Celebrate Horror 2021 with Mother Horror
Last year around March 15th is when our family made a personal choice to stay home due to the rising cases of COVID-19. March 23rd is when Gov. Jay Inslee issued Washington state's first stay home order. It was in place for two months.
Stay home unless absolutely necessary. Only essential businesses will stay open.
During these two months, it was an unsettling, stressful, and emotional time. I read 20 books in March, including Hell House by Richard Matheson in one day. Reading was a way to distract myself from watching the news or "doomscrolling" on Twitter.
Other people took to their books too, because Night Worms (the monthly subscription service I co-own with my friend, Ashley) saw a huge increase in new subscribers and sales. As bookstores and other book retailers closed down, online sales of books exploded. This included our horror fiction "delivered to your door" company. But the book industry itself was seeing some instability due to the fact that big publishers closed their offices to be in compliance with stay at home orders. Our reps were working from home just like we were but the actual, physical books were in warehouses or with printing. The big question was, "Are books essential?" This included the production of books.
Books are essential.
2020 was an exceptionally great year for horror fiction. The big hits just kept coming month, after month, after month from both indie and traditional or mainstream publishers. The thing I kept thinking about was, "How are these releases getting promoted?" No book tours. No author signings. No physical or in-person marketing of a book, period. Everything had to be online. I'm reminded of the interview I did this year with Alma Katsu and I asked about her 2020 release The Deep. She said,
"By April, everyone in the business—publishers, bookstores, authors, readers—were trying new ways to connect, though I’d say independent bookstores really led the way. They (and authors) turned to online events. And because people were desperate to connect with others during such a scary time, the turnouts were huge! I just about did an event a day throughout April 2020. It was tremendous, and it was a comfort to connect with so many people during the uncertainty."
April was when I started thinking about a virtual event where authors could promote their work as well. I decided that I could schedule the event on my birthday weekend (Memorial Day weekend, May 29th-31st) since I wouldn't be able to go out and do any of the typical things I enjoy doing on my birthday; a combination of a trip to a bookstore, a movie and dinner. So Celebrate Horror 2020 was born. I commissioned one of my favorite artists for the official graphic and then hit my Goodreads up to see what books I had read so that I could invite the authors to read at the event.
Right now we're all in a much better situation than we were this time last year. Just from personal experience, My whole family has had their first and second doses of Moderna except our youngest, but his appointment is tomorrow. This means a whole family of five will be vaccinated as we head into summer. In the Fall, my youngest gets to go back to school full-time. We should be celebrating horror AND modern science.
THANK YOU SCIENCE!!
However, just because so many of us are vaccinated doesn't mean life is 100% fully back to normal. Many annual book cons and festivals are still being postponed. Last weekend we participated in StokerCon and Librarian's Day, virtually. So there is still a need to keep promoting new releases through online events. That's why Celebrate Horror is back!
This year, I did not limit it to only books that I have read. I opened the doors wide to make sure that there was room at the table of 2021 horror fiction for everyone. I am only one person and I organize this event all on my own, so it is limited in the sense that I couldn't possibly allow for too many author readings. There is a lot of donated time going into promotions, emails, making graphics, uploading content to YouTube and such, but I'm pretty proud of the guest list.
It's my hope and my vision that Celebrate Horror 2021 will serve as a means for authors to make that important connection to their readers and for readers to be able to share in something special when they can put the author's face, voice, and tone to the words on the page. It's pretty magical. I'm proud of the horror community and this showcase of readings. I hope you enjoy it.
Where: Night Worms YouTube
When: May 28th-29th the videos will go LIVE starting at 4am PST
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