Tuesday, April 20, 2010
My friend Rich Chizmar's interesting life
Small Maryland publisher nabs Stephen King deal
Cemetery Dance owner, like author, has a passion for his work
Cemetery Dance Publications has been chosen to be the exclusive publisher of Stephen King's latest niche book, "Blockade Billy." Shown in his office is Richard Chizmar, founder and owner of the company. (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun / April 12, 2010)
Stephen King is what got Richard Chizmar, owner of Cemetery Dance Publications, into the business of publishing horror and suspense books.
Now King is his business.
Chizmar read one of King's short stories in high school — "The Monkey," about a cymbal-banging toy possessed by an evil spirit — and became an instant fan. When he started his company in 1988, Chizmar would send the author copies of magazines and books he published and slowly developed a professional and personal relationship with him.
That connection led King to choose Chizmar's firm of five employees to publish his latest book, "Blockade Billy." Though not the first book by King that Chizmar has published, the deal is being described in the book world as major coup for such a small company.
"It's a wonderful piece of news for an independent publisher to get a deal with a very high-profile author," said Tina Jordan, a spokesman with the Association of American Publishers.
Chizmar said the deal is opening new doors for the company. Employees of the small publishing house in Forest Hill, received word it was chosen last year, but they had to keep the news to themselves until recently. "It was a hard feat, given how passionate King's fans are," Chizmar said.
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