Small Press Appreciation – #SmallPressBigStories
Welcome to our Small Press Appreciation Post!
If you’re on Twitter, you may know that terrible wonderful book tempter Runalong Womble. As we approach that time of year when bloggers are hauling out their “awards” and “best of” and “year end” posts (oh, that reminds me…), Small Independent presses often get overlooked. With that in mind, Womble is spear-heading a month-long celebration of presses which don’t fall under the Big 5 umbrella – #SmallPressGreatReads.
You may have caught Jonathan’s extensive and detailed list of small presses; if you haven’t, it’s excellent! He’s recommended a title for each press featured, you can find the list HERE.
Today, I have rounded up some our contributors and asked them – who is your favourite??
Looking at my shelves, I’m definitely guilty of falling into the Orbit-Harper-Gollancz Fantasy Trifecta, so I’m super grateful Womble has arranged this feature so I can see who else I can branch out into!
Having said that, one of my absolute favourite trilogies is published by a small press – G D Penman’s Witch of Empire series from Meerkat Press. They’re a small team of four based in America, but have a wide range of authors in their pool, including Aliette de Bodard, Jeff Vandermeer, Lavie Tidhar, and Seanan McGuire.
Another great small press to check out is Fox Spirit. They’re a UK based press who believe “We need the fantastic, the magical, the mischievous and even a touch of the horrific to stave off the banal and humdrum.” They published Shona Kinsella’s novella The Flame and the Flood, which is an excellent example of how they manifest that belief in what they publish.
Like Beth, I also appreciate that Womble has included us in his feature as it gives me the opportunity to highlight how wonderful Angry Robot Books are. Firstly Angry Robot has a strong team of female editors and publicists – we had the opportunity to interview them in 2021, which you can read here, and they all play such significant roles in publishing a variety of genre blending authors.
Among my favourites are Dan Hanks, who wrote Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire and Swashbucklers, and Caroline Hardaker who wrote Composite Creatures. Both authors showcase how Angry Robot publishes books with strong female characters and diverse characters, they also offer a wide selection of genres from historical fantasy, horror, dystopian and sci-fi, appealing to a wide readership. Another AR title which will be coming in December is Denise Crittendon’s Afrofuturistic, Where It Rains in Color. Again another example of how this publisher really works to deliver a wide range of speculative fiction.
There’s Grimbold books – home of the Kristell Ink and Tenebris imprints, which puts in a regular appearance at Bristolcon (did I mention I’d been there last week – a great event as ever). I have picked up a lot of entertaining and different books from Grimbold over the years but have a particular fondness for their anthologies like Fight Like a Girl.
There’s also Claret Press a self-professed publisher of fiction and creative non-fiction, which I know as they published Rosa Watkinson’s debut The Cracked Amulet and the second in the series The Fractured Portal.
Local to me in Belfast there is No Alibis Press, which has grown out of No Alibis bookshop, an independent bookshop in the university quarter in Belfast with a diverse range of books and a willingness to host book launches for local authors. You can read more about the company’s journey and their authors in this article.