So a while back, I'm kicking conversation with one Daniel McEvoy on the joys of dark craftsmanship. Again, it needs mentioning that this guy is too laidback. Which recalls a line from the film Heist; "He's so cool, when he goes to sleep, sheep count him." Anyhow. He knocks out a couple of dark sketches.
From one craftsman of dark work to another, these sketches spoke to me. I ask them if I can show them to the masses. He says he doesn't mind. I ask him if I need to bear rights or some such in mind. He says no. And that he doesn't mind. I tell him he's sleeping on gold here, and that he needs to be shopping that product. He gives a shrug.
It rings true to me that there is work that an artist will knock out which may not move them anywhere near as much as it moves the audience. For me, this month is a good example:
Like the front page of this site currently says: I have two stories bookending this month. "Don't Run" via this month's Devolution Z magazine and "I'm Taking You With Me" via the Crossroads In The Dark anthology from Burning Willow Press. "I'm Taking You With Me" I wrote a few months back - for all the research that went into it, I pretty much got it down in one take. "Don't Run" was also knocked out in about one take - but I wrote that a few years ago. Bear in mind that I'm continually looking to elevate my game, so if you like Don't Run, you may fall head over heels for what I knock out now.
Why the delay in getting "Don't Run" picked up? Because the same way you shop for a shirt, a pair of shoes, a car, etc. so it is when I shop for a publisher. I want something that I think will fit: which is everything from what the publisher will actually publish to how they appear to engage with both their authors and their audiences. It'll be a whole host of factors. So while it took a while to find what I felt was a good fit. But from when I wrote that story, I didn't keep it on the back burner, but continued to search for the right home for it.. I wasn't sleeping on that gold.
So it is with all stories I write. Sure, it's nice if they get picked up ASAP, but there's a lot of variety and a lot of voices out there: a lot of horror writers to be heard (or read, whichever you prefer). Lots of different flavours being brought to the table. Let's not forget the raison d'etre. Even if I can't shop existing product, I want to knock out new product. As much as I love Don't Run (which is a personal favourite of mine), I don't feel it's my strongest piece to date. That accolade I'd have to hand to a novella I still need to polish and shop.
Do I stop there? No. Raison d'etre, remember? I have more stories to write. I want to write. To knock out new product that blows the reader away. I don't particularly care if the reader is a 'just' an avid reader, a horror fan, a fellow author, an editor - whatever. My role in this is to bring you a story that hooks you, catches you off-guard, leaves you breathless, thrills you... You get the idea. And I can't do that if I'm sleeping on gold.