Osprey Adventures

Osprey Adventures

teutonic-knightWhat if one day you woke up and found yourself in charge of a publishing imprint?

You had financial backing, the support of an experienced production and marketing team, and a wide-open remit. You also had the weight of a lot of expectation.

Well, about a month ago, this happened to me.

My name is Joseph McCullough, which some of you may recognize from Black Gate. At various times I have worked as an author and an assistant editor for the magazine, and I continue to be a fan and supporter.

I have also recently been made the Project Manager for Osprey Adventures, an imprint of Osprey Publishing.

I mentioned my new position to John O’Neill, and he kindly invited me to write a series of blogs about my experiences in the publishing world, and my trials and tribulations as I attempt to bring some new, fun, semi-fantasy books to market.

For those who don’t know, Osprey Publishing is arguably the most famous publisher of military history in the English language.

the-chaco-warFor over forty years, the company has produced short, heavily illustrated books on specific military subjects such as Anglo-Saxon Thegn AD 449-1066 and The Chaco War 1932-35, that have become hugely popular among re-enactors, role-players, wargamers, and even military historians.

I joined the company about six years ago. After years working as part of the marketing team, I proposed that Osprey produce an “Osprey style” zombie book as a Halloween special.

Well, they called my bluff, and I ended up writing Osprey’s first work of “fictional non-fiction,” Zombies: A Hunter’s Guide.

The book proved a major hit and opened a few eyes in the company to the potential of pseudo-factional works.

Well, these are changing times in the publishing industry and everyone is looking for new markets and new outlets to present books.

Osprey Publishing already owns a fiction wing, science-fiction and fantasy publisher Angry Robot, but it wanted a new imprint in order to explore that murky area that exists between fantasy and reality. This is Osprey Adventures.

So here I am, stuck in a very interesting middle. In the short time I have been on the job I have explored a number of projects. Most I’ve had to abandon, but a few look like they are going ahead.

zombie-huntersI am developing an Osprey style series on Myths and Legends and have authors working on proposals for titles on King Arthur as well as Jason and the Argonauts. I think there are many other topics that could be covered in this series if I can find the right authors.

I’ve also been working on a book about the Nazi Occult programs, which should prove popular both with the Osprey military fans and the more general fantasy/adventure lovers. I’d like to do an Apocalypse Survivor’s Cookbook if I can find the right author.

But what else can I do?

For the moment, I have been given a pretty free hand to explore many ideas (they don’t even necessarily have to be books), but I’m only one person.

I need another source of creativity, and that’s where I thought you, the supporters of Black Gate could help me.

I’d like to invite any and all to drop me a line with ideas, suggestions, proposals, words of encouragement, pithy statements, links to weird stuff I really need to know about, or anything else.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to let you know how I’m getting on and also to discuss the evolving relationship between authors and publishers and its affect upon the publishing industry.

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Congratulations on the new job. Osprey books are a tremendous resource for writers. I’m using one of them rather heavily for a fantasy novel I’m working on.


Very cool, and I echo Peadar – Osprey books are great research material. I’ve got a whole bunch and rate them extremely highly.

I also had no idea you guys were ANgry Robot’s parent company. Some great books in that stable too!

Wow, cool news Joe! I’m impressed with your ideas and Osprey’s willingness to take you up on them! Way to go for it man!

Sarah Avery

I’ve found a general editorial email address on Osprey’s website, but not one specifically for you. How would you prefer to be contacted?

John ONeill

Hi Sarah — I just sent you Joe’s e-mail address.


a very good idea, I’m reading now an Osprey 40 books collection about medieval times recently published in Spain, some issues, not very well known, like the Hussite wars or the Baltic crusades can be the background for excellent fantasy or epic adventures, in fact Andrzej Sapkowski has written a fantasy novel set in the hussite wars, Narrenturn… the baltic crusades by the teutonic knights could be a very interesting background for some epic novel, the teutonic knights fighting against the last european pagans, lithuanians and latvians that are in fact the ancient indoeuropean peoples in Europe… a very powerful image could be the teutonic knights slaughtering a pagan village and pursuing in their horses a nude blonde girl… ejem … in a river or a lake…


Teutonic knights

[…] Joe is a fine writer in his own right (just check out his terrific adventure story “Stand at Llieva” in Black Gate 5). He also has the enviable task of guiding a publishing imprint, as Project Manager for Osprey Adventures, an imprint of Osprey Publishing — which he wrote about here. […]

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