FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Terribly Serious Darkness, Book One:
About the Author
Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy novels about things like tyrannical despots and the masked scoundrels who tickle them without mercy. He knows all the best swear words, though he refuses to repeat them because he doesn't want to attract goblins. He lives in California with his wife and son, who renew their tolerance for his absurdity on a per-novel basis. Sam’s previous work includes the self-published novel The Winter Riddle (2016). Learn more about Sam at shooker.co, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
ISBN (print): 978-0-9997423-0-3
ISBN (ebook): 978-0-9997423-1-0
Pre-order Peril in the Old Country today from Black Spot Books or on Amazon.
ADVANCE REVIEW COPIES OF PERIL IN THE OLD COUNTRY AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
We spoke to owner Lindy Ryan about how to become a book publisher and choose a niche you’re passionate about.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, and have had an intrinsic yearning to be part of the literary world, so I think the inspiration was always there.
Choosing speculative fiction and diving into genres like fantasy, dark humor, and science fiction was a pretty natural decision. From authors like Orwell and Adams to Tolkien, King, and everywhere in between, these are the types of books I’ve always loved to read, so they were exactly the types of titles I wanted to publish.
Did you have previous publishing experience before launching Black Spot Books?
As both a traditionally published and indie author, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the largest publishing houses and some of the most boutique, as well as brilliant folks in the industry — agents, editors, artists, and many phenomenal writers.
This incredible experience and network helped to solidify the vision for Black Spot Books when we launched in late 2017. Now, going into 2018, we have several titles already in production and can’t wait until they hit shelves this summer.
How did you determine your niche and the types of authors you wanted to work with?
I think this has been something of a natural evolution after having been involved so intimately in the publishing community in various ways. You begin to put together what works and what doesn’t, what you’d like to see done differently, and where you can bring something new and unique to the market.
Our primary principles are passion, creativity, and investment in the long-term success of our publications and our authors. We look for authors that share that vision, and who have great stories to tell.
What were your biggest startup costs and considerations?
Believe it or not, there a lot of costs that go into books — from editing and copyediting, cover and layout design, copyright and other fees, marketing, and so on.
The biggest startup cost for Black Spot Books was making sure we had the financial “nest egg” to go into business sustainably and deliver on our promise to bring quality content into the market, to support our authors, and to guarantee that we could keep a publication schedule of one release per month for the foreseeable future.
This nest egg wasn’t formal funding, but years of savings — I never wanted to start in a position of debt or where I had to compromise Black Spot’s vision.
Working with companies like Logojoy that helped funnel our brand vision into brand guidelines was an amazing and efficient process!
How did you find your first authors to work with?
It’s like that famous line from the film Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”
We reached out to our author network — our friends and peers in the writing community — and hit up social media and a few strategic advertising places, and were lucky enough to receive a great response to our initial call for submissions.
What online tools do you use to run your business?
As analytics people, we’re fans of powerful, intuitive tools with strong data backends. We use several Zoho products, as well as some cool disrupter tools like Airtable and Canva, and analytical tools like Tableau.
What company values does your logo represent?
Bold. Creative. Dark.
What advice would you have for people who want to become book publishers?
The best tip I can give to be successful in the publishing world is to read — read everything you can get your hands on. Get involved in the right communities online. Spend copious amounts of time perusing bookstores.
The more you know, and the better you know your market, the more successful you will be.
Read more at Logojoy here.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot?
According to Pottermore, my Patronus is a sphinx cat. I'm a proud Ravenclaw, if you were wondering.
If I were making shirts for a sports team, the mascot would be a potoo. If you can't be bothered to Google it, the potoo looks like an owl who's gone to Viking school and majored in berserking. Wide-eyed, it sits and stares off into nothing, bristling as if on the verge of breaking the turgid silence with a blood-curdling scream, a string of horrific profanity, or a frontal assault on any passer-by who wanders too close.
The sport played by the aforementioned team would be darts, which I acknowledge is not a sport, but soccer involves far too much running. Or, rather, only running, unless you're someone like Iniesta, Balotelli, or Beckham, in which case you're occasionally permitted to try and score.
I've done some of the obligatories. I went to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and tipped my hat to Oscar Wilde. That was a few years after I went to the Dublin Writers Museum. Oscar Wilde may think I'm stalking him.
I went to Providence in 2009 to do the Lovecraft walking tour. Record amounts of snow had fallen the night before thanks to a nor'easter, a term I may be using correctly. I was living in Texas at the time, and I was horribly unsuited to the bitter east coast February from a wardrobe perspective. It was a fairly miserable experience.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I just nearly froze to death in the process. The cold, grey sky was the perfect backdrop for walking in the footsteps of my favorite horror writer.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Proper people, who exist outside the realm of fiction, seem to be assigned names at random. It happens at or shortly after birth, before one's personality has had the opportunity to develop. It only qualifies as a minor tragedy, as parents rarely harbor deep regrets about their Dylans growing up to look more like Reginalds. Or if they do, they keep it to themselves and take up drinking alone in dark closets. That's how the world works.
In writing, if I think of my characters as my children, I get the benefit of bringing them into the world as fully grown adults. For the record, I don't like to think of characters as my children, given how often I end up murdering them. There wouldn't be enough booze in the closet for all the coping I'd need to do.
In conjuring fictional people from thin air, I get to decide who they are before I name them; furthermore, in many cases, I get to change their names during the third draft once I've finally decided that the original name simply didn't fit. Most of them have traditional names from one culture or another, which makes it easy. I do a search for "[nationality] [gender] names" and pick one. German and Romanian are the staples for the Terribly Serious Darkness series.
Some characters get their names based on obvious attributes that define them, such as Mrs. Knife. Very few of them don't come from me at all, like Santa or Loki.
My favorites are the ones that take me the most time. They're the ones I've invented by capturing the very souls of the characters and distilling them into syllables. That's how Sloot Peril, Krespo the elf, and Ghasterly the necromancer got their names. If I loved all of my characters equally, I'd do this for every one of them; however, I don't. They're not my children. They're more like indentured servants, most of whom will meet grisly ends at the hands of other, more murderous characters. It's not a perfect arrangement, but it keeps my drinking moderate and out of the closet.
PreOrder Sam's upcoming book here.
Celebrating the Grand Opening of Black Spot Books
NEW SMALL PRESS PUBLISHER OPENS, ANNOUNCES 2018 TITLES
“As a small press with roots in both the indie publishing community and mainstream, traditional publishing, we are bridging the gap between the two and using our creative vision to carve out our own niche,” says Black Spot Books Owner and Publisher, Lindy Ryan. “We know we’re new kids on the block, and we’re using that to our advantage. We have the ability to be adaptable, to take risks, and to pursue our passions as book lovers first and producers second. Our goal is to find fresh new voices with great stories, and we’re ready and willing to publish boundary-challenging fiction and support the projects and authors we believe in.”
As a small press, Black Spot Books is operating under the guiding principles of passion, creativity, and investment in the long-term success of its publications and its authors. “We’re not focused on a 90-day window to make our books bestsellers,” says Lindy. “We will continue to market and support our books, and our authors, long after the book is released, and to continuously push the envelope to find new pathways to readers.”
Black Spot Books recognizes the benefits of deep connections between authors, publishers, and the industry-at-large. As of the company’s launch, it has built a staff of experts with long and successful careers in their respective areas, as well as partnered with literary industry experts including Smith Publicity to assemble a powerhouse team to support Black Spot Books’ entrance, growth, and ongoing success in the market as an author-central publishing house.
“At the end of the day, the biggest benefit for authors working with small presses is a personalized touch and a lot of attention from publishing professionals who are as excited about their projects as they are,” continues Lindy. “Our authors can expect to interact directly with everyone involved in the publication process—from editing, design and layout, to scheduling tours, events, signings, and everything else. We believe that our job isn’t simply to funnel new books into production, but to help an author’s vision come to life. They’re a key part in the artistic process, something not typically available to authors at larger houses, and we see this as a strategic advantage in how we build engagement, momentum, and community around our titles. It’s an important component of the our publishing model that will play a central role in what makes Black Spot Books so successful in the decades to come.”
Available for interviews, commentary and contributed articles around this exciting launch, Owner and Publisher Lindy Ryan can discuss:
- Black Spot Books’ vision and its mission to carve a niche in the literary market
- How their unique model and platform assists authors seeking help to expand their brand, visibility and audience
- How Black Spot Books is leveraging its background in analytics to take a data-driven approach to publishing
- What sets Black Spot Books apart from other publishers, both traditional and non-traditional
- The difference between self-publishing and the indie community and the Black Spot Books experience
- And much more!
ABOUT BLACK SPOT BOOKS:
Black Spot Books is a traditional small-press publisher specializing in speculative fiction, including titles in dark humor, fantasy, paranormal and horror. Learn more about Black Spot Books at http://www.blackspotbooks.com.
ABOUT LINDY RYAN:
As Owner and Publisher of Black Spot Books, Lindy Ryan drives the company’s creative vision to foster an author-centric publishing culture that delivers on bringing boundary-challenge fiction into market. Prior to Black Spot Books, Ryan has worked in publishing in roles as Editor-in-Chief and research director, in academia as an award-winning data communications professor, and as a tech entrepreneur. She is a traditionally published author and a best-selling and award-winning indie author.
Learn more about Black Spot Books at www.blackspotbooks.com and connect on Twitter @BlackSpotBooks, Instagram @BlackSpotBooks), and Facebook (www.facebook.com/BlackSpotBooks/).