by Brian James Freeman
Since 1988, Cemetery Dance Publications has been known around the world for our horror magazine and our line of collectible hardcover books by authors such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub, William Peter Blatty, Justin Cronin, Frank Darabont, Joe R. Lansdale, Richard Laymon, and hundreds of others.
As hard as it might be to believe these days, our first experiment with eBooks was actually called “extremely risky” by our friends in New York publishing at the time we tried it: we gave away a free eBook edition of my novella The Painted Darkness to promote the hardcover edition.
Not only did 30,000 readers jump at the chance to read the book for free, but sales of the trade hardcover skyrocketed until it became one of our bestselling titles of all time.
These days, of course, giving away eBook editions for free is so commonplace no one thinks twice about it.
We quickly expanded our efforts in the eBook world by bringing several classic books back to life including The Mountain King by Rick Hautala, Wild Horses by Brian Hodge, Oblivion by Jay Bonansinga, Development Hell by Mick Garris, and Walpuski’s Typewriter by Frank Darabont, the first-ever book from the Academy Award-nominated director of The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption.
Probably one of our biggest thrills in those early days was publishing Dark Forces edited by Kirby McCauley as an eBook. Dark Forces is one of the most acclaimed horror anthologies of all time, featuring stories by Stephen King, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Ramsey Campbell, Charles L. Grant, Richard & Richard Christian Matheson, and more than a dozen other masters of the genre.
In addition to traditional novels and anthologies, we’ve also been extremely interested in publishing other types of eBooks since we can try more experimental projects given the significantly lower upfront cost of a digital edition.
Last year we published thirteen Halloween short stories as individual eBooks, one per day leading up to October 31. Participating authors included Stewart O’Nan, Simon Clark, Ray Garton, Ed Gorman, Joe R. Lansdale, Graham Masterton, Lisa Morton, and several up-and-coming horror authors.
We’ve also started publishing our award-winning magazine Cemetery Dance in eBook editions, which finally gives anyone anywhere in the world a chance to read our great line-up of fiction and non-fiction for a very affordable price. For example, just recently we published Cemetery Dance #68, which featured the entire text of “The Glass Floor” by Stephen King, one of his earliest stories that he ever sold for professional rates.
Another more recent addition to our line-up was Fate and The Exorcist: An In-depth Interview with William Peter Blatty, a career-spanning discussion with the New York Times bestselling author of The Exorcist, Legion, and many others. This 10,000 word interview originally appeared in one of our special editions that often sells for more than $100 on the collectible market, so we wanted to make the interview accessible and affordable to Blatty’s fans all over the world.
That’s maybe the most amazing thing about eBooks: how accessible reading has become to anyone just about anywhere.
Thanks to Kobo, we’re hearing from readers on a daily basis who live in places we never, ever thought our books could or would be read.
Books with a smaller expected readership no longer have to be limited to expensive print editions in one country. You can turn that work into an eBook, upload to Kobo, and the next day someone on the other side of the planet can be reading the book. Sometimes you discover the readership for the book was much larger than anyone dared dream possible. You just had to make the work accessible.
Although Cemetery Dance Publications was founded as a publisher of a print magazine and collectible books, and we still publish them to this day, we can’t wait to see where eBooks take us next.
Cemetery Dance Publications is the world’s leading specialty press publisher of horror and dark suspense. Its flagship magazine, Cemetery Dance, has won every major genre award and is healthier than ever — with a higher newsstand and subscriber circulation than ever before, ever-increasing advertiser support, and a continuing reputation for superb content and design. They’re well-known for publishing the biggest and the brightest stars in the genre, often before they’re discovered by the big New York publishers.
Great to see you here, Brian.
I wrote for Cemetery Dance magazine since way back in issue #2. You find yourself a Cemetery Dance Publication and you know you’ve got yourself a classy piece of publishing. CD has ALWAYS put a lot of time and effort into whatever they created. It’s great to see that you guys are fully embracing the new digital era and it is likewise wonderful to see Cemetery Dance hooking up with Kobo.
By the way – I really enjoyed reading your chilling little novella, BLUE NOVEMBER STORMS on my Kobo Mini. It’s a solid little end-of-the-world yarn.
Thanks, Steve! It’s good to be here.