WIHM: The Women Behind You
As I am sure you have heard somewhere, February is Women in Horror month. This month long festival began about 8 years ago to showcase talent in the horror industry. Greats such as Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Tanith Lee and others are revered and newcomers such as Damien Angelica Walters, Gemma Files, and a list too numerous to start, are given praise.
Every year, people on Facebook in the horror community go crazy making lists of women authors and their contributions. Inevitably, someone gets forgotten and that starts new lists of women authors. The fact is, there will never be a comprehensive list of women authors. Every day, new authors are emerging onto the scene. A simple list would never be able to keep up.
I came onto the independent horror scene about 6 years ago. I never really thought about becoming a writer, or even a part of the writing community. But after some encouragement from my professor, and a great deal of luck, I found myself among a group of people I actually related to. I was welcomed with open arms and I quickly found a home with Dark Moon Digest.
I had never given too much thought to how much effort goes into making a book. It isn’t just the writer sitting down and putting her thoughts on paper. There’s editing, beta reading, formatting, cover design, cover layout, uploading, printing, distributing, reviewing, blogging, royalties…it’s exhausting. And, all necessary. When I joined the staff of Dark Moon, I quickly realized how much work publishing was.
As the years have gone on, I have gone from being lackey at Dark Moon, to being managing editor of the digest, to being owner of my own publishing company (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing), and now owner of the digest. I format books for about five different publishing companies as well as my own, and other self-published authors. I have gone from being a writer to being someone else in the industry.
When I originally was thinking about other women who work in the “back office” of publishing, I was going to try to make a list of other editors, book cover artists, bloggers, etc, for people to look at and give admiration to. But I realized quickly that endeavor would be fruitless. Like trying to list great authors, it would take me forever to even come up with a fraction of the names who simply do cover art, let alone any of the other facets of publishing.
Many hours of hard work go into publishing a book or magazine. Most of those hours go unnoticed by the general public. And that’s okay, the book and story are the most important things here. What most of us are after is a work well done, something we can look at with pride and say, “I made that come together.” The book becomes our work of art, the canvas which we can showcase our art along with the words the author has written.
So the next time you pick up a book, think of the hard work that went into creating it. See if the editor, formatter, or cover artist is listed. Give them public praise if they have done a great job. The next time you look at a magazine, see who put it together. See who else is on the staff. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how many women are listed.
So as we continue to celebrate Women in Horror Month, let us not only toast those who write, but also those who are not in the limelight. To all my fellow editors, publishers, formatters, cover artists, bloggers, reviewers, and horror women, this is dedicated to you.
Lori Michelle is the co-owner and CFO of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief of Dark Moon Digest. She also formats books for several other publishers. At night, Lori is the dance instructor for a baton twirling group, and spends most of her time there trying not to get hit in the head by a metal rod. In her spare time, she creates business cards, bookmarks, websites and simple covers. Born in Los Angeles, she now lives on the outskirts of San Antonio with her other half, her crazy teenage baton twirling daughter, her cancer survivor son, a dachshund and a mutt.