Category Archives: Publishing

Creeping in Reptile Flesh, Live on Kindle!

Get your copy now!

Creeping in Reptile Flesh, Kindle edition

Creeping in Reptile Flesh


Creeping in Reptile Flesh – now an Amazon print book!

Morrigan Books is pleased to announce the arrival of the print version of Creeping in Reptile Flesh, by Robert Hood! This collection is a rare gem so get in quick and enjoy the perils within!

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Creeping in Reptile Flesh

Savage murders that leave no one dead. Politicians intent on ontological genocide. Feral creatures invading the wilds of Sydney and the Scrub. In "Creeping in Reptile Flesh" one man embarks on an investigation into a maverick Member of Parliament whose eccentric exterior may hide the seeds of apocalypse.

This collection of 14 weird tales will take you to the edge of madness and beyond ― and as a special bonus to celebrate this new edition to a classic collection by one of Australia’s foremost dark fantasists, a fifteenth tale will make sure you stay there.

Want the book? The Amazon version is here!!

****Kindle version coming soon.


Vanity Press: or is it?

Following on from the cracking post by KV Taylor regarding the pricing of e-books, I was thinking about vanity press, being as that is seen as much worse than self-publishing. I remember getting my acceptance for my second novel a few years ago along with a £300 fee for god knows what, I can’t remember now, and asking a few in the know for advice. The resounding opinion was that of outrage, that I was being asked to fork out £300 to have my own book published and one of those I spoke to mentioned the self publishing route.

That was even more of a shock to me, as if I was to go out and publish the book myself then what had happened to the whole process of publishing, how could an author just decide that their book was adequately edited and ready for publication and what did that mean for me as a reader?

Two recent cases in point have strengthened my negativity to self-publishing (sorry but I’m not a fan) and that is that two authors who sent books to Morrigan Books and were subsequently rejected by me have suddenly released their books themselves less than a couple of months later. I’m aware I’m off making generalisations again, as merely because these two have done that doesn’t mean that everyone does that but it begs the question when you know it’s self-published, yes?

Something that would sway me would be if someone like Robert Hood were to publish his own novel. Firstly I’d be shocked that he’d done it, mainly because he wouldn’t need to but then I’d be very interested in reading it because it’s Robert Hood (for god’s sake!) and because the work I receive from Rob is generally ready for publication, only minor editing required (“a quick pat on the bum and sent out the door” as an editor I respect once mentioned editing writers like this).

And this brings me back to the early queries I received which are now in print. The rejection was based mainly on shoddy editing, a level I though below par for a book at Morrigan Books, as we want to whip your works into shape, not get ready for a rewrite and extensive editing project. So when I see one of these books on the market, it saddens me and frustrates me, as I gave my comments, explained what needed doing and for it to be released just makes the indie press scene look bad, because someone picking up that book and seeing its flaws might be wary of another indie book and that can’t be a good thing.

However, my post today was supposed to be about something else, as I was going to discuss a mail I got, offering me the chance to be published if I won a competition (yes, only me, you didn’t get the mail did you, suckers?). Oh I love competitions, I’m in, I’m off…but wait a minute you want me to pay $25 for the privilege of me getting a chance to be published? I’m thinking your talking vanity press here, or?

I mean I have entered the 3 Day Novel Contest twice now, being as I think it’s a cracking idea, totally mental and it gets me writing again. OK, I could do the thing on my own but there is something about this event feeling, forums and the like, knowing others are stressing over their terrible manuscripts at the same time I am. There is a prize of publication for the best manuscript sent in after the three days but to be honest it’s not really on the mind when writing, as the book is the focus.

Yet this, was a whole different kettle of fish (I wonder if that’s why Pete found a fish in the percolator):

Like a kettle of fish but different…

I mean, you just send in your manuscript before a certain day and then they pick their best and publish it, no doubt using a POD (Print on Demand) facility and a dodgy cover, meaning their outlay is a fraction of what they received in participation fee. Remembering of course they are not going to spend a cent on marketing either.

And KV Taylor mentioned something about not self-publishing more out of a sense of not being able to maybe push herself enough in the promotion arena, and this is also a very tricky topic as how much do we as writers know about marketing? I mean there are degrees and such for this kind of thing and are you sure you know the border between aggressive marketing and just plain annoying. Again referring back to one of the books we rejected, based on the fact that it needed a very heavy edit (which I don’t believe for a minute was achieved in the two months between rejection and publication) the author in question has engaged in a heavy self-promotion campaign, which involves discussing all the different elements required to self-publish in a way that is painful to read.

I am now aware my post is starting to lose a little focus, mainly because it’s a culmination of a lot of thoughts that have been on my mind for a few months now, and make me fear a little bit about the industry we’re in. I’m sounding pessimistic while at the same time very positive about a lot of things in indie press. I mean we are about to announce three books that are extremely well written, require minor editing and will look very comfortable on your shelf, along with your other Morrigan books, (what do you mean you haven’t got them all yet?) and there are a few new publishers on the scene doing rather interesting things too (a later blog post).

It’s KV Taylor’s fault, she darn got me thinking!


Gareth L. Powell signs with literary agent Sharon Ring

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January 9th 2011 – Bristol and Manchester, UK

Gareth L Powell and Sharon Ring sign author/agent contract.

Gareth L Powell has signed up with Literary Agent Sharon Ring. Sharon Ring will act as agent in regard to five titles, Revenant Skies; Reclaiming The Dead; Silversands (originally published with Pendragon Press); The Last Reef (originally published with Elastic Press); The New Ships.

Gareth is rapidly gaining a reputation as a “strong new voice in epic science fiction” (Solaris). In addition to his previously published novel (Silversands) and collection (The Last Reef), Gareth has appeared in several anthologies, including including Shine (Solaris Books, 2010), Conflicts (NewCon Press, 2010), 2020 Visions (M-Brane, 2010), Dark Spires (Wizard’s Tower, 2010), and Future Bristol (Swimming Kangaroo, 2009). His short story Ack-Ack Macaque won the Interzone Readers’ Poll for best short story of 2007; and Solaris will publish his second novel The Recollection in September this year.

Gareth said, "With two novels and a collection under my belt, I’m glad to have someone with Sharon’s contacts and chutzpah to help me scout out the territory ahead. I expect this will be a successful and productive partnership for us both."

Sharon said, “Gareth is an ideal writer to join forces with at this time. The more I read his work, the more I feel he is poised to have wider success in the science fiction community. He has a strong narrative voice; concise, direct and, above all, very human in the exploration of his chosen themes. I’m delighted to be forming this partnership.”

A full list of Gareth’s published work can be found at http://www.garethlpowell.com/books/.

All enquiries regarding this deal should be directed to Sharon Ring: sharonlring@gmail.com.


MORRIGAN BOOKS signs Martyn Taylor’s Whitechapel for its e-book series

Morrigan Books has today signed a contract with author Martyn Taylor with regards to publishing his novel Whitechapel, as part of its new e-book series. Martyn has already been published by Morrigan Books in the anthology The Phantom Queen Awakes, with his short story The Good and Faithful Servant, and is also due to be published with Gilgamesh Press and their début anthology In the Footsteps of Gilgamesh with The No Man.

Morrigan Books is extremely excited about Whitechapel and believe it is a book that will whet the appetite of anyone who appreciates clever and imaginative fiction.

During the Indian summer of 1888 London is the capital of an empire that colours half the map of the earth red. Yet even the rulers of such an empire are taken aback when envoys arrive from a very distant location, wishing to come under the protective wing of the Great Queen. While the government entertains the visitors (the ‘Men from Mars’) they also have them kept under close observation by their chief secret policeman, Inspector Fred Abberline. These mysterious visitors also attract the attentions of a penniless radical teacher and journalist, George Wells, and his equally eccentric lady friend, Miss Cara Benn. As the negotiations proceed in Whitehall, in Whitechapel Abberline and Wells become involved in ghastly slaughters that will leave the inspector’s place secure in history, as well as opening up the future to Wells.

Whitechapel will be edited by one of Morrigan Books‘ newest editors, Amanda Rutter.


MORRIGAN BOOKS announces new editors

Morrigan Books can today reveal the names of several editors who have been taken on by the company in readiness for its new e-book series. Some are established, whereas others are new to the field, further strengthening the vision of Morrigan Books that it wishes to promote new talent at the company, as well as maintaining its level of excellence in the field of dark fiction.

We are very pleased to welcome the following to Morrigan Books:

RJ Barker

Karen Newman

Richard Palmer

Amanda Rutter

KV Taylor

All our editors can be found at the Morrigan Books site.


Rejection musings

As a writer, an editor and a publisher, you really get to see the rejection process from all the angles. I’m not sure it makes you wiser about the whole rejection situation but, at least for me, it doesn’t make me worry about my work not being good enough when one of my stories is rejected.

Today’s post was prompted by Harry Markov, writing in his blog about a rejection, in which he said:

Even if it doesn’t elicit tears, the rejection sends the message ‘you are not there, yet’ and nobody wants to hear that. After all, we are all special snowflakes.

I suppose I agree with the special snowflakes bit…but I have trouble agreeing with the comment of ‘you are not there yet’. This is because I am aware that your story may well have been rejected for several reasons, and many of them not involving the concept that you’re not there yet.

Maybe you have sent your short story to a themed anthology, and even though you have followed the guidelines perfectly, the story jars with the others in the anthology (this is a reason why I have always struggled with anthologies that accept stories before the deadline date, as how can you, as an editor, know how the book is going to look until you receive all the submissions?) and this means that no matter how good the story is, it’s not going to make it.

Two examples of this over at Morrigan Books, are: a story that was easily one of my favourite submissions for our The Phantom Queen Awakes anthology, from an author whose work I adore. Her story really didn’t gel with those already in the book and we were forced to reject it. The fact that I have asked if I can have the story as a new story for a collection we will be publishing is testament to the quality. In no way was this a ‘you are not there yet’.

The second was a sub for Voices, our hotel anthology. Both Amanda Pillar and I liked the story but felt it was lighter in tone than the others in the book and rejected it. That story will feature in an anthology, entitled ‘The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime‘ and I can understand why. Great story, didn’t suit Voices.

These are decisions made from an editor’s perspective but what of the publisher? What does he/she reject and why?

Easier decision here as it all comes down to sales and marketing and the industry as a whole. Well, that bit is simple, the getting all that right is another matter…

Anyway, it may be that this is just not the time for another zombie novel, much as you think it is prime time, and even though your zombie novel is brilliant, it’s not now it should be published. The argument for there always being a place for good quality fiction is sound but at the end of the day the publisher is not OK about going out of business to prove that point (I suppose given this year’s disappearance of several indie presses, this can be argued too).

For good or ill, this is how I see it when my beloved story/poem/novel is rejected. It wasn’t the right time, it didn’t fit the anthology, etc. This is a sound way to deal with form rejections, as if the publisher hasn’t deemed that the stories deserve a critical analysis then how can you know why they are being rejected?

If they tell you why it is and they inform you that ‘you are not there yet’, then send it off somewhere else and when it’s accepted, you can hope they see your story on another website/magazine/anthology!

Or you could see it as a personal rejection, be all maudlin about it and lose valuable writing time…

It’s basically up to you isn’t it?


WIP Wednesday (on a Friday)

Adage time, for it’s ‘better late than never’…I suppose!

Well another incredibly busy week at Morrigan Books, saw me learn the wonders of stripping a book down to its bare bones to create an e-book document, ready to add to Amazon and Smashswords. Lessons were learned here, as it makes much more sense to complete this phase before typesetting the book for print. Yes, we know this now!

We’re moving nicely into the e-book world with all our titles, apart from one, now available as an e-book. Requiems for the Departed, the Irish crime anthology edited by Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone is available today only at $3.99 on Smashswords!

There have also been discussions within the team about that December decision time that is looming ever nearer. There are going to be some changes at the company in readiness for 2011. Some big, some not so big. Most of it is stuff behind the scenes, however, and so I’m not sure how much the average person (not that I calling you average – there’s a context demographic here) will see…let’s wait and see eh?

One of the other things I’ve been doing this week is organising my schedule. I feel that I’ve not been working as effectively as I might, due to my tendency to get easily distracted on the net…you all know what I mean…

So I’ve been working out a schedule, focusing on different areas: accounts *shudder*, submissions, reviews (the chasing of), typesetting, mailing, etc., etc. I’ll be putting this into action on Monday (no point today eh, it’s nearly the weekend) so no doubt you’ll get a half-term report on Wednesday next week…

I remember setting up an internet free day once to help with company stuff…hmm…

There’ll be new books though, I guarantee you that, with at least five books now confirmed for 2011. That will actually be our biggest number in a year to date, and we’re not happy with that either. Double figures would not go amiss next year for us…yes, you heard that here first!

And for those following this blog, I have something you may be interested in. I have been noticing a trend in collapsing indie presses over the last couple of years, and, while this has saddened me, both for the publishers in question and those that have books with them, it gives me a chance to offer a publishing opportunity at Morrigan Books.

If you feel your book fits our submission guidelines and you feel you got a raw deal from your publisher then send me a mail and we discuss possibilities with us. Your book needs to be out of contract though, or will be very soon.


WIP Wednesday – Part One…

…well day one at least…as this is the first day I’ve actually written one of these, and I did promise to do it last week…

Remember, I said I was doing this as a Morrigan Books WIP and not my good self. Not sure the Morrigan Books website should be a blog tool, so I’m quite happy to get my thoughts down here.

I chose quite a good week, actually, as there’s a lot going on at present: I’ve just agreed to look at a novel by an author who has had a bit of a tough time with a publisher and wants her book to actually see the world, rather than be shoved away, forgotten, into a corner. I’m looking at six different submissions now, with a view to them joining the Morrigan Books’ catalogue – no, we’re not open for submissions yet, this is stuff that has just seemed to find its way to my desk through some means or other…

I’ve been in discussions regarding some book releases and the international version of Scenes from the Second Storey, got itself a new co-editor yesterday, as Sharon Ring will be working on that with me now. We’ve been in discussion with those in the know at the BFS and it’s looking very likely to be a launch in Brighton next September, along with Mike Stone‘s Lemon Man. Looking forward to the con already, especially after missing this year’s.

I’ve looked into new distribution alternatives and been in talks about US support. All that is messy behind-the-scenes stuff but has kept me rather busy. We’re working on changing some of the company’s structure soon – remember that December 2010, is the end of Morrigan Books…did I get you there? No, it’s actually the end of Morrigan Books’ three year plan, meaning the team is going to sit down and work out what is going to happen with the company. Considering we have Liz Williams on board for two Detective Inspector Chen novels, means the future is probably rather bright…

Oh, and get ready for the month of October, as Morrigan Books is going to be involved in some competitions and exciting sales…more on that soon…those who are members of the Morrigan Books mailing list will actually find out first!

That’s been my last few days at Morrigan Books, what have you lot been up to?


The Phantom Queen Awakes now available!

Love, death and war…

The Morrigan goddess represented all three to the ancient Celts. Journey with our authors as they tell stories of love, war, hatred, revenge and mortality – each featuring the Morrigan in her many guises.

Re-visit the world of Deverry, and of Nevyn, with a previously unpublished tale by Katharine Kerr, watch the Norse gods meet their Celtic counterparts with Elaine Cunningham, meet a druid who dances for the dead with C.E. Murphy and follow the path of a Roman centurion with Anya Bast.

These are but a few offerings from the stories collection in The Phantom Queen Awakes. If you are searching for a rich blend of dark fantasy, then this is a collection perfect for you.

The Phantom Queen Awakes stories:

Rising Tide: Ruth Shelton
Kiss of the Morrigan: Anya Bast
I Guard Your Death: Lynne Lumsden Green
Gifts of the Morrigan: Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
Cairn Dancer: C. E. Murphy
Washerwoman: Jennifer Lawrence
The Raven’s Curse: Sharon Kae Reamer
Ravens: Mari Ness
The Lass from Far Away: Katharine Kerr
The Trinket: Peter Bell
The Dying Gaul: Michael Bailey
The Children of Badb Catha: James Lecky
The Plain of Pillars: L. J. Hayward
The Silver Branch: Linda Donahue
The Good and Faithful Servant: Martyn Taylor
The White Heifer of Fearchair: T. A. Moore
She Who is Becoming: Elaine Cunningham

UK, Australian and European release dates to follow.

US: $20 (Amazon.com)

US: $20 (PayPal)