I had a chance to once again chat with Bart Leib, co-publisher at CROSSED GENRES. This time, we talk specifically about how the company’s e-magazine is preparing to move into Year Two with a subscription drive, and we end with a very cool EXCLUSIVE announcement.
ANTHONY: Just about a year ago, you successfully ran a Kickstarter to relaunch CROSSED GENRES magazine. How has the first year gone?
BART: We’ve released the first ten issues so far, and the response has been tremendous. Version 2.0 of the zine has been very like the original run, in that we’ve strived to showcase typically underrepresented groups, and readers have really appreciated it.
And that was made easy because of the very large and diverse pool of submissions we’ve been getting! We’ve been excited every month to see lots of great submissions – I don’t think we’ve gotten through a single month without having to agonize over which stories to accept. And every month the submission pool has had great representation of PoC, women, and QUILTBAG MC’s.
ANTHONY: Every issue of CG features a different theme that plays with what “science fiction” and “fantasy” can encompass. What have been some of your favorite themes from the past year?
BART: We’re especially fond of the themes which are more open to interpretation, because authors know we love it when they push the boundaries of the theme’s definition. “Discovery” (issue 4) was particularly intriguing, as was “She” (issue 6). The upcoming issues, 11 (coming in November) and 12 (December) are the Favors and Young Adult issues respectively, and we’re very pleased with the results of these ones.
ANTHONY: Every issue of CG includes a New Author Spotlight. Why do you feel it’s vital to not just publish new authors but also give the readers an insight into their process and background?
BART: During the magazine’s first three-year run, we attracted a lot of new/undiscovered authors. This was partially because we’ve always been open to stories and topics which many publications shy away from. New authors are often more willing to take chances with their writing. The result is stories which push boundaries and challenge perceptions, which take uncomfortable topics and put them front and center.
When we decided to push for the funds to bring back the magazine paying SFWA-level pro rates, there was some justifiable fear that established authors would push out new authors from CG’s pages. So we established the New Author Spotlight: We guarantee that at least one story per month will be from an author who’s never had a pro-rate sale. We included the author interview so authors would have a chance to showcase why their story, and writing in general, is important to them – and how fiction can catalyze and alter public discourse.
ANTHONY: How do you decide on the theme for each issue, and what themes are you excited for in the near future?
BART: Our process for picking themes is myriad and opaque – even for us!
A few times in the past we sat down and brainstormed a ton of theme ideas. As of now – not counting the themes we used in the zine’s first run or the first year of the new zine – we have enough remaining on the list to cover nearly eight more years of issues. When it comes time to make decisions, we look over the list and pick some themes we think will balance nicely with each other.
We usually post them in 6-month blocks. As of right now, all the themes for 2014 have been posted on the submissions page so authors can look ahead and think about which themes they want to write for.
We’re really looking forward to reading submissions to the current theme, Unresolved Sexual Tension. The Food issue (#17, Submissions in January) and the Flash Fiction Free-For-All (#18, submissions in February) will probably be very fun too!
ANTHONY: In order to see a second year of CG, the current subscription drive needs to be successful. What are the various subscription options?
BART: We’re currently offering a one-year (12 issues) subscription. The ebook subscription includes monthly issues, as well as the collected biannual anthologies, which collect 6 issues together and include original cover art.
There’s also a print subscription, which includes everything in the ebook subscription PLUS print copies of two biannual anthologies. (Unfortunately this is only for US residents since shipping outside the US is prohibitively expensive.)
We haven’t offered a lifetime subscription except as Kickstarter rewards, but if people want that they should let us know!
ANTHONY: If people don’t want to subscribe, but would like to help the magazine continue, what can they do?
BART: Buying books is always good! We have two novels, a single-author collection and four anthologies currently available, in addition to the first biannual anthology from the magazine (Find Titles Here).
ANTHONY: And the cover of that first biannual collection graces the very beginning of this interview! How else can they help?
BART: Donations are also welcome, and can be made via the website (a button on the magazine subscription page).
Beyond that – help spread the word about the magazine! We need a lot of subscriptions in order for CG Magazine to become self-sustaining, so the more people who hear about it the better!
ANTHONY: Any other news about Crossed Genres you’d like to share?
BART: We’re very happy to say that our next anthology, after a delay, is finally almost ready! Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way will be released in late October. As a taste of what Oomph will be like, here’s a look at the cover and Table of Contents:
“Hat Trick” – Beth Cato
“Power Line Dreams” – A.J. Fitzwater
“Exact Change” – Christine Morgan and Lucas Williams
“Short Circuit” – Kirstie Olley
“Random Play All and the League of Awesome” – Shane Halbach
“The Writing is On the Wall” – Brian Milton
“The Breeze” – Mary Alexandra Agner
“Fortissimo Possibile” – Dawn Vogel
“Knuckles” – Ken MacGregor
“A Twist of Fate” – Holly Schofield
“Trailblazer” – Anthony R. Cardno
“Mildly Indestructible” – Jay Wilburn
“Blanket Statement” – Aspen Bassett
“Great White” – Brent Knowles
“Speak Softly” – Day Al-Mohamed
ANTHONY: Oh, hey, I see a familiar name in there! I’m excited for this one. And folks, you’ll be able to order it from CG’s website and it’ll help them keep the magazine running!