It's not everyday you get to blog about the premier issue of a new magazine, especially on the very day it's scheduled to launch. And it's especially exciting when the magazine is coming from a publisher that's been around for nearly thirty years, so you can feel confident that the magazine should have staying power.
The brainchild of Wildside Press publisher John Betancourt and Wildside editor Carla Coupe, the magazine is expected to come out quarterly. The first issue features new stories from fellow SleuthSayers John Floyd and Art Taylor, as well as one from me. (More on that below.) The other authors with new stories in the issue are Dan Andriacco, Michael Bracken, Kaye George, Meg Opperman, Alan Orloff, and Josh Pachter.
Editor Carla Coupe was kind enough to answer some questions about this new venture.
Why did you decide to start this magazine?
To provide an outlet for great short fiction, which we love. We decided to launch Black Cat when certain other mystery magazines cut their publication schedules in half.
How do you hope to distinguish BCMM from other mystery magazines?
We're focusing on edgier, noir-tinged, character-based short stories—which happen to contain a crime of some sort. (A crime is essential, or it isn't mystery fiction.) We don't want fantasy, horror, science fiction, routine revenge stories, or sadism. We do want stories with characters who feel real, in situations that are possible (and plausible), and of course great writing.
Do you have a minimum or maximum word count? How about a sweet spot?
We’re looking for contemporary and traditional mysteries, as well as thrillers and suspense stories. We hope to feature stories by established and new authors, and will include a classic reprint or two in each issue. We aren’t looking for flash fiction, and our sweet spot is for stories between 1,000 and 8,000 words. We will look at material up to 15,000 words in length—but it better blow us away to take up that much of an issue!
It will be for sale at our website (http://wildsidepress.com/magazines/black-cat-mystery-magazine/), on Amazon, and hopefully some independent bookstores. US readers can buy a four-issue subscription, so they won't miss any.
You're aiming for it to come out quarterly?
Yes, but as with all our publications, we're not wedded to a strict schedule.
When will submission guidelines go up?
Hopefully this week.
When will you open for submissions?
We'll start accepting submissions at the beginning of October.
We make the decisions together, and so far have agreed on almost every story!
What do you pay?
We pay 3 cents/word, with a maximum of $250.
Is there anything you'd like people to know about the magazine that I haven't asked?
John thinks the response times are often unreasonably long in the short fiction field. Our goal is to respond to most submissions within 2 weeks. (We're going to try for "all submissions"—but in rare circumstances we may take longer.) We also will look at poetry ($5 for short poems, more for longer ones) and cartoons.
Thank you, Carla!
So, readers, here's your chance to read some great fiction in this brand new issue, which is already available for sale on the Wildside website (http://wildsidepress.com/magazines/black-cat-mystery-magazine/), and which should show up any moment now on Amazon, if it isn't there already. My story in the issue, "Crazy Cat Lady," is a tale of psychological suspense about a woman who comes home and immediately suspects there's been a break-in, even though everything looks perfectly in order. Go pick up a copy of the magazine. I hope you enjoy it!
Art, John, and all the other authors with stories in this premier issue, I hope you'll comment with information about your tales. I'm so glad to be sharing this moment with you.