Joe Hill and His Swag.
I came across an 2011 CNN article today which featured fantasy and horror writer Joe Hill. Now, whenever someone speaks of Joe Hill, there's automatically a giant elephant in the room. Why? Because he has his father. Who's his father?
At any rate, what impressed me about Joe Hill, besides his novel Heart-Shaped Box and a few of his stories from 20th Century Ghosts, is his mind set as a writer.
Be Your Own Writer
Granted, Hill probably had a nice boost from being the son of what's-his-face, but he didn't want that to help him. He told CNN:
I'm very close to my dad, my best friend. I talk to him every day, and he is a huge source of inspiration for me. I knew by the time I was in college I wanted to be a professional writer as well, but I also started to think that the last name was actually more of a disadvantage than an advantage.
Most writers I know don't have a great family hook-up in the writing industry. And to be honest, if his dad was my dad, I would have thought twice about using a pen name. That's what makes Hill a great writer. He didn't want to piggyback off of his dad, so he decided to shorten his name so he could have a career of his own.
In the United States, there are dozens of celebrity children who only rise to fame because of their parents, and then they turn around and make money off of careers they never quite established. While this unfair, you cannot blame people for the family they are born into. However, some of us get a little sick with individuals like the Kardashians (don't remind me of the Kris Humphries scandal) hogging up magazine space (which could be use for better articles by, you know, WRITERS) and TV time (which also could consist of shows written by WRITERS). And what do they do? Whatever their inherited success allows them to buy.
But Hill chose to throw most of that away. By sharing the same last name as his parents, he was guaranteed publication. He also wanted to have a long career. If anything he wrote was published for being a what's-their-faces, a crappy novel could have emerged. That novel would sell like James Cameron movies, but if it sucked, his career would be over.Still, he writers the same kind of stuff as his father, so has he used the family to his advantage?
Write What You Know
He grew up in a fantasy/horror household. This is what he knew, and although this piece of advice is generally abused and misunderstood, he grew up with ghost stories and ended up writing ghost stories.
Left: What's-his-face Right: Joe Hill
In essence, I not only like Joe Hill's works, but also respect the man as a human being.
Sure I don't know him through anything more than his tweets, but being a good person also reflects well on a writer.
Remember, you are your best selling point. Be organic.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.