The Hard Art of Setting Expectations, Pt. III

The dishes are done, man.

Well, here we are, with what amounts to the end of a trilogy. We wrote about “the hard art of setting expectations” HERE in 2021 and then followed that up HERE in 2022. The year is now 2023, and the time has come to close this particular chapter. The chapter, you ask?


For those of you who don’t want the ramble, I’ll give you the shortened version: we will most likely never, ever release another anthology, neither in print or online.

Anthologies are a ton of work, for one. They cost a lot to produce, and not nearly enough people show up (i.e. buy the book). Hell’s bells, we can’t even get people to read and/or share the stories for free. Kind of sad! But, also 100% the truth. That social media platforms continue to degrade is certainly no help, either.

We’ve never had this problem with single-author titles, for what it’s worth. Those always do rather well. And, we’ll continue to put out single-author titles moving forward.

We wrote the following about NOT ALL MONSTERS in 2021:

We released NOT ALL MONSTERS in 2020. First, the anthology came out in a limited hardcover and paperback edition. Then, a few months later it was released via Amazon. The Kindle has only recently been made available. The most interesting part of all this is that NOT ALL MONSTERS has only ever broken even, and it didn’t even do that until this year. And, all this after the book received good reviews, good press, and found itself nominated for a Stoker Award.

That’s… not great!

We could, in all honesty, slightly rewrite that paragraph and make it about CHROMOPHOBIA: good reviews; good press; Stoker nomination. The sales were marginally better, but fell far short of what it would have taken to convince us to produce another print anthology. And, hey, them’s the breaks, right?

This brings us to our current anthology project: TWO-THOUSAND WORD TERRORS. The online anthology was dreamed up by Don and I a few years ago and, about the time we were producing CHROMOPHOBIA, we decided the time was right to give it a go. And why not? We had a really great online presence via social media. So, we put our best foot forward, organized and paid for the whole thing, then Twitter got bought by one of the internet’s greatest simpering assholes, who has all but ruined our most successful public platform. Neat!

Keep in mind, we aren’t writing this for pity-party bullshittery. We’ve always strived to be pretty transparent with what it is we are doing, as far as running a press. And, this is far from the first time we’ve dredged up this conversation: anthologies are a tough sale! That’s exactly what we wanted to impart in “The Hard Art of Setting Expectations” articles, then and now.

We are, otherwise, extremely proud of NOT ALL MONSTERS, CHROMOPHOBIA, and TWO-THOUSAND WORD TERRORS. Pride ain’t paying the bills, though. Getting award nominations and good press doesn’t come with a check, unfortunately. Our time with anthologies is quickly coming to a close.

TWO-THOUSAND WORD TERRORS will continue to run throughout the remainder of the year. Once the last story goes live in December, that’s it for anthologies from Rooster and Strangehouse. We simply cannot justify the time, energy, and money that we put into projects for which readers simply aren’t showing up.

However, we do thank each and every one of you who did show up! We dearly wish there were more of you…


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