Sunday, August 23, 2015

Newsletter

We now have a newsletter. If you want to keep up-to-date on our project, you should sign up.

The idea of the newsletter is not to bombard you with email--we know that some businesses, many of whose newsletters we don't even recall signing up for, will send us advertising email every single day. We're still not sure how Donald ended up on the Victoria's Secret email list, or why anyone needs to get an email hawking underwear every morning.

In any case, we don't plan to send out a newsletter unless we have something new to say: for instance, when we want to reveal the cover art, or announce when submissions open and close, or when we've selected all the stories, or when the anthology is available for purchase. We can't imagine ever sending out more than one or two newsletters in a single week, and most weeks there won't be a newsletter at all.

In short, sign up for the newsletter, and we promise not to bother you unless it's important.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Is Mysterion Christian speculative fiction?

It's a fair question. It depends on what you mean by that. Usually what's meant by Christian fiction are stories written by and for Christians, but that's not what we mean. We're making a particular effort to invite writers from other faith traditions to submit stories. What we're looking for are stories that engage with Christianity. We want stories with Christian characters, themes, and cosmology, that deal with all of them in ways that feel genuine to our experience as Christians, neither sanitizing nor vilifying. As we've been telling our friends, we're looking for Flannery O'Connor more than C. S. Lewis.  The best description of the type of stories we'd like to publish can be found in our Theme Guidelines.

And we're looking for speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, horror. Christian publishers have tended to shy away from all of these, for a variety of reasons, but we think that's a mistake. The Bible is full of strange and unexplained stories; there's room for mystery in the Christian experience. There have been some attempts to bridge the gap, including the much missed Midnight Diner (Donald had a story in the Back From the Dead edition). In recent years, small, independent Christian publishers specializing in speculative fiction have started up (Enclave Publishing and Castle Gate Press for novels, Splickety Publishing Group for short fiction). Midnight Diner is closer to what we're trying to accomplish than anything else we can point to, but we're open to a wider range of the speculative fiction universe with our own project, among other differences.

Here are a few of the things that, taken together, make our anthology unique:

First, we are not a for the love or even token payment market. We offer full pro rates at six cents a word.

Second, we know the speculative fiction market fairly well and know where to advertise and whom to talk to in order to bring in writers.

Third, we've read and published in both fields (Christian and speculative fiction), which makes us confident of our ability to choose good stories. We know what we like, and we think you'll like it too.

Finally, times have changed, and the technology and market with them. The cost of doing something like this has never been cheaper, so that most of our costs are not in the printing or the mailing, but the content: the stories themselves and the artwork. Additionally, we can use crowdfunding to raise money to do things that will improve the anthology, using tools that didn't exist even five years ago. (We are, however, committed to publishing the anthology and paying authors at least at our advertised rate, whatever happens with any fundraising campaign we decide to run.)

We'll be posting more as things come together, showing you more of the artwork (if you're reading this post when it goes up, rest assured that the photo in the background is not the cover art), discussing the types of stories we've seen and would like to see, and introducing some of the other people who are working on this project.