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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stupefying Stories Update

In the ten days since we've gone public with this venture, a number of questions have arisen. To address them in no particular order:

What are we looking for?

Since the target date for releasing Stupefying Stories II is October 1, we've decided to make this one our Halloween issue. Therefore, we are looking for stories that fit in with a general "Halloween" theme, which is to say, scary stories.

In the initial announcement, I used the word horror. That was perhaps a mistake, as it appears that horror has become synonymous with splattered gore and nauseating violence. (I blame Wes Craven.) I'm more interesting in seeing the sort of stories that give readers the cold shivers. You know, the kind of story that would, if you were reading it by the light of a single lamp in a quiet house after midnight, make you want to get up, turn on a few more lights, and make sure the doors and windows are closed and locked.

I personally am a big fan of ghost stories. For that matter, I also have a strong fondness for that disturbing mix they call "horror-comedy." Case in point, I would dearly love to publish a story the equal of "Bubba Ho-Tep."

But not identical to "Bubba Ho-Tep," of course. That one's already been written.

If this is not coming out until October, why the July 31 deadline?

Because the one lesson we really learned from doing Stupefying Stories: It Came From The Slushpile, is just how long it takes to get a book through production and into print. There's a heck of a lot of behind-the-scenes work that comes into play after the content has been picked.

So yes, to be ready to begin shipping this thing in late September, we need to have the final content nailed down by August 15, at the latest.

Speaking of Stupefying Stories, what happened to the promised Kindle, Nook, and epub editions?

The Curse of Otogu struck again, I'm sad to say. I'm still working on the ebook versions, but at present, it's a back-burner project. I hope to get them out in August.

Is this another "Friday Challenge only" project?

No. While Stupefying Stories: It Came From The Slushpile was a "Best of The Friday Challenge" showcase, this time around, we're opening it up. We'll consider stories by anyone, regardless of whether they've participated in the FC before or have any interest in participating in the FC in the future. Obviously, this also means there's no requirement that a story must previously have been entered in a Friday Challenge.

So, open up your trunk of unsold manuscripts, and pass the word around. We are now an open market.

Does this mean Stupefying Stories is now a "pro" market?

Heck, no. This is still purely a money-losing labor of love for us, which means that while we do buy stories, we pay in what Darrell Schweitzer once termed, "contributor's copies and a handful of birdseed" — which is to say, a glorious 1/4-cent per word. (The same rate Dickens was paid!)

So don't even begin to imagine that getting published in Stupefying Stories will make you rich, famous, or even count towards SFWA membership. It ain't gonna happen.

What about stories that previously have been posted online?

As long as you still retain unencumbered rights, we'll consider the story. Please let us know if this is the case, though.

Do you have any restrictions on length?

In principle, no. In practice, we have room for one novelette or novella, perhaps a half-dozen or so 5,000-word stories, and an assortment of smaller work. So your odds of selling us a carefully polished 1,500-word gem are much better than your odds of selling us a 15,000-word monsterpiece masterpiece.

How do I submit a story?

Preferably by email, in the form of a .doc, .rtf, or text file, sent to:

If you want to go old-school you can mail your manuscript to:
Rampant Loon Press
P.O. Box 111
Lake Elmo MN 55042

But I wouldn't.

If I submit a story, when can I expect to hear back from you?

The first week of August.

Are you open to buying reprint rights to previously published stories?

Maybe. If your name is, say, "Gene Wolfe."

What about poetry and artwork?

Poetry, no. Artwork, yes.

Any more questions?
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