Horror Day reflections

Horror Day summary

Yesterday, Horror Day, Friday the 13th, really demonstrated the good will of Australia’s dark fiction writers, publishers, and fans.

Martin Livings and Stephanie Gunn compiled a neat (temporary) online horror anthology (www.horrorday.martinlivings.com) in world record time, which in itself demonstrated the good will of 15 horror writers keen to contribute to a good cause. It’s well worth a read if Martin has left it online.

The Australian Horror Writers Association did so much incredible work behind the scenes. As a result, AHWA Vice President Kirstyn McDermott was interviewed on ABC radio in Melbourne by Richard Stubbs. Similarly, Angela stepped up at the last minute to do an interview with Robbie Buck on the Triple J drive time program. I also hear Gary Kemble, in addition to the very fine work he did promoting Horror Day on Articulate, filled in for another ABC radio interview.

On the subject of the AHWA, Andrew McKiernan has finished revamping the AHWA website, which is now even sexier and offers a host of cool members-only bonuses and tidbits. For a very reasonable price, you can join their ranks and take advantage of the benefits. Marty Young and the AHWA committee have done so much tremendous work in the association’s short history, so if you’re a writer who tends towards the dark side, taking up a membership will not only strengthen the AHWA, it will open up invaluable opportunities for you.

The Fantastic Planet Horror Day reading was a great success! We had a full house, with plenty of enthusiasm for the writers on display. A huge thankyou to Carol, Lyn, Lee, and especially Stephen (for allowing us to hold the event and reading, to boot). Here’s a pictorial of the event:

Ladies in red, Lyn Battersby (left) and Carol Ryles

The three wise men (from left): Russell B Farr, John Parker, and Lee Battersby.

Lyn kicked off the reading with “Simeon the Monkey”.

My contribution was “Love in the Land of the Dead” from ASIM #22.

Carol read “The Bridal Bier” from Eidolon 1 anthology.

Lee entertained the crowd with a delightful Peter Pan riff than turned nasty entitled “Never Grow Old”.

Stephen disturbed the audience with a fusion of mythology and impotence in “Hard Lessons” from Shadowed Realms #1.

Give something back

Donation option 1:
The Ticonderoga Online/ASif donation drive is winding up. If you would like to support either of these fine online spec fic outfits, follow the link. Rewards for donating abound.

While poking around the Ticoderoga site, you might like to complete the Aussie SF readership survey. A few minutes of your time will be worth its weight in gold for the information it could provide. Prizes galore for participating, too!

Donation option 2:
Grant Watson has a cat with a major surgical problem. With my own Sahma’s health declining, I can’t help but sympathise.
Go here if you’re in a giving mood – you’ll receive more than a warm’n’fuzzy feeling for your donation.

Another kind of reflection

Artistic communities exist on a currency of reputation. This holds true for the Australian speculative fiction community. This is the place where bestsellers have started and it continues to be the breeding ground for many fine authors. Reputation is important, because short story sales, which make up the bulk of the Aussie SF independent press, do not generate much of an income.

I am certainly far from reaching my career goals as a writer, although I’m damn proud of the progress I’ve made in three short years. I’m especially proud of the work I’ve been involved with behind the scenes. However, as I’m somewhere mid-way along the journey to being successful author, having picked up an award and a number of professional and semi-pro short story sales (several of which haven’t yet seen print), my advice to writers aiming to make their first sales is fairly simple: don’t bad-mouth your peers on a personal level without cause and certainly don’t disrespect the editors you depend on to buy and strengthen your work.

I appear to have moved further up the chain than I thought, having been subjected to a rather libelous attack on my work and my character from someone I don’t know. I suspect that means I’ve ‘made it’ 😉

But to restate my advice: attempting to damage the character of another writer is not the best way to advance your own reputation. Particularly when such an unprovoked attack can lead to alienation from the very community you sought to enter. Disrespecting the editors within this community, the people who continue its existence by giving writers a platform to have their work read, only compounds the bad form of this stunt.

In a community where reputation is currency, starting with a negative reputation is the best path to obscurity.

PS. Thank you to the people (especially Russell and Stephanie) who had such glowing things to say. It is that kind of affirmation that makes this business worth it.