Spectral Press

As most of you will know by now, I will be launching a new chapbook imprint next year at FantasyCon 2011, which will be in the wonderful seaside city of Brighton. As most of you will also know, I have decided to call this imprint Spectral Press, for reasons which will become clear later on. Things are progressing very nicely on many fronts with regard to the imprint, so I have very high hopes for its success – obviously, there is a great deal still to do before the launch, and even though there’s just less than a year to go (which appears to be a long way away), that time will go swiftly and I want to keep on top of everything so it doesn’t run away with me.

But, here’s the story so far: Each chapbook will contain one tale, from an invited author, which will be anywhere up to 7500 words in length. It will appear either once every quarter or every four months, I haven’t quite decided yet; each edition will run to 100 signed and numbered editions. They will be printed on very high-quality paper stock, with full-colour covers and featuring a uniform design across the series. This design will be classic yet modern and will at the very least encapsulate within its parameters the idea of ‘spectral’, along with quality. I am envisaging they will retail at somewhere between £3 and £4/issue – the idea is to make a small profit, all of which will be ploughed into the next one to maintain the level of quality.

Each issue will also be a true collaboration between editor/publisher, author and cover artist – all three working very closely together to produce a very worthwhile package. As such, each issue will be signed by all three. Each chapbook will be something that people will be thrilled to display on their shelves.

The series will concentrate on the ghostly/supernatural end of the scale, as opposed to outright horror. There will necessarily be elements of the horrific, but only in the context of the ghost story. I will be publishing subtle, Robert Aikman-style stories mostly, where the supernatural element is always in doubt – in other words, events could be supernatural in origin OR could be purely humanly or psychologically-inspired. It’s left for the reader to interpret, based on their own predilections and reading of the story. And that, I would wager, is where the horror comes in. Within that story-type, however, there can be many different interpretations, from the traditional right up to the quirky and bizarre: the only elements that will be common to all is the creepy and atmospheric. (And this is why it’s called Spectral Press)

I already have some very good authors lined up to appear (I reckon about 5 year’s worth as a conservative estimate), with a particularly heavyweight opening contender to start things off with a decided bang. Some authors you will already know – and some are relatively new to the scene, but who possess more than the necessary talent to rise to the highest spheres. Some of those who will have stories appearing in Spectral are:

Gary McMahon, Gary Fry, Cate Gardner, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Simon Bestwick, Steve Lockley, Willie Meikle, Thana Niveau, Alison Littlewood, Mark West, RB Russell, Nicholas Royle, Johnny Mains and a few others. I want to make this an imprint that authors will feel proud to be a part of; in fact, will want to be a part of.

As pointed out above, this is, for the moment at least, an invite only affair. Why? Because I already know the quality of the writers I have asked, all of whose literary output will reflect well on what I am trying to achieve with Spectral. Plus, because there will only be one story every so often, then I will at least be able to exercise a level of control over the whole thing.

I also want to offer a yearly subscription scheme, plus I am toying with the idea of Founder’s Subscriptions – ie. if you want to subscribe to the first year’s worth of issues before launch you will be offered a slight discount on the subscriber price and each chapbook will be personally signed to you – plus you will see your name listed in the launch issue itself as part of the credits, plus a permanent listing on the website (which is coming soon – http://spectralpress.wordpress.com – watch out for that). Apart from anything else, you will also earn my undying gratitude in helping to get this project off the ground. More details on this aspect of Spectral Press will be forthcoming within the next few months, once I have worked out the finer nuances.

All in all, this is an exciting project and I hope you will join me in seeing it come to fruition and beyond. Keep checking back here regularly for updates on the imprint’s progress and also for news on what’s being released and when.

The future not only looks bright, it looks positively Spectral!

(Thanks to Neil Williams for the fabulous logo design, pictured above!)


10 Responses to “Spectral Press”

  1. This is a great idea, I look forward to it seeing the light of day, or should that be night?

  2. Oh my goodness, my mouth just fell open at the list of contributors. Bloody hell. Okay, shall faint now.

  3. Nice – and cool to be included in such an esteemed list!

  4. Excellent. Looking forward to it taking ghostly shape.

  5. Glad to be in amongst this stellar line-up!

  6. simonkurtunsworth Says:

    Who’s fat? A heavyweight? That’s not nice, insulting your first author!

    Glad to be in such esteemed company!


  7. Riju Ganguly Says:

    The line-up looks definitely promising. But (as usual) I have two questions:
    First, would the books (and the novella within) be concentrating on solely supernatural horror, or there would be the more fashionable psychological stuff?
    Secondly, what are the prospects of these chapbooks getting bound in a hardcover/paperback format, and available as an anthology for “the masses”?

    • Riju,

      There would definitely elements of, and room for, psychological horror in there – in fact there will inevitably be a mix of the two styles, U should think.

      The prospects are very real of a hardback/paperback anthology – perhaps, should Spectral ever reach something like a fifth anniversary then I could put out a ‘Best of Spectral’, and include a few unpublished stories as well. The sky (and beyond) is definitely the limit here, bound only by finances – I certainly have no lack of ambition for the imprint. I DO see good things happening with Spectral… all I need is the support of the authors (which I already have) and the chapbook-buying public (which I am working on…)…

      Do those answer your questions, Riju?

  8. Oh blimey! Sounds great, and like everyone else, I’m delighted to find myself in such good company…

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