Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Paperbacks from Hell: Second Wave

Our five Paperbacks from Hell reprints have been one of the most popular things we've ever done, so we couldn't resist doing a sequel! Here's everything you need to know about our second wave of PFH reissues.

Which books will be featured in the second wave?

Black Ambrosia (1988) by Elizabeth Engstrom

This super-rare novel (there's literally not a single copy for sale online anywhere, at any price) by Engstrom, whose When Darkness Loves Us was part of the first set of PFH, can be read as a straightforward horror novel about a teenage vampire and her string of male victims, or as a story of madness. Is Angelina really a vampire? Can we trust the story she's telling us? You'll have to read the novel to find out. Features a new introduction by Grady Hendrix and the original cover painting by Bob Eggleton.

Nightblood (1990) by T. Chris Martindale

Martindale's sought-after book (it sports a 4.12 rating on Goodreads and the cheapest secondhand copies are $32+) also takes vampires as its theme, but there the similarities with Engstrom's book end. In Nightblood, a Vietnam War vet whose brother was killed by a vampire is out for revenge on the undead, with the help of his brother's ghost and an arsenal of high-powered weaponry. When an army of the undead descends on an Indiana town, our hero goes into action in this wild vampire shoot-'em-up romp. Features a Grady Hendrix introduction and the original cover by Greg Winters.

A Nest of Nightmares (1986) by Lisa Tuttle

One of the books we've had the most requests for over the years, Tuttle's book appeared as a paperback original in the UK and was never published in the US or subsequently reprinted anywhere. Copies regularly sell for $100 or more. This volume collects 13 of the author's best early horror tales, originally published in various magazines. Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction, who will contribute an introduction, says these are tales "with chilling moments of helpless creeping terror" and calls the collection "brilliant". Features the original Nick Bantock cover painting.

Let's Go Play at the Adams' (1974) by Mendal W. Johnson

I don't think we've ever gotten as many requests for any book as for this rare '70s shocker by Johnson, who published only this one novel. This notorious bestseller about the terrible things that happen after a group of children chloroform and tie up their babysitter is highly sought-after on the secondhand market, and copies go for lofty sums. Read this chilling novel and find out what all the hype is about and why so many readers have requested a reprint of this book. Features a new introduction by Grady Hendrix. Cover art to be determined (the cover to the left is included for illustrative purposes only.)

The Pack (1976) by David Fisher

And last, but definitely not least, is this classic killer dog novel from David Fisher, author of more than 20 best-selling books; this one was the basis for a 1977 film entitled The Long Dark Night.  Animal attack books were hugely popular during the 1970s paperback horror boom, and Fisher's is among the best. This new edition will feature a new introduction by Will Errickson and cover art to be determined (the image to the left is for illustrative purposes only).

When will the second wave be published?

The first title, Black Ambrosia, will ship sometime in October. The remaining books will follow at a rate of about one book every 6-8 weeks, with the series wrapping up around March of 2020.

Are they available worldwide?

Four of the books will be available worldwide. Lisa Tuttle's A Nest of Nightmares, because of rights restrictions outside our control, will be available only in the U.S., Canada, and certain other countries worldwide (it will not be available in the U.K. or the current/former Commonwealth countries, although readers in those countries can import it with free shipping from Book Depository).

How much do they cost?

The paperbacks will retail at $16.99 each, except for Nightblood, which will be $17.99. The ebooks will retail at $7.99. However, we will be offering a package deal to receive the paperbacks at a 20% discount, and the ebooks at a discount as well.

Will there be a monthly subscription option?

For the first wave, we offered a subscription where we sent out one book per month.  This time, things will be done a little differently. 

Instead of publishing a new book on the first of each month, the books will be spaced out a little bit more, with no releases in December (because of the Christmas holidays). Thus, you may receive one book in October, one in November, and then receive your third in January. It is possible you will receive more than one book in a given month, since we will be sending the books as soon as we have them from the printers -- we won't hold on to them and make you wait for them!

We will regularly update our Facebook and Twitter pages to announce when books are shipping, and if you have a question or concern, you can contact us at any time.

How much for the set?

Customers can preorder all 5 books and receive a 20% discount ($13.50 per book, plus s&h, instead of $16.99).  

U.S. customers: The total cost to U.S. customers will be $85 (this works out to $13.50 per book, plus $3.50 per book s&h.)  

U.K. customers: U.K. customers can order a 'PFH lite' subscription, which will include all the books except A Nest of Nightmares, for $70 ($13.50 per book + $4 per book s&h).

Important (non-U.S./U.K. customers): Shipping costs outside the U.S. are expensive! Customers in Canada, the EU, and elsewhere can still preorder the entire set for $85; however, the five books will all ship together via UPS in one box once they are all available (Feb./Mar. 2020), rather than five separate shipments.

Ebook discountThe ebook package will be $29.99 (a discount of about $10 off the anticipated retail price of $39.95).

To order, visit our Paperbacks from Hell: Wave Two page

If you are outside the U.S. and have questions about how to order, or shipping costs, feel free to email us using the contact form on our website, or send us a message on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts.

What are the benefits to preordering the entire set instead of just buying the books individually on Amazon?
  • No long waits. Books will generally ship to you 3-4 weeks before their Amazon release date. So you'll have them before anybody else. Plus, you'll be supporting an independent small press instead of a giant corporate monstrosity.
  • Free ebook versions. Yep, that's right. If you preorder the paperback set and would like to receive the ebook versions of each title as well, just contact us when placing your order and tell us whether you want the MOBI or EPUB versions. You must request them, however -- we don't want to fill up your inbox with ebook files you don't want.
  • First dibs on audiobook download codes.  We are anticipating audiobook versions of several of the PFH titles, and for each of them we will have around 100 free Audible download codes to distribute. These will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, and first priority will be given to those who preordered the set from us.
  • Unparalleled customer service.  Something wrong with a book you received?  Wondering where your shipment is?  Just shoot us an email or a message and a real, live person (there are two of us here to choose from) will respond quickly and fix any problem.
Thanks for visiting, and welcome back to Hell! Happy reading!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Call for Submissions: The Valancourt Book of International Horror Stories

Following the success of our three volumes of the Valancourt Book of Horror Stories series and the inauguration of our new Valancourt International series, we are currently open for submissions for our forthcoming Valancourt Book of International Horror Stories. Submissions are welcome from authors or publishers.  (If you are not an author or publisher but would like to recommend a favorite author or story, please feel free to do so!)

Guidelines and Requirements:

1.  The story must have been previously published by a professional publisher in either a print or electronic publication. (We are not looking for unpublished or self-published work at this time.)  Stories must be no longer than 8000 words.

2.   The story must originally have been written in a language other than English.*  Submissions of stories in regional or minority languages or in languages traditionally under-represented in American publishing are especially welcome.  *Exception: English-language submissions are acceptable if the author is from a country other than the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa. 

3.   The story must be a "horror" story; however, we define this term as broadly as possible to include stories of the occult and/or supernatural, weird fiction, tales of the unsettling, uncanny or macabre, ghost stories, etc.  Stories in adjacent genres, such as dark crime, dark fantasy, or black humor, may also be considered.

4.   Here at Valancourt Books, we read quite a few languages.  If your story is written in one of the following languages, please submit it in the original language; an English translation or other accompanying material in English is optional, but not required:
  • Afrikaans
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Danish
  • Dutch (including Frisian, Low Saxon, and other regional languages)
  • French (including Occitan and other Romance languages)
  • Icelandic
  • Italian
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Scots
  • Spanish (including Galician and other regional languages other than Basque)
  • Swedish
If the story is written in another language that we cannot read, the story must be accompanied by either a translation (which may be rough; it need not be a professional translation) or a synopsis/summary of the story that will enable us to form an opinion as to whether the story may be right for the book before going to the expense of having it translated. If in any doubt, feel free to contact us.

5.   Anticipated publication date is October 2020.  We will accept submissions through April 30, 2020.  Stories received earlier have a higher chance of being read and chosen than stories received at or near the deadline. Stories not accepted for this volume may be resubmitted for consideration for future volumes.

6.    Authors whose stories are accepted for publication will be offered a fee as well as a contributor's copy of the published book.

Please submit materials via email (PDF, Word, EPUB are all acceptable) to jjenkins@valancourtbooks.com.  Submissions may also be mailed to: Valancourt Books, P. O. Box 17642, Richmond VA 23226 USA.  Please note that books and other materials mailed to this address will not be returned.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Valancourt Books Spring Cleaning Sale!

In about two weeks, UPS is going to show up with an absolute infestation of copies of THE NEST, the first book in our Paperbacks from Hell series.  And we need to clear out some room for them.

We have a bunch of overstock copies available. They are unread, unused copies but in rare cases may have a bumped corner or slight shelfwear. We are offering them for 25% or more off the list price, with FREE SHIPPING.  This is open to US residents only.  Books will ship via Media Mail, smaller orders in a padded bubble mailer, large orders in a cardboard box.

Availability is limited to what's in the list below.  If you don't see it, it's not included in this offer.  **We will update the list below (but not the photos) as books sell.**

And as an extra special deal, copies of Michael Frayn's delightful MATCHBOX THEATRE, probably one of the most beautiful books we've produced, are only $5 each with free shipping!

If you're interested, send us an email at info@valancourtbooks.com, or message us on Facebook/Twitter. Thanks!


Hardcovers (reg. $29.99 each, special price $20)
Barry Hines, A Kestrel for a Knave

Paperbacks (reg. $15.99-$17.99 each, special price $10 each. !)

James Purdy, In A Shallow Grave
David Karp, One
Christopher Priest, The Separation

Michael Frayn, Matchbox Theatre, $5 each (reg. $15) (3 copies avail.)

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Between print books, Kindle e-books, and Audible audiobooks, these days Amazon accounts for at least 90% of our sales. Although our books are available on plenty of other sites (including our own), the fact remains that if one of our books isn't available on Amazon, it doesn't sell. Which is why we've been frustrated at Amazon repeatedly delisting our books for sale for no reason that we can ascertain.

As a publisher mostly of horror books, October and Halloween-time is one of our busiest periods of the year. This month we put out four great new horror titles; however, one of these, Worms, was unavailable on Amazon US in paperback format for several weeks after its release date, and our new Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume 3, as of this morning could not be ordered either in hardcover or Kindle format. We have no idea why. And we have no control over it. There is literally no way to get a response from a human being at Amazon regarding these problems.

These aren't isolated incidents. For years, our books have been disappearing from sale at random. Sometimes they come back after a few weeks; sometimes they never come back. Even when they are available for order, Amazon seems to do everything they can to discourage customers from ordering them, by listing them as "Temporary out of stock, order now and we'll deliver when available" or "Usually ships within 1-3 months". Both these statements are false: our books are all printed on demand through Ingram, the nation's largest book distributor. They're all available, all the time, and it takes on average a couple days to print and ship them, not 1-3 months.

It's no exaggeration to say that Valancourt Books' existence hinges mostly on the whims of Amazon's glitches and algorithms, not on how good or well-produced our books are.

Recently we've been encouraging people to order direct from us via our website.  We love the chance to interact with customers directly, and we think it's a plus for customers too.  E-books ordered direct from our website are DRM-free, and if you order a print book and have any questions or problems with the order, send us an email and you'll get a quick response from a real, live person (there's two of us here to choose from!) If you want to read them without purchasing them, our books are available in print and e-book to public libraries, and most libraries have a link on their website for you to request a title and are usually pretty responsive to these requests.

We offer shipping to the US and UK starting at $3.99 per order, with orders over $100 shipping free. And in the coming weeks we are going to be discounting books on our website, so that both print and e-books will be cheaper ordered direct from us than if purchased from Amazon. If you haven't already, we encourage you to sign up for our once-monthly email newsletter on the front page of our website so that you'll know about all new & upcoming releases, as well as details of deals and discounts.

Thanks for your support (and Happy Halloween from Ryan and Jay!)

Friday, October 5, 2018

Figures Unseen audiobook nominated for Voice Arts Awards!

Congratulations to narrator Matt Godfrey, whose performance on the Valancourt audiobook of Steve Rasnic Tem's Figures Unseen: Selected Stories, was just announced as a finalist for the Voice Arts Awards. The winners will be announced on Nov. 18 at a ceremony at the Warner Bros Studio in Burbank, CA, hosted by Sigourney Weaver!

If you haven't heard Matt's performance of these great stories, check it out on Audible.

And while you're at it, why not check out some of our other award-nominated audiobooks, including Michael McDowell's The Elementals, read by R. C. Bray, which was a finalist for the Audie Awards, or Matt Godfrey's reading of Fredric Brown's Nightmares and Geezenstacks, a finalist for last year's Voice Arts Awards?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Some forthcoming Gothic & Victorian titles

Recently our Gothic and Victorian catalogue has been a little neglected while we've been growing our list of 20th century and modern fiction, but we are working on some exciting stuff that fans of our 18th & 19th-century releases should be excited about!

Ruth the Betrayer; or, The Female Spy was first published serially as a 'penny dreadful' in 1862-63, meaning it was sold in weekly installments for 52 weeks for a penny each. Each issue was eight pages, with one engraving; at the end of the series' run, the publisher would bind up all the parts into a volume and sell it as a complete novel.

Originally published by John Dicks, the same publisher who issued G.W.M. Reynolds's classic penny dreadful The Mysteries of London (also available from Valancourt), the book is credited to "Edward Ellis" and is described by Wikipedia as the "first female detective story".

Which is sort of true, in that at the beginning of the book, Ruth is working as a spy for the police, but in fact during the course of the 1100-page novel, Ruth is many things: detective, spy, thief, murderess, but above all - as the title suggests - someone who betrays every person who gets close to her. Like the best dreadfuls, despite its enormous length the action never flags for an instant; it's a wild thrill ride from beginning to Ruth's ignominious end. The new edition is edited by Dagni Bredesen and will be out in late 2018. 

A page taken at random from the original edition, Chapter 71: "What Happened in the Chamber of Death":

Fans of late 18th-century Gothic fiction know about the hundreds, even thousands, of novels churned out to stock the shelves of the circulating libraries. But did you know that a huge amount of Gothic fiction was also published in magazines?

Valancourt is preparing a three-volume set, each volume devoted to a different periodical: The Lady's Magazine, The Lady's Monthly Museum, and La Belle Assemblée. Each volume will be edited by a university professor and will feature a broad range of Gothic material, including serialized novels, short fiction, and poetry.

The serialized novels in particular were a curious thing, since in a great many cases the writer died or disappeared before sending in the final installment, leading the editors to print impassioned pleas for the authors to contact them with the remainder of the story. The Forest of Alstone, An Original Tale, whose first installment (pictured below) appeared in The Lady's Magazine in April 1792, is one of these unfinished curiosities whose ending we're left to guess at. These volumes should be ready by early 2019.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

More 2018 October Horror Month titles unveiled!

Our annual Horror Month celebration is shaping up to be a big one this year.  In addition to our third volume of Valancourt horror stories, we also have several other great releases from the world of '70s and '80s paperback horror, including two by Harry Adam Knight: Slimer (1983) and The Fungus (1985).

Harry Adam Knight was the pseudonym used by John Brosnan (1947-2005) and Leroy Kettle (b. 1949) to write horror novels, though sometimes Brosnan authored them solo, as in the case of Carnosaur (1984). The two also teamed up to publish horror under another pseudonym, Simon Ian Childer, releasing novels like Tendrils (1986) and Worm (1987). Three HAK books were adapted for films: two British films, Beyond Bedlam (based on the novel Bedlam) and Proteus (based on Slimer), and the Roger Corman-produced cult classic Carnosaur.

The wonderful thing about the HAK novels is that although they're very imaginative and well-written, they have no pretensions to being considered serious literature. So when you read a HAK book, expect to find grisly horror and tongue-in-cheek humor in about equal measures.

Without further ado, here are the new cover designs by M. S. Corley:

Slimer has been out of print for many years and old paperback copies sell upwards of $50. It's the story of six drug smugglers whose boat trouble forces them to seek refuge on an abandoned oil rig in the middle of the sea. But almost immediately it's clear something is terribly wrong: everyone has vanished, leaving behind only empty piles of clothes with no bodies in them. There's something deadly loose on the rig, and the worst part of it isn't how it kills you, but what happens after . . .

The Fungus is an apocalyptic horror/sci-fi novel featuring a fungal plague that has spread across all of England. A scientist trying to solve the world hunger problem had thought it would be a good idea to grow genetically modified mushrooms (spoiler: it was in fact not a good idea), and after the spores escape, everything from a minor case of athlete's foot to the yeast at the bottom of your pint glass can result in a gruesome death. But as it turns out, the ones who die early on are the lucky ones . . .

Both novels are tremendously fun to read, and in addition to the great new Corley covers, both books feature introductions by the author, Roy Kettle. Coming Oct. 2 in paperback and ebook worldwide; pre-order options coming soon!