Last minute call for advertisers for issue 6.

Still haven’t sold the back cover ($200) or back inside cover ($100) for issue 6. Full color, 8.5×11. Publication date July 30, on newsstands until late fall. Final art due July 15. Contact sam@bullspec.com for details. Previous back covers have included Pyr, Tor, and Solaris. Also have black and white full page space at $50. Back cover is for books and conventions only, inside is more open. Thanks! Back inside cover runs opposite editorial.

More info: full page is really 8.75 x 11.125, with outside 0.125 the bleed area, and the next 0.125 not a good spot for important text or line art (machine cut might cut into the trim).
And yes, there’s an advertiser copy. Two for the back cover spot.

Further afield. Some things beginning to unwrap.

So: making a bit of a regional and further push as I put the wraps on issue #2. (Which includes another box, though I have to decide how many.) A lot (lot!) of the regional pushes (Acme Comics in Greensboro, Barnes & Noble of Burlington, Black Bear Books of Boone, etc.) are pending, but a few further afield places are giving me a shot.

CHICAGO: Quimby’s Bookstore will take anything, so I’m not special. But it was nice to get an e-mail receipt from them, so I know they’ve received the books. So, my fine Chicago friends, give me a stock check, will you? (And see if you can resist that cover for #2, eh?)

PORTLAND: Powell’s took a look at an evaluation copy, and I doubt they’ve received their shipment yet. But maybe tomorrow. So, my fine Portland friends, give me a stock check, will you?

And I’m still looking for places in Charlotte and Wilmington to be willing to even take a look at an evaluation copy. If you’ve got ideas, let me know!

And something which has been a bit under wraps for a bit is starting to leak out, so I’ll go ahead and put it out there. Soon I’ll be making a bit of a push for benefactors, patrons, etc. There have been more than a few folks who have been incredible with their support, not just in terms of money for printing copies and buying words, but deliveries, flyering, time, etc. So I’m going to recognize a few of them, and shamelessly invite more folks to join in on that side of things. (Particularly since I’m burning through the last of the convention sales to print that last box of #2.)


Issue #1 is back in stock. In a big, big way. And quarters. And more.

So. I can’t really say enough about Publisher’s Press, without whom I don’t think it would have been possible to start an honest-to-goodness, full-size, glossy, thick stock, some color print magazine at all. When I sold out of issue #1 at NASFIC I figured I was done with issue #1, period, end of story.

But then folks kept asking for #1. Heck, bookstores called me and asked for #1. So, I caved. I called up my printer and asked about one last run. Deliriously happy with the quote, I ordered one last box, and soon at least Chapel Hill Comics and Quail Ridge Books will have some of them. (I think Foundation’s Edge still has a couple as well.)

I now have 173 more copies (!!) which brings the total issue #1 print run over 500, which, combined with the PDF downloads, sends issue #1 over 1000 total. A big, big milestone. If, by some miracle (by which I mean NASFIC coming to Raleigh every quarter…) that keeps up, one of my big goals for Bull Spec — SFWA qualification — has a chance of happening.

Another of my big goals was to get all 4 “quarterly” issues into calendar year 2010. Given that it took 4 months to put together issue #1, and another 4 to put together issue #2, I had to hit the ground running with issue #3. Well, issue #3 (“Autumn”) is shaping up; the fiction’s booked and nearly edited; art is starting to come in; the poetry’s in; some reviews are in; an interview is in (Paul Riddell) and another is half in (the local writer and artist behind The Order of Dagonet). I’ve got a lot of work to do on the David Drake interview (i.e. actually put it together and send it to him) but there’s more.

Joe. Freaking. Haldeman. I had an amazing pair of chats with him at NASFIC, from how he writes (longhand, fountain pen by lantern light, 300 words a day) to what he thinks of 100K word novels, Dexter, audiobooks of his own stories, and more. I haven’t decided if I’m going to present it in “interview” or “article” mode yet, but I have a lot of work to do in either case. (Much more on an article, but it’s probably time for me to dust off some of those old journalistic skills. An article can also be more dangerous; by necessity, or at least in order to avoid Sahara-like dryness, an article needs a hook or angle to it, it needs to be trying to say something. We’ll see.)

But yet, wait, wait, there’s more. Yes, more.

Bull Spec #2 is now available at the Greenville Barnes & Noble, as well as “Sweets & News” at Northgate Mall in Durham. Boo-yah! The empire grows.

Bull Spec #2 is under evaluation at: Powell’s (Portland, Oregon); Burlington B&N; Acme Comics in Greensboro; Coffee Hound Bookshop in Louisburg, NC; Downtown Books & News in Asheville, NC; and, though they may not realize it yet, Black Bear Books in Boone, NC. I don’t know what it is, it’s a personal crusade of mine at this point to get Black Bear Books to carry the magazine. I visited them only once (twice? does stopping only for Bald Guy Coffee count?) but absolutely loved the place.

OK. Whew. Is that it? No. There’s more. But no time. Another day. And much work to be done before then.

But a quick last missive: Issue #3 has none (zero) booked advertising. That’s bubbling its way pretty high up the todo list right now.


Two new homes for Bull Spec! Also, flyers! Also, a brief aside on selling out.

I’m very happy indeed that there are two more places in the Triangle where folks can get their hands on a copy of Bull Spec #2: The Durham County Library’s Southwest Regional Branch on Shannon Road, and Duke University’s Gothic Bookshop.

I want to talk about the library first, not only because it was there first chronologically but because, well, it’s very awesome for me on a personal level to know that somebody can walk into the library and discover worlds, as I did all through my youth at my “home” public library in Marion, Indiana. The magazine was already at the Durham main branch’s North Carolina Collection but the hours there are a little more limited, and it is primarily used as an archival and research room. Now, folks can come in, flip through without tweezers, etc. And I love this. I absolutely love it.

Secondly, I’d been trying to figure out a way to approach Gothic Bookshop for a while. It’s in the heart of Duke campus, so it’s not a place I generally pass by on the way to or from anywhere, I’m not a regular customer there, and it’s been a good long while since I had a serious connection with Duke. But, from the world of random events, I saw that they were looking for somebody to hand out flyers at NASFIC for the upcoming William Gibson book tour, and, hey, I was driving to NASFIC from not too far from campus… so I ended up with a stack of bright yellow flyers and finally that random connection to the store; now it’s in stock, so, “Let’s Go Duke!” and head to Gothic, eh?

Thirdly, flyers. While versions will come and go, here are some flyer links:

OK. Lastly, selling out. Of issue #1, that is. All I have left which aren’t spoken for (I do have a Northeast Raleigh local delivery loop to make, very sorry for the delay out there, folks) is a very short stack of bookstore returns with bookstore stickers on them. So when I get a chance (ha!) I’ll be removing the ability to order print copies of issue #1 or start subscriptions with issue #1. Lesson learned? Get issue #2 while it lasts… UPDATE: another box of issue #1 has arrived! It is in stock in a few local stores and, of course, online.

PS: All the local folks who were very disappointed indeed that copies of Raleigh native (alas, now Portland’s own) Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Shades of Milk and Honey could not be found? Yeah. I think there’s a pretty good chance that The Regulator and Gothic might have some copies soon. Just saying.


Closed to non-local submissions until 10 July.

As I’ve just updated the status on the guidelines page to indicate, Bull Spec is now temporarily closed to non-local submissions until (at least) 10 July as I try to catch up on the backlog of submissions and take stock of the stories already accepted and the magazine’s needs for future issues.


Things which BULL SPEC needs to do:

  1. To send issue #2 to the printers. (Soon.)
  2. See #1: finish edits on the reviews. Thank goodness interviews are locked and loaded, and final story edits are in my inbox! All art is locked in! Ads are almost locked in, one more to wait on. And:
  3. To figure out how to communicate to real publishers when I want to excerpt a local author’s novel. (See “#1: To send issue #2 to the printers” above.) I don’t grok fax machines very well.
  4. To get some story reading help. Seriously.
  5. To get the interviews video podcast going. (Stop-gap: going to chop them up into 10 minute increments for YouTube soon.)
  6. To get the story podcast going.
  7. To finish up the first benefit story and get it posted in its various incarnations.
  8. To add Amazon and Google payment options.
  9. To figure out how to cheaply accept debit and credit cards at conventions by August.
  10. To make the website not suck.
  11. Get some e-mail notification lists going; I’ve squandered a lot of visits from folks without giving them a way for me to let them know that another issue is coming simply and easily via e-mail.
  12. To update and test the website’s handling of issue #2 orders.
  13. To get an ePub version together for issue #1.
  14. See #4: to stop doing a disservice to the 300 stories in my unread pile and the handful of stories I have in my “hold” pile. These weigh on me night and day and in between, and it’s not how I would want to be treated. Making progress is good but I’ve got a pretty good mountain to climb, and spent tonight climbing it instead of working on #1…

This list is far from complete, but it’s a fair little list for the top N things on my mind tonight as I hit the sheets.


Slight update to guidelines: no more multiple fiction submissions.

Simultaneous submissions are still welcome, and current multiple submissions will be read, but (1) due to giving not having “reading periods” a go and (2) the volume of submissions this is a change I’m having to make. It has been interesting to read more than one story from the same writer at one go, but as I try desperately to claw my way through at least the March submissions, I am going to give this a try in lieu of temporarily closing.

For poetry, multiple submissions are still fine (2 at most at a time, please) but please do so in separate submissions rather than in a single submission.

All right. Back to the trenches! This library of words in the submissions inbox is in dire need of some serious trampling and goring. And a few curious munchings over.


We’re pleased to announce that BULL SPEC #1 is open for pre-orders.

While I’m sure we’ll find the edge cases that lurk and wait to bite, no orders are getting mangled or lost. So: BULL SPEC #1 is open for pre-orders: http://www.bullspec.com/order.

[And source code for the Google App Engine to Paypal ExpressCheckout portion of the site is available on GitHub: bullpay.py]

While any feedback would be great, in particular:

  1. Is having a pre-filled “suggested” gift appropriate? If not, should it be “0” or “empty” — with “empty” requiring some value to be entered before submitting the form?
  2. Do the gift buttons (0, less, more, roundup, enter my own, suggest) make sense?
  3. Would a “pre-confirmation” page be better or worse? It would fit in between the order form and navigating to Paypal. We started with such a page but took it out.

Thanks! We even had one pre-order already this afternoon!


Pardon the mess; Getting ready for pre-orders.

Pardon the mess, folks. There will be some intermittent issues at bullspec.com and http://www.bullspec.com — and potentially the e-mails @bullspec.com — while we roll over some DNS records in preparation for opening a simple site to start accepting pre-orders for the print issue. We’ve found our printing partner and finalized our first-run costs ($3/copy: 64 lovely full-size glossy pages, pull-out-able serialized graphic novel in full color in the middle if we can close on that in time), and are now working to finalize our payment processing partners. We do know the “price” for the first issue will be “$3 + $postage + $?” (no stinking “handling”) where the “$?” is up to you — yes, $0 is more than awesome. YES: $0 is more than awesome! We’ll have a nice list of content for the first issue put together “real soon now” as well, but one thing that won’t be in there: a single paid advertisement. (If you see something that looks like an ad; it’s more a ‘flyer’ to somebody we want to thank or something we’ve heard about that we just plain like. Maybe everyone else in the world thinks these are “ads;” fair enough.)

While we don’t know a couple of things (still working on that cover art decision and a few last sections of content), a bit more info on the preorder process, particularly our refund policy:

  • Before we go to press (mid January): up to and including full refunds (cost plus postage plus gratuity) with no questions asked. (Just please don’t preorder with the intention of doing this, OK? Thanks. If it’s a change in financial situation we’d ask, if possible, to only refund the gratuity portion, if any, as the main purpose of the preorder is to get the right size for the first printing. But we will respect your decision in this area.)
  • After we go to press: Please, no refund requests unless you don’t receive the magazine by the end of February. (The first go at labeling and shipping might be slow.)
  • After you receive the magazine: If you hate it; let’s talk about it and work out a refund and the passing on of your copy (local library donation, return, etc.) (And again, just please don’t order with the intention of doing this. All else? We’ll be cool.)

For bookstores and other shops crazy enough to jump aboard this early: talk to us! We have a few ideas for how we’d prefer to work with you but would be thrilled to hear about anything you’d have in mind. Particularly if you’re local we can be very, very flexible on how we handle stocking and returns. And if you’re willing to offer the ‘zine for our “$3+$?” “cover price” — we’ll practically bend over backwards to make it work.


Looking for a serialized graphic novel for the 2010 run.

OK. Let’s do this. BULL SPEC is looking for a 4 issue (2-4 full size pages each) spec fiction related comic for the 2010 run. Reprints OK. PG to low PG-13 rating. For original work: Not pro advance payment for comics at this time, but the text will be advanced at $0.05/word along with some additional advance for the art, though not at “a picture is a thousand words” as we would all like, not yet. But not insulting, and BULL SPEC will revert its share of all royalties to the authors until a pro advance is met. (Regular share after.) Contact editors@bullspec.com if interested.


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