Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Women in Horror Month: A Look Back

Published by Kirsten on March 1st, 2014 - in Uncategorized

An enormous amount of content was produced by and about women in horror during Women in Horror Month, 2014. I linked to a lot of this content via our Facebook page  However, since a lot of people don’t visit our Facebook page, I’m going to provide a list of links to places I visited and shared during the month that are related to WiHM(I really recommend that you visit there often, because not only will you get all kinds of awesome content that comes my way, but there are also links to all our blog posts– not just this blog, but the one for Reading Bites, and the one that notifies you of new reviews. So it’s a great way to see everything current).


Mary Shelley Letters Discovered in Essex Archive-- The Guardian, January 15

Flowers in the Attic: The Value of Young Reading Perspectives-- Kelly Jensen, BookRiot

The Ghost of V.C. Andrews: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Mysterious “Flowers in the Attic” Author–  Kate Aurthur at Buzzfeed. For the first time, the family and colleagues of the author speak out to provide a fuller picture of her life.

The Literary Gothic– A web guide to biographical information on early supernaturalist authors, set to close down in June

Please Don’t Bring Me Flowers– Allison Peters, BookRiot

20 Black Women in Horror Writing– Sumiko Saulson. Essential reading for the month of February, for multiple reasons. Saulson also published a short ebook on black women horror writers in February of this year, available for free at Smashwords.

Women in Horror Recognition Month Facebook page

Gothic Pioneer Ann Radcliffe May Have Been Inspired by Mother-In-Law– The Guardian, January 30

Women Who Write Lovecraft by Silvia Moreno Garcia of Innsmouth Press

RA for All: Horror– Becky Siegel Spratford asks who your favorite woman writer in horror is.

Ania Ahlborn’s interview with J. Lincoln Fenn

The Rise of the Women in Horror Movement: Admirers, Haters, and Everything In-Betweeners at Brutal as Hell

Statistics on genre writer submissions by gender at Tor UK, by editor Julie Crisp. Crisp’s statistics demonstrated that women submit fewer manuscripts than men, at least at Tor UK, so sexism by the publisher isn’t the only factor at play.

Women in Horror Month: Girls Can Kill, Too!– Bloody Disgusting

Writing female protagonists, by Lisa Morton– HWA blog

Genre-blending from Mary Shelley to the present by J. Lincoln Fenn– HWA blog

Horror Roundtable on Sexism– HWA discussion. Read the comments section– it’s very interesting!

Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter– Lightspeed Magazine. In spite of everyone’s insistence that all-women issues are not desirable, this Kickstarter campaign to fund an all-women writers’ issue of Lightspeed Magazine was so successful that the people at Lightspeed expanded to include issues called Women Destroy Horror (published as an issue of Nightmare Magazine) and Women Destroy Fantasy (published as an issue of Fantasy Magazine). The campaign is over, but this shows there is clearly a demand for work by women writers. Look for the special issues later this year!

Mary SanGiovanni on her personal experiences as a woman writer of horror.

Creating female protagonists, by Lisa Morton (again, although not the same piece)– RA for All: Horror

Women in Horror Month: Pseudonyms and Author Anxiety– KC Redding-Gonzalez

Rabble Rouser Wednesdays: On the Issue of Misogynist Writers and Readers by Paula Ashe

Hugh Howey on Self-Publishing

Mark Coker responds to Hugh Howey

Tonia Brown on her personal experience with self-publishing

What’s Wrong With Female Werewolves in Popular Culture? at Darkmedia

Women in Horror Month Archives 2014– Darkmedia

Spreading the Writer’s Word– A daily spotlight on a book by a woman writer of horror

Siren’s Call Publications– download their free ezine devoted to Women in Horror Month

60 Black Women in Horror by Sumiko Saulson– free download to this guide at Smashwords.


There is some great stuff at those links and I hope you will take the time to explore them. I hope you had a great time learning about women in horror, and especially women in horror fiction, during the month of February. Don’t think that just because the month is up that it’s time to stop, though! Keep your eyes open for news on how Monster Librarian plans to keep women writers visible over the next several months– it will be a challenge to keep it up with the Stokers coming up and all kinds of reviews to edit, write, and share, but it’s totally worth it. So welcome to March– another month set aside to recognize women’s contributions to the world. Let’s see where it takes us!









Why StoryBundle (and HumbleBundle) Makes Sense

Published by Kirsten on October 23rd, 2012 - in Uncategorized

I wrote about StoryBundle a while back. It seemed like a pretty neat idea– get five or six DRM free books for a price you set, and determine for yourself how much of what you paid should go to the company, the authors, and a charity of their choice, for a limited time. StoryBundle is on their second bundle now, which is a “Halloween Horror” bundle that includes titles by Joseph Nassise, Weston Ochse,  Jon F. Merz,  among others, and, if you’re willing to meet a minimum price, two additional books.

I did not try out the first StoryBundle, and I just learned about this one. But not that long ago, Publishers Weekly ran an article about HumbleBundle, which sounded like the same kind of thing, I went to the site to see if it was. HumbleBundle is pretty similar– the difference seems to be that the authors included in StoryBundle’s bundles are indie authors whose names the average mainstream reader might not recognize, but the authors included in the current HumbleBundle are much more well-known (and are getting a heck of a lot more publicity). Kelly Link, an author I love, contributed two titles to the bundle, and I saw the names of a couple of other authors I had not read but was kind of interested in trying out. So I purchased the HumbleBundle. Thirteen books and comics for whatever I want to pay, with the option to contribute some of the money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation? I’m there. And it is a good deal not just for me (not just for the price but because I’m trying new things) but for at least some of the authors of the books in the bundle. I had never read anything by John Scalzi, although I’d heard his name. His book Old Man’s War was included in the bundle, and it was fantastic. It is, of course, the first book in a series, though, so now I’m going to have to seek the others out. That works out to be a pretty good strategy! I’m now reading a book by someone I had never heard of at all, Lauren Beukes, and it’s amazing. Authors and publishers need to take a close look at how well this model is working. For anyone who isn’t really well read in a particular genre and is interested in trying it out, this kind of opportunity, either through HumbleBundle or StoryBundle is golden. Over a million people have purchased the HumbleBundle now… that’s a lot of customers, and most of them must be satisfied, or people would stop buying the books.  If you are a horror fan looking for some great Halloween reads, check out the books at– chances are you’ll find something you like.

RA For All: Horror: 31 Days of Horror Project

Published by Kirsten on October 7th, 2012 - in Uncategorized was pleased to be included in Becky Siegel Spratford’s project 31 Days of Horror over at her blog RA for All: Horror. Becky is the expert in reader’s advisory in the horror genre, so if you haven’t heard of her and are looking for a great resource go check her blog out!

The post went up a couple of days ago. Click here to go directly to our guest post there. I hope you’ll also take some time to see who else is featured over there this month– so far, it’s been interesting! Or, if you would rather just keep reading, I’ll include what I wrote below, although none of the links that I included there are active. But you really should go check RA for All: Horror out.


By Kirsten Kowalewski

Many of the trends in horror fiction right now reflect trends in publishing and reading in general. Anyone who follows books at all, or has been to the bookstore recently, will note an overwhelming number of YA titles devoted to the supernatural, as well as dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. So results of a recent study by Bowker Market Research, that show that 55% of YA books (targeted at ages 12-17) are purchased by adults reflect a notable trend not just in general but for the horror genre. The trend towards adults reading YA books is now so strong that popular writers of adult horror, such as Jonathan Maberry are now writing YA titles, and publishers of adult horror are now starting YA imprints–ChiZine Publications recently announced that it will introduce a new imprint, ChiTeen, in 2014.

Something to remember as you consider these numbers is that teens also read a lot of adult fiction. In her book Shelf Discovery, Lizzie Skurnick touches on this, as she recalls reading adult books like Jaws and raiding her parents’ bookshelves , in addition to reading contemporary YA fiction (and as Becky noted in this blog post, as teens are new to the genre, introducing them to these more mature titles is a great way to circulate your backlist). Many, many people start reading Stephen King and other adult horror novels as teens. What young adults read isn’t necessarily fiction targeted at young adults, any more than what adults read is targeted to them.

At, we’ve reviewed books with monsters in them that fall all along the spectrum, and the most popular searches for book lists are for YA vampire books and paranormal romances. These are so popular that we started a blog, Reading Bites, just for this audience. However, there seems to be agreement between horror readers and librarians that the vampire novel, for the most part, has lost its bite; as one middle school librarian noted to me recently, middle school girls aren’t scared by a vampire who will take them to the prom. As vampires bleed into the genres of romance and mystery, hardcore horror readers, who prefer their monsters to be monstrous, have started to turn away from this subgenre. Make sure you know what a reader wants when he or she asks for a vampire book.

The trend in YA fiction towards dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, influenced by The Hunger Games, also seems to frequently take on a romantic angle, and often portrays the main characters as catalysts for societal change. Post-apocalyptic fiction seems to be mainly reflected in adult horror in the subgenre of zombie fiction, where the focus is usually on the survivors of a post-apocalyptic event doing their best to survive a zombie invasion. Lovers of this subgenre are sometimes content to read the same kind of story over and over—they like the fast-paced action and gore and aren’t necessarily interested in character development—but in recent years there have been some fresh takes on a genre that, while popular, was starting to get a bit stale (you can see what I mean by checking out our list of zombie titles). Mad science is also taking off in interesting directions, with plague viruses, technology gone mad, genetic manipulation, and man-made monsters showing up with frequency in both YA and adult fiction. One of the scariest books I’ve read in the past twelve months was Kenneth Oppell’s This Dark Endeavor (reviewed here), a prequel to Mary Shelley’s classic horror story Frankenstein. Both Oppell’s short novel and Shelley’s original appeared together in the same ebook. Now that’s a hook! The Frankenstein story takes a totally different turn in Neal Shusterman’s UnWholly, due out later this month. And these days many zombie books start with some kind of virus or plague, with the search for a cure a significant storyline.

Another trend in publishing and reading that is affecting horror fiction is the popularity of ebooks and self-publishing. At the time that we started, horror fiction had more or less lost its home in mainstream publishing and migrated to small presses that often specialized in printing collector’s editions—beautiful, but expensive, and not easily available to the average consumer. Some of them, like Cemetery Dance and Bad Moon Books have done very well, but many times books from small presses are only available by direct order, which makes them hard to find.

As ebooks and self-publishing have exploded, horror fiction of all kinds has become much more readily available. Short pieces that weren’t exactly what a publisher was looking for, or were by unknown authors, could be (and are) presented in ebook format, and find an audience. This is great for horror readers who are loyal to a subgenre that isn’t being promoted in mainstream publishing , like werewolf fiction. There is a strong minority of readers who love werewolf horror (enough that we hosted a Werewolf Month for several years), but there are few current werewolf horror books (here’s our list of werewolf titles). A search for “werewolf horror” on brings up over 1,000 titles, mostly self-published ebooks. It’s hard to know what the quality of a self-published book will be before you read it, but many ebooks are very low-priced. Some authors are now publishing serials, with an attempt to hook an audience with episodes of a continuing story. Authors whose rights have reverted to them can introduce their books to a new audience. Small presses sell books in ebook format as well as collector’s editions, making those available to a wider audience. And current mainstream authors (like Stephen King) are finding a demand for shorter pieces . The ways that ebooks are changing publishing in general and horror in particular are many, and it’s very exciting. Unfortunately for libraries and their readers, most of these won’t be easily available through a service like Overdrive. The conundrum of how libraries can help horror readers connect more easily with ebooks doesn’t seem like one that can be solved easily.

A final trend that I see affecting the way people experience horror fiction is the way it is sweeping the media. Television shows like The Walking Dead (originally based on a series of graphic novels) have made zombies more mainstream. Movies such as Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods draw in reluctant viewers (see what blogger Barbara Vey wrote here). Apps allow you to take the experience along with you. The brand-new book Horrible Hauntings by Shirin Yim Bridges uses augmented reality technology to extend the reading experience; ghosts leap out at the reader when you point your cell phone camera at the pictures! Horror is such a visual genre that the way other media are giving readers to experience it is nothing short of amazing.

Getting the horror reader in the door can be a challenge. But the real challenge is this: with so much horror outside mainstream publishing, once you get the reader in the door, how are you going to manage to give them what they’re looking for?