Indie Press – Spotlight On: Tiny Ghost Press
By Priyanka Joshi and William Swift
Tiny Ghost Press is a new independent publisher specialising in queer young adult fiction, combined with gothic and supernatural elements. Founded in 2022 by Joshua Dean Perry, this up-and-coming indie press centres LGBTQIA+ characters in their plots, to represent queer perspectives with a spooky undertone. They are passionate about publishing fresh, engaging books for an often-overlooked audience because they are committed to making a big difference in the world of publishing.
As a newly established press, their books are garnering a lot of attention and are also gaining high engagement rates on sites like Goodreads and Amazon, popular amongst young people. They hope to be an award-winning press in the future and to carve out their own space in the landscape of publishing.
This Pact is Not Ours by Zachary Sergi
This Pact is Not Ours is a YA coming-of-age horror novel published in October 2023. It follows four teenagers, Luca, Griffin, Ariana and Hazel, who discover a secret pact that their families have been bound to for generations, designed to keep a monstrous force imprisoned beneath the campsite Copper Cove. But the pact is a powerful force that threatens to tear their friendships apart. It is a fast-paced and suspenseful novel that explores themes of friendship, family and the power of choice while celebrating queer identity and self-acceptance. Sergi has brilliantly portrayed the struggle hinted at in the novel’s title as the characters refuse to be constrained to this pact made by their ancestors, and save themselves without resorting to violence. This is the perfect read for someone looking for a spooky and thought-provoking story just in time for Halloween.
Against the Stars by Christopher Hartland
Published in April 2023, Against the Stars is a speculative YA contemporary novel about two boys falling in love against the backdrop of an ever-evolving tech world where people can see glimpses of their future. We get to know Elliot and Seb on their journey as Elliot discovers his sexuality through confusing glimpses of the future and Seb goes through the hardships of life, dealing with many things at once. Despite these differences and the so-called Last Day, they find an undeniable connection between them that is worthwhile. Hartland beautifully navigates through the themes of poverty, class, sexuality, identity and mental illness while giving a reminder to his readers that love is still worth fighting for, even if the world is one edge away from collapsing. It is also a cautionary tale about foreseeing your future and following your destiny instead of forging your own path forward.
At an indie press, it can be hard to imagine reaching the scope of the Big Five publishing companies’ distribution. However, Tiny Ghost Press has achieved the dream of an indie press, having tapped into an instant hit with the two-part (so far) series, The Alpha’s Son by Penny Jessup.
The debut title of the same name was a resounding success, topping the Amazon chart for Young Adult LGBTQIA+ Audiobooks. In the Alpha’s Son universe, the Blue Moon Festival is a time for young members of the pack to select their mate – this mirrors the hectic years of youth and the pressures to meet and select a partner. When Max Remus attends the festival, with reluctance, he meets Jasper Apollo, the arrogant heir of the pack leader.
Forbidden love is often a harsh reality for queer youth, and Jessup’s universe reclaims the trope for the queer community. She captures the angst of the classically heterosexual romantic-fantasy genre’s titles like Twilight, with the added twist of an LGBTQIA+ romance. And for her work, she was duly rewarded with the groundswell of reader support.
Coming soon, the second instalment, entitled Chasing the Alpha’s Son, has matched its predecessor within presale purchases alone and is #1 in New Releases of Young Adult LGBTQIA+ Fiction. This sequel follows Max and Jasper through more angst-ridden teenage werewolf trials, while paying homage to the queer origins of all great love stories.