Chaosium Announces Fiction Program Relaunch

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Chaosium Announces Fiction Program Relaunch

Post by Havard » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:55 am

Chaosium Announces Fiction Program Relaunch

Posted by Michael O'Brien on June 22, 2018

Chaosium logo

Friday, June 22, 2018 – For immediate release

Chaosium, Inc., publisher of the celebrated roleplaying games Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest, announces the relaunch of their fiction program.

The Chaosium fiction line originally launched in 1992 and was suspended in 2015 during a general company restructuring. Subsequently, Chaosium management brought on publishing and gaming industry veteran James Lowder as a consulting editor to help resolve any outstanding contract and payment issues with authors, editors, and artists.

Lowder then drafted new, creator-friendly contracts for the department, worked with SFWA to register the company as a qualifying professional market, and then commissioned a schedule of new, creator-owned fiction releases, in both print and e-book formats.

With the line’s relaunch, Lowder will assume the title executive editor of fiction for Chaosium.

James Lowder's previous editorial experience includes serving as the Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft fiction line editor for TSR, executive editor for Green Knight’s Arthurian fiction program, and freelance editor for dozens of novels and anthologies. Lowder has also written several bestselling dark fantasy novels, as well as short fiction, comic book scripts, critical essays, and roleplaying game material. His work as an editor and author has received five Origins Awards and two ENnie Awards, and been among the finalists for the International Horror Guild Award and the Stoker Award.

“I’ve been a regular reader of Chaosium’s fiction releases since the line’s inception and look forward to adding new works to the already-impressive catalog,” Lowder notes. “For many years Chaosium was a leading publisher of classic Mythos fiction reprints, along with original Mythos-steeped anthologies and novels. Given the current Mythos renaissance in pop culture, it’s a great time for the line to return.”
Chaosium to release three new fiction titles in 2018

HP Lovecraft's Dagon for Beginning Readers by RJ IvankovicIn September, the humorous picture book H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon for Beginning Readers, by R.J. Ivankovic; Dagon is a follow-up to Ivankovic’s popular H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu for Beginning Readers, also published by Chaosium.
Cover by R.J. Ivankovic.

SisterhoodIn October, Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories, a trade paperback anthology of horror and Mythos stories set in female religious communities around the globe and across the centuries.

Sisterhood is edited by Nate Pedersen and features stories penned by some of the genre’s leading female voices, including Nadia Bulkin, Livia Llewellyn, Molly Tanzer, Sun Yung Shin, Penelope Love, and Damien Angelica Walters.
Cover by Liv Rainey-Smith and Inkspiral Designs.

Finally, in November, the trade paperback The Leaves of a Necronomicon, a braided novel revealing the fates of the doomed owners of one particular copy of that infamous cursed tome. Leaves is edited by Shirley Jackson Award-winning editor Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. and features stories by Nick Mamatas, S.P. Miskowski, Jeffrey Thomas, Anna Tambour, and Michael Cisco.

In 2019, Chaosium’s Mythos and weird fiction titles—which will eventually include anthologies, novels, novellas, single-author collections, and select non-fiction—will see release on a roughly quarterly schedule, along with other special fiction and non-fiction projects scattered throughout the year. All titles will be available through traditional book channels, as well as through game shops,, and the Chaosium website.
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It is interesting to see companies gearing up to do fiction along with their RPGs again. Didn't Green Ronin or someone else also make a similar announcement? Will WotC ever return to fiction for D&D?


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Re: Chaosium Announces Fiction Program Relaunch

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:18 pm

If they are relaunching the product line, it looks like James Lowder has been able to sort out whatever went wrong before. :)

I think that one problem I've seen with the RPG fiction I've bought is that sometimes it can be hard to get specific novels.

If a publisher prints too many, they flood the market and end up going to cheap bookstores (which is not always a terrible thing as a cheap book can bring a new fan into the fandom).

If they don't print enough books, the eBay bandits end up grabbing copies and trying to sell them for much higher prices than the publisher intended them to be sold for. (And the author and publisher doesn't earn any extra for that.)

So it seems like overprinting can cause a financial risk for the publisher (if they get lots of returns) while underprinting can cause a financial issue for the fans (if eBay bandits grab up stocks). And if a fiction line has peaks and troughs, a company could be overprinting and underprinting on different novels and burning up some of their cash reserves. That could get the accountants telling a company to throw in the towel. (It's great that, in the case of Chaosium, James Lowder seems to have found the way to avoid that.)

I think what I would like to see is for publishers to convert their older novels to Print on Demand format. That way, if I want to buy a set of 6 books in a series, and can't get them all, I can get the missing ones in PoD format.

And if a publisher was a bit nervous about the market of a specific novel, they could send it straight to PoD, instead of cancelling it completely. That could be good news for a novel series that starts to tail off. If the author still wants to write it, but the publisher isn't sure they can justify a print run, they could sit down together and agree on converting the later books to Print on Demand, so that the author could still finish their story.

If a publisher got really worried about the sales figures of a novel (and thought that a PoD version wouldn't pull in enough cash to pay for the author and cover artists) they could probably even turn to crowd funding, like Kickstarter, to get enough pre-orders to pay for the book to be edited and published in PoD format. (With crowd funding, the fans who wanted to see the series continue would help spread the word and if a Kickstarter for a PoD novel was especially successful, they could have stretch goals like a poster map of the area in the book or even pay for the sequel to be written.)

(I know I've seen mentions of numerous D&D products that got pulled just prior to being printed and would love to be able to buy them. I'd definitely buy a full set of the four Wildspace novels from a PoD store.)
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Re: Chaosium Announces Fiction Program Relaunch

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:21 pm

I hope it does extend to other publishers. The market is very different from the '80s and '90s with ebooks and the audiobook resurgence. I think properly handled, companies can set up a nice steady revenue stream based on their intellectual properties. There is a market for it, they just need to keep expectations realistic.

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Re: Chaosium Announces Fiction Program Relaunch

Post by timemrick » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:44 am

Green Ronin launched Nisaba Press early this year. They have released a number of short stories in electronic form for their Freeport, M&M, and Blue Rose properties, and will be publishing their first couple novels later this year.

I've only read a couple of the Freeport stories so far (because I'm a completist with that setting), but I'm very curious to see Joe Carriker's BR novel.
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