Welcome to Smugglivus 2016: A Year In Review. Tomorrow, January 7, 2017, is our bloggoversary–so to get ready for Smugglivus-proper and some big announcements for 2017 tomorrow, we’re taking a retrospective look at 2016! Even though 2016 was overall filled with horribleness, The Book Smugglers and Book Smugglers Publishing continued to thrive and were a ray of sunshine in our lives.
Our Top Accomplishments of 2016
In which we list our most valued accomplishments of the past year.
We started our journey as publishers in 2014 and in 2016 in addition to the now traditional short stories and novelettes, we published our first four full novels, announced a brand new novella line for 2017 and launched a new Quarterly Almanac.
1. Publication of “Superhero” Season
Cover art by sparrows
Our third season of short stories was themed “Superheroes” and we published 5 amazing new stories around this new theme:
- The Indigo Mantis by E Catherine Tobler–an urban fantasy noir featuring a vigilante praying mantis;
- Kid Dark Against The Machine by Tansy Rayner Roberts–a traditional superhero story complete with a Team of superheroes and everything, sequel to “Cookie Cutter Superhero”;
- How to Piss Off a Failed Super-Soldier by John Chu–a LGBT science fiction story featuring supersoldiers that also doubles as a story about brotherhood and love
- Superior by Jessica Lack– a supercute LGBT YA romance between a villain’s apprentice and a superhero’s intern.
- The Life and Times of Angel Evans by Meredith Debonnaire–a superhero story with a difference: part Good Omens, part Doctor Who with a pansexual protagonist who might have saved the entire universe.
We’re pretty damn proud of editing and publishing these five incredible short stories and novelettes…
2. Four Novels by Susan Jane Bigelow
Cover art by Kirbi Fagan
We acquired the rights to reprint the first three novels in Susan Jane Bigelow Extrahuman Union series and to publish the original, never-before-published final book in the series, Extrahumans. This was a tour-de-force for us and loved every minute of working on this series. We are so proud to have published this entire series – and let the world know how incredible these books are!
Cover art by Kirbi Fagan
3.Our first Novella – and our second Halloween Tale
Cover art by Kristina Tsenova
We published our first novella as part of our annual tradition of publishing a Halloween Tale every October 31. This year, that honor went to Octavia Cade’s dark, bloody and complex The Convergence of Fairy Tales, a tale of revenge and survival that retold in one go 5 different fairy tales including Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
4. Hurricane Heels – A series
Cover art by Denise Yap
2016 was also the year that saw the publication of the Hurricane Heels series by Isabel Yap! We received the first story, Hurricane Heels, as part of our superheroes call and immediately KNEW that we had to ask the author to write more stories with these amazing Magical Girls. The result is an extraordinary tale of sisterhood and heroism.
5. Our Second Limited Edition Print Run
Cover art by Kristina Tsenova
It was a delight to work with S.L. Huang again on this subversive, flipped, queer retelling of The Little Mermaid. The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist is another stupendous work by this author and we still have a few copies available!
6. The Book Smugglers’ Quarterly Almanac
We launched a brand new venture last year: a quarterly almanac collecting original short stories, reprints, essays and reviews from some of the most important figures in SFF and YA right now. With two volumes already out, we are about to publish Volume 3, which will include short stories by Nigel Quinlan and AE Ash and essays by Becky Chambers, Zetta Elliott and more.
7. Publication of Speculative Fiction 2015
Cover art by Kenda Montgomery
We only recently published Speculative Fiction 2015 just in time for the New Year. Edited by Foz Meadows and Mark Oshiro, it collects over 50 online essays/reviews that make up a picture of all online happenings from 2015. This is a bittersweet moment for us, as we say good bye to the series with Speculative Fiction 2015.
8. New Features
We launched and enhanced many of our Book Smugglers blog columns and features last year, in addition to our publishing work! We continued – and said good bye to – Catherine King’s Decoding the Newbery column as well as Octavia Cade’s Food and Horror column and launched Carlie St George’s Trope Anatomy 101.
9. The Epic Harry Potter Re-Read
We devoured and jointly reviewed all of the books in our beloved Harry Potter series. It was a mixed bag of feelings but ultimately rewarding to revisit a series that was so important to us.
10. Lots of Other Cool Things
- We continued with our traditional Biannual State of the Union Meetings – Ana crossed the pond twice
- Sadly, we could not make it to WorldCon this year but we both attended Nine Worlds in London and Thea was even part of a couple of awesome panels
- Soon after Nine Worlds, we watched the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and it was an AMAZING experience
- Our blog reached another milestone – over 11,000,000 page views.
- Despite this being the year that we reviewed, collectively, less than we’ve ever reviewed before, we still managed to tally up reviews of over 100 novels with an average score of 7.5!
This has been yet another incredibly busy, challenging, amazing, REWARDING year–and that’s just the way we like it.
Thank YOU so much for being a part of it.
Tomorrow, we officially celebrate our ninth anniversary and we will talk about our goals and plans for 2017. We have a lot of exciting news to share!
Until then, we remain….
~ Your Friendly Neighborhood Book Smugglers