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Small Press Spotlight: Subterranean Press


Calling Subterranean Press a “small press” at this point is not entirely accurate. This is, after all, a publisher that has its own magazine and regularly releases books by heavyweights like Joe R. Lansdale, Robert McCammon, Philip K. Dick and George R. R. Martin. 

If “small press” isn’t quite right, the term “specialty press” can certainly stand in as a more accurate descriptor. Subterranean has built its business on providing quality down to the smallest detail for a roster of writers that covers a wide variety of genres, from suspense and horror to fantasy and science fiction. This approach, as well as their philosophy of offering releases in a wide array of editions and prices, has helped them avoid the difficulties of catering to niche markets so small that they can’t sustain adequate business.

Founder William Schafer created Subterranean Press in 1995 with the goal of not only publishing art, but creating art by making sure the design of their physical books is invested with as much thought, care, sweat and blood as went into making the words inside it. Working with artists like Vincent Chong and J.K. Drummond has enhanced Subterranean’s books with amazing covers and interior illustrations, and special care is taken in choosing materials that create showcases for proud collectors for years and years to come.

It also doesn’t hurt that Schafer has impeccable taste when it comes to the authors he works with. One of Subterranean’s best achievements, as far as I’m concerned, is the way they’ve embraced the work of Robert McCammon, bringing out his older books in lush new editions while giving him room to run with his series of historical thrillers centering around the Matthew Corbett character. They’ve recently entered into a relationship with Hard Case Crime and have published trade and special edition hardcovers of some of the paperback crime line’s latest releases.

Want to know their publishing philosophy in a nutshell? Look no further than their current list of new and upcoming releases: there’s No Sharks in the Med and Other Stories, a collection of macabre short stories from author Brian Lumley, available in a signed limited edition for $40 or a lettered edition for $250; there’s a deluxe edition of Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows, the third volume of the comic book series from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, which collects several issues of the series as well as the scripts for those issues, and comes in $250 and $500 editions; there’s Hyenas, a new novella in Joe Lansdale’s “Hap and Leonard” series, available in various digital formats for $3.99; and, of course, there’s the online magazine which comes out quarterly, is free to read, and has recently featured work from Lansdale, Caitlín R. Kiernan, David J. Schow, Cory Doctorow, and many others. In other words, there’s a little something for everyone – and for everyone’s wallet.

It’s rare to find a specialty publisher that appeals to both hardcore collectors looking for their next work of art, and to readers looking for something fresh to put on their nightstand or load on their e-reader, but Subterranean Press is just such a publisher. Take a look at what they have to offer and just see if they don’t have something for you, too.

Visit Subterranean Press online:

Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.