Guest Post: Writers are Whores

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Today I have Angel Leigh McCoy on my blog. She’s an incredible writer and one of the few who has managed to make me truly uncomfortable and creeped out, but at the same time make me go wow, that’s so beautifully written.

Writers are Whores
By Angel Leigh McCoy
AngelMcCoy500wI’ll say it again. Writers are whores. I say it with love, so don’t take offense. Besides, you know the analogy fits. We do whatever we can to get attention and to build a gaggle of readers who follow us everywhere. Trouble is, with the freedom of self-publishing comes a hoard of horny writer wannabes giving it away for free, who attract attention away from the serious, hard-working writers.
Let me tell you a story. About seven years go, this was becoming an obvious problem—obvious to me, at least. That’s when I realized that there weren’t enough markets out there to support serious speculative fiction writers caught in a flood of one-shot-wonders.
Good writers were/are getting swallowed whole by the noise and pollution in the publishing industry.
Six years ago, I started WilyWriters.com as an added way for good writers, young and old, to share their stories. My guest editors, voice actors, and I did it as a labor of love. I gave away the stories for free to help writers build an audience and gain added name recognition. Over the course of those six years, we published over 90 short stories by both established and new writers.
In truth, I came away the richer for it, because I met so many nice people, felt such a sense of accomplishment, and had fun making it. I learned a lot. I didn’t mind doing the work, but I realized I was giving away my retirement as well! I simply couldn’t justify paying out thousands of dollars every year to make this ‘zine. It had to start paying for itself.
At first, I thought I’d try charging for the stories with a private membership system. But, I made the mistake of also offering to have one of the stories each month chosen from the list of private members. It didn’t occur to me when I did this that it was in any way unethical (it was the same as charging a fee for publication). I simply hadn’t seen it that way.
It did, however, occur to many others. And they were quick to tell me so. As soon as I understood my mistake, I abandoned that plan. And some friends stepped forward to give me a good dose of helpful feedback on the site.
It was an intervention of sorts. Through their gentle and kind-hearted feedback (thanks, guys, you know who you are), I came to realize that if WilyWriters.com was going to get to the stage where it could pay for itself, I had to raise the quality bar on it.
I’d been doing everything myself, including the art, web design, editing, layout, audio editing, and sometimes even audio recording. (It’s been hard to admit to myself that I’ll never be an artist, but I finally had no other choice.)
After much thought, I decided the project needed a complete make-over. It needed it to put on its big-girl pants.
I focused the theme to Horror rather than the more general speculative fiction, because that’s where my interests lie most strongly. And I gave it a Twilight Zone mood, because I have such a nostalgic love for the kind of stories they told on that show. It’s the kind of story and the topic I’d like to read about.
I can’t guarantee that all the stories we publish will perfectly match the cautionary tale stylings of the Twilight Zone stories, but we’ll do our best. In the future, I expect to see more great stories in the slush pile that meet our requirements.
I hired a pair of real artists (Kimberly Michael and Alicia VanNoy Call) to do the layout and illustration respectively, and I got two people whose minds fit the Twilight Zone genre better than anyone’s I know of to choose stories from the slush pile: S.P. Miskowski and Cory Herndon, both established writers and meta thinkers. I hired tried-and-true line/copy editors (Bridget and Marti McKenna) to polish the stories with me.
I scouted around for article writers and found reviewers with the right interests and voice for the ‘zine. And I opened for fiction submissions. Our first issue attracted more than three hundred submissions, and our second issue matched the first.
We put together a mini preview issue #0 to test everything out, and that’s what you can download on our Kickstarter page.
The theme is still coming into focus, but Issue #1 will be full of great content that does homage to the California SciFi/Horror writers of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and that also evolves Horror in this new millennium.
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In Issue #1, you’ll have the following:
At least 12 short Horror stories to keep you up at night, including “In the House of the Hangman” by Gary A. Braunbeck.
S.T. Joshi’s insightful and intellectual commentary on one of the Twilight Zone episodes, comparing it to the original short story. He’s the author who wrote a chapter on Serling entitled “The Moral Supernatural” in his book THE EVOLUTION OF THE WEIRD TALE.
An introduction by Tony Albarella, recognized Serling expert and editor of the official collection of Serling Twilight Zone scripts.
A review of season one of BLACK MIRROR, the British television show that has been receiving acclaim for being a modern version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
An article on one of Serling’s peers on the show, “Selling Daydreams: The Life and Work of George Clayton Johnson” by David Afsharirad, who is the editor of the anthology THE YEAR’S BEST MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION AND SPACE OPERA.
An article by one of Britain’s most well-known paranormal researchers, Billy Roberts.
And much more!
We’re building something, and you’re invited to join us from the very beginning to help us structure it into something truly amazing. If any of this interests you, please share our link and go pledge right now. We’re running out of time.
We’re developing a community around this magazine. It’s not just a product to me nor to the writers and contributors, and I hope it won’t be to you either.
ANGEL’S BIO:
Angel Leigh McCoy writes Horror, Fantasy, and Romance fiction, produces AnotherDimension magazine, edits anthologies, makes indie games, and is the Horror Writers Association’s bumbling webmaster. She’s a 22-year games industry veteran, employed as a narrative designer at ArenaNet where she spins the yarn of Guild Wars 2. More at AngelMcCoy.com.

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