Reviews of The Children of Old Leech are starting to appear in the wild, which is happy-making on many accounts, not least of which is that I read and thoroughly enjoyed the book. Though I’m hardly impartial, I’ll probably jot down a few words about it before long. As an author, I feel enough kinship with what I saw in the pages in TCOOL that I thought I would look more closely at the contributors. What I found was interesting in various ways (at least to me), so I’m sharing what I found. This is, essentially, a bit of personal market research that grew in scope.
Methodology & disclaimers
- I looked at the writing activities of my fellow TCOOL contributors for the last three years, focusing on short stories published or reprinted in anthologies and magazines. I did not tally single-volume collections or novels, nor self-published. For forthcoming anthologies, I gathered data in so far as was possible.
- I collected data primarily from authors’ websites and/or blogs, cross-referencing with the ISFDB. If you look at this data and see mistakes, please feel free to drop me a line or comment, but please note: I searched harder for this information than I would expect most readers to search, and I am an information professional.
- There are typos and idiosyncrasies in this because I collected this purely for my own purposes and changed some naming conventions as I went. I am sharing this because I thought it might be of interest to sundry folks. It also took a lot longer than I expected to gather this information and format it so that it would be useful.
- Like a lot of research, it doesn’t come up with that much startling information, but it does confirm various things I expected. If you are deep into the Weird, contemporary HPL, etc., you probably already know much of this, particularly if you have personal relationships with the authors and editors involved.
- Mike Davis and Silvia Moreno-Garcia have published a lot of us over the last few years, between anthologies and The Lovecraft eZine, both number of stories and number of authors. Roughly twice as many on both counts as anyone else.
- If you want to read more fiction written by contributors to The Children of Old Leech, you’ll find those stories more easily in some cases than others. I say this to you, fellow authors: if you care about people reading your work, they must be able to find it. If you view short stories as a “fire and forget” exercise until they’re collected, perhaps you may not care. Look at Joe Pulver’s publication timeline, Orrin Grey’s bibliography, or Daniel Mills’ bibliography for examples of clear, easy-to-read lists.
- Speaking of Joe Pulver, he’s everywhere. People talk about God being everywhere, but they apparently haven’t met Joe Pulver.
- A lot of ink is spilled about the overlap between cosmic horror, the Weird, Lovecraftian fiction, and horror generally, but the Old Gent continues to have an overwhelming founder-type effect on these stripes of fiction, at least as practiced by TCOOL contributors.
The academically oriented may have already drawn some conclusions about this post and have a related question, and my brief answer is that, yes, I am interested in the sociology and publication practices of writers of Weird fiction. This particular data set is a little too dirty, wonky, and skewed on various accounts, to use for a real article, but it might form the seed of part of one. Were I to use this data for reals, I’d cross-check anthology & magazine TOCs with ISFDB and author websites.
I welcome your thoughts, either via e-mail or in the comments. The above is what jumped out at me, but there may be more to be gleaned from this than I am seeing.
You’ve seen the data… now read the book!
The Children of Old Leech is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from Word Horde, if you haven’t already heard. I’m hardly an impartial commentator, but if you like the Weird, cosmic horror, and/or Laird Barron’s fiction, I recommend it wholeheartedly.