In the fall of 2015, Weirdbook Magazine made a comeback after a seventeen year hiatus. I submitted one of my stories to them, actually in the spring of ’15 when the initial announcements and solicitations appeared, and matters thereafter proceeded along a very circuitous path.
Here’s the thing: I was one among a vast multitude who submitted stories to the newly resurrected mag, and my story was not selected for issue #31, the first issue of the new era. Nor was my story selected for #32. However, I did have a very positive exchange of e-mails with the editor-in-chief, Douglas Draa, about how much he enjoyed my story and how he would have liked to publish it, but given space limitations and his efforts to compose a well-balanced overall feel for each issue, all of the necessary elements didn’t quite align. And I completely understood where he was coming from. Much to Mr. Draa’s credit, he urged me to continue shopping the story around, and expressed his confidence that some other market would snap it up. But at the same time, he indicated that if for some reason the story never found another home, he would be happy to publish it at some point in the future.
Emboldened by Mr. Draa’s encouragement, I sent the story on to no less than seven other markets over the course of 2015. All of them said no. I identified another couple of targets in the early part of this year, one of which declined and one of which said nothing for a while. In the latter case, I had found an open anthology which had a theme that seemed to be a perfect fit for my story, and I was genuinely excited about the possibility of having my story appear in that book. I had also sent them the story fairly early in the submission window, since it was already done and coincidentally on-point, as opposed to stumbling across the anthology and then starting from scratch writing a customized story as I sometimes do. So I wasn’t discouraged by the long silence, figuring I’d have to wait at least until the submissions call officially closed.
Of course, right about the time I was waiting to hear back about the anthology, Mr. Draa reached out to me and asked if my story happened to still be available, because he had a slot for it in an upcoming issue of Weirdbook. I asked him when he needed an answer, because I expected to find out one way or the other about the anthology in a month or two. He needed a commitment within a week. I regretfully told him thanks but no thanks, pinning my hopes on the anthology. He told me that he understood completely and hoped I got into the anthology, and that I should also keep in touch either way. For my part, I assured him I would.
Not long after that, with the submission call well and truly closed and yet no news of any kind forthcoming from the anthology publisher, I reached out to them asking for an update or any information at all. It may or may not have been my inquiry that prompted it, but within 24 hours the publisher announced publicly that they were folding and the anthology would only come together if they were able to work out a deal to have another house take on the now-orphaned project. And even if that longshot came to pass, that would simply pass the decision making as to which stories made the cut and which got the axe over to the new publisher. I decided to cut my losses and consider the whole thing moot.
Once the stinging pangs of regret subsided a bit, I contacted Mr. Draa, told him the whole sad tale-of-the-tale, and informed him that I was done shopping the story around. He could, if he still had any interest, publish the story in Weirdbook at some point in the future. Much to my exuberant delight, he did still have interest, and so the deal was struck.
After publishing one issue in 2015 and two issues in 2016, Weirdbook is planning on publishing four issues in 2017. And my story “The Maiden Voyage of the Ariona” will appear in one of them! It could be as far off as the December 2017 issue slated for a year from now, but then again it could be sooner depending on numerous unknowable factors. When things are more definitive I will offer updates here, including as always the links to purxhase your own copy. Though in the mean time, if you want to check out how the revival is going, you can always start showing your support for smaller speculative fiction presses right now!