What's a cool year and a half between newsletters between friends?
Hey! Hi. Sorry it’s been so long, but also, this is a free newsletter, so, like, I’m not that sorry.
First, some housekeeping: I’m moving this newsletter off Substack and over to TinyLetter. There are plenty of reasons for this you’ve probably read about elsewhere. Since this newsletter was dormant for quite awhile, I didn’t make the move to Ghost or ButtonDown last year, but now I’m feeling the itch to write again, and since I don’t charge for this newsletter and don’t intend to start, TinyLetter it is.
If you’re already subscribed to the newsletter on Substack, you don’t need to do anything! I’ve already migrated your subscription over to TinyLetter, and the next email you get from me will come from that platform. If you’re not yet subscribed but would like to be, please walk this way. If you’d like to unsubscribe, probably better to do that over on TinyLetter as well.
My existing Substack newsletters will continue to live on over here until I figure out another place for them.
So you might know that, starting in 2020, I’ve kept a huge running list of all the horror/horror-adjacent/horror-ish books publishing in a given year. I do get paid to do it, yes, but I’d probably still do it for free, because it’s a weird hybrid of “labor of love” and “byproduct of ADHD hyperfocus.” (The reasoning there, according to my weirdo brain, is that if I catalog these books somewhere, I can’t mentally “lose” them, as I do with so many other things, like my husband’s phone number and where in the house I left my Adderall.)
When I was the site editor for Unbound Worlds, I had a staff writer (the wonderful Matt Staggs) who would round up all the major new releases in sci-fi and fantasy fiction every month–plus, I was on a hilarious amount of publicity mailing lists. The upshot is that I generally knew what new books were coming down the pipeline in the genre world. When I started working on the Nightfire site, which is a somewhat leaner operation, I found I was having a tough time keeping up with new releases. This is due to a number of reasons, including but not limited to:
Publishers’ unwillingness to label things “horror” (this tendency is waning, but let me tell you, if horror isn’t the first BISAC on a book, it is hard for me to find it)
Publisher websites of varying levels of functionality (please let me filter and sort by genre and pub date, I am BEGGING you)
You simply can’t use Amazon to look at new releases unless you want to wade through a knee-deep morass of public domain reissues and werewolf erotica Kindle Singles (not that there’s anything wrong with werewolf erotica, it’s just not what I would call, uh, my bailiwick)
Genres are fake, anyway
Presses outside the Big 5 don’t always have the resources or staff power to maintain robust publication catalogs, and their publishing schedules don’t adhere to the strict manuscript-transmittal-to-retailer-links-live-to-preorder-campaign-to-pub-date timeline that huge houses tend to follow, so it can be tricky to pin down those releases
I’m human and we live in an on-fire reality that’s a constant firehose of information, so I miss things sometimes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So, partially out of a God complex-fueled need to know about everything that is happening in horror publishing at all times and partially out of the reasoning that if I need this list to exist, other people probably do too, the annual preview post was born. It’s not a static piece of work, since the publishing landscape isn’t a static one - and the 2022 list dropped in November 2021, when most publishers hadn’t even announced their books for fall 2022 - so I update it frequently. On the first weekday of every month, I pull that month’s books from the year’s preview list, check each link to make sure the pub date hasn’t moved, create a monthly preview list, and generally take that opportunity to make sure nothing else has shifted on the yearly list. I also add newly-announced (or new-to-me) books as I see them pop up on social media, Edelweiss, NetGalley, and publisher websites. But please, I’m no hero - I put my soft pants on one leg at a time just like anyone else.
(By the by, as a side effect of this process, I end up spending more time on publisher websites than any human should, so if you’re someone who’s in charge of a publisher website redesign and you’d like any input, please, please email me. I have Thoughts.)
I know people find this list useful: they tell me so on Twitter, and Becky Spratford and Sadie Hartmann in particular have been so lovely about shouting it out. Even Reddit has been nice about it. I hope you find it useful, too - I hope you find something on that list that you really, genuinely love, because nothing brings me more joy than someone breathlessly telling me they loved something I recommended.
Here’s the full 2022 list:
(Someone once suggested I add cover images to these lists, to which I say, it’s a nice idea, but you won’t thank me when your browser crashes every time you try to load the damn thing.)
Tomorrow, from my TinyLetter, I’ll be sending a newsletter about the books from that list that I’m personally most excited about, the ones I’m dying to get my paws on because they hit all my buttons, so keep an eye out for that. (Again, if you’re already signed up for this newsletter - if you’re reading it in your email client of choice right now - no need to do anything, but if you clicked through from Twitter or wherever and want to sign up, you can do so right over here.)
See you soon, kittens.