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Thread: Cemetery Dance magazine to re-open to submissions later this year

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    Administrator Ok, I really can't come up with anymore of these stupid things... Brian James Freeman's Avatar
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    Cemetery Dance magazine to re-open to submissions later this year

    We’ll be ready to re-open Cemetery Dance magazine to submissions later this year, but we’re going to be doing things a little differently this time around. Read more on our website:


    http://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/...ter-this-year/


    Brian
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    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session TerryE's Avatar
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    Great news. Keep us informed.
    "Dance until your feet hurt. Sing until your lungs hurt. Act until you're William Hurt." - Phil Dunphy ("Modern Family"), from Phil's-osophy.

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    nothing to see here
    Last edited by Hedda Gabler; 12-10-2017 at 04:06 AM.
    "What shall I say when my lord comes a calling? What shall I say when he knocks on my door? What shall I say when his feet enter softly? Leaving the marks of his grave on my floor."

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    Senior Member 2nd Rubber Room Confinement peteOcha's Avatar
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    Awesome news! Time to get writing!!

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    Senior Member 2nd Rubber Room Confinement Teriw's Avatar
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    Maybe someone should submit the forum story when it's done...if it turns out ok anyway. Going good so far.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement Ben Staad's Avatar
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    "Most common reasons for rejection are: lack of power, lack of originality, slow pacing, poor writing, boring themes."

    I think they may have read my work before! LOL

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    Senior Member Inmate RichardThomas's Avatar
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    yeah, totally stoked you guys are opening up submissions again. definitely will submit.

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    I do think it is cool that Cemetery Dance will once again be open to submissions, but, at the same time, I've often wondered if it might be best for the magazine to simply keep using its usual contributors and remain closed to those who aren't already established. I may end up submitting a story (especially since it is being done through an electronic system, which I like better than postal mail), but I have to assume, simply because of statistical reality, that my work will not get accepted.

    At the end of the day -- and there is nothing wrong with this -- Cemetery Dance will most likely go with the usual suspects. I think most amateur authors (like myself) would be best served trying other markets. And the announcement says the magazine will only be open for two months. To me, I think it would be easier on the publication's editorial staff if the publisher remained permanently closed.

    Of course, that being said, I encourage some in this forum who have established themselves to go for it. Such as Richard and C.W. Hopefully you get in, it would be nice to see that. But I do hope I personally can resist the Cemetery Dance allure and move on to other markets. The magazine already has its go-to gals and guys, and it probably should simply retain that status quo.

    Yet, I do have a question: what is the value of opening to submissions besides the chance that some new writers will be discovered? That might sound like I am begging the question (I truly hope I have used that phrase correctly here, I am going to look it up as soon as I submit this post; as we all know, begging the question was not originally meant to indicate someone bringing up the question), but I don't mean it as such. Like Mad Magazine (now there's another market I would love to find success with), it's difficult to get past the gatekeepers, and it seems as if the gatekeepers are happy enough to work with those they've worked with before and to only work with new talent on a selective, by-agent basis. The only thing I can come up with is the value of marketing: does Cemetery Dance thrive in part because many readers are amateur authors? I'm not sure that's true; obviously many are, but I would assume the product would still be popular without open submissions. Then again, maybe I should pose the interrogative to the group: do you read Cemetery Dance because you would like to be published in it someday?

    In closing, let me say I wish everyone who intends to submit the best of luck. And yes, I concede, I may end up being one of them.

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    Administrator Ok, I really can't come up with anymore of these stupid things... Brian James Freeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ123 View Post
    Yet, I do have a question: what is the value of opening to submissions besides the chance that some new writers will be discovered?
    It's an excellent question and you answered it perfectly yourself. In CD #66, two of the stories originally arrived unsolicited. In CD #65, I believe it was three of the stories. Same deal with #64. Looking forward to #67, it's two or three. #68 will be three as well.

    If you go back to the early days of the magazine, almost all of the fiction was unsolicited. A lot of those authors went on to be some of our bestselling authors in the book line.

    New blood is good for any publication, and one of the reasons we keep publishing the magazine (even though it makes no financial sense to do so) is because we love finding new voices in the genre.

    Of course, on the surface, you are correct about the odds. If we have 2 or 3 slots in each issue for unsolicited stories, and we publish 4 issues a year (the current plan), that's maybe 12 slots. If 500 stories arrive during the reading period, those aren't good "odds." But submitting to a magazine isn't like buying a lottery ticket or playing some other game of chance. If you're written an outstanding story that is perfect for the publication, your odds aren't 12 in 500... they're much better than that. But, of course, maybe your perfect story is just like another story they just purchased. Or maybe there are 12 other stories that came in that are just a little more perfect for the magazine. Submitting unsolicited stories to any publication is a combination of hard work (on your writing) and lucky timing (sending the right story at the right time).

    Of course, the reason we were closed to submissions is because we have this tendency to not think about "slots" to fill, we just buy anything that really strikes our fancy... and that's how we ended up buying too much and having to close to submissions for a while. (Some stories bought out of the "slush" have also ended up in the Shivers anthologies.)

    Thanks for the great question. I hope this information is at least somewhat helpful.

    Brian
    Brian James Freeman
    brianfreeman@cemeterydance.com

    Cemetery Dance Publications: http://www.cemeterydance.com
    Lonely Road Books: http://www.lonelyroadbooks.com
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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    Thanks for the shout-out, JJ (though I hardly feel established). I think Brian explained things very well, but I would like to add something. Submitting to CD has the odds against you, but not submitting makes the odds a big fat 0! It doesn't hurt to submit. I think everyone who wants to do so, should go for it! Including you, JJ Just think what a delightful surprise it would be to be chosen.

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    Senior Member Inmate RichardThomas's Avatar
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    thanks for the kind words, too, JJ. and Brian is 100% correct. i got into Shivers VI through the slush. i got very lucky, the fact that King & Straub were included, just good timing. but you have to put it out there. i'd LOVE to be in CD, the magazine. it would be an honor, so i'm definitely going to submit, got one story right now that might be a good fit. what's the worst thing that can happen? they pass. so you lose a little time, it's not like your story can't find a good home elsewhere. i continue to submit my work to F&SF, Clarkesworld, Shock Totem, Shroud, and all kinds of dark, difficult markets, like CD, many with an acceptance rate of 1% or less. why? because i have to know that i at least tried.

    i'll tell you another story. i had a horror story that i liked a lot, but wasn't sure how good it was. a friend entered a contest and told me i should too. i showed him the story, he said it was great. i doubted it. i entered at the last minute anyway. it was at a public horror forum, and the members (i was new, and didn't know anybody, really) voted. the top ten stories got shown to an editor of a top horror magazine. i read the stories, made my votes, and then limped away thinking, "ah, i don't have a chance in hell, i won't even make the top TEN out of 65 entries." i snuck in with the 9th most votes. but others ahead of me, some really great stories, (and some i thought were just okay, maybe voted up by being a popular member) had 30, 40 votes. i was doomed. the ten stories went to the editor blind, he didn't know who wrote which one, or how many votes were cast for which story. can you guess how this story ends? usually, with a 9th place finish. but i won the contest. i was shocked. in fact, my friend emailed me, i'd already given up. when i spoke to the editor about it he said it really had great tension. it was very cool.

    write your best story, and send it to the top markets. look at the recent CD chapbook that was just announced. man, it looks so GREAT. i'm so happy for the people that won and got in. even though i just missed making it, that story ended up in an anthology alongside Jack Ketchum. and i'm really proud of everyone that got into this book, and excited to read the work by the "masters" as well as the "students." we're all family here, we encourage each other, yeah?

    no pain, no gain, right? go for it, and let the editors sort the stories out.

    PS: five years ago i had absolutely NOTHING published.

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication C.W. LaSart's Avatar
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    I second what Richard says and add that 3 years ago, I had nothing published. I had never even submitted anything. I submitted my first story on a whim, and I'm glad I did. I could be sitting back right now just writing and not submitting instead of publishing. Give yourself a shot.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    I will give the view from a lifetime subscriber to Cemetery Dance Magazine. One of the things that attracted me to the magazine was that I love stories, and I love discovering stories from people I have not read before. Would I have a lifetime subscription to the magazine if they did not mix in new authors, probably. Would I look forward to each new edition as much as I do if it only contained the usual suspects, probably not.

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    Brian,

    Thank you for your reply. That information is indeed helpful, because I didn't think of looking at the odds in the way you described. The odds are still stacked against any individual, but anything less than the total submissions you receive should be looked at as a positive. And I wasn't aware of the slush pile's relationship with the Shivers anthology.

    You said something interesting in your post: you said that the magazine doesn't necessarily make financial sense to publish at this point. I'm taking that to mean it is a loss leader for the rest of the Cemetery Dance venture. In the new digital economy, I can see how this can be true. I was wondering what Cemetery Dance plans to keep growing. I have a suggestion: what about trying to expand your brand into the independent movie business? If I recall correctly, wasn't Mr. Chizmar going to do that at one point (maybe that's a phantom memory, I'm not sure)? Perhaps the magazine should try to buy movie/TV rights to the stories they purchase for the magazine, maybe on an option-type basis at the least, and then attempt to interest a studio or production company in them. Perhaps Cemetery Dance should get into the short-film business and utilize a YouTube channel as a showcase platform. Like I say, Mr. Chizmar to the best of my recollection was going to approach some kind of new model like that, so I guess what I am suggesting is that a more aggressive tack should be used. And I'll say this: you probably would be better off buying movie rights from newcomers rather than the very established writers you constantly publish, only because it might be cheaper that way; I obviously wouldn't mind seeing filmed product based on the regular contributors, but I can only imagine that they would demand a much higher price.

    I'll tell you, I would love to see a series of Creepshow-like horror anthologies under the Cemetery Dance banner, that would be a lot of fun. Or, imagine a Cemetery Dance film done like that Trick 'r Treat film from a few years back -- Halloween would never be the same again (and that would be for the better).

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    Richard,

    That's a great story about how you won that competition. It is definitely inspiring, and I will take your advice seriously. And that is very cool that you are alongside King and Straub in the anthology...that is something I would love to do one day, be in an anthology with a major name. Thanks for replying.

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    Thanks, C.W., for your encouragement. I'll tell you, since this is going to be an e-submission system, there is a good chance I will try Cemetery Dance again. Many years ago, I submitted several stories to the magazine, but the wait became so long that I stopped doing it (not the magazine's fault, certainly, just the nature of the beast). If it was a postal process this time around, I can pretty much say I wouldn't give it a go. But we'll see what happens. You are correct in your philosophy about submitting, by the way. I just sometimes feel that other markets might be more efficient to try. But I do have a few stories that I like, so perhaps one of them could become a Cemetery Dace submission. Thanks again.

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    Martin,

    I enjoy discovering new writers as well. I can't remember if Cemetery Dance has done this before, but they should consider doing an issue with all new writers.

    I assume a lot of readers are like yourself, in that they are not necessarily writers reading the market for purposes of submitting. It works best that way, I think.

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    Administrator Ok, I really can't come up with anymore of these stupid things... Brian James Freeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ123 View Post
    You said something interesting in your post: you said that the magazine doesn't necessarily make financial sense to publish at this point. I'm taking that to mean it is a loss leader for the rest of the Cemetery Dance venture.
    Richard grew up on horror magazines like The Twilight Zone and The Horror Show and dozens of others, and we think it's important to keep that tradition alive. So even though the magazine just breaks even, we keep on plugging away because it's fun and we love it and we hope our readers are still getting a kick out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ123 View Post
    I'll tell you, I would love to see a series of Creepshow-like horror anthologies under the Cemetery Dance banner, that would be a lot of fun. Or, imagine a Cemetery Dance film done like that Trick 'r Treat film from a few years back -- Halloween would never be the same again (and that would be for the better).
    I definitely love this idea and it's something we've kicked around before. There are a lot of costs that go into doing something like that right, but when you do it right, the results can be outstanding!

    Richard started a production studio called Chesapeake Films with Johnathon Schaech, who also grew up in the Edgewood, Maryland, area. It's separate from Cemetery Dance, though. They're doing some fun stuff.

    Brian
    Brian James Freeman
    brianfreeman@cemeterydance.com

    Cemetery Dance Publications: http://www.cemeterydance.com
    Lonely Road Books: http://www.lonelyroadbooks.com
    LetterPress Publications: http://www.LetterPressPublications.com
    My Writing: http://www.BrianJamesFreeman.com

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    Administrator Ok, I really can't come up with anymore of these stupid things... Brian James Freeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ123 View Post
    I assume a lot of readers are like yourself, in that they are not necessarily writers reading the market for purposes of submitting. It works best that way, I think.
    Given a lot of submissions we see, I can promise you that most of the authors who submit stories have never read a single issue of the magazine.

    Brian
    Brian James Freeman
    brianfreeman@cemeterydance.com

    Cemetery Dance Publications: http://www.cemeterydance.com
    Lonely Road Books: http://www.lonelyroadbooks.com
    LetterPress Publications: http://www.LetterPressPublications.com
    My Writing: http://www.BrianJamesFreeman.com

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Lucian Poll's Avatar
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    I finished a second draft of a story (it's now in the hands of Quality Control) with this upcoming submission window in mind, only to then re-check the guidelines and find I'm 2000 words over budget! Gah! I can't tempt you into bumping up the maximum word count to around 7000 could I? Go on, just this once? For me?

    Oh well, not to worry. I'd better get this other idea down on paper toot sweet!
    The home of your least humble servant, Mr Poll: http://lucianpoll.com
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