I suppose I should be flattered by the massive increase in requests for critiques and reviews of films, books and other dark fiction artwork. Looks like ten years of blogging is starting to pay off.
But, with great SEO comes a great bunch of whack jobs wanting your attention.
Case in point: I was recently contacted by a PR firm representing a Hollywood film company promoting their new horror flick. I should have known better from the trailer and the press release, but I watched the film, and it turned out to be Torture Porn. Putting it nicely, this person isn’t making movies. What he has made is so astonishingly violent and awful that I wouldn’t even recommend it to Rob Zombie.
The way I put it to the PR company was, “I don’t think I’d be able to give you the charitable review you would like.” But that’s PR speak. What I really meant was, “I think the filmmaker should be dragged out into the street and strangled to death with his own intestines. While being burned alive. While being run over. With his own car. Probably want to kill off any offspring too, just to make sure that particular movie-making gene isn’t passed on. And to be really sure, you probably want to make a note of his DNA code and put it on some kind of government black list.”
Film THAT, and I’d review it.
You see, it isn’t the graphic violence that I’m opposed to, its the fact that there was NO PLOT. Because without a plot, there’s no reason for the violence to exist in your film in the first place. What am I supposed to critique? The soundtrack? The special effects? Your clever selection of ways in which to hurt people?
Another film company approached me with a heartwarming, coming of age film. Seriously, do you know who I am? Have you even seen my site?
To prevent time-wasters like these, I came up with a checklist for authors, filmmakers, production companies, PR houses, and other potential reviewees to consider before submitting books, movies and other art for review here at conradzero.com.
The Official Review Policy for conradzero.com
I love reviewing Dark Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror and Speculative Fiction in any formats: books, e-books, movies, music, websites, services, products, stories, novels, erotic pix, interpretive dance, etc…
However, I ask that all potential reviewees please consider the three simple items below:
1 – I Love Dark Fiction
Rule One: Know Thy Reviewer. This doesn’t just apply to me, but to anyplace you approach for a review. Oh, but it doesn’t hurt to blast the world with requests, right? Wrong. A little research will go a long way. Send people stuff they already like, and the chances of not only getting a review but getting a good review go up considerably. With that in mind, here’s lists of things I like / don’t like.
Conrad Zero Likes
- Dark Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Speculative Fiction
- Monsters, Demons, Cthulhu, Aliens… you know, scary stuff
- Action, Humor, Caffeine, Guns, and Things That Explode
- Trechery, Deceit, and World-Ending-Evil that simply must be stopped
- Puzzles, Moral and Ethical Dilemmas, Comparative Religion, Philosophical Ideas
- Flo the Progressive Insurance Girl.
Conrad Zero Dislikes
- Religious or Political Agendas disguised as Fiction (Whether I agree with them or not)
- Torture Porn, Rob Zombie Films, and other “Violence sans plot”. Think dark, not depraved.
Notice that I have no bias for or against works of art because of who made them, how they were made, or how much money they were made with. I thought Clerks was awesome, and the Blair Witch Project sucked. I won’t automatically like/hate your book just because you got a publishing deal with Simon and Schuster, and I won’t automatically like/hate your movie because the budget was less than the blue book value of my 1996 Saturn SC2. And just because you’re a dark fiction author from Minneapolis like me doesn’t guarantee I’ll review your story, or like it for that matter, which leads me to my next point.
2 – I Guarantee An Honest Review, But I Don’t Guarantee A Positive Review
I do private critiques all the time for the MNSpec Writers’ Group and other Dark Fiction Author friends. While these are not the same as public reviews of finished works, there is one thing I do for both in the interest of giving critiques that are actually USEFUL to those reading them.
I try to find good and bad aspects of everything I review.
In other words, I guarantee an honest review, but I don’t guarantee a positive review. This isn’t “The Feel-Good Home Of Instant 5-Star Reviews!” There are plenty of other places that do this, and I don’t trust their endorsement of anything. If what you really want is ADVERTISING, then you can pay me to post a link to your “product” but if you want a REVIEW, then mine come with the good and the bad in one package.
So if your story has a horrible cover, typos galore and poor formatting, I’ll point it out. This works the other-way-round too, even if your story has a horrible cover, typos galore and poor formatting, I’ll still look for good qualities that make your book worth buying. Even the worst work has some redeeming quality, and even the best work could be improved. Midi-chlorians. I rest my case.
3 – No Unsolicited Works – Ask For Reviews Before Submitting
Aside from being rude and assuming, there are legal reasons you don’t send unsolicited work to anyone. Always get permission first. Pitch me your project and I’ll let you know if I’m interested/available to review it. Press Kits, website links, and e-mail requests are fine, but DO NOT send unsolicited stories, scripts, writings or other works.
The Short Version
The more you act like a professional, the more I will treat you like a professional. The more you act like an overcaffinated spazz, spewing review requests into every inbox when you’ve clearly spent more time marketing your work than actually working on it… the more you really do not want me to review your work.
How to Submit Dark Fiction Books, Movies, Etc For Review
If we’re on the same page, then for the fastest response – press-kit or pitch me by email: zero at conradzero.com