Publishing News for September 2019

Market Analysis of DreamForge Magazine

DreamForge Magazine is a new science fiction and fantasy magazine which seeks “Positive stories demonstrating the triumph of the human spirit and the power of hope and humane values in overcoming the most daunting challenges.” 

In my most recent Genre Grapevine column, I wrote a market analysis of the magazine, focusing on the magazine’s positive aspects for writers (pays 6 to 8 cents/word, has good contracts, publishes a nice print and e-book edition) while also raising concerns about other aspects of the magazine (possible connections with the Writers of the Future contest, editor publishes his own stories in magazine, and the tone of feedback in rejection letters).

Editor Scot Noel was nice enough to respond to all these points. In addition he discussed the magazine’s very specific guidelines, including what he means by looking for stories about “the rule of law and liberty under the law.”

To read Noel’s response, go here.

Rights Grab by Canada’s Largest SF/F Publisher

I’ve long been a fan of Hades Publications, the largest Canadian science fiction and fantasy publisher. In particular, I’ve read a number of books from their EDGE imprint along with many editions of the annual Tesseract anthology of Canadian SF/F.

However, after seeing a new contract from Hades Publications, I question why any author would publish with them.

The contract is for the anthology Fantastic Trains: An Anthology of Phantasmagorical Engines and Rail Riders, edited by Neil Enock, and was mailed to authors within the last few months. The contract asks for the “exclusive right to reproduce and/or publish (in book or other form, including electronic form, including audio form, including print on demand form)” the short stories contained in the anthology.

Note the norm for most short fiction magazine and anthology contracts is first English language serial rights throughout the World, or nonexclusive rights, or a combination of these.

Payment from Hades for giving up exclusive rights to your original short story? As the original guidelines state, only $50 to $150.

Now I understand some large, high-paying short fiction anthologies ask for exclusive rights. But when they do they usually only ask for exclusivity for a specific period of time. The author is then free to sell reprints of the story elsewhere. But the EDGE contract lists no end-date for this exclusive rights grab.

In addition, exclusive rights is not what this anthology’s submission guidelines originally asked for. As the Web Archive of the guidelines states, “Rights: for original fiction, first World English publication, with a two-month exclusive from publication date; for all, non-exclusive anthology rights; all other rights remain with the author.”

Which is far from what the new contract states.

But the exclusive rights issue may not be the worst thing in the EDGE contract. As EDGE publisher Brian Hades stated in the contract email sent to authors, “For the last year I’ve been working towards an agreement that will allow us to present our author’s Works to an agency that will explore various options to develop, produce, promote and license derivative and conceptual properties based on the author’s Work.”

Basically, Hades is talking about a derivative rights grab, allowing his press the rights to (per the contract) “film, live-action and animated motion pictures, television, live-action and animated television productions, video, radio, cinema, stage, games, animation, toys, merchandise, mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), Virtual reality (VR), graphic novels, comic books, theme parks, casual gaming, console gaming, trading card, board, and physical games, live events, and all other uses of the Work.”

In return for giving all this up, authors would receive 50% of net receipts received by the publisher.

On a good note, this derivatives grab is contained in an addendum to the contract and Hades says authors don’t have to sign the addendum. But it still doesn’t belong in a contract for a short story anthology.

Authors should be very careful about signing EDGE’s new contract with these terms. 

Update on Dreamspinner Press

The financial hole that is Dreamspinner Press continues to deepen, as previously reported in this column. The publisher still hasn’t paid many authors and is now promising to “catch up” on what is owned.

Here’s the letter they sent to authors the other day, which implies that Dreamspinner owes $100,000 is unpaid royalties to authors. I mean, if they don’t owe at least that much why would the give an example of how they’d repay that amount? For more, see this Sept. 4 letter Dreamspinner also sent to authors.

Important to note that in a tweet on Sept. 6 author TJ Klune revealed he is owed $27,448 in royalties by Dreamspinner.

Weird Tales Update

The first issue of the new Weird Tales has been released and features an impressive author list, including Victor LaValle (one of my favorite authors), Josh Malerman, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lisa Morton, Tori Eldridge and Jonathan Maberry. As previously reported in this column, the new Weird Tales aims to be aligned with Ann VanderMeer’s editorial vision when she ran the magazine from 2007 to 2012. Based on the authors and impressive production values, it appears they are doing just this.

In a recent Facebook post James Aquilone confirmed that he’s the magazine’s new managing editor while announcing Jonathan Maberry as the executive editor — which is err, slightly weird, since Maberry has one of his stories in the first issue, which isn’t common practice for magazine editors. But I suspect many readers will give them a pass for this because Mayberry’s name may draw people to the magazine.

That said, the issue is pricey, costing “$12.99, plus $4.99 shipping and handling within the USA.” I’ve yet to see any word on how the magazine is handling distribution or if it will be available in e-editions.

Other News and Info

Jason Sizemore

Raised in the Appalachian hills of southeastern Kentucky, Jason Sizemore is a three-time Hugo Award–nominated editor, writer, and publisher who operates the genre press Apex Publications. He is the author of a collection of dark science fiction and horror shorts titled Irredeemable and the tell-all creative nonfiction For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. He currently lives in Lexington, KY. For more information visit You can find him on Twitter @apexjason.