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Hey all,

So some news! You may remember that last year we had a karaoke night at Fantasycon. You may even remember that we had one way back in 2010 at the metal club around the corner. A great time was had by all both times, and last year Mr. Lee Harris asked us to do it again!

Twice is a coincidence and three times is a tradition, so here’s to Abaddon’s third traditional Fantasycon Karaoke night!

This year it’ll be at 8pm on the Friday night in the main bar in the Atrium, until they stop us (I think 11pm). Your MCs for the night will be Mr. Rob Power and Mr. David Moore, and we will be cueing up your song requests and incidentally maybe shredding the goddam mic once or twice ourselves.*

It’s also part of our ongoing tenth birthday celebrations, so we’ll have some balloons up, we’ll be honouring Mr. Jon Oliver’s ten years in genre publishing, we may even bring cake.**

But if you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook, you already knew this. I’m posting today not just to whet the appetite, but with these two bits of extraspecial karaokeliciousness:


Yes, you heard me, goddammit. Here are the song lists! Now you can look through the selections in advance, and choose your song at leisure (please no bookings in advance, though; just you come along and book your songs on the night like everyone else).

By Artist Name

By Song Title


But, dammit, there’s more!

Pictured: Impulse Buying

That’s right, we got so excited about this we just went online and bought some extra songs of our own to play. So as well as all the songs on the downloadable lists above, you can choose any of the following:

  • Alice Cooper – Feed My Frankenstein
  • Alison Krauss – It Doesn’t Matter
  • The Automatic – Monster 
  • Beetlejuice/Harry Belafonte – Jump In The Line
  • Black Lab – Keep Myself Awake
  • The Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper
  • Bobby “Borris” Picket & The Crypt Kickers – Monster Mash
  • Buffy Musical/Amber Benson – Under Your Spell
  • Buffy Musical/Emma Caulfield & Nicolas Brendan – I’ll Never Tell
  • Buffy Musical/James Marsters – Rest In Peace
  • Buffy Musical/Sarah Michelle Gellar – Overture/Going Through The Motions
  • Buffy Musical/Sarah Michelle Gellar & James Marsters – Something To Sing About
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost TV Show – Casper The Friendly Ghost
  • Charlie Daniels – The Devil Went Down To Georgia
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – I Put A Spell On You
  • Curve – Chinese Burn 
  • The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You 
  • Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
  • The Eagles – Witchy Woman
  • Four Star Mary – Pain
  • Garbage – Temptation Waits
  • Hepburn – I Quit 
  • Japan – Ghosts
  • Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)
  • Michael Jackson – Thriller
  • Michelle Branch – Goodbye To You 
  • Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters
  • Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of Saint Francis
  • The Sundays – Wild Horses
  • Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

Dibs on Werewolves of London. See you next Friday!



*This is literally the whole reason we’re doing this. It’s all about an audience, baby.

**We probably won’t bring cake.

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Abaddon X: celebrating 10 years in style

Last night, the Abaddon team descended into the depths of old Soho to celebrate a decade of publishing the finest pulp fiction you ever did see.

Friends of AbaddonTo paraphrase the very brilliant Matt Zitron, never before has a 10th birthday party featured quite so much booze. Abaddon authors, bloggers, agents, esteemed colleagues from the press and many, many more besides gathered in the most exclusive drinking den in the West End to talk the toot, drink the drink and, because it wouldn’t have been a birthday party otherwise, eat the cake.

We also took the opportunity to launch two new things into the world. First up was our Abaddon X collection, a celebration of all things Abaddon featuring original short ficiton and essays, which was snapped up by all in attendance. These babies are strictly limited edition, and if you want one… well, you’d better come and see us at Fantasy Con.

Secondly, we unveiled the first fruits of our open subs month: Colin Sinclair, and his brand new novella Midnight In The Garden Centre Of Good And Evil, the first story in a new shared world going by the name Invaders From Beyond. You’ll be hearing more about this in good time, but if you’re feeling keen you can head over to Amazon and pre-order Colin’s novella right now.

So, with no further ado, here are some pictures from our glorious evening of subterranean debauchery. Thanks to all who came along to make it such a splendid occasion, and here’s to another 10 years of Abaddon…

If not for the Abaddon standee we guarantee nobody would have found the venue. We’re unashamedly proud of our underground bar sourcing skills…

Abaddon X – is it not beautiful? IT IS.

Crisps, candles, peanuts and the all-important cakes. What more could you possibly want?

VERY IMPORTANT CAKE CLOSE UP. This took longer than we’d like to admit, tbh.

People drinking in the dark. You’ll notice the green tinge to proceedings – yes, we even themed the lights. Nothing but the best for our anniversary.

Our Dave addresses the troops. It was both rousing and arousing, which was confusing.

The now legendary DJ Dogg, on the ones and twos. He mainly played The Kinks, The Who and a bit of early rock and roll for variety. He is a genius.

Colin Sinclair realises that although he went into writing to avoid talking to people, he is now required to talk to a room full of them. A victim of his own success.

Jon, talking in tongues, explains the next phase of the Abaddon World Domination Plan to a baffled but intrigued David and Rob.

Jonathan Green’s Abaddon themed t-shirt, available now from… well, from nowhere to be completely honest, but isn’t it lovely (now go and follow Jon on twitter).

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Open Submissions Month #3: The Announcement!

Hello hello!

So here it is! We’ve trolled you quite long enough; you’ve waited patiently through all my waffling, and now you’re going to find out (some) of the winners of the Open Subs Month!

(wait, what?)

Okay, yes, we’re holding a little something back. More on that below.

So this has been an amazing experience, as ever, with some top-notch submissions, some fantastic talent on show – it was particularly gratifying seeing some of the same names as last time, and seeing how they’ve changed and grown – and some really warm responses from feedback. Connecting to the genre writing community is one of the most rewarding parts of being a publisher, and this has been no exception.

It was, as I’ve said before, a fiercely competitive field, and a tight result, but in the end we decided – based on a long list of criteria – on three hugely exciting projects, adding some fantastic new and rising writers to our stable of talent. (As an added bonus, we’ve also spoken to some authors about holding back pitches to revisit later, or to pitch again; it was a rich crop!) We’re adding to one of our oldest and best-loved lines, and to one of our newer, unrulier babies. It’s a hell of a time to be alive.

So without further ado, here are our two successful “existing worlds” pitches:

Tomes of the Dead: The Lazarus Conundrum

Abaddon X tenth anniversary celebrations, and we’ll be making the announcement right there at the Abaddon X party. That’s due to happen on the evening on Wednesday 5th August this year, at an undisclosed location in London, and we’ll splash the series, novella and author’s names all over the place the very next morning.

So please give Paul and Cassandra a huge welcome and go and find them on the social medias!

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Open Submissions Month #2: Stats


So I thought, for interest’s sake, I’d break down the numbers a bit and we could have a bit of a look at the current state of genre submissions…

Basic numbers first. This year we had 70 submissions. That’s compared with 89 last time, which is a small drop, but – as I mentioned yesterday – where last time probably a third were slightly hopeful pitches from writers who clearly still needed to spend a lot of time practising their craft, this time that was really only true of a handful. Counting only ‘serious’ submissions, we were if anything slightly up on last year, which was great. A much larger proportion of the submitters had a publishing history than last time as well, at least in short form and small press.

Let’s look a little more closely at the numbers, then.

The Authors

Those submissions came from 59 authors, which broken down by gender came to:

A little surprising – although not hugely – and pretty disappointing. Most of my peers in the industry report that about a third or less of their submissions come from women, and discussions about how to grow that share, to get more women out writing – or, perhaps more pertinently, to get the women who are writing out submitting – are ongoing in the community. But one in seven? That’s on me, and I can see I have some work to do reaching out to a more mixed talent base.

The chart on the right’s an interesting one, although with numbers this small it’s perhaps not hugely indicative; but while most of the submitters sent in only one pitch each, the minority of authors who did spread their bets were exclusively male. My experience is that the submissions by women were much less likely to be “chancers” with unpolished submissions, which combined with this supports the argument that women aren’t taught to put themselves forward in the same way. Food for thought.

Moving onto country of origin, then:

So forgive me conflating the US and Canada, but they’re a single market for book-distribution purposes, and I felt it gave a strong visible indicator of what’s going on here (for what’s it’s worth, the US/Canada split came to 5-3). So the small number of pitches from further afield (Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Malaysia) perhaps isn’t a huge surprise, for an English-language publisher, but the vast UK/US disparity here came as a huge shock, not least because our books sell at least four copies in the US for every copy they sell in the UK. Apparently our web community – upstanding nerds like yourselves – is demographically very different from our readership; our UK fans are checking us out on Twitter and elsewhere, while our US readers are content to buy our books.

The Submissions

So what did you send in?

The genre mix was fascinating. For an openly pulpy, consciously dark imprint, we seem to have invited a lot of SF submissions. Which, since I asked for something “different,” may well be the point! Those SF pitches break down more or less evenly between cyberpunk/transhumanism, space opera and post-apocalypse, with a couple of steampunk and superhero pitches and a few outliers. Horror and urban fantasy were popular, with the inevitable zombie stories, occult investigation and angels-vs-demons plots in the lead. Fantasy was pretty thin on the ground.

The chart on the right’s more interesting, in many ways. Last time, when I specifically asked for pitches for our existing worlds, grudgingly extending permission to submit a new world, fully 80% of the pitches were for new worlds; this time, specifically asking for new worlds, one of which would actually serve as the cornerstone of our birthday celebrations, the number’s actually a little lower! This might reflect the slightly difference composition of the authors: working writers might be more inclined to follow an existing world for a work for hire gig, and keep their original ideas for development in different markets.

And of those who did submit to existing worlds, which ones were they?

The big turn outs aren’t too surprising. Tomes of the Dead is a perennial favourite; zombies are forever, and there’s no existing world to adhere to. 2000 AD has a huge fan base. And we’ve put a lot of support behind The Afterblight Chronicles in recent years, with several novellas and omnibus editions, so there’s bound to be interest there. Gods and Monsters and Weird Space likewise; they’re more recent series, with releases in the last couple years. But seeing the love for Pax Britannia, and especially The Infernal Game, after so many years, was inspiring.

So there you go. That’s who’s submitting, and what they’re submitting. Tune in tomorrow for the Big Announcement!

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Open Submissions Month #1: The Short List

Hey yo,

So as you’ve probably heard, the results from the Abaddon Books Open Submissions Month are in, and will be announced soon. (Soon, soon… be still.)

To make a bit of an occasion of it, and to give you an insight into how we roll here at Abaddon Towers, I’ve decided to break the announcement down into three parts. Today I’ll be giving you a bit of a run-down on how the process of whittling a big ol’ submissions pile to a workable short list went down; tomorrow I’ll break down the stats on who submitted and what I think we can take away from them; and Thursday you’ll hear the exciting results.

On Making A Short List

The blunt problem with an open submissions policy, whether you keep an open door all the time or just throw them open for a month at a time like we do, is volume. There are countless aspirants out there hoping to break into a future of slight fame and modest fortune as a professional writer; and that’s amazing, and a huge testament to the relevance of the medium in this day and age, but no editor of my acquaintance has ever said, “Dammit, my unsolicited submissions pile is too damn small.” And like any editor, much of my time is taken up with taking existing manuscripts and turning them into magical versions of themselves, encrusted with glitter and dreams, to send out into the world; and much of the rest of my time is taken with email correspondence with authors, agents, proofreaders, designers, artists and printers, or with administrative work, or making ebooks. I don’t got a lot of spare bandwidth.

So I gotta cut the list down hard and quickly, but I also want to give writers a fair chance. So step one is to read through every submission in the list with my skimmin’ pants on, with a view to passing a basic standard of quality, suitability and interest. The bar was set pretty low, as this wasn’t a close reading and I didn’t want to drop something I’d regret losing, but it gave me a line.

Quality’s pretty straightforward; if your brief submission, carefully honed and polished job-application-stylee, contains more than a handful of basic errors, I have to assume I’d have a hard time working with your final manuscript. In 2012, this was an easyish stage, as a high proportion of submissions – probably at least a third – were clearly from people with little writing experience: clunky writing; frequent, basic errors; dull, derivative or inappropriate outlines. I offered feedback to help them on their way and sent them back to keep working on their craft. This time, fortunately (or unfortunately, for muggins trying to pull a short list out of the works), the overall quality of the list was outstanding, and I was only able to drop a handful of submissions on these criteria.

Suitability’s mostly about whether you paid attention to submission guidelines. If your new world pitch too closely resembles one of our existing worlds (a lot of the early cuts had this issue), or you submitted a full-length novel (two of those) or weren’t interested in the work for hire model (bizarrely, one of those!), or otherwise demonstrated that you hadn’t done your homework, then I cut it (one guy addressed his submission to “Aberdeen Books,” but since he got the name right in the body of the email, I generously decided that was an autocorrect error and overlooked it, and he made the shortlist). This helped cut the list a bit, but again, most of you were very professional and had put your best foot forward; I was able to drop at most a quarter of the pitches based on suitability.

Finally, Interest was a gut-feeling, “Do I want to publish this story?” question; are the characters engaging? Is the outline interesting? Is this fun, or cool? The standard here was (again) incredible, and there were very few pitches I could drop because I wasn’t interested in the characters, or because the story didn’t have merit. In the end I basically applied the “tickle” rule; did the submission tickle me? Did I think, “Awesome! What a cool idea!”? And the tragedy is, this is a completely arbitrary guideline! I dropped pitches other editors would have kept, and in some cases that I might have kept, on another day. Hell, I dropped one excellent pitch on WWII just because I’d decided I was tired of Nazis (I explained and apologised, and actually proposed a way to revisit the pitch later).

At last, after the first pass, I had whittled down the list to about a third of its original size.

On Making A Short-Short List

So, down to the serious reading. Make a cup of tea, take a deep breath, and curl up on the sofa.

At this stage I’m going through the pitches again in detail, looking for what grabbed my attention in the first place, turning each pitch over in my head and balancing pitches against each other: I like this idea, but do I like this one more than this one?

A lot of the time it came down to like-for-like; I got around four angels-vs-demons type plots, three of which got to the short list, and dropped two of them at the second pass, not because they weren’t great, but because the other one was the best of the three, and if I did commission it (I didn’t, in the end), I definitely wasn’t going to commission either of them as well. Some were too weird (I mean, I like weird, but it’s not entirely my call, in the end). Some were brilliant, but weren’t Abaddon material; they were thoughtful and slow, psychological or philosophical, and while I want interesting and intelligent books, I’m ultimately expected to publish books about explosions and fighting (that is, I want interesting, intelligent books about explosions and fighting). I sent them over the wall to Solaris to look at.

I eventually got the short list down to a short-short list of nine pitches.

On Making Up My Damn Mind

The final stage, then, was the pitch meeting, early last week. I had a meeting with my Editor-in-Chief Jon and our manager Ben, and our PR Coordinator Lydia (who doubles as our marketing department), and we got round a table and argued our way through the list. Obviously having got this far, none of the pitches were anything less that great, so the decisions at this point were largely (and heartbreakingly) commercial. Fantasy? Generally a sure money-spinner, but Abaddon’s not got the happiest track record with it, so that was a no. Superheroes? Everyone’s looking to cash in on the current cinematic trend, but commercially it doesn’t really translate to paper, so I got shot down there too. The final three novellas we decided to go ahead with met a happy combination of criteria; well written, engaging, suited to the Abaddon brand, two of them in existing successful Abaddon worlds and one of them in a new world that grabbed us and seemed like a fun area to develop.

We had a follow-up meeting with the CEO to sign off, and then I got in touch with the happy three to start the contractual ball rolling…

On Crushing The Souls Of Hopefuls

And then comes the very final stage, and the worst one.

I know I maintain a hearty, rough-and-ready image as the hard man of publishing – like I carry a shank in the same pocket as my red pen and carve a notch on my desk for every book I reject – but the truth is, for me as with any of my peers in this industry, that I love writers, and nothing gives me more pleasure than to say, “You’re in!” and send out a contract. It’s what the first word in the title “Commissioning Editor” means, and it’s the dream, and the heart and soul, of publishing.

So writing “I’m very sorry to say” is actually a heartbreaking thing. Writing it seventy times is worse. You try and do what you can, tell people what you liked, give them feedback for the future, but in the end you’re still crushing a little dream every time. In a way, the shortlisters have it worse; “I actually really liked it and have no suggestions for improving it, but” isn’t helpful to anyone. All I can do is offer my apologies and commiserations and hope my name isn’t appearing on too many voodoo dolls…

And Then Forward!

And at the end of it, I have three new contracts signed, and three new gigs to go forward with, and another successful Open Submissions Month is over. And we’re talking about taking it annual…

Sign in tomorrow to hear about the statistical breakdown of the applications.

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Abaddon X

Abaddon X

As we reach the final stretch in our open submissions month, we thought now was the perfect time to lift the cover – just a little – on Abaddon X…

Firstly, Abaddon X is not name of a new vigilante super group we’re forming. I know, I know: we asked and got told that “wasn’t a sensible use of funds.”

Project Abaddon X was the name we coined early last year for the as yet undecided scheme to mark the milestone that is our tenth anniversary. What would we do? Would there be cake? Is cake testing a sensible use of funds? (also a no)

A party was settled on fairly early on, but where and who to invite?  Obviously there should also be a special edition, but with so many worlds which should we pick? There was also the small matter of who we would be getting to write the story; last year we had a record year for new authors writing from Abaddon.

While most of us at Abaddon Towers were popping the champagne corks to celebrate all the beautiful new faces who had joined us that wasn’t enough for David Thomas MOORE. An open subs month was settled on.

So we had a party, an open subs month and a print special edition. How could we fit these together?

Ideas were tossed backwards and forwards, but nothing seemed quite right, until team Abaddon found themselves in the prime conditions for inspiration to strike (read: the bar of a convention, it’s always the bar of a convention):

“We should do the party here, but not just here, everywhere.”
“And we should do the stories, all the stories.”
“And we should get everyone to write them.”
“And karaoke, gotta have karaoke.”

And so Project Abaddon X was settled: we would have a special collection that featured new, original pieces of flash fiction from some of our favourite worlds, by some of our incredibly talented authors (old and new), and we would also invite friends and past-authors to share their thoughts about Abaddon over the last ten years.

Plus, we would find a new Abaddon author and world to take the first step towards the next 10 years, and it seemed only logically to reveal this to the world for the first time as the concluding story to Abaddon Special Edition Collection.

And damnit, there would be cake, so much cake. Starting with a big party in London and rolling out to all the UK conventions we would be bringing cake, karaoke and free copies of the collection to everyone.

But what should we call this special edition collection?


Abaddon X will be available from summer 2015 in an exclusive print copy available directly from Abaddon Books at conventions and via the Rebellion Store in DRM-free eBook format. Stay tuned for the full line up announcement shortly, but rest assured it’ll be worth the wait…

Abaddon X will feature original, new flash fiction from Afterblight Chronicles, Pax Britannia, Tomes of the Dead, Weird Space, Gods & Monsters, Judge Dredd, No Man’s World, Ritual Crime Unit, the upcoming Extinction Biome and a yet-to-be-announced new world, from some of our iconic Abaddon authors! As well as commentary pieces on our last 10 years from big names in genre and further fan-favourite authors.

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Abaddon Books open submission month now open

To mark the occasion of our tenth anniversary Abaddon Books has once again opened its submission process and is inviting new authors to help them to shape their next shared world with an original new novella.

Since its initial conception in 2005 Abaddon Books has published over 100 books, alongside a robust eBook catalogue, set in 14 original “shared world” settings penned by a diverse collection of new and established talents. Previous contributors to the list include New York Times bestselling authors Una McCormack and James Lovegrove; cult pulp writers Chuck Wendig and Al Ewing; breakthrough talent Rebecca Levene; and best-selling fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky.

We are now re-opening our submissions portal, looking for new authors to add to our existing worlds and create an entirely new one…

Existing worlds

We’re particularly interested to hear from you if you have a fantastic idea for The Afterblight Chronicles, Weird Space or Gods & Monsters, where we’re planning to extend our collections with further 30,000 word eNovellas (with the potential for future collection into a print omnibus).

Create an entirely new world.

We’re also looking to expand our shared worlds with something new. What that is down to you. Editor David Moore is looking for an original setting with a 30,000 word novella kicking off the series in 2015.

The new world and author will be revealed via a small teaser sample in Abaddon X, a special anniversary publication of Abaddon Books publishing highlights, which will be distributed at Abaddon Books’ 10 year celebrations in 2015 and feature original flash fiction from some of our favourite worlds by some of the incredible talent we’ve worked with over the last ten years. More details to follow later this week…

The first Abaddon Books celebration will take place in London during summer 2015, but we’ll be bringing the party at some of the fantastic conventions we’re planning to attend next year, so make sure to check back for updates.

How to submit your work and important information:

The open submissions portal runs from January 15th 2015 – February 15th 2015. Work submitted after this date will not be considered.

Please send a 150-word “elevator pitch,” a 1000-word chapter-by-chapter breakdown, and a 2000-word sample, to, along with your name and key contact information.

We are aiming to respond to all enquiries by April 2015, but please keep an eye on the website for further information depending on the response we receive.

Please note Abaddon Books is a Work For Hire imprint. That means that we buy your work and the rights off you outright (which includes all created worlds), rather than a licensing-with-royalties deal. While the money up front for this is better, we understand that this is a model that does not work for everyone. If you have any questions or want to understand more about the Work For Hire model, feel free to get in touch and ask us.

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Write for Abaddon Books! Redux

Hey folks!

So, next year, Abaddon Books will have existed as an entity for ten years (the first book came out around a year later, in 2006, but we started being book people in 2005).

Ten years! Ten years. TEN YEARS! A lot can happen in ten years. Like me: I freaked out at the senior prom, joined the Army, went into business for myself and became a professional killer.

Wait, no; that’s the plot of the John Cusack vehicle Grosse Point Blank. I get confused sometimes.

Okay, so: I’ve been with Rebellion Publishing for a hair over five years, and it’s the best game in town. Big enough to swim at the deep end, small enough to do we want. Abaddon Books is a home for risk-taking, innovation and irreverence, and we’re immeasurably proud to have brought some of the best, brightest and most challenging new names onto the market.

And here we are doing it again! Our last subs month was a blast; the talent, passion and dedication shining through every page blew me away. The only drawback, in fact, was having to say ‘no’ to so many people who frankly deserved a shot, because so damned many of you were so good. And I’m pretty sure this is going to be even bigger. So go ahead and do it! Bleed and sweat on your keyboard and make my job twice as hard as last time. It’s all I want.

[turns on Netflix to look for Grosse Point Blank]

Man, that was a great movie.

Oh, wait, you’re still here.

So we’re looking for two things! Firstly, I would love to see a submission for a new 30,000-word novella set in one of our existing worlds, particularly The Afterblight Chronicles, Tomes of the Dead, Weird Space or Gods & Monsters. Pick up some our existing characters – I would love to see a “what happened next” for The Culled’s nameless hero and Kill or Cure’s Jasmine! – or bring a new character into the mix of any of our worlds.

Secondly, and more importantly, I’m looking for a new world! Find something we haven’t done. Hard SF, maybe, or a monster we haven’t done (werewolves? faeries?). Maybe something I haven’t thought of at all and therefore can’t give an example of! Again, I want a 30,000-word novella, which will kick start a new series in 2015.

You’ve got until mid-February. The doors open (metaphorically) at midnight on January 14th, 2015, and close at midnight on February 15th, 2015. Send us a 150-word “elevator pitch,” a 1000-word chapter-by-chapter breakdown, and a 2000-word sample, to, by the deadline, and expect to hear from me… some point. When I get around to it. It can take a while (okay: you can start chasing me on the 1st March).

Do it.

What are you still doing here? Do it.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ADDENDUM! Abaddon is a Work For Hire imprint. That means that we buy your work off you outright, rather than the licensing-with-royalties deal you’re probably more aware of. The money’s a bit better up front, but you lose control once we buy it. This may not be for all people. If you want to understand more about the Work For Hire model, feel free to get in touch and ask some questions.