Croatoan Publishing

Saturday, April 05, 2008

When was the last time you bought a signed small press book for five bucks? And I'm not talking about some crummy printed-off-the-computer-and-stapled-together hackjob. No, from a writer that cut his teeth in the mass market. Professionally manufactured and beautifully illustrated, with a signature sheet! Now when can you say you've gotten such a deal? Ten years ago? More?

Croatoan Publishing is a new company and I can already see that they are worthy of our support. Their first publication is here and it's called Flesh Welder. This is the long-awaited return to publishing for southern horror writer Ronald Kelly. You remember him right? His book, Fear, is a classic.

At a time when the economy is at its worst in a looong time, we need a publisher that gets us quality horror at affordable prices. Here's a quote by Croatoan head honcho, Steven Lloyd, copied from the Horror Drive-In message board: "Affordable is key. I’m not saying we won’t ever release a high priced book, but at the same time I think about John Doe and Jane Doe working ten hours a day just to put food on the table, wishing they could afford a signed book by one of their favorite writers, or someone new they’ve never read. I have no problem with collectors; I use to be one, but we’re geared toward the working class folks. "

I was so grateful to see these words. America is hurting and certain publishers still continue to try to gouge their customers with ever-increasing book prices. A forty-dollar hardcover is one thing. I don't like it, but I can afford to get the ones I really need to have. But on the other hand, whereas it was once just a few specialty presses, now new ones are popping up all the time. Who can keep up with it? Who would be crazy enough to try to?

Flesh Welder is a chapbook, with cover art by Zach McCain and interior art by Alex McVey. It has a signature sheet signed by the author, Ronald Kelly, and by McCain. This 88 page book has the feature short story, a lengthy interview with Kelly and an excerpt to the upcoming full-length Ronald Kelly werewolf novel, Undertaker's Moon.

This is, quite simply, the best deal I've seen in some time. And it's what we desperately need. A nicely made collector's item, with an established writer and the unbeatable price of five dollars. How can you pass that up? The answer is, you can't. And you most certainly shouldn't.

Hellbound Books offered wonderful deals on quality books and they folded. I just heard that Keith Minnion's marvelous White Noise Press is going to stop publishing after the planned Brian Keene chapbook comes out. I'll say it again: We need publishers like Croatoan.

Upcoming works from Croatoan include the aforementioned Ronald Kelly novel, Undertaker's Moon, a James Newman collection called People Are Strange and works by Robert McCoy and Mark Hickerson. I'm unfamiliar with the latter two writers, but I'm going to take a chance and check them out.

Please check out the Croatoan site and consider buying Flesh Welder. You really can't lose with such a deal. And the James Newman collection is currently at the printer. That one'll cost you $20.00, but you can't lose with it either.


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