Book Smugglers Publishing Smugglivus

2014: A Smugglerific Year In Review

We celebrate 7 years of Book Smuggling tomorrow, when we will be announcing our goals and plans for 2015. Today, though, as a pre-Smugglivus celebration we’ve decided to take some time to reflect on 2014: our favorites, our firsts, and our worsts.

Our Top 7 Accomplishments of 2014:
In which we list our most valued accomplishments of the past year.

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2014 was such an amazing, tumultuous year of change and accomplishment for us, it’s hard to even know where to start!

1. Publication of Speculative Fiction 2013

Speculative Fiction 2013 (Final)

We were the editors of the 2013 edition of Speculative Fiction: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary – an annual collection that celebrates the best in online Science Fiction and Fantasy non-fiction. Published in May 2014 with a kick-ass ToC (if we may so ourselves), this was an incredible (and life-altering) experience for us.

2. Loncon and the nomination for a Hugo Award


Last year, we were incredibly proud and grateful to have been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fanzine alongside some of our favourite people.

We might have lost the award (to the amazing and incredibly deserving Aidan!) but the experience of attending the ceremony, the excitement of simply being at LonCon and meeting in-person so many fellow SFF fans we’ve befriended over the years was… well, unforgettable.

3. 7 Million Visitors

In 2014, we hit the 7,200,000 visitor mark!!!! Holy guacamole.

4. Old School Wednesdays and SFF in Conversation

Old School Wednesdays Final

Two of our favourite features were inaugurated in 2013 and continued in 2014:

Old School Wednesdays (a weekly Wednesday feature in which we take a break from the new and shiny, and review books that are at least 5 years old).

SFF in Conversation, in which we invite publishers, authors, and bloggers over to talk about the SFF genre, with a special focus on inclusivity and diversity.

We absolutely adore both these features and are incredibly proud of them. And we had a lot of fun doing more in both of these feature categories over the past year.

5. Reviews, Marathons and Specials

– In 2014, we reviewed fewer books than ever – extremely busy day jobs, Thea’s volatile personal life changes, the launch of Book Smugglers Publishing, and Ana’s bout of pneumonia – but we still managed to write a whopping 215 reviews last year. Our top 10 books of 2014 was published on December 31st, including both Ana’s and Thea’s separate top 10 reads published in 2014, top 10 books published prior to 2014, and notable reads of 2014.

– Two of our favourite (and most popular) posts however, were: 1) the not so positive joint review of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein and 2) the essay History, Fandom and Masters of Science Fiction.

Trolling The Hugos

Trolling the Hugos: it is true we had a lot of fun at the Hugo Awards but we also had a great time in the lead up to the convention. Together with fellow nominees Anne and Jared of Pornokitsch we totally Trolled the Hugos, i.e. we had a drunken viewing party on Twitter of arguably the Worst Movies of All Time: Troll and Troll 2 (Thea says: YOU ARE WELCOME.)

– Diversity in 2014: one of our main goals for 2014 was to read more diversely. We created a tag to to keep tabs on our goal and at the end of the year we crunched the numbers and were very pleased with the results.

6. Biannual State of the Union Meetings

Strawberry Martinis

In 2014 we saw the need to have biannual meetings so we can organise, discuss and implement new features and goals for The Book Smugglers. Thea made it across the pond twice in 2014 and of course, these are also good excuses for us to have fun together. See above. (Ana likes strawberry martinis. Thea does not.)

7. Book Smugglers Publishing

Book Smugglers Publishing (BSP jpg)

Finally, without a doubt, our biggest accomplishment of 2014 was the launch of Book Smugglers Publishing.

Back in May during our first Book Smuggler State of the Union meeting of the year we made the huge decision to embark on a new step in our blogging careers: publishing short stories. We opened submissions that same month, and after receiving over 500 stories, we picked six to publish in our inaugural fall line-up. All six were published between October and December – available for free on the blog and as standalone ebooks via several retailers and direct via The Book Smugglers – without a hitch. (Although it was a lot of work. A lot of really hard work. But we loved every single minute of it.)

As publishers, we have a clear mission: to discover the best voices in speculative fiction from across the world and to publish original stories featuring subversive, feminist, and diverse perspectives. We feel that we’ve succeeded in our mission, and are extremely proud of our inaugural publishing list:

Hunting Monsters by S. L. Huang
In Her Head, In Her Eyes by Yukimi Ogawa
Mrs Yaga by Michal Wojcik
The Mussel Eater by Octavia Cade
The Astronomer Who Met The North Wind by Kate Hall
The Ninety-Ninth Bride by Catherine F. King

Retold: Six Fairytales Reimagined

In December, we collected all six stories in the anthology Retold AND opened up a store with Society6 to make the incredible cover art we commissioned available as prints, phone cases, clocks, tote bags, and more.

It has been an incredibly busy, stressful, but ultimately rewarding year. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank YOU so much for being a part of it.

And tomorrow, as we celebrate our seventh anniversary, we will talk about our goals and plans for 2015. We have a lot of exciting news to share!

Until then, we remain….


~ Your friendly neighborhood book smugglers


  • Heather
    January 6, 2015 at 7:41 am

    I don’t comment often, but I read your blog regularly. It’s my favorite book blog out there, and as you wrap up your year, I just thought I’d step out of the lurky shadows and say THANK YOU for all of your hard work and dedication.

  • Ana
    January 6, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Hi Heather, thanks for delurking and saying hi! *waves*

  • Bookgazing
    January 6, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Amazing year ladies πŸ™‚

  • Ana
    January 6, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Thanks Jodie, happy that you were a part of it, on and offline *hugs*

  • Thea
    January 6, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Thank you, Heather! Thank you, Jodie! What a ridiculously amazing, stressful, busy, and rewarding year. Thank you to EVERYONE who was a part of it.

  • Jared
    January 6, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Congratulations! Here’s to 7 more years (and 7 after that) (and after that… and and and…)

  • Estara Swanberg
    January 6, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Congratulations! I keep forgetting to work on commenting my flickr album for Loncon 3, but I do want you to see my best picture of the two of you, with famous pink dress included ^^.

  • Ana
    January 6, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Thanks Jared, we will be here FOREVER.

    Estara!!! A picture! Why did we not take one of the three of us?

  • Estara Swanberg
    January 6, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Well, I didn’t think of it, really. For separation reasons with my real life job I’m quite glad to not be recognizable while running around as my online persona(it was quite exhilarating that the badge could have a different name than your real life one) – but for your private albums that wouldn’t have mattered. I’m not particularly happy with how I look these days, anyway, so I never think of doing selfies, etc.

  • Paul Weimer
    January 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    It was so good to meet you two at Loncon πŸ™‚

  • Kristen
    January 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Congratulations on a wonderful year. Can’t wait to see what you have planned for this year!

  • Arzvi
    January 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Amazing what you guys did this year.

    P.S the links for the shorts doesn’t work except for the Mussel eater

  • Ana
    January 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    @Estara: I understand : )

    @Paul: It was! Shame it was so brief and we didn’t talk much!

    @Kristen: Thank you!

    @Arzvi: You’d think it all these accomplishments, I’d be able to add links properly, haha. Seriously, thanks for letting me know, all fixed!

  • Christine
    January 6, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I lurk here so much (and have for years) and love turning to the both of you for some of the best recommendations in the business. Thanks so much for all of your hard work this year, and thank you for making me so much of a better reader!

  • Renay
    January 7, 2015 at 1:55 am

    <3 <3 <3

  • Hannah
    January 7, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Congratulations! What a fantastic year. I wish you all the best for 2015. πŸ˜€

  • Ana
    January 7, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Thank you all!!! <3

  • Aidan Moher
    January 8, 2015 at 10:27 am

    You two make me look so lazy.

  • Mervi
    January 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I’m also a long-time lurker. Your blog is one of my favorites. Thanks for all of your hard work!

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    January 12, 2015 at 11:02 am

    […] The Book Smugglers, who got off to a roaring start publishing fiction in 2014 with their fairy tale retellings, are also eligible in that category. I’ve also recommended a fair bit of their fiction: Catherine F. King’s “The Ninety-Ninth Bride”, and S.L. Huang’s “Hunting Monsters”.. I also was quite impressed by Yukimi Ogawa’s “In Her Head, in Her Eyes”, a creepy SF/horror retelling of Hachikaduki. […]

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