Black House Books is a different kind of small press for a number of reasons. Primarily, we show a distinct, shameless, and wanton nepotism towards authors who reside in the central and southern Appalachian regions, particularly if they are lifelong residents. For elaboration, please see the section at the bottom of the page.
Geographic preferences aside, we want to give all authors the opportunity to be heard. To have their words read. We would like to be seen as less of a “middleman” and more of a nurturing entity that will help authors find the readerships they seek. We would also like to give new life to books that went “out-of-print,” perhaps a little too soon.
Black House is a hybrid press, meaning we publish in both electronic and print formats. We try to emphasize electronic books, as they are accessible on all devices, and are much more environmentally-friendly. We maintain a paper-free office.
Black House Books was formed in January 2012, but our publishing has been ongoing since 2004. What started as the Appalachian Gothic Library Project (2004), led to the publishing venture with Laurawrites.net (2008), and became Black House Books several years later. We are familiar with what works, what doesn’t work, and the fact that the industry changes annually.
About the Appalachians
Most rural Appalachian areas are known for prolific storytelling. Tall tales, folklore, and ghost stories continue to be passed from generation to generation. Yet, even though we have such a rich heritage in fiction and non-fiction, writers struggle.
It’s no secret that a number of Appalachian areas remain in a financially depressed state. Writing is an excellent way to bring in a secondary income to people who may not have such opportunities elsewhere.
Oftentimes, the lack of resources bleeds over into academia, and makes college attendance far more difficult than it is in other areas. Appalachian residents can find even attending a community college might require a one-hour commute (at least), in a single direction. Universities or other higher learning facilities are much farther. For this reason, many Appalachian authors face twice the battles that non-resident authors might.
Writing truly takes dedication, perseverance, and a good amount of discipline in general. Much of what Appalachian authors learn is self-taught. Fellow residents can be disinterested, local businesses skeptical, creating an atmosphere that’s wholly destructive. Writing groups are few and far between, and even when found, many seem to be more interested in a writers’ fees than actually providing help. This is also contingent upon the writer having the money for said fees. Even when writers have the funds, a new spectrum of predators await. Vanity and subsidy presses are eager to take advantage of any author who can find the funding to have their work published.
It is a vicious circle we want to break.