Thursday, September 3, 2009

Interview with Shane Ryan Staley of Delirium Books and The Horror Mall: The Future of Small Press Publishing?

Interview conducted by Nickolas Cook

Nickolas Cook: First off, Shane, I want to thank you for taking time to speak with The Black Glove.
Shane Ryan Staley: My pleasure.

NC: Several weeks ago you, along with Larry Roberts over at Bloodletting Press, announced your intention to start moving some of your publications to an e-format. Can you give us a breakdown of what you intend?
SRS: Delirium is cutting its print publication schedule down to 4 titles a year and we’ll be focusing on bringing about several digital-only titles each year. The number I can’t say for sure, as it depends on the quality of the fiction we receive.

NC: What are some of the titles you have in mind? (And why, if this is a qualifier)
SRS: I can’t state specific authors or titles just yet, until I make an official announcement on the Delirium site, but what I can say is that Delirium’s interest will be geared towards bringing back a resurgence of short stories and novella/novelette length projects.

NC: Sounds great. How do you think this will affect new horror authors in regards to giving them a voice in a sometimes overcrowded marketplace?
SRS: I believe this is primetime for new authors to get into this market. From what I’ve seen, the more established authors are so wrapped up in their current direction, that they don’t clearly see the bigger picture of where literature is headed. A hungry new author who embraces digital during this time has a better opportunity to grow a wider readership due to the affordable prices of having their work tested by readers.

NC: Shane, tell me, do you fear this move will be detrimental to quality fiction in any way? Will it become too easy, too fast, for too many inexperienced writers?
SRS: Absolutely not for my publishing company. It will be just as hard to land a contract for digital, than it will be for print. I think the important thing is for readers to realize that they need to support quality publishers who are paying professional rates. That’s where you will find the best fiction. The self-published (which is accessible to anyone) will be like the wild, wild west again: anything goes, even sub-par crap getting into print. Even worse than POD.

NC: Now, of course, you know some fans- especially those of the older generation who haven’t embraced the newer publishing formats and technologies- will sneer at this move into the cyber age of publishing. What would you say to them directly to allay their misgivings about your plans?
SRS: Look…publishing is a business and those who support my company are open to change. They support art and the authors working in the field. Those are really the only ones I’m looking to step up and accept change.
For the rest, I’ll direct them to this quote:

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." --Harold Wilson

NC: Well put. Aside from this bold move into the future of e-publishing, what do you have cooking on your house burners right now?
SRS: Delirium has some really great new limited edition hardcover projects due out in 2010 from Brian Keene & J.F. Gonzalez, Greg F. Gifune, Michael McBride and David Jack Bell. My focus, and work, has turned more towards Horror Mall. I feel Horror Mall has become a foundation to the small press; its importance, for both authors and other artists, working in the genre eclipses my work at Delirium due to the vast impact of its existence, and what it has accomplished in bringing the genre together and breathing life into a shrinking market of retailers supporting indie horror.

NC: Shane, before I let you get back to changing the future of publishing as we know it, I’ve got to ask you: as an editor, what are some of the new voices we should be paying attention to in the industry?
SRS: Well, David Jack Bell I believe is one of the best new talents working in the field. Michael McBride is another. And although Greg F. Gifune isn’t new to the field, he remains in my opinion (and many others), the most talented storyteller working within our genre. He has yet to be picked up by the mass markets, which tells me that the publishers working in that arena actually don’t have a clue.

Once again, The Black Glove would like thank Shane Ryan Staley for giving us some insight into his future plans for e-publishing. It was our honor and pleasure.

The Horror Mall

The Haunt

Delirium Books

And visit Larry Roberts over at
Bloodletting Press for more about future e-publishing plans in the indie horror industry

--Nickolas Cook