Yes, I Know… Sounds Boring…
But has some real world aspects to it that come clearly to the front with this Kickstarter Campaign for Pulphouse Fiction Magazine.
Let me give you two examples. A negative one first, then a very positive one.
Kris and I were doing two anthologies for stretch rewards for the last Pulphouse Fiction Magazine campaign two years ago. I was doing Stories from the Original Pulphouse: A Fiction Magazine and Kris was editing Stories from Pulphouse: A Hardback Magazine. (Both are now published.)
Seems simple, right? Pick my favorite stories, contact the authors, make them an offer, sign a contract and publish the story in the book.
Well, not so much.
Many of the authors had died. And many had left no one to take care of the literary part of their estate. Couldn’t even find a couple of the authors at all, estate or alive. Imagine that, even with Google and the internet.
Now realize that we published these short stories 30 to 34 years ago. So neither book actually ended up to be the one we wanted to publish. Estates were lost, too hard to deal with, or no one cared about a thirty-year-old story.
But keep in mind those stories published all those years ago still had value and might have found a new audience for the author or their estate. IF ANYONE HAD CARED, or the author had cared and taken a little more care in valuing their own property.
NOW A GOOD EXAMPLE…
Many of you know that I publish Kent Patterson’s stories in Pulphouse Fiction Magazine. In fact, two of Kent’s stories are two of the fan favorites that I have published so far.
I publish first-time-published stories right beside reprint stories, but with almost no exception, all the stories are new to you. In this modern world, distinguishing between a first published and a reprint is just stupid beyond words if all the stories are new to all the readers.
Kent died in 1995 from the results of Polio when he was a kid. He always was in a wheel-chair or on crutches the entire time I knew him and his untimely death was the result of the polio. He was in a children’s polio ward when the polio vaccine came out and he never had a chance to get the vaccine. (Now idiots are avoiding vaccines for something that will cripple them or kill them. Thank heavens for millions of children, people back in the 1950s were a lot smarter.)
So when Kent died suddenly, Kent’s good friend and bestselling writer Jerry Oltion took charge of Kent’s estate and managed over the years to place a lot of Kent’s stories, making Kent’s sister some steady money. Then I came along with Pulphouse Fiction Magazine and knew that just about everything Kent wrote was a Pulphouse story. So I called Jerry and I have published a Kent story almost every issue now.
I thought I was going to run out, since Kent, before his sudden death, just hadn’t written that many stories that we knew about. So I was taking with Jerry about that possibility and he spent an entire day going through every bit of Kent’s papers and writings that he could find, boxes of stuff Jerry had kept since 1995 and found more stories, most never published.
And he found a young adult novel Kent had finished just a week before he died that no one in New York wanted (Jerry tried for years), but now I am reading it and it is amazing so far. So I might bring back serializations to Pulphouse as the original incarnation had.
It is now going on 26 years after Kent’s death and his estate is still making money from Kent’s wonderful writing, thanks to Jerry Oltion being a great friend and understanding the value of Kent’s property. And an entire new group of fans are getting to read stories like “Spudwrangler” and ‘The Wereyam.”
And if you are one of the idiots who think, “My writing won’t matter to me, I’ll be dead.” Then guess what? You really will be.
But Kent Patterson is far, far from dead. And thanks to Joe Straczynski, Harlan Ellison’s good friend, Harlan’s works are still alive and getting out in new editions.
Copyright has immense value. It is property. Start treating it with respect, even though you might not be selling much right now. It is still valuable property.
And please back our Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Kickstarter campaign. I promise as the editor I will bring you some of the best new fiction being done today, and some of the best fiction from different times in the past that you might have missed. If I can find the author or their estates, that is. At WMG Publishing, we all try really hard when we want a story. Idiot writers with bad or no estates drive us nuts. But we still try because even if the author didn’t think so, we believe their stories have value.