There's a problem, though. Sometimes there's difficulty defining the word "magazine." Which complicates that whole "legitimate" thing.
See, pretty much any jackass can put out a piece of stapled-together word-vomit and call it a magazine. And ultimately, it's a lot like Internet dating: as long as it seems normal online, you won't find out if the person on the other end is an unemployed, mentally unstable catfish until it's too late.
We have some hilariously terrible horror stories in this regard. Including the birthplace of our homeless hero, Slim Dyson.
Sadly, it was not a high-paying skin rag like Hustler. But we'll get to that in a moment.
For you see, we'd been burned before. Or more specifically, Brandon had been burned before. When we both started getting serious about writing, he submitted some of his short horror stories to as many magazines as he could find, and got a good many acceptances. Some were decent Indie magazines. Others... well, others were clearly made in someone's mother's basement. One was so bad that it arrived in the mail as just a few folded pieces of printer paper with one of his stories on it. And no other stories.
It takes a special kind of asshole to just send you your own story printed out on copy paper.
At the bottom of the envelope was a business card with the name of the publisher and a scribbled note that said 'thanks for working with us'. It was either the most terribly executed scam in the world, or the most terribly executed legitimate business in the world. We can't decide which is sadder.
This is the first issue, which was delivered 3 months late.
|Click to enlarge. Or don't. It doesn't get any better up close.|
Above, you can see Bryan pointing to a spelling error on the cover. The. Goddamn. Cover. But we're optimists. We thought, hey, maybe it was just the newbie intern's fault. You know, the one who accidentally designed the cover with sharpies and colored pencils like a bored middleschooler doodling in their mathbook. We thought, maybe the inside was better.
We were wrong. The inside was worse.
Everything was riddled with errors. There were typos in the stories. There were typos in the ads. Hell, even the typos had typos. And let's not forget the "artwork."
Yup, we'd found ourselves (and poor Slim Dyson) imprisoned in a shit sandwich, like a lone piece of cheese, between a dozen other terrible stories written by our very vain "editor-in-chief." That was when we learned this wasn't a magazine. No, this was a vain attempt by said editor-in-chief to make herself famous. She printed these pieces of dog shit herself...until her plan to get famous backfired, she sold zero copies, and then dropped off the face of the earth. Oh, and no one was ever paid.
Seeing as how the glorious editor couldn't even afford an artist and illustrated everything herself (in that magical sharpie), I guess we aren't surprised she couldn't afford to pay us.
|This is actual "artwork" from the magazine, and yes, you're reading that story title at the top correctly. 10 points if you guessed that the editor-in-chief wrote it...because she did.|
For being online only, this magazine seemed pretty legit. They had 50,000 Likes on Facebook, and 50,000 followers on Twitter. Their site looked amazing, and already had a ton of content. We submitted some short stories to them, and they offered to post them all, with direct links to our blog and even to our books. Free shameless promotion from a popular magazine? Cha-ching!
Well...imagine our surprise when we didn't get but 5-10 clickthroughs to our blog from their front page posting of our stories, and needless to say, not a single book sale. That didn't seem very "popular" to us. Hell, we've had over 10 clickthroughs just from a random blog friend mentioning our name in passing.
But that wasn't the ridiculous part. No, this magazine gets a dishonorable mention because only weeks after posting our stories, they approached us and asked if we wanted to try a new marketing campaign they were running, where for the LOW, LOW PRICE OF $2,000 we could advertise our books through their magazine. Which, you know, already went so well with our front page posted short stories, so why not keep the ball rolling?
The conversation Bryan had with their "CEO"*, a bimbo named Candi, was laughable.
*She's the CEO of a magazine much the same way either of us is the CEO of a publishing company
We told Candi where to shove it, along with her website and its 50,000 purchased Facebook Likes. That's where its popularity came from, by the way, was through buying fake Likes. You can tell because they would post a status, link, or picture and get 2-3 Likes... or they could post one of our stories and get maybe 10 clicks... which is a little low for 50,000 "fans", don't you think? Even my racist uncle's long-winded Facebook status on "the homosexuals" gets more Likes than that.
Candi went on to promote her own book through this "service", mind you, and based on Amazon sales rankings we would estimate that she sold roughly 2-3 books. Totally worth it!
Her site has since been shut down and has read "under construction!" for almost a year now.
And so that's the story of why we don't submit stories to Indie magazines anymore. Because if we wanted to staple some printer paper together and crayon up a cover and distribute it to three people while spending an ungodly amount of money that we don't have, we could do that our fucking selves.
Cheers and stay classy, friends,
Music: Waylon Jennings
Beer: Big Choice Poblano Stout