Guest blog by Gwyneth Gibby, Assoc. Publisher
It has been an exciting year for WMG Publishing, with Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith moving from the Oregon Coast to Las Vegas. Talk about a change of pace; the first thing Kris and Dean did after settling in to their new digs was to start running 5K and half marathon races. We here in Lincoln City were left playing Wile E. Coyote to their Road Runners. That’s kind of the way WMG always worked, but Dean and Kris have kicked everything into high gear.
In addition to publishing new fiction, nonfiction, and a new magazine, we almost doubled our revenue from book and magazine sales in 2018. Dean’s Cold Poker Gang series of eight novels, about retired Las Vegas detectives who play poker once a week and solve cold cases, proved to be a huge hit. The Smokey Dalton series by Kris Nelscott, an open pen name for Kristine Kathryn Rusch, also saw a resurgence. The seven novels centering around an African American private detective, set in the explosive late 1960s, were rediscovered by readers who recognized how important and relevant the series is, now more than ever.
We published Searching for the Fleet in September, the latest in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s acclaimed Diving series. Two novellas excerpted from that novel were first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine in 2018. Asimov’s editor, Sheila Williams, got so caught up in “Dix” she wrote, “I found I could barely breathe while reading our March/April cover story.”
Also in September, the author preferred edition of FantasyLife and Other Stories came out. Having never been happy with the original publication of the novel FantasyLife, partly because the original publisher got the title wrong (!) Kris collected three of her stories set in the same locale, Anchor Bay in Seavy County, and created an omnibus.
Fan favorites Winston & Ruby got their own collection, too, with the publication of Familiarity. If you haven’t met them yet, Winston is a kind and quiet wizard possessed of small magic, and Ruby is his familiar, with a big mouth and even bigger heart. This collection is a great way to get to know them.
Meanwhile Dean launched a new magazine. Pulphouse Fiction Magazine saw its first full year of quarterly publication since its rebirth in January. The original Pulphouse from the 1980s and 1990s was known for its attitude, and Dean has lost none of his edge nor his taste for great fiction, no matter the genre.
Dean likened the launch to starting out on a rollercoaster ride, and hearing the click of the gears. “That’s what firing up this magazine again after twenty-one years has felt like. Pure excitement, anticipation, and terror, all mixed. Kinda fun, actually.”
Pulphouse continues to publish a combination of original stories and reprints of favorites from the past. So far the magazine has been a terrific success, and there is much more to come in 2019.
Fiction River: An Original Anthology Magazine started the year with Justice, edited by Kris, a collection of stunning stories that tackle the theme from some unexpected points of view. Kris writes in her Introduction: “What these stories have in common, besides their high quality, is a thread of righteousness that goes through them.”
Wishes, Rebecca Moesta’s volume of YA stories,appeared in the spring. As she says: “Each tale in this book shows teens struggling with issues like young love, self-acceptance, being on the wrong end of someone else’s wish, a handicap, being an outcast, making impossible-seeming choices, or feeling neglected. In each story someone makes a wish—usually with unexpected results.”
Wishes gives readers a refreshing interlude before diving into the third in our thriller series, Pulse Pounders: Countdown, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. Tangent Online called Countdown, “fast-paced and explosive…thrills and excitement.” Buckle your seatbelts, readers!
August saw the publication of a Fiction River Special Edition: Editor Saves, edited by Kris. She collected an entire volume of terrific stories that Fiction River editors wanted to see published, but couldn’t fit in any of the regular volumes. Kris, an award-winning editor, “worked her magic” as Dean says in his introduction, and from that diverse list of stories created this wonderful volume.
The year ended with Hard Choices, edited by Dean, chockfull of gripping stories about some of the toughest decisions human beings can face: to kill nor not to kill, to face the truth or hide, to fight and survive or surrender.
Fiction River also had a very successful Kickstarter campaign this year, raising more than twenty-five thousand dollars to fund the next two years of publication. Boy do we have loyal and generous readers and fans. We can’t thank you all enough, but we try.
In nonfiction we published a new title in the WMG Writer’s Guide series: Creating Your Author Brand, by Kris. The culmination of a lot of research, this book tackles the subject of branding specifically for authors trying to grow their readership and expand their book sales. No other branding book does this.
Because Kris and Dean moved to Las Vegas, the workshops that have been on the Oregon Coast have moved as well. The Business Master Class held its first Las Vegas gathering in October. Industry experts covered topics from book production and distribution, to long-term planning, intellectual property law, contracts, writing productivity, audiobooks, and overseas sales. Much fun was had by all including the zip-line down Fremont St. (And please forgive the salty language.)
The last Coastal Anthology Workshop happened in March, 2018. Hundreds of fabulous stories were read and discussed and bought for future publications, now including Pulphouse. In just a few months, March, 2019, writers and editors will gather for the same purpose in Las Vegas.
WMG also has many new online workshops, including Pop-Ups, and new subjects in the Classic series. https://www.wmgworkshops.com/
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the coming year. We accomplished a lot in 2018, there were many surprises and challenges, and much to be grateful for. And now, onward!
Thank you, and Happy New Year.
Gwyneth Gibby is Associate Publisher at WMG Publishing.