Taking Risks and Reaping Awards
Returning from StokerCon 2017
This is the third year in a row that we’ve had books on the final ballot for the Bram Stoker awards and the third year that at least one of our authors has brought home a haunted house. By now people are expecting it of us and we already feel the weight of that expectation. I know there is a year coming when we will have nothing on the ballot, possibly many years, and I’m not looking forward to that. So we very much appreciate every word of congratulations extended and we plan to celebrate as much as possible! While we could shift direction to try to ensure we’ll be on the ballot I think that would actually be a mistake. Along with dancing like no one is watching you should publish like there are no award committees.
In taking a closer look at this year’s ballot I am again pleased and proud to have upped the female presence. It’s also no surprise to see many small press publishers on the ballot. It has been a truism that the small press takes all the risks, while the larger press reap much of the reward. But, at least in the case of this year, our risks certainly paid off. You might be wondering what was risky in publishing a two-time Stoker winner and a three-time nominee (at the time, now their stats have increased!). But the books themselves were quite risky to take on.
As Maria Alexander will tell you many publishers were interested in Snowed but no one wanted to take the risk on a YA Horror novel, especially not one that featured atheism and a mixed race main character. However, these are all the things that make the novel stand out, make it memorable and worth reading. And where to even begin with a book of poetry titled Brothel! Of course there’s certainly a precedent for sexy horror books but what about one that puts the power in the hands of the women, one that insists that we see them as complete women and not just whores? Well that might be a little much. Would readers feel it was too much?
In the end, we believed in these authors, believed in these works and felt they were important to publish. Is it sweet that these two won awards? By Bram, yes it is! Do we feel any differently about our other titles? Absolutely not.
(Am I writing this for my future self to read while toiling away during a non-Stoker year? Ok, you got me!)