- A writer sends an awesome story to us.
- We skim it, hopefully within 5-10 days, and either reject it for content, using unreadable attachments, etc., accept it immediately (skip to 4), or acknowledge the submission with a personal letter.
- We fully read the available submissions and evaluate how many we’d like to and can accept at this time. We grudgingly reject some of the submissions, wishing we had room for all of them, and for those we are able to select:
- We reply to the submission e-mail with an acceptance e-mail asking for particulars: (1) Legal name for the contract; (2) How they’d like to be paid (check, Paypal, etc.); (3) What license they’d like to use for the text of their story; (4) to formally accept our acceptance. We also specify what rights we’d like to acquire of those offered of the various language electronic, print, and audio rights if we already know which ones we’d like to accept.
- The writer sends these particulars. At this point we’ll mark our submissions “tentatively closed” and would be a bit put off if you withdrew the submission, but if Clarkesworld or Tor.com or other great markets came calling (but what were you doing simultaneously submitting to them, eh?) we’d understand.
- We send the writer a PDF contract (no, we don’t like it, either) which the writer prints, READS, initials, signs, scans, and sends back to us. We’ll do it via snail mail if we have to and meet for coffee and a handshake if you’re local if you like.
- We look over the contract, do a rain dance, and file it, hopefully never to be seen again, send the first half of the writer’s advance (for original stories), and get to WORK.
- We: (1) perform any copy-editing which remains, if any, to prepare for the online version; (2) set up the PLEDGIE donation streams for the initial online, e-book, and audiobook versions; (3) assemble the story into a pile of beautiful e-books to be ready for SMASHWORDS publishing with original or commons-sourced art; (4) record an audiobook of the story and prepare it for (audiobook hosting partner: TBD) publishing with original, contributed, or commons-sourced music; (5) tell the world we’ve got a new story and we couldn’t be happier about it. If applicable, we (6) translate into our other supported languages and do it all again.
- We send these various bits to the author for final review. No contracts this time! Yay!
- Release day for the story! Online, e-book, and audiobooks go live. We send the author the remaining half of their advance (for original stories), count our negative pennies which remain, and hope for the best.
- Readers flock to the site to read the story and donations flow from them in all directions in their delirium. They download e-books and audiobooks and read them and listen to them and share them with their friends. These donations are split 50-50 between BULL SPEC and the author for all works and all versions. The author gets filthy rich enough to buy pizza, and BULL SPEC can send a few bits on to Durham literacy and ESL programs (minimum 10% of the BULL SPEC share, more for certain works as negotiated) and can pay it forward to PLEDGIE, DUOTROPE, the commons, and everybody else on whose backs we’re building. And somehow scratch together enough scratch for another story advance.
- About one month after release day, the current list of donors (we reserve the right to limit this in size, for example the first 10, random 10, the N donors whose total donations eclipsed the author’s advance as the story’s official ‘patrons,’ etc.) are compiled into the story’s official sponsors and the online story, e-book, and audiobook are updated with their names and dedications. The month’s batch of typos (yeah, right!) are also credited in all versions. If applicable, the licenses for the files are updated to give more explicit rights to the commons. (Which is our way of formally asking nicely what we would and wouldn’t like done with them, given our choice. Nobody will ever get a threat of lawsuit from us over copyright or contract issues.)
- Everybody is happy and ready to do it all again!
- Newsletter 2023.1: Leigh Bardugo, Grady Hendrix, new and returning conventions, new books, and more
- Review: Queen of None by Natania Barron
- Newsletter 2020.1: Voices Rising, Kwame Mbalia, Scott Reintgen, Kim Stanley Robinson, Madeline Miller, and more
- May Newsletter: Zeno Alexander, Valerie Nieman, Lewis Shiner, Free Comic Book Day, Star Wars Day, and more
- January Newsletter: Robin Kirk, Holly Black, illogiCon with Annalee Newitz, and more