Archive for writing

New Digs

Posted in News with tags , on September 13, 2010 by scottsplatter

In an effort to better consolidate my web presence I have created a new catch all blog

Architectural Scarecrows & The Ashes of Effigies : The Aberrant Laboratory of Scott E. Candey

I find that by having too many sites going I don’t post to any of them nearly as much as I want to. Determining what content goes where results in no content going anywhere. My hope is by creating this new site I’ll post more often and while it may be eclectic it will be me. All of the relevant posts from Exquisite Dystopia have already been migrated.

This site will have downloads and a full overview of my activities as well. I hope you’ll check it out

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Writing vs. Music: Labels and Publishers

Posted in Rumination with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by scottsplatter

Since making writing a serious focus, I have tried to find parallels between small press publishers and underground record labels. Chances are if you’re reading this it’s because you found the site via my own music or because of something I released on Crionic Mind. I understand underground music and labels pretty well I think, so I keep hoping that familiarity will assist in finding a foothold in the publishing world.

There are similarities in the spirit of both worlds, but the machinations really are pretty different. This will be the first of a couple posts looking at those differences. The more I look into it the greater the differences become.  The soul of the participants share common ground but the approach and relationships are unique.

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Underground music for this discussion refers to experimental music, dark ambient, lesser known metal, punk, industrial etc. Music that is released by small labels that operate out of the corner of the labels owners house. Limited edition releases that end up somewhere near the high/low mark of 1,000 copies,  There are publishing companies that fit this description as well, good ones.

Underground music functions more or less on a barter economy. Labels and distributors trade merchandise more often than not rather than buying from each other at wholesale rates. This allows each to diversify their mail orders while being able to put any real money into releasing new product. Bands or projects are usually paid in product that they can then sell. There are exceptions, but much of the music is obscure enough, and the pressings small enough, that a royalty arrangement is essentially agreeing to do it for free.

If you aren’t familiar with my music and found this through a tag search, there is a discography in the side bar. I never signed a contract, never received a check for any of it. I received product. This worked for me because with running the label I was able to convert my releases into other releases and build a nice mail order catalog (that I will get online again at some point). The bands I did releases for –  I would take care of the artwork and mastering if they wanted, but I paid them in product. No one even raised the issue of money because we all knew how it worked.

I’ve been releasing music since 1995, and recording it longer than that. What did I get out of this model? Reviews, contacts, interviews and friends on every continent but Antarctica. It helped me build a record label that  garnered some amount of respect, had an identity and supported itself. It put me in touch with people who remain friends and inspirations and people who I think might say the same about me. Those things have a value,  but none of them pay my bills. For what I do soundtracks are perhaps the one area that could be lucrative, even then there are a lot of variables.

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I’ve not yet published anything, in fact I have not yet submitted anything, though that time is near.  These impressions are based on the extensive research, market reports, submission guidelines, classes and the advice and comments of those who have.

With publishing, the battle cry is that the money flows to the author. If you publish something you aren’t paid for it’s seen as an invalid writing credit by many. If you self publish, it’s viewed with scorn and can work against you when you submit through the established channels. The editors and publishing houses have determined the chain of worth. It counts if they say it counts.

Print on demand services and e-publishing  have made it easier than ever to self publish, just as affordable home recording software, mp3’s and cdr’s made it easier to make and spread music. The distaste for self publishing comes from the amount of sub par writing that surfaces there. There is so much garbage that the gems are not worth the energy it takes to find them. However, I’ve read books published by reputable houses that contained work I’d have been embarrassed to show anyone. It’s not that published work is better, just that it is more likely to be better.

There is a saying, the hardest book to sell is your second book. Publishers will take a chance on new writers, but once you are published your track record is established. If you aren’t able to sell through your first pressing, your opportunities become more limited. Other publishers have access to the sales numbers for books published by other houses. Not only are your chances diminished with your original publisher if you don’t sell through, they are hurt with prospective publishers. This is with marketing budgets nearly non-existent in the small press world and the responsibility falling to the writer to hustle their work.

Joe Konrath, has a blog called A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing that makes a case for ignoring some of this conventional wisdom and ways to get the money flowing to the author without filtering it through the publishing houses. Paul Jessup had a nice bit of musing on the state of publishing recently on his blog as well. The model is going to change because the tools exist now in such a way that it will have no choice. There will always be garbage on the market, but the time will come when it is the market that determines what is garbage and what is not.

R. Thomas Riley has a post on the Apex Books blog regarding the differences between writing and publishing which I think is a good place to wind this down. This is incomplete, and maybe even ignorant. I wrote it for myself as much as anyone else. Having had success, at least as I measure it, with music and exploring this new parallel underground is an odd thing. There are more rules and more divides. Right now my goal is to write well. I will try to publish. Whether I am successful at that end of it or not I will still try to write well.

To be continued…

draft in the can

Posted in Writings with tags , , , on January 30, 2010 by scottsplatter

Last night I finished the first draft of a story I have worked on for a couple months now. It ended up being 6724 words in its current raw state. I will hack that down and beat it into shape over the next little while. It’s called The Fetishes of L. Wolff. No, not those kind of fetishes, the other kind. It was inspired by someone who is inspiring.

I should be ready to start sending it out for consideration in the coming weeks and if anyone takes notice I’ll let you know… or, if you happen to see me dancing the Charleston on a flag pole that would also let you know.

NanoWriMo Pt.2

Posted in Writings with tags , , on November 17, 2009 by scottsplatter

Well, I plowed into Nano skeptical, but with good intentions. I realized as I got into it that I was more interested in the stories I had been working on already than getting in too deep to a new one. I could just paste the writing I have been doing into my nano story since the word count is what matters for Nano, but what’s the point really? I have a solid chunk of something that I will definitely finish in the future, but it’s not what I need to be working on right now. If I hadn’t gotten a lot done in the first part of the month I’d feel bad about it, but I have so…

NaNoWriMo pt. 1

Posted in Writings with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2009 by scottsplatter

Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) started today, and my wife and I decided to give it a go this year. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. That works out to between 1,600 and 1,700 words a day. So far she is kicking my ass.

I’m going to try and also continue working on some of the other stories I have been plugging away on as well, and I have Writers Workshop with Michael Knost II starting in about a week and a half. Hopefully though I will be able to keep up. Whatever happens it figures to be a productive month.

where do your memories go?

Posted in Writings with tags , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by scottsplatter

Where do your memories go?

Snatched by rodents that creep in the night,
Or the bellies of cats that tame the rodent blight?
Down the hole at the creek where stones forever fall,
Or the pipe in the basement that peeks from the wall?
Do they hide beneath leaves when the eaves fill with rain,
Or slip out of view on a boxcar train?

Well, I made you a new one today at the lake
With a pebble, a toad and a green bellied snake.
I left it with you by the old porch swing,
But the drink in your hand may have clipped its wings.
It was good I think, as far as memories go,
Nearly as good as that pig with no nose.
But you lost that too as I now recall,
He was in the carnival tents that arrived last fall.

Where do your memories go?

Perhaps they are waiting for you out there,
In a stump, or a trunk or the cushion of your chair.
The one where you sit with a drink in your hand,
Sour on life and the ways of the land.
I think you will find them if you look one day,
Because none of mine have gone away.

-sec

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I wrote that half asleep a few months ago over morning coffee and just stumbled across it again. Not sure where the undercurrent came from honestly. I was pleased with how it turned out though. I think I was inspired by watching Neil Gaiman read The Day The Saucers Came. Video/audio isn’t great, but the poem is.

some of that book learnin’

Posted in Recommendation, Rumination with tags , , on October 1, 2009 by scottsplatter

I’m going to be taking an online writing course offered by Michael Knost. Knost edited the recent Writers Workshop Of Horror collection. You can find out more about the class and Michael at his blog here. There is apparently still a bit of room in the classes if anyone might be interested.

I’m still working my way through the Writers Workshop book, but the articles thus far have all been useful and well done. The collection is a similar approach to the Horror Writer’s Association’s (HWA’s) book On Writing Horror. A compilation of essays by various luminaries of the field dissecting a particular component of the craft.  I got a lot out of On Writing Horror, but the Knost collection thus far feels even more meat and potatoes than that did.

I’m definitely looking forward to it, I haven’t taken a formal course in a very long time. I guess I took a class on Adobe Illustrator that my work paid for about 12 years ago, but before that it was college about 18 years ago.