Author Topic: Market for horror?  (Read 2096 times)  

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2017, 06:14:54 AM »
Horror is NOT HARD to categorize. Horror is ridiculously simple. It very specifically sets out to scare or terrify the reader. It is designed to provoke a feeling of dread and fear. If the fundamental purpose of the work is to create an atmosphere of fear, dread, or terror, then it is horror.

Horror works on the most basic, visceral level of human existence. Horror does not require ghosts. Horror does not require vampires or werewolves. All horror requires is something that reminds the human psyche that there are horrible, terrible, things lurking just outside the periphery of human consciousness. That despite all of mankind's so-called scientific advances and powers of reason, there is something primal waiting quietly in the shadows for us. And no matter what we think, it will always be there waiting for the right moment. That is horror.

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Offline ShaneJeffery

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2017, 07:13:28 AM »
Horror is NOT HARD to categorize. Horror is ridiculously simple. It very specifically sets out to scare or terrify the reader. It is designed to provoke a feeling of dread and fear. If the fundamental purpose of the work is to create an atmosphere of fear, dread, or terror, then it is horror.

Horror works on the most basic, visceral level of human existence. Horror does not require ghosts. Horror does not require vampires or werewolves. All horror requires is something that reminds the human psyche that there are horrible, terrible, things lurking just outside the periphery of human consciousness. That despite all of mankind's so-called scientific advances and powers of reason, there is something primal waiting quietly in the shadows for us. And no matter what we think, it will always be there waiting for the right moment. That is horror.

Agreed 100%

Offline Doglover

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2017, 07:27:36 AM »
Horror does not require vampires or werewolves. All horror requires is something that reminds the human psyche that there are horrible, terrible, things lurking just outside the periphery of human consciousness. That despite all of mankind's so-called scientific advances and powers of reason, there is something primal waiting quietly in the shadows for us.
Or a rabid St Bernard and a broken down car. :)


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Offline KennySkylin

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2017, 09:44:18 AM »
Are there any horror series out there that might not be really connected by recurring characters but more based on some recurring situations or lightly connected plot? I'm thinking of something like the Final Destination or Saw movies or American Horror Story tv series. Or maybe like the Freddie/Jason type movies where usually the only recurring thing is the killer. Do you think something like this would work instead of a series that needs to have the same protagonists getting into horrific situations over and over?

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2017, 10:26:42 AM »
Are there any horror series out there that might not be really connected by recurring characters but more based on some recurring situations or lightly connected plot? I'm thinking of something like the Final Destination or Saw movies or American Horror Story tv series. Or maybe like the Freddie/Jason type movies where usually the only recurring thing is the killer. Do you think something like this would work instead of a series that needs to have the same protagonists getting into horrific situations over and over?

While it can be done, keep in mind that print is not the same thing as film. What works in a horror film doesn't always translate to print (and that is really true of all genres). If you look at the genres that really benefit from series, they are all highly CHARACTER DRIVEN genres. YA, romance, mysteries, even fantasy to a certain extent: these genres cater to character-driven stories that allow readers to bond with the characters. Horror is more narrative driven than character driven. You generally don't pick up a horror novel expecting a happily ever after or the good guys to "win." You aren't looking to bond with characters over the course of two, three, or ten books.

Horror is to literature what a roller coaster is to leisure activities. For most people, a roller coaster is a great thrill...once in a while. But we wouldn't get on a roller coaster EVERY DAY. I might bike every day. I might go for a jog every day. I might even enjoy going for a swim every day or bowling every day. But even if the option existed to get on a roller coaster every day, most people wouldn't do it. Because a roller coaster is a different type of entertainment. It is much more intense and visceral than other activities. Horror is the same way. The average horror reader isn't necessarily interested in a "series" What they are interested in is that intense feeling a good horror story provided when they want a good horror story.

Again, not saying it can't be done. But just pointing out that, if you intend to do it, don't assume you can just take what works in another genre and slap it into horror and expect it to work.

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Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2017, 01:04:43 PM »
Horror is NOT HARD to categorize. Horror is ridiculously simple. It very specifically sets out to scare or terrify the reader. It is designed to provoke a feeling of dread and fear. If the fundamental purpose of the work is to create an atmosphere of fear, dread, or terror, then it is horror.

We'll have to agree to disagree. In my view there's a lot of gray area when it comes to genre. Based on the above you could classify Orwell's '1984' as horror, to me that would be a miscategorization regardless of the fear and dread that book dredges up.


Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2017, 01:49:48 PM »
We'll have to agree to disagree. In my view there's a lot of gray area when it comes to genre. Based on the above you could classify Orwell's '1984' as horror, to me that would be a miscategorization regardless of the fear and dread that book dredges up.

1984 is dystopian fiction, and yes, you could make an argument that it is psychological horror.  People would only be opposed to calling it psychological horror if they have a general knee-jerk reaction to calling "serious literature" horror. There are actually several works that could easily be considered horror that aren't, not because they don't fit the definition, but because certain movements in literature don't consider horror real literature. To a thinking person, the palpable sense of dread in 1984 would easily be considered horror, though it doesn't meet the more generic tropes that people associate with the horror genre.

But that is the problem: people tend to treat horror like the proverbial red-headed stepchild (no offense to redheads or stepchildren). They think horror is about vampires and buckets of blood and cheap scares. But horror can be nuanced (and the best horror usually is). I've watched people do all sorts of mental gymnastics to insist some film or book was not horror, not because it wasn't horror, but because people look down their noses at the horror genre. For a long time, romance writers had a similar issue because "serious" writers didn't want to be classified as having written a romance,even if the book had all the tropes and trappings of a romance.

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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2017, 02:49:00 PM »
Horror is NOT HARD to categorize. Horror is ridiculously simple. It very specifically sets out to scare or terrify the reader. It is designed to provoke a feeling of dread and fear. If the fundamental purpose of the work is to create an atmosphere of fear, dread, or terror, then it is horror.

Horror works on the most basic, visceral level of human existence. Horror does not require ghosts. Horror does not require vampires or werewolves. All horror requires is something that reminds the human psyche that there are horrible, terrible, things lurking just outside the periphery of human consciousness. That despite all of mankind's so-called scientific advances and powers of reason, there is something primal waiting quietly in the shadows for us. And no matter what we think, it will always be there waiting for the right moment. That is horror.

This is exactly why it IS hard to categorize--because the categorization is so simple and broad there are an overwhelming number of stories which would easily fall under horror's umbrella yet be unsatisfying to a reader looking for a specific  "pure" horror story.

Nearly all broad categories suffer from this, which is why we have sub-categories. A reader looking for psychological horror might well enjoy 1984, but a reader looking for a ghost story might not. Similarly, a reader looking for a hot romantic mystery set in 19th century London may not be interested in reading a hot romantic mystery set in 19th century London with a werebeagle as the protagonist. Yet Amazon is happy to fill the category with werebeagle stories if they're selling, and then the traditionalist is no longer helped by the algorithm or the category.

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Offline David Brian

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2017, 03:30:35 PM »
1984 is dystopian fiction, and yes, you could make an argument that it is psychological horror.  People would only be opposed to calling it psychological horror if they have a general knee-jerk reaction to calling "serious literature" horror. There are actually several works that could easily be considered horror that aren't, not because they don't fit the definition, but because certain movements in literature don't consider horror real literature. To a thinking person, the palpable sense of dread in 1984 would easily be considered horror, though it doesn't meet the more generic tropes that people associate with the horror genre.

But that is the problem: people tend to treat horror like the proverbial red-headed stepchild (no offense to redheads or stepchildren). They think horror is about vampires and buckets of blood and cheap scares. But horror can be nuanced (and the best horror usually is). I've watched people do all sorts of mental gymnastics to insist some film or book was not horror, not because it wasn't horror, but because people look down their noses at the horror genre. For a long time, romance writers had a similar issue because "serious" writers didn't want to be classified as having written a romance,even if the book had all the tropes and trappings of a romance.

I agree with this, Julie. When I wrote The Cthulhu Child, it was specifically to demonstrate that horror is a case of perspective. If you were to look on Goodreads you'd see that book has some great reviews, though even then a number of readers question whether all of the stories qualify as horror. This is because it includes crime, illness, social degradation, and domestic violence, but all are horrific stories aimed to unsettle. Simply put, what creeps the heck out of reader A. may seem like candy to reader B., and that's all part of the fun.

I do get a bit disgruntled with Amazon's mix-and-match charts, but even though much of the disruption is down to vampire/shifter-romance, the fact remains that horror is a tough cookie to nail down (at least chart wise).
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 03:33:40 PM by David Brian »


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Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2017, 05:15:27 PM »
1984 is dystopian fiction, and yes, you could make an argument that it is psychological horror.  People would only be opposed to calling it psychological horror if they have a general knee-jerk reaction to calling "serious literature" horror. There are actually several works that could easily be considered horror that aren't, not because they don't fit the definition, but because certain movements in literature don't consider horror real literature. To a thinking person, the palpable sense of dread in 1984 would easily be considered horror, though it doesn't meet the more generic tropes that people associate with the horror genre.

But that is the problem: people tend to treat horror like the proverbial red-headed stepchild (no offense to redheads or stepchildren). They think horror is about vampires and buckets of blood and cheap scares. But horror can be nuanced (and the best horror usually is). I've watched people do all sorts of mental gymnastics to insist some film or book was not horror, not because it wasn't horror, but because people look down their noses at the horror genre. For a long time, romance writers had a similar issue because "serious" writers didn't want to be classified as having written a romance,even if the book had all the tropes and trappings of a romance.

I agree with this. Well said.


Offline Doglover

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2017, 09:54:03 PM »
I think the definition of horror changes with the ages. Frankenstein was written and accepted as horror; now I just find it sad comedy. Dracula terrified readers on its first appearance; read the original now and it is just boring. I suppose if it frightens you, it is horror, but that is harder for some to define than others. I have lived for 69 years, devoured early horror films as soon as I was old enough to be allowed into the cinema, read Edgar Allan Poe from cover to cover, in fact anything supernatural I could get my hands on. I have yet to see or read a horror that frightened me in the least. When Carrie's arm shot out of the her grave and the rest of the family jumped three feet in the air, I didn't react at all. Yet my daughter has only to be told that a film is a horror to be grabbing a cushion to hide behind.


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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2017, 05:29:44 AM »
I think the definition of horror changes with the ages. Frankenstein was written and accepted as horror

Frankenstein is more accurately science fiction. In fact, it is often considered the first true science fiction novel as it looks at the consequences of man playing god through the use of science. (remember, science fiction does not have to be accurate, it only needs to be plausible IN ITS TIME). Shelley actually attempted to be accurate with her science as the science was understood at the time. It was originally termed gothic literature more because the term science fiction was not widely used yet.

The definition of horror doesn't change so much as people do. No work exists in a void. Every work is a reflection of the society in which it was created (as I have often argued in discussions about "dating" a work.). Dracula may not terrify modern readers, but that is because it was not written for the fears of modern readers. It was addressing fears of the time period. It is always important to interpret a work based on the time period it was written. Much of Dracula's theme depends on a certain understanding of the Victorian era and the psyche of the time period.

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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2017, 11:11:58 AM »
much of the disruption is down to vampire/shifter-romance

This is really the primary issue.

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Offline Harvey Click

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2017, 11:20:53 AM »
Even as an avid horror reader I struggle to define what makes a story horror versus fantasy or post apoc.

If the writer's main purpose is to scare the hell out of you, the story is horror. If the writer succeeds, it's good horror.

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Offline Doglover

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2017, 10:44:52 PM »
If the writer's main purpose is to scare the hell out of you, the story is horror. If the writer succeeds, it's good horror.
That's what I said earlier, but I've yet to find anything that scared me. I have no nerves.


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Offline bberntson

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #40 on: April 20, 2017, 10:55:43 PM »
If the writer's main purpose is to scare the hell out of you, the story is horror. If the writer succeeds, it's good horror.

It's simple, not complicated, and I agree 100%.  Fear, terror, and horror, are the elements being used.  When done well, it succeeds.   

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Offline Kate.

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2017, 01:58:08 AM »
That's what I said earlier, but I've yet to find anything that scared me. I have no nerves.
This breaks my heart! I love being scared.

It's very hard to find books that frighten me (only two managed it, very briefly), and old movies can be hard to feel immersed in, but what about some more modern films? A Tale of Two Sisters scared me so badly I had to keep pausing it and stepping away. It's a Korean film, though, so you need to be okay with subtitles to watch it. Another great foreign film is The Orphanage. It Follows didn't frighten me at the time, but I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks afterwards. And The Conjuring had some terrific atmosphere.

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2017, 02:10:33 AM »
This breaks my heart! I love being scared.

It's very hard to find books that frighten me (only two managed it, very briefly), and old movies can be hard to feel immersed in, but what about some more modern films? A Tale of Two Sisters scared me so badly I had to keep pausing it and stepping away. It's a Korean film, though, so you need to be okay with subtitles to watch it. Another great foreign film is The Orphanage. It Follows didn't frighten me at the time, but I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks afterwards. And The Conjuring had some terrific atmosphere.
I couldn't possibly get involved in anything with subtitles; I hate them. I can't read them and watch what's going on. The last so-called horror film I saw was The Ring. I didn't find that in the least scary. If anyone can recommend a good horror film that doesn't involve blood, guts and chainsaws, I should like to give it a go. The original of the Haunting, back in the sixties, was supposed to be one of the scariest films ever made. I don't mean the remake; that was a comedy and quite pathetic. My elder brother and his mates reckoned the original was terrifying, but it didn't scare me.

I do enjoy a good horror film, but scary? No.


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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #43 on: April 21, 2017, 09:48:31 AM »
Do you really want to write a horror book?  Is it something you're passionate about?

Then you have to ask yourself, do I think I can create enough demand for my book?  Can you use the fact that UF and other areas/overlaps are taking over the genre and push back?  Can you advertise that your book IS horror and find that demand for it?  And I'm not saying with money (that's up to you) but on your blurb, cover, etc.

If you are passionate about something and it's what you want to do...is it worth the risk?  Are you up for that challenge?  Sorry, it's Fairytale Friday and I seem to be going into quest mode.  Good luck! 

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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #44 on: April 21, 2017, 03:41:20 PM »
I couldn't possibly get involved in anything with subtitles; I hate them. I can't read them and watch what's going on. The last so-called horror film I saw was The Ring. I didn't find that in the least scary. If anyone can recommend a good horror film that doesn't involve blood, guts and chainsaws, I should like to give it a go. The original of the Haunting, back in the sixties, was supposed to be one of the scariest films ever made. I don't mean the remake; that was a comedy and quite pathetic. My elder brother and his mates reckoned the original was terrifying, but it didn't scare me.

I do enjoy a good horror film, but scary? No.

Want to make a good horror movie scary? I'll give you the secret and you can thank me after--it's not difficult either, but can't be done in a movie theater. Shared experience in a room full of people is not ever scary except for possibly jump-scares. But you want good old-fashion blood curdling scares, right? You will also need headphones.



Ideally do this when you are alone in your home. If you have a family, it should still work ok. Either way, it's best wait until midnight or later then ready your chosen movie on your dvd player or netflix or whatever--The Conjuring or Lake Mungo are pretty good for this. If you live in a relatively safe neighborhood, go for bonus adrenaline and unlock your front door.
Adjust your volume in the headphones so that you can hear stuff, but you don't want it blasting. If there is any way to do it with your TV set-up, sit with your back to the door--not facing it--if you're in a room away from the front door, close the door most of the way, but leave it cracked. Now put the headphones on and start the movie.

You will be scared. It's pretty much guaranteed. You'll find yourself lifting up one ear of your headphones because you think you heard something. You'll be looking over your shoulder to see if the door has moved...or worse, checking the front door.

Enjoy getting back that feeling of being scared, just like when you were a kid. If you don't get an adrenaline charge out the experience, well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you're a robot. :)

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Offline KennySkylin

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2017, 04:39:24 PM »
If you live in a relatively safe neighborhood, go for bonus adrenaline and unlock your front door.

That's good advice to boost immersion and also hilarious.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 04:43:21 PM by KennySkylin »

Offline delve

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #46 on: April 21, 2017, 05:39:46 PM »
If the primary purpose of a book is to scare the reader (whether it succeeds or not) then it's horror. If there's strong elements of science fiction, or romance, or fantasy, etc. that's when things get complicated.

The first books in the Vampire Chronicles were definitely horror. I don't think anyone had ever thought of urban fantasy back then, it didn't exist as a category.

The first one, "Interview," could arguably be classified as horror but the sequels weren't even remotely horror. Anne Rice strongly inspired most of the earliest Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels that came later. Just because the genre didn't exist at the time doesn't mean anything, we're judging it based on today's standards. I remember reading Anne Rice at the time and thinking wow, this was something way different than most of the other vampire fiction I had been reading.

Anne Rices books are told from the perspective of the monsters. Her stories have vampires, witches, angels, the devil was a character in one book(and played as a "good guy"), there was a guy who steals peoples bodies, she wrote a book about a vampire visiting Atlantis...all of these stories were told from the perspective of different monsters and none of it even remotely intended to be scary. They always read more like fantasy to me. Obviously not medieval fantasy. I would classify Anne Rice's work as Dark Fantasy, or Gothic Fantasy if you prefer. Urban Fantasy is closely related but a bit different. The Urban Fantasy genre has matured, some of it still retains horror elements while others even if they have vampires or werewolves aren't even remotely horror or "dark". That's why Urban Fantasy needs its own genre entirely.

Offline Doglover

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2017, 11:25:25 PM »
Want to make a good horror movie scary? I'll give you the secret and you can thank me after--it's not difficult either, but can't be done in a movie theater. Shared experience in a room full of people is not ever scary except for possibly jump-scares. But you want good old-fashion blood curdling scares, right? You will also need headphones.



Ideally do this when you are alone in your home. If you have a family, it should still work ok. Either way, it's best wait until midnight or later then ready your chosen movie on your dvd player or netflix or whatever--The Conjuring or Lake Mungo are pretty good for this. If you live in a relatively safe neighborhood, go for bonus adrenaline and unlock your front door.
Adjust your volume in the headphones so that you can hear stuff, but you don't want it blasting. If there is any way to do it with your TV set-up, sit with your back to the door--not facing it--if you're in a room away from the front door, close the door most of the way, but leave it cracked. Now put the headphones on and start the movie.

You will be scared. It's pretty much guaranteed. You'll find yourself lifting up one ear of your headphones because you think you heard something. You'll be looking over your shoulder to see if the door has moved...or worse, checking the front door.

Enjoy getting back that feeling of being scared, just like when you were a kid. If you don't get an adrenaline charge out the experience, well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you're a robot. :)
I think you are right then; I am a robot. It is not a case of getting back the feeling like when I was a kid - I never had it then either. We didn't have videos or DVDs then, but occasionally there was a Hammer horror film on the tv. I seem to remember seeing the Pit and the Pendulum when I was quite young and in black and white, so it must have been on the telly. They wouldn't let anyone in the cinema for that sort of thing if they were under 18. It didn't scare me. There was a Vincent Price film called The Tingler that stuck in my mind and made my spine tingle a bit, but that was all.

The only film that gave me nightmares was the Elephant Man and that was because it was so sad, not because it was scary. It was never meant to be scary.


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Offline Doglover

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2017, 11:29:40 PM »
If the primary purpose of a book is to scare the reader (whether it succeeds or not) then it's horror. If there's strong elements of science fiction, or romance, or fantasy, etc. that's when things get complicated.

The first one, "Interview," could arguably be classified as horror but the sequels weren't even remotely horror. Anne Rice strongly inspired most of the earliest Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels that came later. Just because the genre didn't exist at the time doesn't mean anything, we're judging it based on today's standards. I remember reading Anne Rice at the time and thinking wow, this was something way different than most of the other vampire fiction I had been reading.

Anne Rices books are told from the perspective of the monsters. Her stories have vampires, witches, angels, the devil was a character in one book(and played as a "good guy"), there was a guy who steals peoples bodies, she wrote a book about a vampire visiting Atlantis...all of these stories were told from the perspective of different monsters and none of it even remotely intended to be scary. They always read more like fantasy to me. Obviously not medieval fantasy. I would classify Anne Rice's work as Dark Fantasy, or Gothic Fantasy if you prefer. Urban Fantasy is closely related but a bit different. The Urban Fantasy genre has matured, some of it still retains horror elements while others even if they have vampires or werewolves aren't even remotely horror or "dark". That's why Urban Fantasy needs its own genre entirely.

The Tale of the Body Thief was one of my favourites. Definitely the best of the Vampire Chronicles, but I did think it was funny most of the time, rather than scary. I also enjoyed the Interview (the book not the film) and read it several times, same with the Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned. The film of Queen of the Damned would have been total gibberish if I hadn't already read the book. I gave up after Memnoch, the Devil. I didn't like that one at all.

One of Anne Rice's best was the Mummy, although you don't hear so much about that one.


The past is another country; they do things differently there
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Offline Maria G. Melton

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Re: Market for horror?
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2017, 03:14:46 AM »
How to Get More Downloads and Sell More Copies?
I am a huge fan of using social media to promote my books. I have had luck with Facebook, Fb pages/FB groups/FB profile etc.
Also you can promote in your blog/website, twitter, SEO, post in webboard.

Success story?   ;)


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