Cover reveal … and some daft questions!

shadow moths_small (526x800)

So, here I am again apologising for not updating the blog for so long. Life still continues to get in the way of my attempts to set up Frightful Horrors as a small press. However, I am now able to reveal the cover of the upcoming e-chapbook from Cate Gardner. This cover was created by Joshua Rainbird and has been described as “seriously disturbing” – which I consider to be a compliment. I think it’s stunning! Still no publication date yet for the e-chapbook though. Watch this space, as they say.

As this blog is about the trials and tribulations of setting up a small press, I thought I’d share some of the questions which have recently been bugging me. These are all questions which I’m sure most people in the publishing world would think are so obvious they don’t even need answering, but they’re causing me a little trouble trying to figure them out.

First, do publishers usually show authors the cover before revealing this to the public? It seems to me to be simple courtesy to do so but I really don’t know if it’s common practice. And another “obvious” (though not to me!) question: should I show my authors the edited version of the book before publication? In the past, I worked with new authors where our aim was to help them learn, and this was the way it was done in those circumstances, but would an established author think this was overkill? I really don’t know! I think I’ll have to swallow my pride, risk looking like an idiot, and ask someone in the know. 😀

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When life gets in the way and everything grinds to a halt….

Hey-ho! Well, I said I’d be blogging about the trials and tribulations of setting up Frightful Horrors and I now have some trials and tribulations. You may have noticed the recent radio silence. Everything was going well and then along comes a family illness to derail my plans and stifle my motivation. Family must come first.

However, thankfully, the situation does seem to be improving, so I hope to be back on track again soon. These things are sent to try us, so it seems. I’ll be back to this blog – and to getting our first publications ready – as soon as possible.

-Caroline Callaghan, Frightful Horrors

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Announcing … Frightful Horrors Showcase series of e-chapbooks

Oh no, I’ve failed in my promise to keep you updated regularly! But that’s because I’ve been so busy lately and, as a result of all this work, I now have more exciting news to report. As well as its regular publications – the first of which is a collection from the master of ‘quiet horror’, Tony Lovell, due this summer – I’m also planning the Frightful Horrors Showcase series. This will comprise a series of short e-chapbooks which aim to showcase emerging writers in the genre. The first in this series will be a mini-collection of two previously unpublished short stories from the pen of Cate Gardner.

Cate’s stories have appeared in many weird and wonderful places such as Shimmer, Black Static and Shock Totem. Her fifth novella, The Bureau of Them, will be published this June/July by Spectral Press. Her collection, Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and Other Curious Things (Strange Publications, 2010), has just found its way to the top of my own to-be-read pile, and I can tell you it’s absolutely brilliant! Her e-chapbook from Frightful Horrors, entitled Shadow Moths, will be published in June/July 2015.

A cover artist has been commissioned (more details soon) and editing/proof-reading is underway. So, if you want to keep up to date with further developments, please follow this blog and/or “like” the Frightful Horrors Facebook page.

-Caroline Callaghan, Frightful Horrors

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My first panic attack – do I need ISBN numbers?

So, what do you need to consider when setting up as a small press publisher? The first requirement is, of course, an excellent author. Regarding Frightful Horrors’ first author, Tony Lovell, I’ve enjoyed his work for some time having read his stories in several Megazanthus Press anthologies, including The First Book of Classical Horror Stories and Horror Without Victims, and also in The EXAGGERATED Press’s Monster Book for Girls. To be honest, I’m surprised Tony hasn’t had a collection published already! And so I was delighted when he agreed to let Frightful Horrors publish his first collection. He’s an author of exceptional talent; a master of what I call ‘quiet horror’. You won’t find cheap shocks or gore within his stories; just a brooding sense of loneliness, subtle terror and inexplicable strangeness.

The second requirement is a good cover artist. As luck would have it, Tony is also an excellent artist having produced covers for several books including Megazanthus Press’ Horror Without Victims and The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies, the DF Lewis collection The Last Balcony (InkerMen Press), and Stephen Volk’s collection Monsters in the Heart (Gray Friar Press).

So I have my author and my cover artist. What next? I’ve been planning the social media marketing campaign for a while and will write more about my plans here in a later blog. But, as a ‘newbie’, there are inevitably things you forget to consider. I was working away at my desk one day when a thought hit me … ISBN numbers! Did I need them? What were they for exactly? How could I get them? Frantic research ensued. I discovered that you don’t have to have them for Kindle ebooks – but I have plans to publish in other formats and on other platforms too. You don’t always have to buy them. Amazon’s CreateSpace paperback publishing arm, for example, will provide a free ISBN number. However, this restricts how/where you can distribute the book in the future. I figured I owe it to my authors – both current and future – to enable publication in other formats and on other platforms if required, so I do need to purchase my own ISBN numbers.

It’s very much a learning curve with so much more left for me to learn at this early stage. As I continue to learn about what’s necessary in order to run a successful publishing venture I’ll report here on the process as it unfolds.

-Caroline Callaghan, Frightful Horrors

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What on earth possessed me to start a small press?

I bet that’s a question many small press publishers ask themselves! For me, it started in my childhood. I really wanted to be a writer. I fantasised about writing an episode of Doctor Who or Star Trek. Later, I dreamed of teaming up with Roald Dahl on Tales of the Unexpected or Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone. Later, I longed to get a story published in the Pan Book of Horror Stories. I also wanted to be Ramsey Campbell.

In the 1980s I devoured the stories in Interzone and Fear magazine, trying to learn how to write as well as the authors I was reading. I still have several exercise books full of half written stories and story ideas. In the early 2000s I actually did submit some very short flash fiction to various outlets. I had a few published online or in fairly inconsequential ‘zines which soon folded.

Then it dawned on me… I really wasn’t a very good fiction writer at all! For a time I tried my hand at non-fiction writing, particularly interviewing, which I really enjoyed. And all the time I was learning about the UK small press and the writers, editors and publishers who inhabit it. And so I had another “eureka moment”… I might not be very good at writing fiction myself but I’m an avid reader who can certainly spot a good story. I have marketing knowledge, as well as editing and proofreading expertise. So, why not become one of those small press publishers?

And so I find myself starting off on an adventure to develop Frightful Horrors into the kind of horror/supernatural/weird fiction publisher that I so admire. It’s going to be an interesting journey. Over the weeks I’ll be blogging about how that journey is progressing. I hope you’ll join me.

-Caroline Callaghan, Proprietor – Frightful Horrors

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