Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pardon the mess; Getting ready for pre-orders.

Pardon the mess, folks. There will be some intermittent issues at bullspec.com and www.bullspec.com -- and potentially the e-mails @bullspec.com -- while we roll over some DNS records in preparation for opening a simple site to start accepting pre-orders for the print issue. We've found our printing partner and finalized our first-run costs ($3/copy: 64 lovely full-size glossy pages, pull-out-able serialized graphic novel in full color in the middle if we can close on that in time), and are now working to finalize our payment processing partners. We do know the "price" for the first issue will be "$3 + $postage + $?" (no stinking "handling") where the "$?" is up to you -- yes, $0 is more than awesome. YES: $0 is more than awesome! We'll have a nice list of content for the first issue put together "real soon now" as well, but one thing that won't be in there: a single paid advertisement. (If you see something that looks like an ad; it's more a 'flyer' to somebody we want to thank or something we've heard about that we just plain like. Maybe everyone else in the world thinks these are "ads;" fair enough.)

While we don't know a couple of things (still working on that cover art decision and a few last sections of content), a bit more info on the preorder process, particularly our refund policy:
  • Before we go to press (mid January): up to and including full refunds (cost plus postage plus gratuity) with no questions asked. (Just please don't preorder with the intention of doing this, OK? Thanks. If it's a change in financial situation we'd ask, if possible, to only refund the gratuity portion, if any, as the main purpose of the preorder is to get the right size for the first printing. But we will respect your decision in this area.)
  • After we go to press: Please, no refund requests unless you don't receive the magazine by the end of February. (The first go at labeling and shipping might be slow.)
  • After you receive the magazine: If you hate it; let's talk about it and work out a refund and the passing on of your copy (local library donation, return, etc.) (And again, just please don't order with the intention of doing this. All else? We'll be cool.)
For bookstores and other shops crazy enough to jump aboard this early: talk to us! We have a few ideas for how we'd prefer to work with you but would be thrilled to hear about anything you'd have in mind. Particularly if you're local we can be very, very flexible on how we handle stocking and returns. And if you're willing to offer the 'zine for our "$3+$?" "cover price" -- we'll practically bend over backwards to make it work.


  1. Could you clarify something for me? You're planning a print edition and taking preorders, but your submission guidelines say nothing about print rights; they only mention electronic and audio rights (except for the nonexclusive anthology righs). What rights do you ask for that let you do the print editions?

  2. Thanks for the chance to clarify, and the reminder about the work we need to do in that area.

    First, some quick background: When we posted the guidelines in early November, we had no idea that we might be putting together a magazine this early -- we figured on at least a year. We were open for submissions for 10 days under those guidelines. But help came pouring in, and by early December we decided to make a go of it. For the one story we officially "signed" we went back and talked to the author; for the others currently in pre-signed acceptance status we're working on clear language specifying what we plan to do with the work.

    So: the submission guidelines need a serious update; we'll certainly get to those updates before we re-open for submissions in early February.

  3. Ah okay. I didn't realize that it had come together so quickly. That's pretty impressive!

    I'd love to know more about Publishers Press, too; as the co-editor of a small SFF magazine myself, I've been looking for more than a year for a way to produce and distribute print editions at a reasonable price. $3 plus shipping is pretty damned good.

    Bart Leib
    Editor, Crossed Genres

  4. Publishers Press has been AMAZING. My regional rep is Bryan Bullock, but, not knowing what region of the country you're in:


    I had no idea how responsive and receptive to talking to a "little fish" they would be; so far, again, amazing. They haven't had a magazine (yet) which used Scribus for layout (http://www.scribus.net/) so I may have to fall back on Adobe/etc. though they have been pretty clear with guidelines/trim etc. and I'm hopeful.

    OK. Back to work. I have to do a much better job of research for my next interview than just showing up -- at a Jeff VanderMeer event I thumbed through a book, saw that he'd written a little short story about "The Secret Life of Jeff Gordon" and asked how it happened. Heh. Not only was it not "the" Jeff Gordon, everybody else in the room seemed to know all about the Secret Lives project in detail. /facepalm. Oh well. I can only get better than that, right? A near decade in sports journalism left me a little over-confident in how easy interviews can be: "So, coach, tell me about that call on 4th down." Writers and authors, it turns out not too surprisingly, have a whole heap more nuance to discover and digest before you can even find a decent question to ask.