Ten Years of Book Smuggling (2017: A Year in Review)

Welcome to Smugglivus 2017: A Year In Review. Today, January 7, 2017, is our bloggoversary–and it’s a big one. Today we officially turn ten years old. To celebrate, we’re looking back at 2017 to document our year, as well as our top 10 moments since starting The Book Smugglers a decade ago.

Our Top Accomplishments of 2017

In which we list our most valued accomplishments of the past year.

1. Publication of “Gods and Monsters” Season

Cover art by sparrows

2017 marked our fourth official season of short stories–this time around, our theme was “Gods and Monsters“, and we had the immense honor of publishing six wonderful voices:

  • Beauty, Glory, Thrift by Alison Tam–a science fiction story of a thief, a goddess, and the power of memory;
  • The Waters and Wild of Winter Street by Jessi Cole Jackson–a fairy tale-like examination of two very different twin sisters, their fathers, and the true meaning of family;
  • A Question of Faith by Tonya Liburd–an afrofuturistic alternate world, in which the gods and systems of ancient Egypt reign;
  • It Came Back by Samantha Lienhard–a horror story about a cursed artifact, a forgotten diary, and the young woman who stumbles across both of them;
  • Duck Duck God by José Iriarte–the story of a five-year-old boy who happens to be a certain powerful god’s son and heir, and the teacher determined to reign him in;
  • Avi Cantor Has Six Months To Live by Sacha Lamb–a YA romance featuring two transgender boys, and the exasperated demon they summon.


2. The Novella Initiative

2017 also marked the year that we officially launched The Novella Initiative–the brand new line of novellas from Book Smugglers Publishing. We had the joy of acquiring, editing, and bringing to the world these five amazing novellas:

3. An Award for Food and Horror

Cover art by Kristina Tsenova

In 2016, we published a monthly column from the insightful Octavia Cade, one of our authors (The Mussel Eater, The Convergence of Fairy Tales). Detailing the complex relationship between Food and Horror, Octavia examined tropes and metaphor across fiction, television shows, and other media. The column won the Sir Julius Vogel Award this year for best Fan Writing, and we couldn’t be prouder. To celebrate, we collected all of Octavia’s essays–and expanded and added two new ones–in Food and Horror: Essays on Ravenous Souls, Toothsome Monsters, and Vicious Cravings.

4. The Touchstone Trilogy

Cover art by Kirbi Fagan

We Smugglers have been a fan of Andrea K. Host’s for years–and her Touchstone Trilogy is among our very favorites of her extensive backlist. In 2017, we had the immense honor of bringing out brand new print editions of these truly awesome books, and we couldn’t be happier about the opportunity.

5. The Hugo Awards

We were nominated for Best Semiprozine for last year’s Hugo Awards! To celebrate the occasion, both Smugglers made the trek out to Helsinki for Worldcon and got to meet online friends, new and old, and talk about ALL the SFF things. Even though we didn’t win, we loved the experience and are reminded how incredible speculative fiction fandom is–especially without puppies.

6. Kickstarter

In what may go down as the most stressful and exhilarating month of our lives, we completed our very first Kickstarter Campaing in October of 2017. Our Kickstarter mission was to fund our next season of short stories, as well as to pay for new contributors to The Book Smugglers–and thanks to your incredible support, we are able to keep publishing more awesomeness in 2018, and can pay for regular columnists on the website, commission original art, and pay creators more.

2017 has been a watershed year for us Smugglers–full of hard work, amazing fiction, thousands of emails and meetings–but all worth it. Thank YOU for being a part of 2017 and for supporting us!

Our Top 10 Moments from 2008=2018

In which we list our most valued accomplishments of the past decade

And now for a little fun–we dug into the archives, and here are our top 10 moments from the past 10 years of Book Smuggling, in chronological order…

10. Getting ARCs and Review Copies for the First Time

Back in 2008, we were a teeny blogger-hosted site in a sea of other–much larger, far more influential–book blogs. We created The Book Smugglers to talk about our favorite SFF books and share our opinions, thus providing us with an outlet for our book-buying obsession–we had no idea that publishers were actually interested in soliciting our reviews. When we received our very first ever publicity pitch (from a small, indie horror press), offering to send us books for review, our jaws literally hit the floor. Free books? YES, yes we do want them. (The joy of receiving new books in the mail from publishers still hasn’t worn off!)

9. Our First Author Interview

Speaking of small indie horror presses, that same first ARC pitch also came with the opportunity to interview Joel A Sutherland–an up and coming author, about his most recent book. One again, our jaws literally hit the floor–someone wanted us to interview them?! We were ecstatic, and took the responsibility very seriously. (Author interviews are still one of our favorite things.)

8. Our Very First Annual State of the Union Meeting (IRL)

We Smugglers met online as you might know–both Ana and Thea were huge, deeply invested (ok, obsessed) fans of the television show Lost, and met on spoiler boards of a private subforum for the show. It turned out that both had the same book obsession and smuggling habit, so naturally they decided to start a blog together. While they had known eachother online for over a year, they had yet to meet in person–until 2008 rolled around with Thea’s first trip to London and Cambridge. The Smugglers had their very first State of the Union meeting–and became besties IRL.

7. Our First-Ever Site Redesign (and Server and Hosting Migration)

In 2010, we decided to overhaul our blog design, moving from our shared hosted blogger platform to a more robust WordPress site–with a shiny new web design (the first of several). We count it as an immense point of pride to have evolved and grown big enough to get off shared hosting, buy our very first domain, and migrate our site over to a brand new content management system.

6. Our First BEA (and Book Blogger Con)

2010 was a watershed year for The Book Smugglers–we not only overhauled our blog design, but we also made our first joint trip to New York to attend Book Expo America and the inaugural Book Blogger Con. This New York trip was huge for so many reasons–it was the first time Thea saw here she would live (having just gotten into grad school at NYU), it was the first time we Smugglers met with publishers both in their offices and at the Javits center, it was the first time we realized just how many books one could cram into a totebag if one was determined… More importantly, it was the first time that we, as bloggers, got to see and meet with so many other passionate readers, bloggers, and authors.

5. Interviewing Authors at Cons, Moderating Panels, Meeting Other Awesome Bloggers IRL

After hitting up BEA for the first time, we started to fully embrace the awesomeness of conventions from both sides of the Atlantic. We attended cons like New York Comic Con and Nine Worlds, getting the chance to interview some of our favorite authors in real life, scoop up awesome limited edition books, and share them with our readers. Cons also meant getting to meet the people we tweet at all day and form connections with new friends and readers. That’s kind of the best thing ever.

4. Becoming Short Story Publishers

2014 was another momentous year for us Smugglers–for it was the year we decided to take the next step from being book bloggers and foray into the world of becoming publishers. In our Annual State of the Union Meeting, Ana and Thea decided to simply go for it, announcing our open call for Subversive Fairy Tales–and we’ve never looked back.

3. Our First WorldCon – TEAM AWESOME FOREVER

Also in 2014: Our first ever Hugo Award nomination and therefore our first ever Worldcon! Held in London (convenient!), we Smugglers were ecstatic to be a part of this incredible convention and see the power of speculative fiction fandom in person. While we didn’t win the Hugo, being nominated and a member of Team Awesome was more than enough, and getting to meet folks like George R. R. Martin in person? That’s pretty neat.

2. Expanding Publishing

Over the past three years, we’ve steadily expanded our publishing program. From short stories, we created anthologies; from our online essays, we commissioned new thought pieces for our Quarterly Almanac. We pushed through to publish reprints and original novels, launched a novella line, as well as limited print editions of works from some of our favorite authors.

1. Kickstarting

The most fresh accomplishment–and by far the most stressful–was 2017’s Kickstarter Campaign, in which we asked for your support to help fund our next season of publications, both on the short fiction side and on the website contributors side. We are so overwhelmed with gratitude for your support, and cannot wait to kick off our tenth anniversary with a year of brand new awesomeness, Book Smuggler style.

We cannot believe that it has been ten years–it has both seemed much longer, but also like the time flew by. We are deeply thankful for everyone who has been a part of the past decade–and we look forward to many more years of Book Smuggling to come.

As always, we remain…

~ Your Friendly Neighborhood Book Smugglers


  • Estara Swanberg
    January 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    Banzai, banzai, banzai. Here’s to ten more years at least ^^. Oh and a Healthy New Year to you both.

  • Tonya Liburd
    January 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    This post makes me so happy.
    Here’s to ten more years!

  • Ju Transcendancing
    January 7, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Huge congratulations to both of you for all your amazing hard work! Wishing you new heights of success in 2018!

  • The Book Smugglers Present 2018: All The Announcements – Fanuendo
    January 7, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    […] about their favorite moments of the past year. We’ve recounted our top 10 books of 2017, and have reflected on the past year–and the past ten years–of our existence as bloggers. Today, we are thrilled to look forward to 2018–and […]

  • Nicole
    January 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Congratulations on 10 years! Here’s to many more years!

  • Ms. M
    January 7, 2018 at 9:16 pm


    Also… is that Daveed Diggs in your Worldcon picture??

  • Alexandra the Great
    January 7, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Congratulations on your ten year anniversary!! I’ve been following your reviews since, oh, probably 2010 or so, and I’ve enjoyed seeing your blog grow from reviews-and-squee to reviews, squee, and *publishing.* I’ve read more books on your recommendation than I can count, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re reading/publishing next.

    Here’s to 2018!

  • Ana
    January 8, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Thanks, everybody!!! *group hug*

    Ms M – Yes, YES IT IS : D

  • Ms. M
    January 8, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Ana– I refuse to understate the importance of this blog’s achievements, because y’all are great (and I personally have benefitted from recs/prizes/the sense of community), but ahhhhhh, YOU GOT TO MEET DAVEED DIGGS


  • Ana
    January 8, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Mrs M, believe me, I KNOW. Thea and I were FREAKING OUT after that photo. 😀

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    November 13, 2019 at 3:44 am

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