botanistOn October 17th, Jolly Fish Press announced that it has ceased book production and will stop doing business entirely at the end of the month. JFP was a trade fiction and nonfiction publisher founded in 2012. Some of their horror/dark fantasy authors included L.K. Hill, Adrienne Monson, Amie & Bethanie Borst, and A. L. & B. W. Washburn.

It’s sad for readers and writers whenever a publisher shuts down, but particularly when it’s a strong up-and-comer as JFP certainly seemed to be.

Even more unfortunately, JFP didn’t give their authors the courtesy of a private notification a day or two before their public announcement. As a result, many of their authors naturally felt blindsided, adding to the distress of finding out that their books had been orphaned.

I know that pain. I sold what would have been my first novel to a new, seemingly well-run and well-funded publisher back in 2002. This was on the strength of a first chapter and completed synopsis. I got professional rates, the contract was good, and it looked like the publisher would want more novels from me once I’d finished the first. I was all ready to quit my day job and dive into writing the rest of the book when I got the bad news: because of financial losses from the .com bust, the publisher’s parent company had decided to pull the plug on all their subsidiaries that weren’t immediately bringing in profits. (Spoiler: new publishing companies are never immediately turning a profit.)

This was terrible news for everybody involved, but it was particularly awful for the publishing company’s new staff who had just moved for the sake of their new jobs. Nobody knew that the publisher was in danger until the parent company pulled the plug.

I took it hard, and the professional setback knocked the wind out of me, creatively speaking. Nobody had warned me that this kind of thing could happen. I had a signed contract … but no publisher. Who would want my book now? Would the next publisher fold, too? I lost confidence and never completed that book. I floundered for about a year, but eventually got my focus back and wrote a completely different first novel (Spellbent) that was published by Del Rey.

I hope all the writers affected by the Jolly Fish Press shutdown can stay positive and find new publishing opportunities quickly.


About Lucy A. Snyder

Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, Switchblade Goddess, and the collections Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her latest books are Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer's Survival Guide and While the Black Stars Burn. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Jamais Vu, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Steampunk World, In the Court of the Yellow King, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2, and Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and occasional co-author Gary A. Braunbeck and is a mentor in Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can learn more about her at and you can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.