaries such as Neil Gaiman, Frank Darabont, William F. Nolan, Joe R. Lansdale, and Mick Garris.

Smoke and Mirrors cover

Coming soon from Cemetery Dance

From the announcement:

Cemetery Dance Publications is proud to announce Smoke and Mirrors, a collection of screenplays, teleplays, stage plays, comic scripts, and treatments by thirteen masters of horror and fantasy. This deluxe oversized book reproduces the scripts exactly as they were written in the author’s own formatting.

Whether you’re a fan of the massive talent in this collection or a writer looking to explore the script format in greater detail, you’re going to want a copy of this book. Click here to preorder.

Call this a late addition to the Book Roundup I posted last week.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Script Available Soon

I just received word that Cemetery Dance will be publishing a script collection that will include the comic adaptation of the short story “To Fight With Monsters” by myself and Brian Keene. “To Fight with Monsters” first appeared in the collection 4×4 from Delirium Books.

The book will be called Smoke and Mirrors and is expected sometime this year. It will also include scripts from Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Frank Darabont, Mick Garris, and many more.

Brian and I first adapted “To Fight” several years back, I believe for a possible appearance in Grave Tales that never came to fruition. The story hasn’t appeared in any form since its first publication, so if you’re one of the many readers who never managed to get a hold of 4×4, this is your chance to see what you’ve missed.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Dark Scribe Digs Brimstone Turnpike

Still haven’t purchased Brimstone Turnpike? Dark Scribe Magazine gave it a solid review. The enjoyed the stories and the concepts, but felt the unifying Johnny Divine character could have been fleshed out a bit more.

The short, short summary:

“Burke should be commended for pulling together another stellar lineup and giving them the freedom to run in all directions with his concept.”

I have to admit, being named part of a “stellar lineup” is pretty damn cool. Order your copy of Brimstone Turnpike direct from the publisher today.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Writing: Moving Right Along

It’s been a slow summer for my writing, but there are a few odds and ends worth reporting.

First, for those of you not already aware, Brimstone Turnpike is finally available. For the first time, my name graces the front page of Cemetery Dance‘s website. Bask in the glory while you can. If you’ve ordered from Amazon, however, I have bad news: I was just told Amazon is emailing people and saying the book won’t be available until January. I’m guessing there’s some marketing or distribution snafu in there somewhere, but the book is coming.

Second, CD has released the table of contents for In Laymon’s Terms, the long-awaited tribute anthology to Richard Laymon. In a newsletter distributed today, CD says “At this point, all of the signature sheets for In Laymon’s Terms have been signed (by around 50+ contributors!) and the interior of the book has been proofread several times. We’re waiting on one last contribution from one of the editors and then it’ll be ready to go to the printer!” With luck that means we’ll see it sooner rather than later.

Some of you may have noticed the page link for Wounded Gods has gone poof. This is because the WG title will now be used as the title for a different project under development with a new publisher. Discussions with that publisher got me thinking about the original premise, and I’m thinking that story may work better as a prose piece. It will be shelved for the moment and get a new title when I get back to it.

On a related note, there are developments for Call of the Wild and a third comics project, but it’s way too early to announce anything yet. Stay tuned. Unfortunately, I can tell you that those of you who were waiting for the trade on the Moonstone run of Call of the Wild are going to be out of luck, as there are no plans to do a trade at this time. I will try to have copies available at conventions where I have a table (such as this weekend’s Archon near St Louis), and you may also find it in the boxes at conventions where Moonstone has a booth.

Regarding my novels, work on Powerless continues. I haven’t touched it in a while due to the comics commitments, but I still want to get this baby out there. I will be sending it to my German-language publisher, Otherworld Verlag, as soon as possible, and then I will start submitting it to both mass market and small press houses in the US. I think this one’s a worthy successor to Deadliest of the Species in a way the other two completed (I use that term loosely) novels weren’t, and it’s about time I got a novel back on the market.

Meanwhile, the status of the top secret book I announced sometime back is undetermined. Writing on the novella for the book is on hold for the time being. Best case scenario is this book will be very late. Worst case is it will be canceled, but I feel it will be picked up by another publisher.

Then there’s Muy Mal. Wow, have I dropped the ball on that one. However, given it doesn’t pay the bills and wasn’t showing any future ability to do so, these other projects just had to supercede it. At this point I don’t know what’s in store for the future. I suppose it’s time to speak to John and Weston to see what, if anything, we’re going to do with it.

Hmm. I was feeling pretty good when I started this, but then it’s all non-news and bad news. I can even see a few of you coming to lynch me right now. I think a distraction is in order.

Look! A booth babe!

Can you tell me more about the boobies -- er, movie?

Can you tell me more about your boobies -- er, the movie?

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Brimstone Turnpike Now Shipping

I’ve heard Brimstone Turnpike is shipping at last.

I’m trying to remember when I wrote the novella, “Warning Signs”, included in this book. 2003? 2004?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled it will finally see print. I can’t wait to get my hands on copies. It’s just with a novella that old, I hope it doesn’t suck.

And with that I’m going to bed. The hell weeks that kick off the school year are sucking the life out of me.

Update: The contract was dated March of ’03 and had all the details of the novella listed, which means I probably wrote the story in late ’02. Swell. It’s probably just typical paranoia, but I’m always afraid to read my work from that long ago.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.