Pulp Fiction for a Digital World

Well, hello there!

December 3, 2020

Hi there! Welcome to this, the inaugural introductory post for Hollow Stone Press, a brand new publishing house from the people who brought you the apocalyptic Blood on the Motorway series, and the sci-fi-tastic Sunset Chronicles series. By which I mean, me. I did those things.

I’m an indie publisher and have been for a few years now. At the time of writing, I’ve published four novels and one non-fiction book, and I’ve done the whole thing basically on my own. I have worked with two editors over the course of the books, and hired a cover editor for the first, but beyond that, I’ve always subscribed to the idea that I’d better know how to do it myself. And, if I know how to do it for myself, why would I hire someone else to do it? So over the last few years I’ve learned pretty much everything I can about the world of modern publishing – from cover design to web design, to routes to market, advertising, and everything else I could think of.

One thing I learned along the way is that if you’re going to publish your own books, you really should put a publisher name on them, because it just looks a lot better. After a few discarded options (Reprobate Press, anyone?) I settled on the name Hollow Stone Press. I liked it. It had a kind of totemic, grandiose feel to it, and it just… feels like a publisher’s name.

Once I had the name, a little nugget of thought squirrelled itself amongst all the fluff, nonsense, and Pearl Jam lyrics that nest at the back of my brain. If I have a publishing house, I could TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Okay, maybe not TAKE OVER THE WORLD, but I couldn’t shake the idea of how cool it would be to start a little publishing house, put out some story collections with authors I respect and love, or amazing new writers that nobody has ever heard of? Like an indie record label, only for books and authors.

Another part of this is that I have a lot of thoughts about the state of publishing where things stand at the moment, in the year of 2020. I see Disney refusing to pay one of the most beloved sci fi authors in history (and one with cancer, at that) because of their predatory contract process. I see a plethora of ‘digital first’ publishers who do little more than knock up a cheap cover and take a massive cut of the royalties for the entire life of the book. But I also see some really cool things happening, like the work being done by Hawk and Cleaver, or Sterling and Stone. Forward thinking publishers. I think I’d like a piece of that action.

A huge part of this story is my wife, Ellen. Having long been my first reader, and someone whose insight and guidance I’ve always respected, she’s also an got a degree in English Literature, and in the last few years has been working toward qualification as an editor with the Publishing Training Centre. She’s now my editor, and shares with me the vision of a publishing company. A family firm, if you will, with her as the editor-in-chief, and myself as the chief content officer.

So for the past few months, along with working on the second and third books in the Sunset Chronicles (and a brand new vampire series), we’ve also been thinking about what that kind of publisher we’d like to be. So, ladies and jellyspoons, we humbly present Hollow Stone Press.

*adopts scholarly voice*

What is Hollow Stone?

Hollow Stone press is an independently minded indie publisher focused on modern genre fiction, providing pulp fiction for the digital age. Our key mission is to tell great stories, but we also aim to provide a gold standard service to all our authors. We do not believe that signing with a publisher should mean you lose most your publishing rights, nor that they should charge you vast sums for the privilege of publication. We also do not believe that the job of marketing your book should sit entirely with the author. It is our aim for each relationship to be a true partnership.

A good publisher should be a community. We look to the independent music publishers like Hydra Head, Sub Pop, and Church Records every bit as much as we look to the likes of Hawk & Cleaver and Grindhouse Press for inspiration. We believe that the true strength of a publisher is in raising the profiles of all its authors, of helping each other to reach readers, and to stay as energetically focused on our art as possible. As such, we will only ever put out work that pushes us forward, inspires us, and that we believe we can get behind.

For any authors who want to remain independent but who would like to use our services, we offer separate author services. Whether it be editing, cover design, marketing materials, or an author audit, we can work with you to take your work to the next level.

So there you have it. For now, all we have are a lot of dreams and a website. Hopefully next year as well as launching my own next two novels, we’ll also be launching our first collection, and we’ll let the wind take us where it will. We hope you’ll jump onboard.

Paul

About the author

Written by Paul Stephenson
Paul writes pulp fiction for the digital age. His first series - the apocalyptic Blood on the Motorway trilogy - has been an Amazon bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, and his work has been featured on the chart-topping horror podcast, The Other Stories. His new series, The Sunset Chronicles, is a dystopian sci-fi thriller that will delight and terrify fans of science fiction and horror alike. He lives in England with his wife, two children, and one hellhound. He is also the proprietor of Hollow Stone Press.

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