The ChiZine Controversy: An Overview

ChiZine Publications made a name for themselves for quality horror, dark fantasy, and SF. They earned that, through the books they produced, which include works by Nancy Baker, Ellen Datlow, Nick Cutter/Craig Davison, Ed Kurtz, Livia Llewellyn, David Nickle, Douglas Smith, Paul G. Tremblay, George A. Romero (R.I.P.), and many others. They threw great parties at SF Cons. Aspiring authors aspired to join their roster.

Things slowly turned dark, culminating last month in a story of scandals and allegations that has not yet ended.

Interns and former employees have made allegations of a toxic work environment, which I am in no position to properly assess, and– more prominently– numerous writers report a pattern of delayed and non-payment of royalties. On November 11, founders Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory resigned from managing the company.

More knowledgeable people have posted about the ChiZine situation. A few links to sites and authors discussing the events, including an episode of the podcast, The Horror Show. The ep has a problematic introduction which the host has since addressed, but otherwise takes a thoughtful look at the situation:

The Horror Show with Brian Keene: “The Rise and Fall of ChiZine”

Writer Beware

Horror DNA


Samantha Mary Beiko

Michael Matheson

Douglas Smith, an SF/Fantasy/Horror author who has received effusive praise from people like Rob Sawyer, Spider Robinson, and Charles de Lint, has spearheaded a project to assist ChiZine-contrated writers “orphaned” by the scandal. Smith tells me he has about a dozen writers on board, waiting for the reversion of the ebook rights. Due to the inherent delays, he does not expect the bundle to be out for several months.

Small press is a reality for writers who aren’t producing blockbusters or selling movie rights. I have recently made two sales to a smaller press I have no reason to distrust—you’ll hear more about those in 2020. The ChiZine situation reminds us that the path to publication can be precarious.