Every once in a while I go surfing around the websites of various publishers, ones that have already put some of my works into print and other ones to whom I have submitted work and from whom I await acceptance or rejection. In the latter case, my reasoning is pretty straightforward. It’s always possible that a publisher might, for whatever reason, choose to use their website as their primary means of communication. Instead of e-mailing individual authors to inform them of their submission’s status, the publisher might update their blog with a message that says something along the lines of “If you haven’t received a rejection notice from the editor of our upcoming anthology, congratulations, that means you’re on the short list! Final decisions should be rendered in the next two weeks!” Which is good information to have. Conversely, it’s similarly possible that typing in the URL of a publisher might lead to a 404 or a This Domain Available advert, which is a bummer but also good information to have, in the sense of letting me know that the piece I submitted is free and clear for me to submit elsewhere. (This scenario literally played out for me last week during one of my periodic web safaris.)
As far as revisiting the publishers I’ve already signed contracts with, the motivation is somewhat different. There’s the notion that a market I’ve cracked once would be slightly more receptive to my future work than any other random publisher, and the non-zero possibility that some new themed anthology has been announced which I might want to take a crack at. But there’s also, undeniably, a bit of fishing for ego kibble. Perhaps the publisher received a rave review for a collection I contributed to. Or, at the very least, I find it comforting whenever I see that a publisher has put out additional books or magazine issues since the one featuring my byline; I like knowing that I wasn’t, however inadvertently, part of the last nail in the coffin of a doomed market.
So on my most recent virtual expedition, inspired by nothing other than the sense that it was getting to be about that time again, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Cheapjack Pulp was now offering its readers a chance to purchase this:
A t-shirt with the cover of the March 2016 issue of the quarterly emblazoned on the front. Honestly, to say I was pleasantly surprised is underselling a bit. I was delighted because, while I recognize that the cover art is more than gnarly enough to merit the black t-shirt honor, that issue happens to be the one in which a tale of mine appeared, and thus my name is right there. I love graphic tees, I have an embarrassingly large collection of them, and the mere existence of one with my minor claim to fame memorialized on it is kind of a dream come true.
And, again, I serendipitously stumbled upon this collateral bit of marketing, which means in no way, shape or form do I feel obligated to amplify the signal and shill for it. I’m doing so precisely because it amuses me so utterly, and the only way it could get any better would be if I were to someday see a random stranger out in public wearing these threads.