Toni Morrison is famous for saying, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” We three writers (Jen Landels, Sue Pieters, and Mel Anastasiou) took that advice seriously and created our new fiction magazine, Pulp Literature in Vancouver, BC, to take to the world.
In hindsight, the concept is brilliantly simple. We wanted a magazine that was as comfortable as the bed Goldilocks fell asleep in, something not too hard and not too soft. Most magazines are particular in focus, either narrowly literary fiction like Glimmer Train or limited to a fixed genre like Fantasy and Science Fiction. We wished for one magazine to combine everything in one place, across genres. We wanted “pulp” action stories together with “literature” and finely crafted prose. We wanted to see graphic novels and illustrations alongside poetry and novellas. The idea grew for a hybrid magazine where we could read the pulp and the literature together.
Writers are truly the most generous group on earth. The first authors to step up to the plate and pledge us their stories were CC Humphreys and JJ Lee. We knew them personally and they supported our concept of cross-genre writing with their own stories. Chris is normally a historical fiction swashbuckler, but he sent us gripping contemporary literary fiction. And JJ Lee, writer of the multiple award-nominated memoir, The Measure of a Man, painted a cover for the second issue and promised to send us a macabre teddy-bear-gone-bad Sci- Fi horror story. We were ecstatic.
Star power led to more star power, and the writing community poured in its support. Historical romance writer Susanna Kearsley provided a zombie story she had written as a Christmas present for her husband. Award winning playwright Joan MacLeod and historical fiction superstar Jack Whyte are also future contributors. With these big names lending us their credentials, the submissions started to roll in. We planned beyond our first issue to our first year of four quarterly issues, and were ready to sell subscriptions.
We opted to raise funds through Kickstarter (a crowdfunding internet service for raising start-up capital), which had just opened up in Canada in September. The timing was perfect for us, and two good Canadian omens bracketed our campaign: short fiction author Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature in October, and on the day we achieved our funding goal, Lynn Coady won the Giller prize for her short story collection, Hellgoing. Something hovered in the air to bless short fiction inCanada, and we felt we were in the right place at the right time.
Four months from inception, our first issue is at the printer and will be available before Christmas. We daren’t count the hours we spent in preparation; we plan only to drink deeply at our launch party at Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay on December 20th. We invite you to join us there and invite everyone writing in every genre to submit your short fiction, poetry and sequential art to a locally-based market where you will be read and edited by friends.
The moral of this story for other authors? There are more options in publishing than what you now see before you. If you dare to imagine something new, we advise you to grasp it with both hands. Our magazine is a hybrid, both in content and creation. We are indie authors and love the flexibility, control and ownership that self-publishing offers. But like traditional publishers, we select material carefully, edit painstakingly, and offer paying contracts. We feel personally involved with our writers and commit time and energy to developing pieces that aren’t quite there yet.
Be encouraged. The categories that publishers used in the past are disappearing. The divisions are crumbling between genres, publishers, writers, and marketers. There is a brave new future for writers and publishers alike, because now we can be both.
Susan Pieters is an editor at Pulp Literature magazine. She has a Masters degree in English, and has taught the language in China, the US and Canada. She writes in a variety of genres and has won awards for her short stories and essays. Contact her through the magazine: http://pulpliterature.com/
Link to submissions page on website:
For new writers: We encourage submissions from emerging talent and this is part of our mandate; our better-known authors support Pulp Literature in order to help new writers enter the market and gain publication credentials. We take the time to read every single submission. We sell both electronic and print copies. To understand our taste and to support our project, please subscribe at our website AND…
Get a special one-time VSW subscription deal at: http://pulpliterature.com/vsw-special/
YOU ARE INVITED to the PULP LITERATURE LAUNCH:
Friday December 20, 7 pm at Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay (412 W Hastings). Single copies of the first issue will be on sale at our launch party on. Advance tickets only: $16 through our website http://pulpliterature.com/subscribe/.
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