It’s been almost exactly six months since our last publisher update, so we’re a bit overdue. This time around, I’m not just adding new and newly discovered presses, I’m also removing several publishers who have either closed their doors or have been moribund for an extended period.
Publishers Added to the List
13Horror.com – An exercise in pretension and hokiness, 13Horror trumpets their Thirteen anthology series as “The scariest books ever published” and “…the most important contribution to the horror genre in living memory. Steeped in controversy and banned in certain parts of Europe…” Volume one in the series features no less than 113 stories, and with that many stories I’m sure there isn’t a clunker in the bunch. Ahem. Press founder Andrew Hannon supposedly disappeared in 2010, with his estate “assuming responsiblity [sic] for publishing the horror legacy compiled and edited by Hannon.” Yeesh.
Big Time Books – Founded by indy-film veteran Eric Miller, BTB’s debut title, the anthology Hell Comes To Hollywood, certainly reflects Miller’s background both in theme and the contributor list, which is filled with screenwriters and others with film backgrounds. The anthology is available in both trade paperback and ebook formats. No additional titles have yet been announced.
Dark Opus Press – An offshoot of Bête Noire magazine, Dark Opus has published a couple of interestingly themed anthologies — For All Eternity, based on the seven deadly sins, and In Poe’s Shadow, wherein the stories are inspired by Poe — with a third (Tell Me a Fable, stories based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales) on the way. Unfortunately, some of the text on their website is pretty poorly written, which is never a good sign.
Dark Renaissance Books – After turning over control of the long-standing Dark Regions Press to his son Chris, Joe Morey has now gone on to found Dark Renaissance Books, a press that “… will specialize in publishing literary horror, dark fantasy, and fantasy short story collections, and poetry collections” (with the occasional anthology thrown into the mix, apparently). Dark Renaissance has published three titles so far — highlighted by Jeffrey Thomas’ collection, Worship the Night — and announced three more, including Tony Richards’ The Universal and Other Terrors. Titles are published in numbered and lettered hardcover editions.
Dreadful Cafe – A publisher of the “strange and mysterious,” DC looks to be an ebook-only publisher and so far has just one title to their credit — Rick Wayne’s Agony in Violet — but have also announced two anthologies, Membrane and Thresholds. Their place on the list is tentative, due to both their nascent state and the question of whether they will turn out to be primarily a horror publisher.
Fox Spirit Books – UK-based cross-genre publisher, with nine of their eleven titles (two novels, four novellas, four anthologies and one non-fiction title) involving horror. Their books are available in paperback and ebook formats, and representative titles include Jo Thomas’ 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf and Joan De La Haye’s Shadows.
Grey Matter Press – Promoted from the “Pending” list now that they’ve published their first couple of books, this Chicago-based publisher is specializing, perhaps exclusively, in anthologies, with their first five announced titles all falling into that category. Of those five, one has has so far been published — Dark Visions: Volume One, featuring the likes of Ray Garton, Jonathan Maberry, David Riley, and John F.D. Taff. Grey Matter books are available in both trade paperback and ebook formats.
Greyhart Press – An ebook-only publisher of roughly equal amounts of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In the realm of horror, they’ve published five novels and a novella, all by either Mark West or Paul Melhuish.
Mystery and Horror, LLC – This company was originally launched as a writing partnership between Gwen Mayo and Sarah Glenn, because they were going to the same conventions and events to promote their books, but the two decided in 2013 to expand into publishing, and have already published four anthologies (and apparently will continue to focus exclusively on that format). M&H has a strong secondary focus on humor, with half of their books to date featuring a horror/humor hybrid approach — Strangely Funny and the unfortunately titled Ha-Ha Horror. Formats: trade paperback and ebook.
Siren’s Call Publications – Self-described as “an edgy/dark Fiction Publisher interested in stories of Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery and Suspense,” Siren’s Call — which is owned and operated by three women — also seems to have a pretty strongy emphasis on romance, with four of their nine titles to date either primarily or secondarily focused on that genre. As you can gather from those numbers, Siren’s Call just barely qualifies for inclusion on our list, with five of their titles falling into the horror /thriller category. Representative titles include The Undying Love by Greg McCabe and Days With the Undead by Julianne Snow, both post-zombie-apocalypse tales, and Siren’s Call books are available in the usual trade paperback and ebook formats.
Strange House Books – Named after its founder, Kevin Strange, the moniker also describes the press’ purpose, which — as described on their website — is to “showcase the most bizarre, horrific, weird, and downright Strange fiction the genre has to offer.” In business for just over a year at this point, Strange House has already published fourteen titles, including nine novels, four anthologies, and one collection. Somewhat disconcertingly, five of the nine novels are by Strange himself (never a good sign when a founder is so fixated on publishing their own work). Strange House is clearly treading the same bizarro ground as Eraserhead Press and LegumeMan Books, as evidenced by some of their book titles: Alien Smut Peddlers From the Future; Dinner at the Vomitropolis; and Vampire Guts in Nuke Town.
Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Publishing – Cross-genre publisher of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, with five titles to their credit so far — three anthologies, all edited by D.L. Russell and Sharon Black; a novel; and a collection. SW&W employs an extremely bare-bones website, and while their submissions page talks about acquiring electronic rights as well as print rights, their books seems to so far be available only in trade paperback format.
Stumar Press – A UK-based ebook-only publisher launched in 2011, the press’ name is a combination of the founders’ names (Stuart Hughes and Mark West). Stumar debuted with an anthology and has since published collections by Stuart Young, Sara Jayne Townsend, and Hughes, with another anthology and a collection of collaborative stories, by Tim Lebbon and D.F. Lewis, having been announced. In the “not-so-good news” department, their website looks to not have been updated since 2012, so they’re going to immediately sport an asterisk next to their name on the list.
Vampires2 Publishing Company– Sigh. It pains me to include publishers like this on the list, but…based on my criteria, they qualify. Featuring a website straight out of 1995, Vampires2 has published 24 titles — some really only short stories in length, all in ebook format, and all with horrendously amateurish covers. Enough said.
Villipede Publications – Featuring a stylish website (bordering on style over substance, actually, with some annoying display and user experience issues), Villipede debuted in 2011 with a science fiction anthology, but has since followed up with the horror novel The Absence of Light by J. Daniel Stone and the horror anthology Darkness Ad Infinitum, and have announced a collection. Paperback and ebook formats.
Publishers Removed From The List
I’ve been allowing a lot of questionable publishers (questionable in terms of whether they’re truly still active) to cling to the list for far too long. A culling of the herd is way overdue, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do here.
I considered removing all of the presses listed below… some I wound up moving to the “Defunct” list, some I declared dormant and moved to the “Excluded Publishers” list, and some I kept on the Active Publisher list, with an asterisk to denote their borderline status. See the comments for each publisher for details:
- Alter Ego Books – Dormant; published one title (a chapbook) in 2011, with nothing announced on their website since then.
- Annihilation Press – Although they’re putting out some comics, Roger Dale Trexler’s press has been dormant as a book publisher since 2009.
- Babbage Press – Dormant; website was last updated in January 2011, and when I tried to email Babbage to query their status, my message got bounced back because their mailbox was full. Seems like no one’s minding the store. Press owner Lydia Marano is a friend from long ago, but… I’m declaring this press dormant.
- Bandersnatch Books – Defunct; website has been taken over by Asian squatters; Bandersnatch is deader than dead.
- BlackSails Press – Defunct before they started; no updates to website since 2011; no titles ever published.
- Blade Red Press – Dormant; no posts on their site since April 2011.
- Bloodletting Press – Defunct; the lease expired on the website name registration, and the name been taken over by another party. However, former Bloodletting Press owner Larry Roberts is still publishing other imprints (see Arcane Wisdom).
- Coscom Entertainment – Dormant; no posts to site since April 2011.
- Dark Prints Press – Announced minimum 1-year hiatus 7/13/13, so I’m keeping them on the list, but giving them an asterisk.
- Dark Scribe Press – Defunct; no posts since 2010; apparently no books published since 2009.
- Darkwood Press – Defunct; although the primary imprint Fairwood Press (which is non-horror) continues to publish, sub-imprint Darkwood appears to have gone dark.
- Dead Letter Press – Nothing published in a long time, but press owner indicates they’re not dead yet, so they’ll stay on the list with an asterisk.
- DHG Press – Defunct; lease expired on website name registration.
- Elder Signs Press – No new titles published since Fall of 2011, but they did post in May 2013 that one of their titles will be translated and published in Spain, so I’ll keep them on the list and give them an asterisk.
- E-volve Books – Defunct; website has been down for more than three months. That’s more than enough cause to declare them dead.
- Haunted Computer Books – Dormant; no posts since March 2011.
- Hersham Horror Books – No posts on their site since 2011, but they did publish a book in May 2012, so they’ll continue to stay on the list, with an asterisk, for now.
- Library of the Living Dead Press – Defunct; no posts on website since 2011; no activity on Facebook page since 2010.
- Mythos Books – Dormant; no new titles since May 2010.
- Necessary Evil Press – Dormant; no books released or posts made to site since April 2011.
- Necropolitan Press – Dormant; no titles released since 2009.
- Pill Hill Press – Defunct; closed their doors January 2013.
- Sideshow Press – Dormant; no posts (or titles published) since April 2011. (Update: as per comments below, I’ve added Sideshow back to the list.)
- Spectre Library – Dormant; no posts (or titles published) since Spring 2011.
- Strange Publications – Dormant; no posts (or titles published) since March 2011.
- Triskaideka books – Defunct; website down; no posts on Facebook page since September 2011, when they announced that they were suspending an anthology.
- War of the Words Press – Defunct before they started; never published the Weird War anthology that they announced, and showed off a very cool cover for (which can still be seen on their dormant Facebook page).
In sum: I’ve added 15 new presses to the Active Publisher list, and removed 23, for a net reduction of eight, and a new total of 183 publishers on the list.