Worldwide, the biggest publisher of horror fiction and non-fiction through the years would have to be the United States. Although the genre received initial release through the Gothic writers of the UK, America then went on to claim the genre with writers such as HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.
Comparative to Europe and the US, Australia has been barren of genre publishers until the outbreak of small publishing houses brought on by the new paradigm of eBooks and print-on-demand.
Terror Australis: the Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine (1987-1992) was Australia’s first mass market horror magazine. It succeeded the Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine (1984-87) edited by Barry Radburn and Stephen Studach and was the first magazine of its kind in Australia to pay authors.
I’ll look at the biggest publishers or most prolific publishers of horror in Australia today, and then at the end of the article, provide a list/timeline of the many Australian genre publishers of magazines and books through the years.
There are some Australian publishers of horror who focus on the limited edition hardcover and softcover print book. Here are a few.
Ticonderoga is an Australian independent publishing house founded by Russell B. Farr in 1996. The publisher specialises in collections of science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories. While publishing many wonderful collections by renowned Australian writers such as Cat Sparks, Kaaron Warren, Lucy Sussex, Sean Williams, Sara Douglass and Amanda Pillar, Ticonderoga has also managed to release a number of award-winning themed collections over the last few years, along with three consecutive Best Australian Fantasy and Horror through 2010, 2011 and 2012. With 15 years in business and more than 30 titles published, Ticonderoga Publications is one of Australia’s longest running and more productive independent presses.
Midnight Echo Magazine is the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association. Midnight Echo came to life in 2008, with Issue One edited by Kirstyn McDermott (author of Madigan Mine) and Ian Mond, with David Schembri as Art Director. Since then, the magazine has been guest edited by Australia’s most respected horror editors and authors, including Angela Challis and Shane Jiraiya Cummings. The latest release, Issue 9, came out in May this year, and Issue 10 is currently under construction.
Disclaimer: I edited Issue 9 of Midnight Echo.
For full transparency I recently set up and own Cohesion Press. We are new on the scene and already offering semi-pro rates for anthologies and exceptional royalties on novels and novellas. With Kaaron Warren contracted for our first novella eBook release, and some big name authors, including James A Moore, Greig Beck, and Weston Ochse, solicited for our first (military horror) anthology, we’re excited to see where we go from here.
Brimstone Press is a publisher of dark fiction currently based in Wellington, New Zealand. First founded in 2004 in Western Australia by Angela Challis and Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Brimstone Press’ books have been distributed to bookstores throughout Australia since 2006. In 2011, Brimstone’s titles became available through major online retailers in print and eBook formats. According to the website:
Following the 2012 publication of the star-studded charity anthology Rage Against the Night – which included stories from Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, and Peter Straub – Brimstone Press is looking to the future.
Severed Press, based in Melbourne, Australia, is another relative newcomer to the genre. Only a few years old, they have taken the post-apocalyptic/zombie beginning they had, and become more broad in the genre they accept for publication. With authors such as Tim Curran, Wrath James White, and Eric S Brown, Severed Press has certainly made the market sit up and take notice.
Tasmaniac Publications, based in Tasmania as you’d guess from the name, specialise in limited edition hardcover and paperback releases, ignoring by choice the burgeoning eBook market. With authors like Tom Piccirilli, Brett McBean, Simon Clark, and Gary Braunbeck, this is another press that has attracted some big name authors.
Dark Prints Press is another new kid on the block, but already with a strong list of releases and authors. Publishing greats like Jonathan Maberry, as well as lesser-known writers like Amanda J Spedding, this is a press to keep a close eye on.
Publishing in Australia has always been an offshoot of the Big Six (now the Big Five), and secondary to their European and continental United States focus, leaving us with imports of books published overseas. This has been fine, except for Australian authors being left behind in regard to getting published. With the onset of the new publishing era of eBooks and print-on-demand services, this is now changing, with more and more Aussies managing to get their work out on the world stage. Australian publishing is now experiencing the same ability to spread books into the market. eBooks have no borders, and with Ingram’s Lightning Source publishing opening a press here, we now have a feasible way to send print books out through their US and UK distribution printers.
The way is opening up for Aussie press, and we are taking advantage of the chances offered.
MAIN PHOTO: VERMIN INC
Other notable publishers
Eidolon, Aurealis, Bloodsongs, Borderlands, Harbinger
Five Islands, Sandglass, Void/Cory & Collins, Dragonfall, Clan Destine Press
Aurealis, Terror Australis: the Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine, ASIM, EOD (1991-94, 9 Issues) published and edited by Chris A Masters, Shoggoth (1991-92, 2 Issues) published and edited by Chris A Masters, Daarke Worlde (1992-95, I think 6 or 7 issues) published and edited by Tony Brook, The Esoteric Order of Dagon Newsletter (1988-90, 13 Issues) published and edited by David Tansey, Vandemonian (1992, 1 Issue) one of zine from Tasmania, Severed Head (1993-96, 10 Issues), Skinned Alive aka Skintomb (1992-96) published and edited by Rod Williams
Black Magazine: a magazine of dark fiction, Shadowbox: An e-anthology of macabre flash fiction lashed together with dark art from Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Angela Challis, Borderlands Magazine, Agog! Press: an independent Australian book publisher, specialising in speculative fiction short story collections, Bambada Press, Fiendish Press
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