(yes, I'm asking for money, but honest, there's a good reason.)
THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS
Edited by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore
Published by Twisted Publishing
(a Haverhill House Publishing imprint)
Anthologies were a vital, formative part of our development as writers — and as readers. We look back with love and wonder at the efforts of the legendary Charles L. Grant to bring the cream of the horror crop into readers’ hands. His eleven-volume SHADOWS series contained familiar names, but every installment also presented us with the unfamiliar, and often the brand-new. Other Grant anthologies — TERRORS, NIGHTMARES, MIDNIGHT, the quartet of GREYSTONE BAY books — provided the same. Charlie Grant helped move unknown writers into the horror community’s conversation.
There were other anthologies that contributed to the trend. Thomas F. Monteleone’s BORDERLANDS series. Kathryn Ptacek’s WOMEN OF DARKNESS. Stuart David Schiff’s WHISPERS series. Kirby McCauley’s legendary DARK FORCES. Skipp & Spector’s milestone BOOK OF THE DEAD. David J. Schow’s SILVER SCREAM. And on and on…
But those books were published during horror literature’s glory days. In the years since, it has grown more and more difficult to persuade publishers to invest in horror anthologies (or anthologies of any sort, really). If Golden wants to pitch an anthology to a mainstream publisher, it’s necessary to compile a list of contributors first. Which means that there’s little opportunity to bring in unknown writers.
Yet those memories remain. We have talked for years about the desire to present an anthology that is open to anyone, and which allows us to follow some personal rules (outlined below). Yes, it’s a massive time commitment, but we—and John McIlveen of Haverhill House—believe it is absolutely worth it. We want to create a market for horror stories that presents a real, professional opportunity.
To that end, THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS …
• Will have zero spaces reserved for marquee names.
• Will use a blind submissions program (we won’t know who wrote the stories until we’ve selected them).
• Will pay professional rates—a minimum of six cents per word, with a cap on advances of $300 per story.
• Will pay royalties—a pro rata share of 50% of all royalties earned.
How the hell are we going to do this?
If you’re reading this, you already know. We’ve launched this GoFundMe page because we believe there are enough readers out there who will believe in this project to get it funded. We want there to be opportunities out there for horror writers to compete based solely on talent, and to be paid professional rates for their work. Yes, we’re aware six cents per word is not a lot of money, but it’s a start.
We’re also starting with our own money. Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, and John McIlveen have each committed to donate $333.34, making up the first One Thousand Dollars (and two cents) of the money needed to fund this book. The editors are not taking a penny from their efforts until royalties are earned.
What should you donate, and what do you get?
If you believe in this project, you should donate whatever amount you feel comfortable with. $5 or $50 or $500. However, donate at least $25 and you’ll get a free digital copy of THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS. Wait … why just a digital copy? Well … we’re doing this as a GoFundMe instead of a Kickstarter because we want to focus on paying the writers. No gimmicks, no fancy prizes … nothing like that. No incentives other than a great reading experience and a level playing field for authors. We believe that there are enough people out there who believe in this project that we’ll be able to meet our goal of raising $7000 in total (especially since we have already committed to put in the first thousand).
What happens to the money if we go over our goal?
If we’re fortunate enough for that to happen, it’s our hope that we’d roll the additional money into the next volume. If, for whatever reason, there is no second volume, we would disperse the money in equal shares to the authors of this first volume. The editors will not take a penny of the donation money, not even in repayment for our initial donations. A donation is a donation. The only way we’ll earn any money is from actual royalties from actual sales.
When will THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS open for submissions?
There will be a window for submissions during the entire month of February, 2018. This gives authors nearly four months from this announcement to write their stories. More information will be forthcoming about the submission process.
What happens if you don’t meet your goal?
We hope that won’t happen. If it does, we might need to accept fewer than our planned 18 stories. But if somehow there is no book, donations will be refunded.
So what now?
DONATE! If you believe in this project, if you’d like to see an open, professional market for great horror stories, please contribute. Remember, $25 or more gets you a digital copy of the book, but every dollar helps.
And PLEASE SHARE!
— Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, and John McIlveen