Friday, 29 May 2015

BLAME THE HOOLIGANS

Buzz, buzz, buzzing...
busy bees 
and fleas
with occasional mice,
in a nice
bowl of rice
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It's football again
isn't it? Suckers!
This time for real...
It's a whole new game
a new trademark deal...

FBIFA

we promise to deliver a fresh beer drinker postcard
everyday for the whole next month
...
wait for it...
whistle...
KICK OFF :)

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Whether in your bed or on a public beach,
under a blanket on a winter night
or in broad daylight of summer heat
Whether it's wine, beer, coffee or tea...
there are still people that enjoy a good read...

We kick off today with a few nice tracks from our 2015. top model Pop Dee...


and swiftly move on to chat with Sean Wallace, one of the key men behind...

THE DARK MAGAZINE

A quarterly online magazine with regular issues from October 2013
delivers original short fiction stories... New issue #8 is hot of the press...
What's it all about and what does a regular working day look like @ THE DARK, let's see...



 What is Dark Magazine? How did it start?
Well, Jack had always wanted to launch a new magazine ever since he’d had to shut down Flesh & Blood, which had lasted through 1998 through 2003. I’d helped with the last four issues, in various capacities, and we had kept in touch ever since then. However, within the last two years the itch to edit / publish something had gotten under Jack’s skin, so he’d been dabbling with the idea of doing something. At that point it had bounced between being a print or online magazine, and I was finally brought in as a consultant and then later as co-editor. Once that happened things happened rather quickly. We then decided that going digital was the way forward, and that we would keep it as simple as possible, pretty much emulating Clarkesworld in its early days.

Tell as a bit about your personal background that led to making a magazine?
Well, as noted above Jack published and edited Flesh & Blood for six years, along with publishing anthologies, whereas I’ve edited or co-edited about eight magazines, now, though I’m probably best known for working with Clarkesworld Magazine these days, and for Prime Books. So we’ve done it all, over the years, from picking out fiction and art for the covers, and a lot more besides.


How dark is Dark?
Well, we like it to be subtle, to sneak up on you in the dark, as it were, whether it’s set historically, or in modern times, or even in the near future. We’re certainly not in it for graphic or violent horror, within reason, for its own sake, and there are plenty of markets to service that kind of approach. But for connoisseurs of the weird and unique and unsettling, that’s the dark we’re aiming for, that we feel that only we can provide. Some excellent examples, for example, include “The Ghost of You Lingers” by Kevin McNeil, in our new issue, or in previous issues, “Bearskin” by Angela Slatter, or “Mr. Hill’s Death” by S.L. Gilbow.

Do you plan to make printed editions?
So far we’ve only done one sampler for last year’s World Fantasy Convention, and that included just four of the best stories drawn from all the previous issues. I think we did several hundred copies and they went pretty quick, which was a nice surprise. We may do that, again, this year, in Saratoga Springs, certainly. And at some point we may do a best of compilation, but that’s really far down the line, perhaps tying in with a ten year anniversary celebration.  

 
Plans and ambitions for the future?

 Right now? Honestly the goal is to grow the readership by whatever means possible, even giving away subscriptions to anyone interested in reading and enjoying unsettling dark fantasy. In this we really see The Dark Magazine as continuing the ancient tradition that Weird Tales essentially established, to publish unique material that doesn’t really fit anywhere else, 
that could only be published in our magazine. 
Beyond that, I don’t know. This started off as pretty much a hobby, at least for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for Jack, but so long as we’re happy publishing the kind of fiction we both like, and that readers are enjoying them that’s where we want to be, now, and in the future. I’m sure that once Jack finishes up with his Master’s degree and once my twin girls are in kindergarten next year, however, that we’ll re-evaluate what we’re doing, what we’ve accomplished, and perhaps move to do more. What that exactly is we simply don’t know, now.

How does a regular workday look like for you and Jack, 

in terms of working with submissions and publishing an issue?
 Well, both of us tackle the slush with no other help, morning and night, and we don’t spend much time with most. We’re speedreaders and it doesn’t take much beyond the first paragraph, maybe two paragraphs, to make a quick determination, and with form rejections in the gmail system ready to go, it’s just a quick reply. In this way we process probably three hundred stories a month, with many rejections within hours. However, any stories that warrant further appraisal gets transferred to a different folder, and then Jack and I discuss them at some length, sit on them for some time to let them soak a bit, and then make a final decision. All in all, even though we’re not using full-fledged submission software, this particular system works really well for us, since gmail’s preview function gives you immediate access to the first submission page. It makes everything speed along nicely.
Then there’s the issue preparation, closer to a day or two before it actually goes live on the website, and in sales channels. This can take a few hours, at most, and it usually starts with the pdf issue, and then once that’s done it’s sent off to the contributors to do a final proof, along with making sure that reviewers have a copy. After that the contents from the pdf are exported into wordpress posts, where they are further massaged in order to work properly with the ebook creation tools built into the website. An epub is then automatically generated, and with Calibre I convert it to mobi, and spend another hour uploading each to their respective markets. 
The last step generally involves sending the issue to all the subscribers drawn from a mailchimp database, and this can take a few minutes, at most, again, using gmail. I’m sure in the future as the numbers grow, though, we’ll have to look at something a bit more robust, however.
And while I know this is all sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t, it runs like a well-oiled machine. As well it should, with all our experience! :p


Message for our viewers?

To be completely mercenary, please sign up for a free subscription. It’s as easy as going to our website, at thedarkmagazine.com, and filling out the newsletter app at the top of the page. You get sixteen stories a year, from some of the best authors in our field, with some of the best stunning art for our covers, for free. And then, after reading our issues, if you truly and well love it, if you can signal-boost that sentiment further, our many thanks to you!

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Always nice to see dedicated, hard working people...
Keep it up coming guys!

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