Update on Today’s Giveaway of The Scent and Other Stories

As of 11:15 a.m. CDT, The Scent and Other Stories is #94 on Amazon’s list of free Best Sellers in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction. What impact does the cover design have on sales?

As of 11:15 a.m. CDT, The Scent and Other Stories is #94 on Amazon’s list of free Best Sellers in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction.

Ranking of The Scent... 16 October 2020

I am happy to see that people have an interest in it. I am looking forward to seeing the results of today’s giveaway after the numbers come in, which should be tomorrow morning, taking into account other time zones.

I have to ask myself if the new cover has anything to do with people’s interest in it. Looking at the diagram of today’s 100 best sellers in this category, the new cover makes it stand out from all the others. With a photograph of a young lady looking directly at the viewer on the cover, the book may have a subtle psychological effect on viewers, because the human mind has evolved to be attentive to faces and to remember intricate details in them. Her eyes are also big and open, which is characteristic of people who like or love someone they see. This may have an additional psychological impact, because the viewer finds himself/herself suddenly looking into the face of someone who likes him/her.

When I design covers in the future, I will try to orient them toward a photo of someone attractive who looks directly at the viewer and whose gaze says, “I like you.” I suspect people will tend to naturally remember this cover more versus covers of people looking away or not of a person.

I am considering putting out another edition of The Scent… just to change the title to make it pop up more often in search results. The primary place people search for keywords is in the title of a work. Ergo, critical keywords should be placed in the title. These should be keywords that reflect the intrinsic nature of the work. For The Scent… I am considering modifying the subtitle and swapping it out for the current title resulting in Stories from the Dark Side of Love: The Scent and Other Short Fiction. I will need to work on the subtitle more, but that’s an initial draft at least.

Let me know what you think.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

Hasta luego.

Really, what is horror?

H_P__Lovecraft_by_MirrorCradle -- resized

H.P. Lovecraft by Mirror Cradle

I like the illustration above, not only because it shows Lovecraft in the throes of creation, but also because it can be a metaphor for anyone in the deepest and darkest of contemplations or beset with a multitude of woes.  For now, though, I will say that it represents Lovecraft contemplating today’s question which is:  forget everything you have ever read about horror, what is horror to you?

Stephen King made this comment (I found it on goodreads.com):

“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…”

To me, these seem to be the superficialities of terror and horror.   If we use disease as a metaphor for horror, then these are its symptoms.   The virus lying at the root of horror is man’s inhumanity to man.   Seeing a severed head tumbling down stairs is indeed horrible;  seeing the murderer sever the head would be even worse, but being able to look into the soul of the murderer and see that the motive for the act stems from the murderer’s complete indifference to the suffering of others would be even worse.   Perhaps even worse than that would be seeing that that indifference to others is not uncommon.

Many have speculated on what fascinates people about horror.   Why would anyone enjoy being frightened?   An article I read last night (I think from Wikipedia) says essentially (I am summarizing in my own words) that it is because the security our civilization our modern society affords us has eliminated the need for the primal fear that developed as a survival mechanism during the early days of evolution.    That may be true to some degree, but if society eliminated some fears, it instilled others.    How many have seen the movie “Candyman”?   How many have seen “I am Legend?” or “The Omega Man” (both derive from the novel “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson), which is only one example of post-apocalyptic literature that would have been inconceivable in primeval times.

Instead of some overreaching drive extending throughout mankind, it may be that the need simply stems from the fact that the adrenaline rush, the focus on the moment, the muscle tension, and all the other physical sensations experienced during fright are the same or very similar to those experienced during sex, but without the sexual arousal itself.   These are also similar to the sensations experienced during peaks of athletic activity.    I was in the martial arts for many years and I can testify that the adrenaline rush experienced during sparring matches or when one is performing at peak ability can be addicting.   Being frightened puts one on a similar level of physical and mental awareness, because it is an instinctual preparation to fight as if one is actually being threatened.  The great thing about horror though is that while one enjoys all the physical highs of one’s body revving up for action, there is no actual threat.  Everyone is safe.   Candyman is not actually going to come out of the screen and track you down (though your subsequent nightmares may tell you otherwise).

So, please put yourself in Mr. Lovecraft’s place in the illustration above and ask yourself, what is horror?