About Shelf Abuse

Hang on a minute… where am I?

You’ve somehow stumbled upon www.shelfabuse.com (formally www.holycr4p.com) a site devoted to comic books and graphic novels, specifically indie titles and small press releases. Occasionally, a movie or video game review also makes its way here. Sometimes others contribute their opinions, sometimes it’s just me.

Following the release of my first novel, I’ll still be writing reviews, albeit less frequently, and focussing on storytelling in general, as well as chronicling on my own journey as an indie author. Do feel to get in touch with your creative projects, but also be aware that I currently receive more review and news requests than I could ever respond to. Apologies to those whose emails I have no choice but to ignore.

As for this particular page, I was going to do an F.A.Q., but nobody has asked me any questions… not frequently, anyway. So instead, here’s a P.A.Q.(Possibly askable questions).

Carl Doherty

And you are?

Carl Doherty, an aesthetically pleasing blend of lovely bloke and idiot savant. I’m also a freelance writer and occasional artist/designer, situated in Essex, England. I’ve written for numerous  websites and publications, generally reviewing video games, movies and comic – which, in the eyes of the common-or-garden philistine, makes me a big fat geek.

As with any poorly paid hack, I dream of seeing my novels, scripts and art receiving the attention I believe they deserve , and Shelf Abuse was conceived as a way of meeting like-minded types within what might be considered an impenetrable industry.

So… why do you bother?

Really, I no longer know.

Only kidding – essentially, my few years as a freelance journalist taught me two things: 1) There ain’t much money to be made from writing online, and 2) Networking is a far greater factor in journalistic success than writing proficiency will ever be.

And so I started this humble second home of mine. And in the past few years I’ve received review copies and news alerts from writers, artists and publishers from around the world. The site may not make money, but these guys’ passion and inspiration has made it all worthwhile.

Site!? Don’t you mean “blog”?

Hmmm… the term blog is a contraction of “web log”, which infers an online journal of some kind. I keep my personal life precisely that, and strive to write in a professional tone at all times. This page excluded, of course. And all of the columns, but I’m conveniently forgetting about those.

Will you feature my webcomic/graphic novel/book/digital comic?

Please contact me here. I can’t promise to respond to every email I receive, but I do my best to lend at forfeit a few minutes of my diminishing time to read everything I’m sent.

If you’re a self-publisher, I recommend reading the Submission Guidelines before you contact me.

Hang on… if you begin producing your own literature, won’t criticising other people’s work make you some kind of backstabbing, duplicitous bastard?

Oh, definitely.

I’ve always found the art of critiquing the work of others to be a fine way of improving my own storytelling, and don’t intend to stop any time soon. But hey, if someone wants to dissect my own comic work, I’ll gladly put any number of scathing critiques up on the site, no matter how much they make me cry. And believe me, I’m sure they will.

Need any help?

Are you jesting with me, boy? I’m not business-minded enough to ever get the site making money, but hey, other misguided dreamers do occasionally use the site/blog as a home for their scribblings.

Anyone is welcome to join in, but please read the Contribute to Shelf Abuse page before getting in touch.

One last thing – what’s the deal with the disappearing review scores?

I’ve long disagreed with the act of applying a numerical value to what is a 70% subjective process, but much like the boy who pulled funny faces during capricious weather I began with little numbers after my critiques and was kind of stuck with it.

However, after a hiatus in 2012, I returned with two goals in mind: to continue writing about the things I enjoy, and to create/promote my own fiction. As the scores felt even less appropriate than before, I decided to start afresh and do away with them entirely.

Additionally, the reason I still bother with this site is that, for all its problems, I love both the comic medium and the comic industry, and tend to enjoy a great deal of what I read on some level. Consequently, perhaps because I tended to review/receive books that appealed to my personal taste, and rarely scout out crap titles to write about, most of my reviews fell into the 7/10 or 8/10 category. Which deemed the scores even more redundant.

The older reviews will retain their scores, though.

Storytelling, comic books and self-publishing