Grand Theft Starship (Boundary Shock Quarterly 003)

So it has been one hell of a roller-coaster over the last year. We started out, on the drive down to visit Joshua for the eclipse, talking about how would could possibly start a new speculative fiction magazine: how we might do it, what tools were available, how to handle money, who we could recruit, etc.

On Tuesday (July 10), Issue 003, Grand Theft Starship, goes live everywhere.

One of the key elements of this project was to drop three issues in short order, so people understood that I was serious that this was going to be an ongoing thing. I have been putting Issue 004 (Robots, Androids, Cyborgs, Oh My) together this week, but the drop date for that one moves now to the quarterly schedule the name promises, October 10, 2018.

My plan is four issues per year: January, April, July, October. We’ve got themes through Year Four already on paper, and I’ll start talking to the crew soon about future themes they want to explore.

Better news: of the fourteen authors I recruited, only one has apparently bailed on me, so we’ll continue to have quality craziness for everyone to consume. And I’ll start the process soon of recruiting a permanent replacement for my open slot.

To date, the first three issues were all just over 70,000 words of fiction and essays. Issue 004 is over 90,000, because almost everyone wrote into that one, and I was even able to blackmail Joel Ewy into doing both a story and an essay. (I’m also starting the blackmail train for him to just write me a bunch of essays on technology and ethics, because he has some fantastic depth on the topic and I enjoy reading them. And one of my undergraduate degrees is in Philosophy.)

In Year Two, I have reached out to folks to see if they want to do the Special Guest Appearance thing, possibly as a recruiting tool, and possibly because they think it might be fun. Through Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) I know some seriously interesting writers, plus I have begun to actively expand my network into new places currently underserved by the speculative fiction marketplace.

Also, I have written it all down. The Release Pitch I used to recruit folks. The contract they signed with me to join the Syndicate (separate from the publishing contract for every issue). The organizational process. The method I use to build a magazine out of stories. Everything.

There will be a new Business For Breakfast book in September (I think) that details how I did it. The only secret sauce right now is desire. You have to walk to think and work like a publisher, rather than just an author, something I can do. (Not everyone wants to wear that hat, and that’s okay.)

But I was having lunch with a friend yesterday, talking about the marketplace for pro rates these days. One Romance. Two Mystery. Half a dozen or so Horror. Somewhere around a score Fantasy/Science Fiction. Not much else.

In my wildest dreams, one of YOU reaches out and we talk, and you buy the B4B, so you can go start your own magazine. It won’t compete with me. Hell, I’ll help publicize you. Your success does not hurt me. It helps, in fact, because the most likely outcome is more readers looking for more stuff to consume.

Wanna start an Urban Fantasy Quarterly? (Or Monthly. Whatever.) You can. I figured out how, and there will be a blueprint shortly you can follow and adapt to your vision of awesomeness.

The sky is the limit. And that’s the best part.

The mission of Boundary Shock Quarterly is twofold.

First: “On Theme. With Weird.” Envelope-pushing stories that make the reader think. (Pretty damned successful on that score, to date.)

Second: Diversity of voices. Speculative fiction, right now, is largely dominated by Middle-class, middle-aged, white males (Guilty on all counts). I want to recruit non-white, non-male, non-CIS writers going forward, and give them a platform to be discovered. And a place they can work out weird stuff, without having to worry too much about editorial interference.

Your support as a reader is crucial, because my writers will only keep doing this as long as they’re having fun and making money. Please spread the word. This is mostly a marketing project for me, because getting rich off of it directly is right up there with getting struck by lightning. But all my fans will hear about it and some of you will buy. Same for their fans. The hope is that you cross over and start reading the other authors and telling folks about them.

And now, I’m almost done with the Year One craziness. Year Two will add stuff, so what would you (as a reader) like to see us add to the project? What themes would make you squeee? What columns or features could we add to make it even better?

I’m hoping for some art in Issue 005 and going forward. Three artists have expressed an interest, so there’s hope. I’ve talked to a song-writer about doing a rock space opera (or something).

I want everyone else to have as much fun as I am, if that’s a possibility.

You make my life possible. Thank you.