During its (wildly intermittent) production period Swallowdown Press was responsible for the publication of nine novels. Five of these were nominated for the coveted Wonderland Award and four of them actually won. Collectively these books have sold over 15,000 copies and have served to expand the scope of the Bizarro fiction canon (while also finding inroads with discerning Horror and Crime readers looking for a little weirdness in the mix).
The original tagline for Swallowdown Press was “Brilliant Bizarro Books” and I stand by that. From the almost-alien, Lynchian Siberia of J David Osborne’s BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS to the darkly beautiful poetry of Forrest Armstrong’s THE DEADHEART SHELTERS to the mind-bending, revelatory shorts of Cody Goodfellow’s SILENT WEAPONS FOR QUIET WARS, all were books which showed how deeply affecting literature could be when run through their author’s warped and singular imaginations.
I feel immensely privileged and proud to have had a small hand in introducing these books to the world. I’m also grateful to the artists—Alex Pardee, Alan M. Clark, Matthew Revert, Mike Dubisch, Dana Terrace, and Nick Gucker—who made our books look as amazing and dynamic as possible. And a great debt is owed to Carlton Mellick III and Cameron Pierce who did most of the actual book design (both cover and interior) for the Friend Price of Pizza and Beer.
For those wondering “Why?”: Swallowdown Press is solvent—we’ve paid all royalties religiously since our first pub date. All of our titles have earned out and are profitable and BY THE TIME and SILENT WEAPONS are certified hits by any small press standard. And I’m still a true believer when it comes to the power and potential of Bizarro fiction.
All that being said, time has compressed for me a great deal since becoming and fully devoting myself to being a father. Swallowdown has been on a production hiatus for over five years now, and I’ve realized that I’m kidding myself when I think it may return. In its absence presses like Lazy Fascist and Broken River and King Shot and Fungasm have published most of the books I would have wanted to put out anyway. The aesthetic I loved for Swallowdown is being served—and served better—by these wonderful publishers.
Beyond that, the unexpected success of SKULLCRACK CITY has presented me with some opportunities that I’m now (legally/contractually) bound to pursue, and these are drawing my attention away from the press in a way that’s unfair to the authors. So at this point I’d rather the rights revert to these folks so that they might find further opportunities for their very fine work. I can’t give details yet, but I can assure you that many of the Swallowdown books will be re-appearing in the near future.
So, for those interested in collecting or checking out the Swallowdown Press catalog before it’s gone, here is a list of titles which will no longer be available as of April 1, 2017:
WE LIVE INSIDE YOU by Jeremy Robert Johnson (print edition only, digital will remain available)
SIREN PROMISED by Alan M. Clark and Jeremy Robert Johnson (print edition only, superior digital version with full-color art already available from IFD Publishing)
THE DEADHEART SHELTERS by Forrest Armstrong (print/digital)
BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS by J. David Osborne (print/digital)
LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY by J. David Osborne (print/digital)
SILENT WEAPONS FOR QUIET WARS by Cody Goodfellow (print/digital)
PERFECT UNION by Cody Goodfellow (print/digital)
ALL-MONSTER ACTION! By Cody Goodfellow (print/digital)
ALSO OF NOTE:
Eraserhead Press’ print edition of ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE will also be going Out of Print around this same time.
In April 2017 Night Shade Press will be releasing ENTROPY IN BLOOM in both hardcover and digital editions (with a trade paperback to follow in October 2017)! ENTROPY IN BLOOM not only collects the absolute best short stories from ANGEL DUST and WE LIVE, but also includes a brand new, never-before-published 25,000 word novella titled “The Sleep of Judges” (which feels like my best work to date [though the new stuff always does]).
ENTROPY IN BLOOM is the 4K Criterion Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray of my short work. It’s beautifully designed, deeply fine-tuned, and chock-full of extra features including an outstanding Introduction from the always amazing Brian Evenson. Going forward, I would tell any reader interested in my short fiction that ENTROPY IN BLOOM is 100% the book to pick up. As such, it is now going to become the sole collection available in print.
For those folks interested in the weird/experimental deep cuts, I am going to leave the very inexpensive Kindle versions of WE LIVE and ANGEL DUST on the market. To extend the film metaphor, there will still be a way to access my earliest work via these Bootleg VHS copies. So if you really need not one but three stories of Rave Horror or you dig Kenny Loggins jokes, you can still get that stuff for now.
Definitely some big changes, and there’s always more to be announced, but for now I just want to say:
Thank you for reading Swallowdown Press books! I hope you had as much fun experiencing them as we had creating them!
The SDP crew at Bizarrocon 2011