Actually, a number of them…
No surprise to anyone who follows this blog, huh?
So let me explain a few of my belief systems.
Agents… Agents should pay authors what is called a “shopping agreement fee” for the right to submit their manuscript to editors.
Shopping agreements are used all the time in Hollywood and are basically a fee like $1,000 for a limited time (six months to a year) for the right to shop the work. Author keeps the money no matter if the work sells or not. (That would put some skin in the game for agents.)
The writer is the one who did the work, owns the copyright. If an agent wants to be attached to a work, they need to pay for the privilege.
Sad when Hollywood is saner than book publishing, huh?
Publishers… I believe publishers should go to authors, not always the other way around. Again, authors did the work, own the copyright. So why should any author in this new world go begging through an agent to a publisher who takes your copyright?
In this new world of indie publishing, quality writers and stories can be found by all of us a ton easier than using some form of gatekeeping.
Now short fiction is slightly different.
Nature of the magazine world. Sometimes slush piles are necessary. And they work because there are no agents in the mix.
But I hope at Pulphouse Fiction Magazine to find authors through other means than a slush pile.
I know a lot of very talented fiction writers through personal connections, reading their work in workshops, and my history around writers. And since I am a reader, and I listen to recommendations from others around me, I find a lot more writers I enjoy, but haven’t really met.
So a few people have asked why Pulphouse is not open for submissions. Because, honestly, as the editor, I believe it is my job to find the authors and their wonderful stories. And I would rather do it my way than have piles and piles of stories I have no desire to read and that won’t fit in Pulphouse anyway.
I will spend the time one way or another, either reading stories I don’t want to read or looking through the published world to find writers I like and who have a Pulphouse style of writing.
Let me say that again. I will spend the time one way or another. I have picked a different path than reading slush.
Think it through, authors. You want that as well.
You want me writing you and asking if you have a story or would write me one. When I come to you as an editor, you win, even if you don’t sell me a story.
I sold a story to The Twilight Zone Magazine which ended up in its sister publication, Night Cry Magazine. The editor there asked me for another and I wrote it and sold it to him.
An editor in New York saw that second story in Night Cry Magazine, liked it, and wrote me and asked if I had a novel. That was my first novel sale.
And never once in over a hundred novels did I have my agent sell a book for me.
More Personal Experience…
I posted a short-short story on my door at Clarion as a joke. Three months later Damon Knight asked me for it because he had seen it on my door and thought it would fit an anthology he was editing. My first pro sale.
My second pro sale was when Algis Budrys told me about a brand new contest he was involved in and wanted me to submit a story to it. He invited me personally. I sold him the story. My second professional level sale.
So authors, if you want to be in Pulphouse, keep writing, keep your stories out there in the indie world and magazine world. It’s your job to get your stories to readers.
It’s my job as the editor of Pulphouse to find you in one way or another. I have decided simply to not go the slush pile route with my time. I will find you. Far more fun for me and it will be more fun for you when I do find you.
I love this new world a bunch more than the old one, that’s for sure. But these days I am a writer first.
And as a writer first, I love the control writers now have.
We just have to take the control. And believe in our own work.
And that is yet another of my beliefs.