Horror is one of the two biggest sellers in the world. The other being Romance.
Horror satisfies all the requirements that other books do to sell. The reader is free to enter a world that they feel is just for them. A world they are free to enter whenever they want and for as long as they want. These things are freedoms that the rest of the world cannot stop or ever take away. The reader has the luxury to use these freedoms in any way and every way they see fit.
Now these things become invaluable to the individual. If I am wrong then ask yourself why so many people by the obligatory “trashy romance novel.” Why is it that they sell so often and so quickly. Do the publishers know this and use it as a marketing ploy or gimmick to sell more books? You’re damn right they do, and they have known it for years and years now.
In knowing this, the companies have map out the ages and types of people where this “gimmick” hits home with the most. In the industry this is called a “demographic.” The common phrase that applies here is “knowing your demographic.”
But those are just some of the mechanics about why Horror sells and sells so well. The reason horror sells so well is all about satisfaction, fascination, curiosity, wonder, romance. Oh yes romance with horror. The sensation of fear from horror is romantic to us and all of us because it thrills us with the sensation of feeling alive. The insta shot of shock that courses through the body and grips us on our most primal level.
Churning the dark within to show us what lives in the dark. We want to have our curiosity of the unknown satisfied and we want to give it shape, form, and identity. Because if we can do that then we are truly afraid and that is is a sensation that we hunger for more than food. The need that binds and unites us. Horror sells because when we see a cemetery some part of us or all of usfeels an overpowering sense of peace but a unified joy at the same time. Just the feeling many get from attending services at church. We savor every piece, morsel, and delicious sensatio of the darker side of life. For us it becomes life and everything that life should be.
We don’t want to run from the ghoul in the darkened wood under the petrified tree. We want to make friends with it and find out how old the tree is, or if the ghoul was ever a person. If we can learn from the thing then we are truly complete. We love fear and the monsters in the dark or the possibility of their existence being true. Its intoxicating to us and in that we find no shame.
(William Bove is the author of “Once Upon a Grave”.)