Hey gang, now that we’re rolling toward the end of 2016 I wanted to give everyone an update on the outlook of Dark Regions Press, some upcoming changes and a preview of an exciting year ahead.
This year was the strongest year in the history of Dark Regions Press. This is largely thanks to our direct customers who support our crowdfunding campaigns and order directly through our website regularly. You guys are truly the lifeblood of this company and I can’t thank you enough for your continued support and enthusiasm.
There were other reasons that 2016 was so strong: we had some of our most exciting projects yet, we’ve been working constantly behind-the-scenes to build a strong infrastructure for the business, we’ve initiated a new operation to vastly expand our distribution outreach with stores, libraries and retailers and have signed multiple contracts with some of the biggest names in the industry to ensure Dark Regions Press will still be releasing high quality products of horror, fantasy and science fiction for years to come.
Before I dive into what 2017 will bring in terms of projects, I wanted to discuss some of the issues we’ve had as a business and what we’re doing to address them. Rest assured: your feedback does not fall on deaf ears. There are multiple areas where we will be making significant improvements next year:
A strict new protocol will be initiated starting on January 1st, 2017: no DRP products will be made available for preorder unless they are 100% ready for production to begin. This means the printer/binder has all the files they need to start production including fully signed signature sheets. For example, any new anthology coming from Dark Regions Press will not be offered for preorder on our website or in a crowdfunding campaign unless the files are already complete and the signed signature sheets already in-hand.
As of writing this, the signature sheets for Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror deluxe edition are still circulating to the final 40% of contributors, and this book is a prime example of why our new preorder protocol is being put in place on the first day of 2017: no one should have to wait two years for a deluxe edition. We will not allow any product to be offered for preorder on our website or elsewhere until production is 100% ready to begin on that product. This should significantly improve turnaround time for our products and make our ETA’s much more accurate without the uncertainty of signature sheets or pre-production changes.
Dark Regions Press is growing, and it has become clear that our small staff/office will not be enough to handle the increasing amount of orders/campaigns moving forward. Starting in Q1 2017 we will be making the transition to exclusively selling products/items that will be shipped from a fulfillment provider. All items will be securely pre-packed before they even reach this fulfillment provider, so when they pack the orders the books/products will be double boxed/double packed for security. The fulfillment center we have been using and testing the waters with this year has been extremely professional, responsive and ships orders often times within the same day/24 hours.
Fulfillment has been an area that we have struggled with this year as the business has grown. It has become abundantly clear to us that if we want Dark Regions Press to survive and thrive, we must outsource the fulfillment aspect of our business to a trusted provider. This way our team and resources can be focused on what matters most: delivering excellent products and service to our customers.
The new website has a great look and some great features. Unfortunately, we’ve had a number of problems with functionality on this website and it often results in our staff chasing around technical issues for hours. Thus, we are planning on re-launching the website on a new platform in Q1 of 2017, likely in February/March, but possibly sooner. Right now we’re exploring our options and won’t settle until we find a platform that can give us stability, speed, security and ease-of-use for our customers. We will be making sure that we can import all order data/customer data so everyone can login to their accounts with order histories maintained.
Some of you may have noticed the website running more consistently lately. That’s because we’ve done a lot of work on the backend to clean things up and make it more stable. Still, the hunt for a new platform continues.
Starting in 2017 we are pulling back the reigns and the amount of releases from Dark Regions Press. There were so many disparate projects happening at once in 2016 that our staff and often times our customers became overwhelmed. We learned quickly from this and have delayed several projects until next year and are strictly limiting the amount of new books we’ll release in 2017. You can expect DRP to have 6-8 flagship products in 2017 then 1-3 multi-book launches for other titles like we did with our recent Indiegogo campaign.
There are many other areas where we will be improving the business in 2017, but I wanted to make it clear to our customers, collectors, supporters and fans that we will be vastly improving product turnaround time with our new preorder protocol, order fulfillment time by using fulfillment providers, the website with a new platform that has increased stability, security, speed and ease-of-use and our efforts to focus on our flagship products and a limited amount of multi-book launches.
Now let’s get into what we can expect from Dark Regions Press in 2017. I’ll address each 2017 project individually (although there are a few surprises I’m leaving out). This list is in chronological order based on planned launch dates.
A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos edited by S. T. Joshi has been such a popular title with our customers that I asked S. T. to create a follow-up anthology to the book, and thus The Red Brain was born. Stories by Thomas Ligotti, Ramsey Campbell, Clark Ashton Smith, Caitlín R. Kiernan and many more will be included in this exciting new volume, launching in Q1 2017 as part of the ongoing Dark Regions Weird Fiction line.
Customers have been asking about our next Laymon volume, and Funland is one of the first products where we are enforcing the new preorder protocol: this book will not be offered for preorder until all materials are in place, including the signed signature sheets. Thus, we expect to offer this book for preorder by Q2 2017.
I’m still waiting on the manuscript from Brian on this one, but I’m hopeful that he’ll turn it in by the end of this year. I’ll be editing the book, and giving about 3-6 months for pre-production I’m hoping we can offer this new novel from Keene by Q3 2017 at the latest.
As of writing this we have 9 / 10 accepted stories and are waiting on Laird Barron’s novella. I’ve communicated with Laird and he told me I can expect the manuscript in December. Once received, pre-production on this epic tome will begin. This is a book that we aim to have in-stock when we launch it for retail sale, but it will not be offered for retail sale until all Kickstarter campaign supporters receive their packages (with the possible exception of I AM GATEWAY editions which could take significantly longer than other editions to produce). There’s a lot of wiggle room in the schedule for this book as we have it scheduled for a retail launch in October 2017.
We can’t announce the details on this yet, but we will say this: after the delays with Clive Barker’s The Body Book, we’ve decided to only offer this new Clive Barker volume for sale once we have the books in-hand, even if that means we have to push it to 2018. Right now we have it scheduled for November 2017, but if it looks like the books won’t be ready to ship to customers by that date, we’ll most likely delay it. We will be doing all we can to make this new project with Clive an in-stock launch next November.
We pushed back volume 2 until November 2017 because of the delays with the deluxe edition for Volume 1. With stories from Elizabeth Massie, Richard Chizmar, Gene O’Neill and more, fans of Volume 1 are in for a special treat with Volume 2. This one we also plan on having in-stock at time of launch in November 2017.
As you can see, we really are pulling back on the amount of projects in 2017. Granted, there are a few surprise projects/ announcements that I couldn’t reveal just yet, but we are working to ensure that this year we don’t overload ourselves or our customers with too many simultaneous projects.
This note is starting to get a bit on the long side, so I’m going to wrap this up by saying: thank you to everyone who supports our crowdfunding campaigns and places orders through DarkRegions.com. It’s because of you that Dark Regions Press can continue operations to bring you new titles from Brian Keene, collectible editions from authors like Richard Laymon and Clive Barker, expansive original projects like I AM THE ABYSS and much more. While we definitely have had our issues as a maturing company, I hope you can see that we are actively working to improve these areas of the business. We want Dark Regions Press customers who support our campaigns and preorders to have confidence moving forward knowing that if we offer something for preorder, that means it’s ready to go at the printers and that your preorder contributes directly to supporting its production starting soon thereafter.
All of us on the DRP team are determined to make Dark Regions Press grow and thrive so that we can bring you bigger and better projects in the arts, but can only do so with your continued support. Please tell your friends, family and co-workers about Dark Regions Press and continue to order from us directly on DarkRegions.com. It makes a real difference in the strength of the press and our ability to expand into new realms like graphic novels. I’m very excited about what we have to show you moving forward and hope you join us for the ride.
Until next time, my friends. Keep reading horror!
Dark Regions Press, LLC