Tag Archive for dark delicacies

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.

Unleashed on California

Ah, sunny California. Three horror writers visit and things go to hell the moment we leave. Not our fault, I swear. We did have a great time, though, and my only regret was not stuffing my Digital Rebel into my bag to get better pictures.

The tour officially kicked off Saturday at Dark Delicacies in Burbank. Dark Delicacies is a cool little store catering to horror fans, selling books, movies, and novelties. The iconic Frankenstein’s monster statue waited out front, just as it had on my first visit about eight years ago.

Which one has the better complexion?

Which one has the better complexion?

The signing didn’t start until 2pm, but we had folks coming in as early as a quarter after one. Several of our friends from the area showed up, as well as many long-time readers and fans. Brian Keene sold out of his books, and J.F. Gonzalez and I weren’t far behind.

Scribble scribble

Scribble scribble

I was surprised how many older books folks brought in, such as The Rising: Necrophobia, The Best of HorrorFind I and II, and even an ARC of New Dark Voices. One fan even had a limited edition copy of Deadliest of the Species (though he didn’t bring it), and asked what the status of the movie rights are. If only, right?

Keene, Schow and Gonzalez

Keene, David Schow and Gonzalez

We signed until people stopped showing up, then hustled off to a meeting. While we did make some time to hang out and visit friends, next time we’re going to have to make it a longer trip to give us a little more time. Early the next morning we jumped out of bed and onto a plane bound for San Francisco.

We arrived at Borderlands Books just as they finished setting up, and again we found fans and friends waiting for us. Not to mention Ripley the furry hairless cat.

She got the crowd -- and the table -- warmed up for us

Ripley got the crowd -- and the table -- warmed up for us

We did a brief reading to a packed store. It’s been a long time since I’ve read in public, and while I eased back into it, I pulled a pinhead move and read a different chapter than I intended. Whoops. However, the werewolf transformation scene seemed to go over well, and folks eagerly snapped up copies.

One seat left. I think Brians breath scared em off.

One seat left. I think Brian's breath scared 'em off.

We didn’t completely sell out, but the cold and rainy weather didn’t exactly work in our favor. I also can’t complain because a great review showed up in the Examiner while we were out there.

The Pack: Winter Kill is short, snappy, and about as sweet as a chewed stogie, combining elements of pulp horror, hard-boiled detective, noir, and cinematically fast-moving action. — L.J. Moore, Examiner.com

Again, I wish the camera had taken better pictures. Though it’s a 5 megapixel cam and does a fair job with movies, it’s rather slow and unwieldy with stills. The slightest motion throws it off, so most of the pictures came out blurry. The rest of what I felt worth salvaging can be found here on Flickr.

The next leg of the tour starts tomorrow at VisionCon in Springfield, MO. I’m going to set Twitter to post to the blog again, and hopefully it will actually work this time. I hate leaving all that dead space here while I’m out and about, but technology being what it is, I sometimes don’t have a choice.

Hope to see some of you there!

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.

Big Week for The Pack

There’s a lot going on this week for my new book, The Pack: Winter Kill.

First up, the first reviews have been rolling in to Amazon (both the paperback and the Kindle edition), and so far they’ve been very positive. The noir-horror hybrid seems to be a big hit, and people have been happy with the pacing and action. So far, so good. I just hope magazine and newspaper reviewers are as generous.

In an attempt to encourage even more reviews, the publisher, Evileye Books, launched a review contest. If you’ve read the book, drop by and tell the world (or at least Amazon shoppers) what you think and you may just win a signed, limited edition hardcover edition of The Pack: Winter Kill. You’ve only got ’til Friday to enter, so get crackin’!

On Friday I’ll be catching a flight out to California to meet my friends (and authors) Brian Keene and J.F. Gonzalez, and on Saturday you can catch us at 2pm at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA. The following day, we’ll be heading up north Borderlands Books in San Francisco to sign at 3pm. I’ll be doing a lot of flying a s a result, but I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some old friends and meeting some new readers. (It’ll also be nice to trade in the snow and cold for some warmer weather.) There’s a full schedule on my Appearances page.

These are exciting times, and with a little effort, I should be able to keep up the momentum.

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.

Big Box O' Books

My first big shipment of The Pack: Winter Kill copies have arrived. Let me tell ya, the thrill of opening a box of my own books doesn’t fade. This batch is all spoken for, with copies destined for the Twitter contest winners and the bookstores on the signing tour.

They even have that new book smell!

They even have that new book smell!

I’ll be signing a bunch of them over Christmas. I’ll call that a gift to myself. I still enjoy signing books because it means I’m working.

I’ll be handing everything off to my publisher this weekend, so the Twitter winners will receive their copies shortly after that. The rest I’ll be seeing again in California at Dark Delicacies and Borderlands Books.

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.

The Pack Unleashed Tour 2010

The Pack Unleashed Tour 2010

The official tour dates for my book The Pack: Winter Kill from Evileye Books is as follows:

CARMEL, IN – Barnes & Noble – Friday, January 8th, 7pm
BURBANK, CADark Delicacies Bookstore – Saturday, January 16th, 2pm
SAN FRANCISCO, CABorderlands Books – Sunday, January 17th, 3pm
SPRINGFIELD, MOVisionCon, Clarion Hotel – January 22nd-24th

Books are confirmed, so we’re ready to roll! Mark your calendars, I hope to see a lot of you these trips.

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.