The Scariest Part

PLEASE NOTE: After almost a decade, I have made the difficult decision to end “The Scariest Part.” I’m gratified that my recurring blog feature helped to promote new works by dozens of great authors, both new and established, but the time has come to focus my energy elsewhere. This page will go away shortly.

What is “The Scariest Part,” anyway?

The Scariest Part is a recurring guest blog feature in which authors discuss the scariest parts of their latest works of horror, dark fantasy, dark science fiction, and suspense. The definition of “scariest part” is actually pretty flexible. It can be the scene that gave them the most chills, or some personal threshold they had to cross during the creative process. The goal is to help promote these new books to a wide audience of people interested in all things scary. A new guest blog will appear every Tuesday, give or take.

Hey, I write stuff! How can I be one of your guest bloggers?

Glad you asked! If possible, send an email at least one month before your book’s official release date to nick DOT kaufmann AT gmail DOT com, with the subject line: “THE SCARIEST PART QUERY: [Your Name] [The Title] [Release Date].” In the body of the email, please give me a brief description of the book you’re promoting. I’ll try to get back to you within a week to let you know if there’s space available. If you don’t hear from me after two weeks, feel free to check in with me to make sure I received your query. If I give you the thumbs up, I’ll assign you a run date for your blog post.

Do I also have to send you a copy of my book?

Not unless I ask, but thanks for offering.

Hooray, you’ve given me a slot! Now what do you need from me?

Send me a short essay (as a Word file or equivalent, not in the body of an email) about the scariest part of your new book. By short, I mean in the 400- to 1,000-word range, roughly. Remember, you get to decide what “scariest part” actually means. Is it a scene that made you look over your shoulder as you were writing it? Is it something so grotesque you were surprised that your own imagination came up with it? Is it a bit of real-world research you did that made you wonder how something so awful or strange could have happened? Is it confronting something difficult in your own life in order to better write about it? Consider this an opportunity to tell your audience what freaks you out, gets under your skin, or just gives you that indefinable frisson that all good scares provide.

Be sure to include a short bio. About 150-200 words should do. Also be sure to give me any links you’d like to include, such as links to your website and social media. When possible, I routinely link to the book’s purchase page at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, and Bookshop, but if there are other purchasing links you’d like me to include, such as a link where someone can buy directly from the publisher, please let me know. In addition to your essay, I will need an image file of your book cover. It doesn’t necessarily have to be high resolution, but the better the quality, the better it’ll look online. To get an idea of what I’m looking for and how I generally like things formatted, take a look at these recent installments of the Scariest Part.

Your deadline is any time the week before the scheduled run date. Please do not send anything earlier than that. Send your essay and your image file together to nick DOT kaufmann AT gmail DOT com, with the subject line “THE SCARIEST PART ENTRY: [Your Name] [The Title] [Scheduled Blog Date].”

What’s with all the fancy-schmancy subject lines you’re asking for? Control-freak much?

Hey, I get a lot of email and I don’t want your queries or posts to get lost in the shuffle. Sue me.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, two things, and they’re both important, so pay attention.

First, respectfully, I don’t have time to be your copyeditor or personal spell check. When you hand in your blog post, be sure it’s as free of typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors as possible. Remember, you’re trying to entice your audience into purchasing the work you’re promoting. Take the time to put your best foot forward.

Second, I reserve the right to reject your blog post or ask for edits if it includes something I find offensive. I’m not easily offended, so I don’t expect this to happen often. However, I don’t take kindly to homophobia, sexism, racism, or any other kind of bigotry. If there’s something in your blog post that swims in those waters, you can expect to hear from me.

Okay. Anything else?

That’s it! Have fun with it!