Wow! My head is still spinning about how awesome yesterday was. Here’s what a rally looks like: We had 248 new backers and raised $7,245 just yesterday, catapulting us over the top. ...
So, a bit over two months after the Kickstarter, here are where things stand:
- We received just a hair under 600 submissions of flash fiction between March 15 and May 1, and we bought 25 stories. We’ll have a lineup announcement once we have all the contracts signed, etc. (If you submitted a story and did not receive a response, please email me at email@example.com.)
- Many of the Kickstarter rewards have shipped, and the rest will be going out in the next few weeks, including the postcards.
- The new website is humming along. I have seen some of the stuff Pablo and Kirk have been working on, and it looks really good. We are on track to hit our goal of starting publishing by July 1.
- I still love you all.
We have fallen a bit behind on our goal of responding to all submissions within 30 days. I was hoping to get caught up this week, but I live in Boston and work at the newspaper here, and I have been unable to do much outside of my work at the Globe since Monday.
If you have a story that is past the 30-day mark, please wait until we have hit 45 days to query at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to catch up as quickly as possible.
Thanks for your patience, and my apologies.
We have gotten nearly 300 flash fiction stories so far and are finding good stuff in there. We are going to close the window for submissions on May 1, so if you are interested in sending us a story of less than 1,000 words in any genre, you have 20 days left!
Details about submitting can be found here.
So one of my favorite folks from Twitter, Lynn Beighley, has put together OH SANDY! An Anthology of Humor for a Serious Purpose to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy victims:
We put out a call for humorous work that was about experiencing a disaster, or surviving a hurricane, or living in New Jersey. We hoped that we might be able to bring a smile to some folks by sharing similar experiences.
And when I saw that call, I immediately submitted the comic I wrote for Issue Two of Fireside, An Honest Mistake (drawn by Steve Walker and lettered by Frank Cvetkovic). Because, you know, Zombies in Jersey.
Well, Lynn accepted it, and Oh Sandy went on sale this week! It’s got stories by a few dozen great writers, and all the proceeds are going to Sandy charities. I’m really happy to be part of this. If you’d like to help, here’s where you can pick it up:
Flash fiction submissions are now open, until at least May 1! All the details are on our submissions page.
Many many thanks to my friend Matt White (@geekstarter on Twitter), who volunteered to set up our submissions process and manage it. Also many thanks to our team of slush readers.
Wow! My head is still spinning about how awesome yesterday was. Here’s what a rally looks like:
We had 248 new backers and raised $7,245 just yesterday, catapulting us over the top. Thank you to everyone who backed us, and to everyone who was spreading the word, both all the way through the campaign and especially in the final frenzy last night. You guys are the reason we will be able to publish a full year of fiction, and pay our writers well.
We’ll have the flash fiction submission guidelines posted by the end of the weekend. We’ll be opening to submissions March 15 and be staying open at least until May 1.
One minor indulgence. If you are a fan of short fiction and are excited about supporting the arts through Kickstarter, there are two anthology projects going on right now I’d love to see funded. I don’t have any involvement in either aside from being a backer:
First is the Raygun Chronicles space opera anthology. It looks really cool, and the authors include Year Two writer Jennifer Campbell-Hicks. They are down to 32 hours and still need to raise a little under 40% of their goal of $8,000.
Second is Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History. My friend Rose Fox is a co-editor of this project, and it is a really interesting idea, to focus on the stories of people pushed to the edges. It also has an amazing lineup of writers, including Year Two’s Ken Liu. Their campaign still has 25 days left, but go pledge now if you can!
OK. Now we get to work! There are stories to write and edit, artwork to create, a website to build, and lots more!
Thank you so so much.
Still having a bit of trouble with the Kickstarter update page today, so I am posting here again today.
There are just four days to go on the Year Two Kickstarter, and we have a ways to go, but we can do it with your help!
Here is our final Q&A, with Galen Dara, who will be illustrating each issue in Year Two.
When we talked about your doing an illustration for the Kickstarter, I kind of had a vague idea of a storyteller and audience gathered around a fire . How did you get from that to the fatanstical image you created?
Oh that was so much fun! I wanted to do something mysterious and magical, depicting a fireside as this powerful symbol of communal sharing. I wanted the gathering of storytellers to be a menagerie of fantastical beings bringing their mystery and their magic and their stories to the gathering. Neil Gaiman said of storytellers; “We are not our faces… Read the books. That’s when you see us properly: naked priestesses and priests of forgotten religions, our skins glistening with scented oils, scarlet blood dripping down from our hands, bright birds flying out from our open mouths. Perfect, we are, and beautiful in the fire’s golden light…” That is how I see those with the gift for storytelling. That is a bit of what I was trying to channel here.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I like to look at how other artists have tackled similar imagery. I’ll spend a good bit of time collecting an eclectic range of ideas and visuals from photographers, designers, movies, comics, and art annuals (pinterest is my newest favorite thing), but at a certain point I need to put that all away. Take all those other fabulous creators and put them behind the door so I can dive in doing it my way. If I get stuck, I open the door again and let the party back in, but I have to be careful; that can been an easily justified way of work avoidance.
Is your artwork all done electronically, or do you work on paper and scan, or a mix? Can you tell us what tools you use in either case?
Right now I am almost exclusively a digital artist (tho I used to get my hands dirty and miss it). The Fireside piece is a prime example. Using photoshop and an intuos wacom tablet I start ‘sketching’ very much like how I would with a pencil and eraser. Because it’s digital I can rearrange things and resize things much faster than if it was a pencil on paper sketch. For example; when I initially started working on the Fireside piece I had misunderstood the dimensions and laid it out vertically. When my mistake was pointed out it was relatively easy to cut and copy and paste and re-arrange the sketch to a horizontal layout. Once the preliminary sketch is where I want it, I flatten it and begin to ‘paint’ building up layer upon layer of color. I tend to alternate blending mode paint layers with normal mode paint layers (flattening as I go along) to create depth, similar to glazing with transparent washes in traditional painting. My 9-year-old son has pointed out several times that I have many many brushes in photoshop and it’s a travesty that I only use two of them. I guess I need to think about that.
Do you have any projects you are working on right now that you can tell us about?
Tell us something about you that doesn’t make it into your bio.
I’ve had blue hair for way too long. I need to find a new color.
Year Two Kickstarter (Rewards include postcards and 8x10s of Galen’s Fireside artwork.)
Galen Dara likes to sit in the dark with her sketchbook, but sometimes she emerges to illustrate for books and magazines, dabble in comics, and hatch wild collaborations with friends and associates. Galen has done art for Edge Publishing, Dagan Books, Lightspeed magazine, Apex, Scapezine, Tales to Terrify, Peculiar Pages, Sunstone, and the LovecraftZine. She has blogged for the Inkpunks, BookLifeNow, and the Functional Nerds. When Galen is not online you can find her on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, climbing mountains or hanging out with a loving assortment of human and animal companions. Her portfolio can be viewed at www.galendara.com and you can follow her on twitter @galendara.
Having a bit of trouble with the Kickstarter update page today, so I am posting here today.
We are up to $11,052, which is 44% of our goal with five days to go on the Year Two Kickstarter. We can do this! Spread the word!
Here’s our Q&A with Pablo Defendini, who is developing and designing our new website.
I love stories, and I love storytellers. I also get a huge kick out of being a facilitator, which is why my absolute favorite part of running tor.com was enabling authors to connect with their audiences more directly. To me, this is one of the best features of the internet: that ability for anyone — but authors for the purposes of this conversation — to directly connect with their audience in ways that weren’t possible before. It’s also why I’ve stayed active in the genre even after leaving tor.com, working with authors such as Toby Buckell and Cory Doctorow on interesting small indie projects.
You and I had been hashing around ideas for creating a new website for Fireside for months before this Kickstarter launched, and you have been thinking about electronic magazines for much longer. What has you so interested in this?
Much of it does come directly from my experience at tor.com. Tor.com had some very specific goals, which it has reached magnificently imho, but I always felt like it could go further: I always felt that tor.com could be a self-sustaining entity, as opposed to something ancillary to Tor Books. In many ways, that has turned out to be the case: under the editorial stewardship of Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liz Gorinsky, and many others, Tor.com has become a powerhouse venue for genre short fiction, paying professional rates for quality work. But it’s still a line item expense in the Macmillan P&L — that always struck me as intrinsically wrong, but I was pretty sure that the answer wasn’t ‘MOAR ADS!’ I’m a firm believer that people — particularly genre fans — are willing to pay good money for good work, often enthusiastically so. I never got the chance to play that hunch out at tor.com, but the intervening years have proven that this is the case, not only through the emergence of things like Kickstarter, but more directly through the successes of independent editorial endeavors like Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish, and Marco Arment’s The Magazine.
Tell us a little about your ideas for publishing online, and about the ideas that have influenced your thinking.
To me, the web has always been, at its core and from the very beginning, the ultimate engine for publishing. When Tim Berners-Lee put up the first website at CERN, he was publishing (albeit for a very small audience). It’s funny, this year at the Tools of Change conference, which is a conference for publishing professionals, one of the keynote speakers was Jeff Jaffe, the CEO of the W3C (which is the standards body that maintains the web, essentially). His message was a simple one: “web = publishing. publishing = web.” Some people from the legacy publishing industry were a bit put off by this, but for me and many others there, that was a “no shit, Sherlock” moment: the web makes everyone—and I do mean everyone—a publisher. If you’re blogging, you’re publishing. If you’re tweeting, you’re publishing. If you’re posting on Facebook, you’re publishing (although Facebook’s walled garden somewhat flies in the face of the definition of publishing, which is ‘to make public,’ but I digress.)
So what’s happened is that people who have grown up with the web, and who work on the web, are finding that you don’t need the trappings of the publishing industry to publish, you just need a lean, webby system that gets your work out there—that makes it public. That’s been the case for a while now, at least since the rise of blogs. But now you have people like Craig Mod going on about ‘subcompact publishing,’ Marco Arment putting together The Magazine, Jeffrey Zeldman starting A Book Apart, Ev Williams putting Medium out into the world, etc. These are people who are lovers of books and reading and writing, but have absolutely nothing to do with the legacy publishing industry, and that ignorance has turned out to be a huge, huge advantage: it’s allowed them to really get down to brass tacks and determine what is actually necessary in order to publish — turns out that mostly (and I’m exaggerating slightly here for effect, but only slightly), what you need is an internet connection, a good CMS, and a well-designed reading experience.
What can you tell us about your plans for Fireside’s website?
Well, first and foremost, we’re designing it with needs of the reader front and center. One of the things that attracted me to working with you on Fireside was this notion of good pay for good work, and of treating creators fairly. The flip side of that idea is, of course, treating the reader fairly, and that’s what I hope we can accomplish with Fireside: I want us to create a reading experience that respects the reader and places their needs above all. At the same time, I’m interested in creating a lean, straightforward system for publishing, something accessible that can make your life as an editor easier. To that end, we’ve chosen to base the CMS behind Fireside on Pressbooks, an open source publishing platform based on WordPress which is specifically designed for ebook output. This means that we get the benefits of a powerful blogging platform like WordPress, with its versatile structure for managing and outputting periodical content, coupled with the book-centric output that we want to make available for our readers. In some ways, it’s coming full-circle: I always wanted to migrate tor.com to WordPress from its current platform, but never had the chance to do so — I’m working on Fireside with developer Kirk Biglione of Oxford Media Works, who is the person I reached out to back in the day when I wanted to make that move.
What kind of stories do you like to read?
I’m all over the place, but I’ve recently found myself more and more drawn to short fiction. It fits better with my lifestyle: short works in short bursts, on my mobile device (currently an iPad mini). As for genres, I’m a big fan of hard science fiction, and I read a lot of nonfiction: from history to current events, sociology, etc. I’m bilingual, so I try to read a lot in Spanish, as well, although living in the States I sometimes fail spectacularly at this.
Tell us something that doesn’t make it into your biography.
I am secretly a Cylon. Contrary to popular belief, we do have a plan.
Pablo Defendini is a Product Manager at Safari Books Online. He worked as an art director for large and small advertising agencies and magazines in Latin America before becoming Mass Market Designer for Tor Books in 2006, and then Producer for Tor.com in 2008. Before his current position at Safari Books Online, he was the Interactive Producer at Open Road Integrated Media. He also does branding, graphic design, interactive design, book design, and ebook development work for a variety of interesting folks. In his spare time, he’s an avid printmaker.
The Year Two Kickstarter is at $10,396 with one week left, meaning we have just under $15,000 to go! This is well within reach. Please consider backing us if you haven’t and telling your friends and networks if you have. Thanks so much!