Bill Schafer and Subterranean Press: Setting the Standard for High-End Indie Publishing

The joke used to be that Subterranean Press editions sold out so quickly the books hardly seemed to exist in the first place. It's certainly a problem a lot of publishers would like to have, and speaks to the loyalty Subterranean's customers feel toward the brand. Over the past three or four years, however, not only have the books the press has produced been popular and beautifully made, Subterranean has also begun to register in a big way outside of the collector's market. Trade editions of both reprints and originals have made Subterranean more versatile and garnered even more attention from readers and reviewers. Founder Bill Schafer is attracting some of the biggest names in science fiction, fantasy, and horror--including Joe Hill, John Scalzi, and Peter Straub, as well as doing great work publishing books by relative newcomers like Mary Robinette Kowal. In addition, Subterranean has expanded to publish fiction online, further bolstering their profile while providing a much-needed showcase for some of genre's brightest stars.

Three recent titles exemplify what's made Subterranean Press so successful: John Scalzi's forthcoming The God Engines, James P. Blaylock's The Ebb Tide, and Crystal Nights & Other Stories by Greg Egan. The Scalzi is his first foray into dark fantasy, the Blaylock helps promote an excellent and nuanced author associated with Steampunk, and the Egan delves into the subgenre of hard science fiction. All three are high-quality, but more importantly help to demonstrate both the range and the savvy of Subterranean. (I'll be featuring several more Subterranean titles over the coming weeks.)

I interviewed Schafer about Subterranean and publishing in general via email...

Egan2_b Blaylock10_b Scalzi10_b 
(Egan's mindblowing hard SF, Blaylock's textured Steampunk, and Scalzi's nod to Conan; that's him on the cover...)

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