Crowdfunding Literature – an interview with Shadow Booth’s Dan Coxon

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Dan Coxon‘s writing has appeared in Salon, Unthology, The Lonely Crowd, Popshot, Neon, Gutter and Wales Arts Review, amongst others. He is the editor of Being Dad, a collection of short stories about fatherhood that won Best Anthology at the Saboteur Awards 2016, and is currently crowdfunding The Shadow Booth, a new journal of weird and eerie fiction. He was long-listed for the Bath Flash Fiction Award 2017, and is a Contributing Editor at The Lonely Crowd. He also writes horror and speculative fiction under a pen name.

What got you interested in writing?

I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember. Certainly as far back as my early teens. I wrote weird little sci-fi stories then, and gradually ‘progressed’ to writing more literary fare. Recently I’ve returned to the weird stuff. Frankly, it’s more fun.

Tell us a little about your chosen genre.

I consider myself to be extremely lucky, in that I now write in two genres. It’s given me the freedom to write the story as it wants to come out – then I can decide later whether it’s one to be released under my own name, or the pen name. There’s a certain freedom in that. I’ve become very interested in the weird in fiction lately – not just in genre fiction, but in mainstream fiction too, and films – which is partly why I decided to launch The Shadow Booth. There are lots of people writing excellent but strange little stories. I felt they needed a home.

What are your happiest memories in your writing career?

It’s hard to say. I’m very bad at celebrating my successes, and tend to dwell on what I could have done better. I was excited the first time one of my ‘weird’ stories was accepted by Black Static magazine. It proved to me that I was on the right track, and not wasting my time. Also, it would be hard to beat the moment we won Best Anthology at the Saboteur Awards for Being Dad!

How do you handle success and failure?

Strangely, I seem to handle failure better than success. As far as I’m concerned, rejection is part of the writing life – someone once said to me that if you’re not being rejected all the time, you’re not aiming high enough. That makes sense to me. Rejection comes with the territory. When it comes to success, though, I’ll usually celebrate for ten minutes then get back to work.

What makes you write when you’re exhausted and your fingers ache?

Most of the time it’s not optional. Writing is part of who I am, I’m not sure I can stop it now. (By way of an example, I’m typing this while propped up in bed with the flu.)

What is your advice to young and new writers?

Keep writing, and ignore those who try to put too many rules and restrictions on what you’re doing. There is no formula for success, you have to find your own way. If you can write a thousand words a day, that’s great. If you can only write a hundred a week, it’s still something. Keep going.

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

I have some ebooks. And they serve a function. But nothing compares to an actual,physical book.

Do you blog?

I used to, but then I realised that I didn’t really have time. I do blog occasional thoughts at http://www.dancoxon.com, and am currently writing occasional posts on the Shadow Booth website at www.theshadowbooth.com.

Do you self-publish?

Yes, and no. My self-published New Zealand memoir Ka Mate did okay – it was even used as research for an ITV documentary. That was a few years ago. And now I’m launching The Shadow Booth, and publishing that myself. Not sure if that counts as self-publishing though, since there’s none of my writing in it. I just see it as publishing.

If you have a publication or promotion – tell us.

At the moment, everything is about promoting The Shadow Booth. We have less than four weeks left to crowdfund it, so please check it out – every person who orders a copy brings it that little bit closer to being published. I have all the stories now, and they’re brilliant. You can order a copy (as well as T-shirts, signed books, story critiques and more) here.

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