16th June, 2015

Meet the Publisher – coeur de lion

When and how were you established?

As with all good ideas, coeur de lion was born in a pub. The speculative fiction scene goes through boom and bust cycles and at the time there weren’t a lot of local independent presses catering to a sci-fi, horror, fantasy audience. Myself and fellow author Andrew Macrae were young enough to believe setting up a small press would be easy, so that’s just what we did. It was 2006.

What were your aims when you first started?

Create a platform for Australian speculative fiction authors to bring their work to a wider audience. Those aims are the same today as they were then.

Can you tell us a little bit about the culture of your publishing house?

Our focus is on good, strong speculative fiction writing. Australian spec fic has quite a distinctive voice, different from our American cousins and more akin to the UK. We’re more grounded a bit harder edged. And the humour is drier.

We don’t support Digital Rights Management because we believe it is anti-consumer, and we try to ensure it’s not applied to our ebooks wherever we can.

What advice would you have for writers looking to get published and for potential publishers looking to get into the industry?

Writers need to read lots, write lots, never stop and never give up. In the speculative fiction field we have a strong short fiction tradition and many small presses and larger markets that print short stories. It’s a good way for writers to get noticed and build a profile for themselves before pitching a novel. For beginner publishers, digital is where it’s at so it’s important to get cheap, reliable access to the technology that will help you with that.

What are you reading at the moment?

Ben Peek’s The Godless. This is a fantastic example of the Australian sensibility in speculative fiction writing. It’s an epic fantasy but it has a political and philosophical sensitivity grounded in our own world. It’s unsentimental. It bends the fantasy tropes to its own ends, yet still functions well within that canon.

What was the last great reading, writing, publishing event you went to?

If:Book Australia and Editia’s joint launch of The Noobz: New Adventures in Writing, a great example of an innovative project that leverages off new technology and provides a window into the creative process. The Sydney launch at Better Read Than Dead was also a lot of fun.

And coming up, I’ll be on a couple of panels at the NSW Writers’ Centre Speculative Fiction Festival on 18 July. There will be a host of Aussie spec fic writers and publishers there and you can find more information at http://www.nswwc.org.au/whats-on/festivals-2/speculative-fiction-festival-2015/

What have been some projects you’ve really enjoyed working on?Pyrotechnicon

In 2012 we published Adam Browne’s debut novel, Pyrotechnicon, a ‘Cyrano De Bergerac adventure’. This was a difficult but satisfying project because it had so many firsts for us. It was the first novel we’d published and Adam, who is an amazing writer with a unique style, is also an accomplished artist and he’d done some wonderful illustrations to go along with the text. We’d never done an illustrated book before either so that brought a whole other range of technical challenges. And it was also our first hardcover. We put a lot of work into the internal and external design as well as the editing. You can see the cover here and the book is a fantastic artefact, not just a great novel but something tactile and beautiful.


What are you currently working on?

Our free and DRM-free electronic magazine Dimension6 launched in April 2014, and issue 5 is out soon. You can find it on our website at www.coeurdelion.com.au. This is a project that goes directly to our core mission: creating products that are as accessible to our target readers as possible. You can’t get more accessible than ‘free’ and ‘instantly downloadable’, and the first four issues have been downloaded over a thousand times so far.

What is the next release you have planned? When is it coming out? How can I get a copy of it?

We’ll publish issue 5 of Dimension6 on 3 July and at the end of the year we’ll publish our 2015 omnibus edition of the magazine. You can the magazine on our website and our next omnibus edition – just like our 2014 omnibus – will be available for $1 on all major ebook retailer sites.

Keith Stevenson
science fiction author, publisher, editor, reviewer

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