Another year and another chance to meet your favorite actor/actresses at a Horror convention. 2020 horror cons were a bust, thanks a lot COVID. 2021 we were at 70% power at the conventions. 2022 is the year of the “Horror Con Comeback.” We’re calling it now. Undoubtedly things will change but here is a list of cons to keep an eye on for 2022. We tossed in some of the comicons as well, many are featuring horror celebrities this year. Stay safe out there and mind the zombies.
Did we miss any? Leave us a comment if you have the inside scoop on a Horror Convention we might have missed for 2022. Check the websites and our advice is not to buy too early with the current state of things. Here’s to hoping 2o22 is the year of the Horror Con Comeback! See you all there.
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Horror Hub Marketplace is the biggest horror marketplace on the planet with vendors ranging from custom halloween masks to original small run horror collectibles, horror books, oddities, haunt supplies, and even horror coffee. Zagone Studios creates Halloween Masks and Costumes. Family owned and managed for over 40 years Zagone Masks and Costumes continues to design, innovate and manufacture right here in the U.S.A. Featuring the sculpts of Bill Ystrom (known as BY B.Y.) Zagone Studios has developed and originated multi lines of super soft latex, ultra-comfortable head sock and moving mouth harness masks. Their masks are great fitting while maintaining true to life, beautiful and intricate sculpts.
Balthazar is a vain and manipulative demon with a predilection for ugly ties. He enjoys bottled water, looking like a smug, impeccable bastard, and toying with people.The Balthazar Demon mask is an over the head mask with fur hair and huge horns. Perfect for theater, Halloween or haunted houses. It’s dark and it’s terrifying
Moving mouth mask! What is more terrifying than a skull mask? One that has a moveable mouth. The sock mask design with the latex on top of the sock allows the wearer the capacity to make the mask move simply by making facial expressions. The sock acts as the buffer for the actor’s skin to the latex adding to the comfort. Very comfortable to wear with excellent visibility.
This mask utilizes a foam insert to help keep the wearer comfortable and prevent the mask from shifting on the wearer’s head. The plastic eyes snap fit into the eye sockets. Hand poured, painted and assembled in the US.
The Halloween mask can be used comfortably and safely for a Trick or Treating costume, actor mask in theater, tv shows & movies, horror costume, haunted house masks, cosplay, advertising model, window display and costuming prop.
This pink alien variation is a limited run HorrorHub brand exclusive.
Hang this shrunken head to keep the evil spirits from clogging up your mojo. This ghastly decoration is meant for indoor use, but can be placed outside to add creepy fun to your haunted house, graveyard scene, or Halloween home decor.
Tritone’s love of horror and mystery began at a young age. Growing up in the 80’s he got to see some of the greatest horror movies play out in the best of venues, the drive-in theater. That’s when his obsession with the genre really began—but it wasn’t just the movies, it was the games, the books, the comics, and the lore behind it all that really ignited his obsession. Tritone is a published author and continues to write and write about horror whenever possible.
Calling all film buffs, we’re about to play a game – Jigsaw style. There are many ways to differentiate horror vs. thriller films, and have no fear (pun intended)… we’re going to explain them all shortly. That being said, there is something important to note about thrillers. You’ve probably lived one. The time you forgot your project at school, tried to figure out the mystery of your favorite show, or just played a very stressful football game. These real world scenarios all build up undeniable tension and create a climactic moment that you’ll never forget… which is what thrillers are all about. Now, are you ready to talk about the gore, ghosts, and gross aspects of horror? Let’s discuss these differences in the horror vs. thriller debate.
Horror vs Thriller: What to Know
Don’t be fooled by Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” music video with dancing zombies, these creatures would most likely belong to the horror genre. Why? Because the horror genre is all about scaring you. A horror movie creates a terrifying atmosphere that produces feelings of dread, terror, and tension about the inevitable doom coming your way – at the hands of a serial killer, witch, ghost, or occasional mix of the three (Bathsheba from The Conjuring, anyone?). That brings us to our next point about the difference between horror and thriller movies… the latter falls into a few “unofficial” genres: killers, paranormal, psychological horror and monsters.
Horror franchises like Friday the 13th and The Conjuring have all the jump scares, dead people, gore and paranormal elements you need to become frightened out of your mind, and they’re inspired by classic supernatural horror films like 1931’s Dracula and Frankenstein. While these films were made decades apart, all of them encompass the key elements of the horror genre to present the audience with an evil antagonist – and present the protagonist’s journey to escape it. Sometimes successfully, and sometimes not. The “tldr” of this lengthy paragraph about the two genres? The premise of horror movies is to do just that… horrify the audience. In fact, the word “horror” originates from the Latin word “horrere,” – to tremble or shudder, just like you’ve done in every horror film in the Saw franchise since 2004.
Speaking of Saw, the terrifying Jigsaw is just one of the many iconic monsters that you’ll recognize within the horror genre. There’s also Samara from The Ring, Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pennywise from IT and more frightening monsters that have haunted your dreams for decades. If the killing sprees and psychological torment weren’t enough to scare you, all you need to do is glance at one of these creatures. Each is made with a demented design to instill terror in all who look at them – and this first impression will be one of fear and discomfort, as opposed to the tension and suspense that typically occurs while watching thriller films. These monsters don’t just serve as a symbol of the horror genre as a whole, they’re also a key factor in understanding the horror and thriller differences. And speaking of which, let’s talk about the latter!
Don’t think that thriller films aren’t just as scary as the horror genre, because they truly can be- just in a different way. You’ll still have occasional dead people and serial killers, but they aren’t there just to make you scream. As the name suggests, the goal of thriller films is to thrill you and bring the audience to the edge of the movie theater seat – building up tension and suspense throughout the movie while watching a mystery unravel in fascinating ways. There’s a good chance that thriller movies will leave you biting your nails and shaking your leg with nervousness as opposed to screaming and clutching your partner’s hand like a scary movie might, and this is one of the greatest differences between horror and thriller films.
Thriller films are a bit more mainstream than horror films, for lack of a better term. Don’t get us wrong, the horror world has reached cult status over the decades… but it typically attracts a specific type of crowd. Meanwhile, nearly everybody can enjoy a good psychological thriller like Gone Girl, Black Swan, or Split. In fact, two out of three of these films have been nominated for an Academy Award… a rare (if not unheard of) feat for a traditional horror film. When you think about these films from the thriller genre, they’re quite a bit different from the horror films we discussed earlier – with less killer clowns and gore and more mystery and suspense. The protagonist often deals with themes like identity, loss, death, existence and perception – and you’ll feel like you’re solving the mystery alongside them as you decipher hard-to-find clues within the plot of a thriller film.
A great example would be Martin Scorcese’s 2010 psychological thriller film Shutter Island, in which Leonardo DiCaprio investigates the patients at an insane asylum as he discovers that he’s not as sane as he once believed. And then there’s the thriller television shows that bring horror elements like serial killers, blood, and death – such as Dexter and You. Many of us have that one friend who just is too much of a scaredy-cat for classic horror films (okay, maybe you are that friend)… and thrillers are often the ideal compromise for a scary and suspenseful good time.
Differences Between Thriller and Horror
The differences between horror and thriller films aren’t always as black-and-white as we’ve explained above, as there are certain movies that have equal elements of both. Think The Quiet Place, Silence of the Lambs, and Get Out. And then there’s The Sixth Sense. It has dead people and paranormal elements, so it must be a horror movie, right? Wrong. The ghosts that Haley Joel Osment sees aren’t meant to be a source of fear, but rather a plot device to build tension and unveil one of M. Night Shymalan’s most famous twist endings. It may seem confusing, but there are a few ways to determine whether you’re watching a horror or a thriller film.
You know the trope of the girl who goes down into the basement alone, despite the entire movie theater yelling at her not to, and gets murdered instantly by a masked monster? It’s a key example of the predictability in horror movies. We’re definitely not saying that you should predict the ending immediately, but scary flicks often come with a few tropes that you can recognize. Think empty cabins, picking up the phone with nobody there, and the first three friends getting murdered before the protagonist finally realizes that evil is at bay. Meanwhile, a thriller should be next to impossible to predict without an eagle eye, and three times rewatching the film. It’s just the way it is.
Remember when Jessica Lange said “all monsters are human” to Evan Peters in American Horror Story: Asylum? It’s a common theme in both the horror and thriller genres, but especially the latter. Thrillers focus less on evil monsters and distorted figures to uncover the scary aspects of real life – such as losing your memory, getting kidnapped, or being tricked by humans that you thought were close to you. And since humans are so complex, it’s pretty rare that you’ll guess the plot twist of a thriller halfway through the film. Not the good ones, anyway. What’s your favorite thriller film that you initially thought was horror? Or vice versa? Tell us, as we want to know about your favorite tales of scares and suspense.
I am a lifelong pop culture junkie with immense passion for all forms of art and entertainment. On a typical weekend, I can be found at a concert or musical, chasing ghosts on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, or watching way too many makeup tutorials on YouTube.
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Friday the 13th is an iconic day, especially for horror fans. So let’s dig into the history of Friday the 13th and rediscover where this all began, shall we?
The History of Friday the 13th
Paraskevidekatriaphobia—do you have it? Well, if you’re irrationally afraid of the natural occurrence of the thirteenth of any given month falling on a Friday, then yes—yes, you do. If so, then you might have a hard time this year, since we’ve got two of them coming up. Friday the 13th, supposedly the unluckiest day of the year, occurs at least once, but never more than three times in a calendar year. March and November are the unlucky winners this year, so if you’re scared, arm yourself with some of these facts and prepare to understand your superstition better than ever before.
The Origin of the Superstition
Within western culture, there are many superstitions that circulate on a regular basis—Friday the 13th is but one example of a superstition that has become so well-known that it has been worked into the very fabric of horror culture itself. From walking under ladders to breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks, or having a black cat cross your path, it seems as if there is always something to be superstitious of—people even subject themselves to their own superstitions, such as wearing their favorite sports team’s jersey to increase the odds of their team winning. Regardless, it seems that people still choose to purposefully avoid black cats, sidewalk cracks, and treat mirrors with respect, especially on Friday the 13th—as if these superstitions, when combined escalate into something even worse. Dr. Phil Stevens, an associate anthropology professor at the University of Buffalo, suggests that it’s important to respect the convictions that people display about their superstitions, noting that, “sometimes these are frivolous things, but sometimes they are deeply rooted cultural fears … you can insult somebody by making fun of it or you can be ignorant yourself. Some people have deep cultural taboos that you cannot change by denying them.” The question that has long plagued people, however, is why do we subject ourselves to these blatant paranoias—how did these things evolve to being harbingers of bad luck, and why do we continue to pay tribute to these traditions year after year?
First mentioned in the English language, this day was first introduced as an unlucky happenstance in the biography of Gioachino Rossini, an Italian composer who died on—you guessed it—Friday, November 13th, 1868. It was further extended into superstition by Thomas W. Lawson, an American businessman who published a book titled Friday the Thirteenth, in which a crooked stockbroker takes advantage of this superstition to create wide-spread panic on Wall Street.
In Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York an analysis conducted by CityRealty presented findings that fewer than five percent of mid-rise and high-rise residential condo buildings have a thirteenth floor. Not to say that the thirteenth floor doesn’t exist—it’s just not labeled under the number thirteen.
Norse Mythological Origins
While not the most notable mythological origin, according to Donald Dossey, in Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun, a Norse myth told of a dinner party that was set for twelve gods, where the thirteenth guest—the god of trickery, Loki—crashed the party and shot Baldr, the god of joy and happiness. Thanks for all the bad luck, Loki.
The Last Supper
Folklore historians all agree that isolating the exact time when Friday the 13th came to be known as a taboo and superstition, many of them agree that it may have originated from the Last Supper. As popular mythology agrees, Jesus was crucified on a Friday—some speculate Friday the 13th, immediately after the Last Supper, attended by Jesus and his twelve apostles to a total of thirteen people at the table. The longstanding superstition within the Christian religion is that having thirteen guests at a table is a bad omen that, “courts death.” Dr. Stevens told TIME that “when those two events come together, you are reenacting at least a portion of that terrible event … you are reestablishing two things that were connected to that terrible event.” So what started with what happened in Christian mythology, this somehow led to the modern phenomenon that has Americans avoiding things that are labeled with thirteen. Room number thirteen in a hotel, the thirteenth floor, the thirteenth row in an airplane—all of these superstitions are attached to the number of people who sat at the table the night before the crucifixion. Bronner believes that there is, “a grain of truth,” to the theory of the Last Supper, but that there is, “not much of a connection to the modern belief … it may be a case of religious folklore that rose to explain a belief.” He further tells us how psychologists treat the fear of Friday the 13th as a real phenomenon, but he believes that it was a constructed belief that is convenient for people to place blame upon.
Oddly enough, the crucifixion wasn’t the only biblical tragedy
that befell mankind on Friday the 13th—in fact, it’s said that the
story of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden, the day Cain
killed Abel, the Great Flood during the time of Noah, and the confusion of
languages at the Tower of Babel also took place on this fated day.
The Occult, Witches and their Covens
A long-standing myth that surrounds Friday the 13th puts a firm association with witches—likely another confirmation from the origination of this superstition from Christianity. For those that are not in-the-know, covens are said to be a formal gathering of witches who perform rituals together—a sort of religious or spiritual gathering, where they perform spells, rituals, or seasonal offerings to honor whoever they may worship. The Christian leaning of this is due to the witch trials where women were forced through torture to admit to things that weren’t necessarily true, stating that they were convening with the devil and attacking other members of the community to do his bidding.
What holds in the tradition of witchcraft is that a
traditional coven recognizes twelve followers and a leader, which brings the
total to—you guessed it—thirteen. In medieval covens, it is stated in The
God of the Witches from 1931 that, “the number in a coven never varied,
there were always thirteen, i.e., twelve members and the god.” In any case, the
leader or god was always believed to be the Devil himself—or a man who
represented the devil. This is of course, not backed by any substantial
evidence from within the community of witchcraft practitioners, but instead
considered more of an accusation from more mainstream religions such as
The Thirteen Club
A New Yorker by the name Captain William Fowler made an attempt to remove the hardened stigma of the number thirteen in the late 19th century. In particular, his goal was to remove the stigma surrounding thirteen guests at a table—he attempted this vigorously by establishing a private society by the name of The Thirteen Club. As a general practice, this group dined on the thirteenth day of each month in room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage, which Fowler owned from 1863 to 1883. Before sitting down to dinner with twelve other guests, each participant of the club would pass under a ladder and a banner that read, “those of us who are about to die salute you,” in Latin. Notable members of this club were four former presidents of the United States of America, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt.
HMS Friday—The Urban Legend
An urban legend centering around the Royal Navy from the 19th century considers this the ultimate Friday the 13th legend—the story goes, that it was an attempt by the Royal Navy to dismiss the superstition against sailing on a Friday. While the details vary from telling to telling, they christened the ship HMS Friday; her keel was laid on a Friday, she was launched on a Friday, she set sail on her maiden voyage on Friday the 13th, and all of this under the command of a man by the name of Captain James Friday. After her launch, she was never seen or heard from again. While it’s a great story, the truth is there has never been a Royal Navy ship by the name of HMS Friday.
October 13, 1307—officers of King Philip IV of France imprisoned and executed hundreds of the Knights Templar.
September 13, 1940—German forces bombed Buckingham Palace during WWII.
November 13, 1970—A cyclone in Bangladesh killed 300,000 people.
October 13, 1972—A Chilean Airforce plane disappeared in the Andes mountains, sixteen survivors turned up two months later, having been forced to cannibalize the dead in order to survive.
February/August 13, 1976—(no we’re really not sure which month) Daz Baxter a New Yorker with a raging case of paraskevidekatriaphobia decided to ride out his least favorite day of the year by staying in bed; his bad luck was illustrated when the floor of his apartment block collapsed that day and he fell to his death.
October 13, 1989—Black Friday—a $6.75 billion buyout for the parent company of United Airlines caused the crash of global markets.
September 13, 1996—Tupac Shakur succumbed to his gunshot wounds six days after multiple gunshot wounds during a drive-by shooting.
March 13, 2009—the SAW ride at Thorpe Park in Chertsey was scheduled to open but was shut down due to computer failure.
January 13, 2012—the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed off of the coast of Italy, killing 30 people.
November 13, 2015—ISIS organized seven simultaneous terror attacks in Paris, killing 130 people and leaving hundreds wounded.
April 13, 2029—an asteroid is rumored to come within 22,000 miles of Earth—what will happen?
Strange Friday the 13th Facts
There are of course strange facts surrounding any supernatural phenomenon or superstition, but Friday the 13th even more so—perhaps because more people pay attention to things that they’re afraid of, or perhaps because Friday the 13th is such a notorious date for strange occurrences. Here are a few—maybe more than a few—strange facts about the superstitions regarding Fridays.
In Somerset, if you turn a bed over on a Friday, you’re risking turning a ship over at sea.
In Cumbria, if a baby is born on a Friday, they immediately lay them upon the family Bible.
In some areas, if a doctor is called upon for the first time on a Friday, it is an omen of certain death.
According to English Folklore from the 1800s, a marriage conducted on a Friday is destined for an unhappy future—on the plus side, this superstition generally leads weddings conducted on Friday the 13th is substantially cheaper for couples.
If you cut your hair or nails on a Friday, you’re doomed for misfortune.
If thirteen people unwittingly dine together, the first to rise will certainly be condemned to misfortune—another fun fact attached to this one is that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was known to uphold this superstition almost religiously.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt also refused to travel on Friday the 13th.
Winston Churchill refused to sit in any row that was numbered thirteen—cited in particular are rows on planes or theatres.
In North Carolina, the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute conducted a study that found a loss of $700-800 million every single Friday the 13th because people simply refuse to conduct their lives as they normally would.
If you’re brave enough to fly on what’s considered the unluckiest day of the year, you’ll find that prices are actually a little bit more reasonable.
Unlucky in Reality, but a Pop-Culture Boon
Just like anything in the horror genre—if it’s unlucky, scary, gruesome, or lies somewhere within the realm of supernatural, it’s bound to have a selling idea. The movie franchise Friday the 13th firmly placed the date into the greater arena of cultural recognition. Jason Voorhees, the star and villain of the franchise has inspired so many sequels, spinoffs and more that if you were to google Friday the 13th, you’ll get more results about the franchise than the lore that launched the idea for it in the first place.
It seems that Friday the 13thmay only be a western superstition though—as it’s cited that in Italy, the number thirteen is actually quite lucky, instead they rather fear Friday the 17th. Personal curiosity causes one to wonder if the movie franchise of Friday the 13th should be renamed in countries like Italy, to make it more culturally relevant. In Greece, it’s not Friday the 13th, but Tuesday the 13th that causes people to be unsettled, whereas in China the number four is considered to be unlucky as it has a similar pronunciation to the word for “death.”
So, in the long run—is Friday the 13th really a day of bad luck? According to Dr. Caroline Watt at the University of Edinburgh, it’s actually the belief in the superstition that causes all of the kerfuffle to happen on this date. She appeals to baser instincts when she suggests that, “if people believe in the superstition of Friday the 13th then they believe they are in greater danger on that day. As a result, they may be more anxious and distracted and this could lead to accidents. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy … It is like telling someone they are cursed. If they believe they are then they will worry, their blood pressure will go up and they put themselves at risk.” With that in mind—are you still afraid of a naturally occurring phenomenon?
Georgia-based author and artist, Mary has been a horror aficionado since the mid-2000s. Originally a hobby artist and writer, she found her niche in the horror industry in late 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. Mary’s evolution into a horror expert allowed her to express herself truly for the first time in her life. Now, she prides herself on indulging in the stuff of nightmares.
Mary also moonlights as a content creator across multiple social media platforms—breaking down horror tropes on YouTube, as well as playing horror games and broadcasting live digital art sessions on Twitch.
Authors, especially ones who self publish or publish with indie/small presses, understand the importance of getting their books reviewed. Promotion and consumer feedback are the lifeblood of a new release, and having readers write reviews* is a vital component to this. Not only will seeing reviews splashed across social media motivate onlookers to purchase, but they play a major role in how a book ranks and gets exposure on sites like Amazon and Goodreads.
(*by the way, if you’re a reader and you’re not regularly writing reviews, please consider starting now – Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, blogs, social media, anywhere. Seriously, it doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t even have to be glowing. Every single one helps)
Before Your Book is Reviewed
Before you even begin reaching out to people for reviews, there are a few items you should have in order first:
Reassess your editing and formatting. You could have the most original story idea ever, but if your manuscript is riddled with typos of bizarre formatting issues you could lose someone right out of the gate. Many reviewers have a hard time overlooking such errors, so it’s certainly in your best interest to make sure your book has been edited and formatted correctly (ideally by professionals in those specifics areas)
Set up author accounts on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. These are the three main sites you’re going to want people to submit reviews to, so you will need to make sure your book is actually available to be purchased from and reviewed on these particular platforms. Ideally you will have set these accounts up far in advance of your book’s release date so readers/reviewers can explore them as soon as you begin reaching out.
Put together a media/release kit. If you’re releasing the book through a publisher, odds are some of this will be done by their marketing team. However, if you’re self-publishing, or if the press doesn’t do much outreach, there are a few items you should prepare before seeking out reviewers. These items include: copy of the book (either digital or physical, depending on your means), short press release (think of it as an advertisement for your book), plot synopsis, brief author bio, and finally author and book cover photos. Not every reviewer will want all of this, but the more you have ready the better prepared you are just in case.
Set up social media accounts. Having an established presence online is often critical to the success of your book. Not only is engaging on social media a great way to attract reviewers, but it’s an important part of marketing/promoting your work as well as yourself as an author. The main platforms being used are Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We recommend setting up accounts and engaging with the book community for at least a few months prior to asking for reviews. This gives people a better chance of knowing your name ahead of time, and possibly means they would be more receptive to your request.
Getting Your Book Reviewed: Thoughts from Actual Reviewers
So authors, wondering about best practices for getting your horror book reviewed? I have my own personal opinions on the subject, but I also decided to reach out to the review community for their input. Lo and behold, it basically matches what I said. If multiple reviewers are all saying the same thing, it’s probably worth taking note. Below are some of the most popular suggestions (including the reviewer’s name and Instagram handle):
“I always appreciate when an author takes the time to get to engage with me and get to know my interests better before reaching out. The initial review request should mention why I’m a good fit, what the book is about, what format you’ll send, and if you’re looking for a specific time frame (if you are I probably will say no because I can’t guarantee anything right now). Personally I’m fine with a DM, but I know some reviewers take emails more seriously. A good way to lose my interest immediately is to send communications that are brusque, incoherent, or impersonal.”
Ben Long (@reading.vicariously)
“I’m willing to review books for people who think I would be a good voice for their books, so they’ve taken me and my personality into consideration. They’ve interacted with me enough & approached me in a friendly manner. I am not willing to review books from people who have not followed me, have not interacted with me, don’t offer any kind of free copy, and don’t take into consideration stuff I like to read. I prefer physical copies for pictures, but I can make things work with an electronic copy. If you can offer physical copies though, definitely do.”
“Flattery helps. I’ve had people approach me and say they liked my other reviews or they liked my aesthetic and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing theirs. Or they said they’ve seen what I’ve reviewed and think their book might be something I’d be interested in and asked if I’d be willing to give it a try…approach is everything. But an organic approach is best. I want to feel like you’ve taken time to see if I’d even be into your book. I’m also not interested in buying your book just to do you a favor because you “cold called me.” I’m far more likely to review if you offer me a copy and even more likely if you offer me a physical copy. I prefer them for photographing.”
“Find reviewers that specialize in your genre or have an interest in your genre. Accept a negative review as valuable feedback. Personalize your review pitch rather than copy and pasting generic ones. Once the review is written, return the favor by sharing the review with your audience. And finally, don’t chase a reviewer down and ask if they have read your book. It is ok to ask a reviewer for a time frame. If they give you one and its elapsed, it is then ok to follow up.”
“I appreciate it when someone tells me if they would like it read by a certain date or specifically the release date so I don’t have to ask. I’ve gotten excited about reading review copies and then when I ask they have wanted it done by the release date in a couple weeks or so and had to decline.”
Keely Fuse (@keelyfuse85)
“For me personally, an author has a higher chance of me reviewing their book if they have engaged with me in an organic way prior to asking. ALWAYS ask if you may send the book. Do not send a link in the initial contact. It shows you are not concerned with connecting with me as much as getting your book out. Authors should also survey my feed, read my other reviews, and check out my blog and socials to make sure your book is really a good fit for me. Physical copies are expensive so electronic copies are fine, but if you are going to send electronic for the love of everything good and pure do not send a PDF. Also, Do NOT expect a review to be completed by a certain time. Reviewers are human and this isn’t their job, its a hobby. Finally, continue engaging after I receive your book. Stay in the reviewers line of sight WITHOUT being pushy.”
Roxie Voorhees (@the.book.slayer)
“Don’t DM reviewers you don’t know asking for reviews. Go to their blog or look for an email address. Include promotional links and a summary. Don’t tell me you’ve written the best book ever written.”
“It’s important to be personal and real. Don’t send messages requesting a review for your book that appear to be copied and pasted and impersonal. Also, if you’d like your book reviewed in a certain time frame, be up front about that with your potential reviewers. I personally always consider a paperback copy to review over a digital copy due to eye strain from screen reading, but also because I find a physical copy to be easier to photograph and promote. I know all readers are different though, so having digital or physical copies available for reviewers is great, but I also know that is not always possible. When seeking engagement surrounding your book, build up hype, ask engaging questions related to the book topics, host giveaways, and interact with anyone who shows an interest in your writing or the genres you write in.”
“Bullying or unbecoming behavior will not be tolerated and I will sever ties completely if needed. My interest has already been piqued by the time I’ve chosen a book and that spine has been cracked open (or the Kindle powered on). I am your target audience, as such I don’t necessarily need to be won over but I am your reader to lose.”
Zakk Madness (@zakkmadness)
“Be cool, be not creepy, be nice.”
To reiterate, here are the reviewers’ top “Dos” and “Don’ts” summed up:
Engage authentically with potential reviewers
Have organic interactions with potential reviewers (likes, comments, shares, tags, etc)
Express understanding of a reviewer’s interests and genres they prefer
Consider the manner and medium with which you make first contact
Offer physical copies if possible, but if not then check to see if digital is fine (typically MOBI or EPUB)
Scan your messages for typos
Communicate aggressively (audacious tone, repeated messages, commands to buy your book, etc)
Pressure the reviewer
Demand specific deadlines (requesting a time frame may be fine, as long as the reviewer is on board and the understanding is that the deadline may not be met)
Assume everyone wants to read your book
Harass people who leave negative reviewers
Act in a trolling, bullying, or otherwise unpleasant manner online (you never know who could be a potential reviewer that you’ve turned off with inappropriate/negative behavior)
After Your Horror Book is Reviewed
So you’ve gotten a review (or twenty)? Hooray! While you should bask in the glow of knowing people are reading and writing about your book, don’t stop there. To really get the most out of each and every review, consider doing the following:
Keep engaging! It’s important that your engagement has been authentic, and a reviewer’s positive experience means they will be much more likely to review future books down the line.
Write a thank you! Reviewers like knowing you appreciate their feedback. Even if the review was less than stellar it shows you’re willing to listen and engage as an author.
Use those reviews! Share quotes from positive reviews on social media, marketing/press materials, your website, and even on the book cover (if you got them in before print or if you end up reprinting) – anywhere you can share the good things people are saying about your work.
The Bottom Line
Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into the success of a book release (including social media marketing, promotional giveaways, blog tours, and even the right cover to name a few things). But when it comes to successfully pitching your work to reviewers and bloggers in your niche, following these tips will go a long way in helping get your horror book reviewed!
Ben’s love for horror began at a young age when he devoured books like the Goosebumps series and the various scary stories of Alvin Schwartz. Growing up he spent an unholy amount of time binge watching horror films and staying up till the early hours of the morning playing games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Since then his love for the genre has only increased, expanding to include all manner of subgenres and mediums. He firmly believes in the power of horror to create an imaginative space for exploring our connection to each other and the universe, but he also appreciates the pure entertainment of B movies and splatterpunk fiction.
Nowadays you can find Ben hustling his skills as a freelance writer and editor. When he’s not building his portfolio or spending time with his wife and two kids, he’s immersing himself in his reading and writing. Though he loves horror in all forms, he has a particular penchant for indie authors and publishers. He is a proud supporter of the horror community and spends much of his free time reviewing and promoting the books/comics you need to be reading right now!
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