The Future of StoryHack

For all of you who are waiting for physical rewards from the Kickstarter campaign, I have ordered copies of StoryHack from the printer. They told me I should expect them to come in no later than the 17th of October. They’ve beat their estimates on a large order before, though. May they print and ship quickly.

Now, after I deliver the goods, what is next for StoryHack?

The magazine is a labor of love for me. I don’t need or expect it to ever be a real part of my income. That being said, eventually my wife’s vast tank of patience will run out and I’ll have to stop feeding it from my own pocket. So the plan is to publish at least another 5 issues. (3 or 4 a year, depending) If by the end of that time the magazine is self-sufficient, it’ll just keep going forever. And as the magazine becomes more profitable, I’ll pay more to the authors & artists. I think the fact that the Kickstarter campaign funded despite the fact that I am a nobody without any big name connections or large audience shows that readers are hungry for a quality publication.

If by that time the magazine is not self-sufficient, well, then I’ll just publish when I can, or suffer the indignity of becoming a token-payment market. But that thought makes me sick to my stomach, so let’s spend no more time considering it.

What you can do to keep this ball of pulp rolling?

The biggest thing I need right now are reviews. If you’ve read Issue 0 or 1, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or anywhere else it’s appropriate. Also, if you see me in real life, a high five would not go amiss.

And what am I doing before I start on Issue 2?

I’m going to run some marketing tests. Without much of a backlist, I don’t think dumping a lot of money into marketing is the right choice. When a new reader finds StoryHack, it would be nice to be able to sell her 4 issues rather than 1 or 2. But I know there’ll be a learning curve, so I’d better start learning.

I’m building a better submissions process. Doing everything via email is rather inefficient. I have plans to make a system that would shepherd stories from submission all the way through editing and approvals. But for Issue 2, I’m just going to have the software ready for the submission/accept/reject process.

I’m setting up a subscription option. It will bill when I release new issues. The plan is to make it $2.99 an issue for electronic versions, and $9.99 for printed (shipping included to U.S.). Printed subscribers will also get the electronic version. I will also try to throw in at least one fun freebie per issue like the extras I included to all backers of the Kickstarter. Price everywhere else will be $3.99 for electronic and $9.99 for paperback-only.

I know this is a wild dream, but If I could somehow get about 300 physical copy subscribers, I can speed up and simplify the printing and shipping significantly so that my grubby hands don’t have to touch a thing. And at that level, I think payment to authors would be up around $0.04 per word.

That’s about it for now. Thank you everybody for your continued support.

StoryHack, Issue 1 is available!

I have my proof back and everything looks good. So I’ve flipped the switch making it available for purchase in paperback. Down below you’ll see what to expect.

It took a couple of weeks longer than I wanted to get art back and such, but I believe it was worth the wait. It is seriously the best pulp magazine I have ever published. Thank you everyone who backed the issue or otherwise helped support the project. I hope you like it as much as I do.

And speaking of Kickstarter backers…

I’ll be ordering a big box of physical copies tonight. As soon as they get here, I’ll be packaging them up and shipping them out to those who backed for physical rewards.

Digital rewards have been available since last week, and everyone who backed at any level gets a couple of digital bonuses. If Kickstarter didn’t send you an email about that, then contact me and I’ll give you directions for claiming your downloads.

Cheers,

Bryce

Issue 1 Contents

StoryHack Action adventure is a fiction magazine in the style of the great pulps of years past. It includes stories from a wide variety of genres.

In this issue, you’ll find:

New Rules for Rocket Nauts by Michael DeCarolis. A recently dismissed recruit watches in horror as an alien race betrays and massacres his former classmates. Now he may be the only person capable of stopping the first wave of an interstellar war.

The Price of Hunger by Kevyn Winkless. A desperate chase through the woods leads to an occupied cabin. Has Fred Moose doomed everyone to be slaughtered by the wending outside?

Retrieving Abe by Jay Barnson. Lydia Madison is the daughter of a dragon hunter, and the second of three wives in a plural marriage in a tiny village in the Utah Territory. When her husband is abducted by a dragon, only Lydia can rescue him… even if it means trading her own life for his.

Protector of Newington by John M Olsen. A wealthy inventor has been secretly sponsoring do-gooders in steam-powered suits for years. When another of his heroes faces death, can he just stand by and watch a good man die?

Brave Day Sunk in Hideous Night by Julie Frost. Ben is a PI with PTSD who also just happens to be a werewolf. He is handed a repo job that seems too easy to be true. Of course things go awry and an accident flings him into a grim future. Will he be able to make it back to his wife and friends, or will he be doomed to die amongst total strangers?

Taking Control by Jon Del Arroz. What is a seasoned outlaw to do when she’s too worn out to heist?

Some things Missing from her Profile by David Skinner. His blind date was kidnapped by Martians. He had no idea why. But he wasn’t about to let them keep her.

Dream Master by Gene Moyers. What strange power could cause wealthy men to suddenly give away their fortunes and commit suicide?

Under the Gun by David J. West. A young man with a possessed gun that can’t miss collides with an aging gunslinger that can’t be hit. Trouble and death can’t be far behind.

Circus to Boulogne by Mike Adamson. A WWII pilot is shot down over enemy-held territory. Will he make it to safety, or will he spend the rest of the war in a POW camp?

StoryHack Issue 1 Going to Print

Here’s what’s been going on in the world of StoryHack.

I just ordered a physical proof of StoryHack Issue 1. I just want to make sure everything looks good before shipping to backers.

I wrote and did some testing on a download script to deliver all the ebook files to the backers who wanted them. I just need to import backers into it now. By the end of this week maybe early next everyone should get an email with downloading instructions.

 

StoryHack Issue 1 Updates for 8/9

Here are some updates so that you know I’ve not just been sitting on my thumbs.

  • I’ve done my edits on all but 2 of the stories.
  • Artists have been found and started on the interior art.

Still to do.

  • Get a friend or two to do a copyediting pass.
  • Hound/plead with the artists to get art back to me.
  • Layout the magazine.
  • Once last comb through for typos.
  • Send out backer surveys getting physical addresses for those that need it and email addresses for those that need it.
  • Work out a good delivery system for the electronic copies.
  • Upload/print/publish/etc.
  • Deliver all the pulp.
  • Look to the future.

Release date? I think Cirsova is planning to release Sept 1, so I’ll shoot for a week after that.

I’m also working on a double-extra-secret something else for my wonderful backers (& even the less wonderful ones. You know who you are.) I hope it comes together in time.

Issue #1 Lineup

Things are moving right along with Issue #1. I just got a new wip from the cover artist and I couldn’t be more excited. Little by little I’m working through edits of the stories. I’m horrible at finding typos, though, so I have to go slow. Also eating at my time is the day job and parenting and such, blah, blah, blah, I’m slow but it’s going to be great.

In no particular order, here’s the lineup for Issue 1:

  • “Taking Control” A western with a hint of magic by Jon Del Arroz.
  • “Under the Gun” A weird western by David J. West.
  • “New Rules for Rocket Nauts” A space opera by Michael DeCarolis.
  • “Protector of Newington” A steampunk adventure by John M Olsen.
  • “The Price of Hunger” A supernatural horror adventure by Kevyn Winkless.
  • “Retieving Abe” A fantasy western by Jay Barnson.
  • “Brave Day Sunk in Hideous Night.” An accidentally time-travelling werewolf adventure by Julie Frost.
  • “Dream Master” A supernatural detective mystery by Gene Moyers.
  • “Circus to Boulogne” A historical adventure by Mike Adamson.
  • “Some things Missing from her Profile” An off-planet action mystery by David Skinner.

Right about 65,000 words of pure action adventure fun.

Issue 1 updates, 7/21

Quick updates:
  • I believe I have now responded to all submissions for this issue of StoryHack. Contact me if you’re still waiting.
  • I’ll post the lineup sometime next week after contracts are all signed and whatnot.
  • Still waiting on the cover. The artist sent a cover sketch about 2 weeks ago.
  • I started an editing pass on the already contracted & paid stories
  • I commissioned the first piece of interior art. Once the authors are all paid, I’ll double check against my original budget to see how many more I can get.

Issue 1 Submissions are Closed

Submissions are now closed for StoryHack Issue 1. Thanks to everyone who has submitted. I wish I could select more stories. I don’t feel like a gatekeeper standing watch at the entrance to the Great Hall of Quality Fiction.  I feel like an explorer of an ancient temple who has just found the pulp treasure room, but only has one pocket available to fill with action/adventure jewels.

Getting through the remaining stories should take me another week or ten days or so. Acceptances and rejections will be going out every day now.

StoryHack Issue 1 Updates for 6/26

On Friday last week Kickstarter finished doing the things it had to do and it sent me the pledged money for Issue 1. That means I can start paying authors and artists. In fact, I’ve accepted and sent out contracts on the first three stories. I already have several other pieces on my shortlist, and a couple more acceptances will go out this week. Also, I’ll put out feelers to artists this week for the cover. One of the stories that’s been accepted suggests exactly the sort of cover I’d love to have.

There is only one week left for submissions to Issue 1. Space is filling up fast. I haven’t even had one modern thriller type story submitted. So if you’re working on something like that, your odds of getting in are increased. But even if I don’t get any, there will still be a good spread of genres for this issue. When I have the lineup nailed down, I’ll announce it everywhere.

I love the energy and the excitement that surrounds pulp-styled fiction these days. Fun fiction is making a comeback in a big way.

Thanks again for your ongoing support.

Cheers,

Bryce

Submissions for StoryHack Issue 1 are open!

Thanks to a bundle of support during a successful kickstarter campaign, it’s time to get moving on Issue #1. So I’m firing the metaphorical starting gun now and opening up submissions. They’ll be open until 12:01 AM on July 3rd, 2017, three weeks from now. I may open them up again for a bit afterword if I need to, but that’s currently the plan.

Go check out the submissions page for full details on submitting.

There’s this submission system used by several pro magazines. I emailed and tweeted at it’s programmer a few times to see if he’s sell me a copy or whatever. He never got back to me. I’d like to use Moksha, but I can’t exactly justify the $50 a month just yet. So I started coding up a submission system the other day, but it’s not to a point where I can use it. Maybe for issue #2…

It has also become clear to me that I’ll be needing to change up the theme of this blog now that I want to do the whole magazine thing. Now I need to decide if I can be happy with a theme that’s already out there, or if I should just grind out one of my own again.

Campaign ending soon.

We’re down to the last little bit for the StoryHack campaign on Kickstarter. We’ve hit and gone a little over the goal! Issue #1 is getting made. Thank you to everybody who has helped this happen. The pledges, the retweets, the posts, all of it. I’m blown away by all of the support. Any extra funds from pledges now will go toward making issue #2.

The Campaign

Also, I’ll be opening up submissions for Issue 1 on June 12. Submissions will be open for about 3 weeks. So get your pulp stories ready.

My Fyrecon Schedule

I’ll be teaching a couple of classes and moderating a panel at Fyrecon on June 9-11. I may also be doing an author spotlight (signing thing) at some point.

Friday, June 10

  • 10:30 AM – Podcasting 101. All the basics you’ll need to know if you want to podcast. I’ll cover mics and other hardware, software, hosting, and getting your podcast listed in iTunes/etc. All in 50 minutes.

Saturday, June 11

  • 11:30 AM – Author Websites 101. You’ll learn the basics of how to design and build a good author website. You’ll also learn what a good author website actually is.
  • 3:30 AM – Writers and Artists Collaboration. I’m moderating this panel, also with me will be Caryn Larrinaga, who has been on the podcast before.

The Biggest Bummer of Issue 0

StoryHack Action & Adventure is now over halfway pledged to the goal, and we have about three weeks left in the campaign. I am just so grateful to everybody who has pledged, retweeted and posted about this project. I think we’re on track to hitting that goal.

Also, the first couple of reviews are in for Issue 0 on Amazon. As with every published work these days, reviews can mean the difference between utter obscurity and wild success, so thanks to everyone who has taken the time to review!

I’ve also had some good feedback from other authors and long time pulp fans. For that, I am also grateful.

The one thing that really bummed me out out about issue zero was the lack of interior art. I actually ordered some, but the artist returned a bunch of unusable images. Too dark, weird composition of hand drawn and photo, and just not of the quality I want to put out. So, I figured I’d let it go without and let the stories stand on their own. I really want to put art in front of the stories for issue 1, and if the pledging trends continue, I’ll have the money to do it. This time I’ll spread the art out to several artists and I’ll vet them a little better before commissioning.

So good progress has been made, but we’ve still got a ways to go. If you’d like to help spread the word, just tweet or post this link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1738328302/storyhack-action-and-adventure-issue-1

Cheers!

StoryHack, Issue 1 is live on Kickstarter!

All right, everything is finally ready. The campaign for StoryHack Action & Adventure, Issue 1 is now live. Check it out and let me know what you think. I’m kind of a one man show in this thing, so I never know if the jokes are going to land, etc.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1738328302/storyhack-action-and-adventure-issue-1

If you haven’t seen the announcement floating around, Issue 0 is out and the ebook is ready for downloading. There’s a link on the KickStarter page. I think it turned out great and I’m pumped about the quality of stories I was able to include.

If you want to help keep the pulp goodness flowing, please share that KickStarter link on any Facebook page or group you’re a member of where it makes sense to do so. Or tweet something. You know, help me get the word out. I will be forever grateful.

Here we go!

I’m uploading Issue 0 to the various online retailers today. It’ll take a day or two for everything to be made live. I’m setting the price of the ebook to free, where I can, for at least the duration of the kickstarter campaign, which should go live tomorrow. I know amazon won’t let me set the price to zero, but it should price match down eventually. Also, I’ll have a separate page here on the site for downloading the ebook version. Any questions?

StoryHack Action & Adventure, Issue 0 Lineup

EDIT 4/17: David Boop has completed the lineup with “Turk and the Lost City.”

I think I have now sent out responses for all submissions to Issue 0. Sending out rejections is really hard for me to do. It hurt to make that last round of cuts.

But now is not the time for wallowing in pain. Now is the time for excitement and revelry! There’s some great fiction headed your way.

Here is the lineup, in alphabetical order, by first name:

These stories include all manner of action & adventure; heroic thriller, sword & sorcery, even a werewolf PI. I’m telling you, this will make you wish all magazines published pulp stories.

More information, like a cover and release date coming soon.

Slush Pile: 0

I finally finished reading all of the submissions for Issue 0 of StoryHack Action & Adventure. In total, I received around 100 of them. I still need to select the final few pieces from the wealth of good ones. If you’re waiting for a response, you’ll get it by Friday at the latest. If I was able to fund it all right now, I could probably fill at least three excellent issues.

I currently have 5 stories contracted, about 33k words worth. I’ll add about 30k more words for this issue.

On Friday I should be able to announce the author lineup.

Progress

I’m still working through all of the submissions. There were a lot of them during the last 3 days. About 1/3 of the total submissions. I took the weekend off from reading to do some work around the house, but last night I think I read 12 more. I’m hoping to have my selections made by the end of the week.

If you submitted near the beginning of the month but still haven’t heard back, it means you’ve passed the initial round and I’m just trying to figure out which stories have to receive the reluctant ax. I’m trying to include a variety of genres so that future submitters get a good idea what I’m willing to include. Who knew editing a magazine would be so hard?

In other magazine news, I got a sketch back from this issue’s cover artist. I’m pretty sure it’s going to turn out awesome.

In completely unrelated news, I got a call from the police this week. They recovered my stolen bike! I cannot believe how unbelievably lucky/blessed I am sometimes.

Genre Literary Magazine Parody Cover, #1

I’ve been designing some parody covers for use in the video for my upcoming crowdfunding campaign for StoryHack Action & Adventure. (The campaign will launch within a day or two of Issue 0 getting released.) They are kind of going to be a throwaway gag, and I probably won’t use all of them, so I figured I’d put them up here. After all, I don’t want all this messing around to go to waste.

So, without further ado, here’s the first cover. Click for the full-size version.

 

On a related note, I sent out the first round of rejections for the magazine this last weekend. That was kind of interesting. The good news is that I’m getting an even better mental picture of what I’d like the the magazine to be. Also, apparently my definitions of “action” and “adventure” are different than most people’s.

By action I mean that there should be characters actively engaged with an antagonist (or entity) who represents imminent physical danger. Fistfights, car chases, vine swinging (alligators or spikes below), all that. But the protagonist must have an active role in it, rather than just having stuff happen at him/her.

By adventure, I mean the character does awesome things (is proactive) in a exotic (not mundane) situation. Heroics often enter in. The protagonist can be in a cool time period, a fantasy world, or have a bizarre profession, something about his/her situation should transport me, the reader, out of the boring real-life world. After reading, I should be able to say a main character “had an adventure.”

I promise not to ramble so much when I post the other covers.

Magazine & Site Updates.

Thanks to some old & new friends as well as some advice from the editor of another modern pulp, the call for submissions is out there and getting found. I know this, because my inbox is filling right up. I was going to wait until the submission period was over to start reading, but it has become apparent that I will die crushed under a pile of digital fiction if I do that. So I’ve started reading the slush pile and I’ll begin sending out some responses by the end of the week.

There will be some minor changes here on the blog over the next couple of weeks to organize and make room for magazine stuff.

#LTUE2017 was awesome.

My wife and I had plans last weekend which fell through. I was sad. And then I remembered that it was also Life the Universe and Everything weekend. So I asked her if she wanted to go, she took a look at the schedule of events, and she decided to give it a try. After all, we already had a babysitter lined up. You can’t just let that go to waste.

I’ve never been to a writer’s conference before. After attending LTUE, I’m sorry I waited so long. I picked up a ton of good tips for the marketing end of a writing carrier. I also got heaps of new insights and reminders on the craft side of writing. I made a couple of new friends and even did a bit of networking. Look forward to a couple more interviews in the coming weeks. Best of all, I came back with a renewed desire to finish some stories.

My buddy David J West introduced me to a bunch of the folks from Immortal Works Press, a new small publisher from my neck of the woods. They were all super nice.

One of the last sessions of the conference I attended was an audience participation game called “Choose Your Own Apocalypse.” This edition was Moriarty vs Umbridge vs Dracula. A bunch of the Immortal Works people are also part of a writing group called the Space Balrogs, who apparently put these on at all the local cons. I laughed pretty hard, and I’ll make more of an effort to attend from now on.

There was a session with this guy who had been in the Army’s “remote viewing” ESP program. It was real life X-Files. Super Fascinating stuff.

The biggest problem in attending a conference like this is the amount of stuff that I added to my reading queue. Now I’m never going to get through it all.

Anyway, I came home happy and exhausted. And I only made it to 2/3 of the conference.