Those quaint old print publishers and their silly eBooks, too

I wanted to share the transcription from a talk given at Publishers Forum a few days ago:

So then, print and ebook publishers are doomed to become a niche solution? The most gripping analogy for me was something that I personally experienced: The desolation of books about software languages. They are all but gone, replaced not by eBooks, but by community-produced web apps, databases, wikis, etc. This is good. Personally, my (software book) needs were met more readily than by a print book (or any equally useless eBook transcription).

BDPI am thinking about how this applies to publishers like us. In general I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how, “gee, i wish we made money like the big publishers” or “gee, we NEED eBook versions of our magazine”… At the same time, all the reading we have been doing has led us to believe that there is little difference in the elements of supply chain production between a big 6 publisher and an independent publisher. Similarly, there are parallel paths available for distribution. The real rude awakening for any published writer is the requirement that they have to largely drive their own marketing–even big 6. But I digress.

Let’s stick to presses, specifically independent publishing. When you’re a journal first, Like Black Denim Lit, then a press, like Black Denim Press, I have to look twice to see how the presenter’s discussion of environmental pressures might manifest for a venue such as ours. Here’s my argument for how this might play out:

God Eye

Universe Annex’s Latest

Take the example of a venue in similar scope and reach (and even readership) such as “Universe Annex” (UA). This is a re-incarnation of Baen Publishing’s artsy, sci-fi journal Jim Baen’s Universe–filled with up-and-coming award-worthy (if not award winning) writers.

Take a look at UA today, and if you read through their submissions guidelines, you’ll recognize quickly that the magazine is fed completely on submissions that are cultivated by a writer’s forum that lives here Baen’s Bar.

Duotrope reports that the acceptance rate is about 1 in 15. All UA’s submissions are hosted in a public, free forum, for which anyone can have a reading password. Submissions are in one forum topic and work-shopped in another forum topic by writers and readers alike. Once the story is “good enough” (measured by community consensus) then the story is promoted to the formal electronic publication that is released six times a year (and the writer is paid a professional rate).

All by itself this work-shopping is not a unique idea. What is impressive is that this journal’s practices comes as an extension of a highly-regarded “writer’s publisher” such as Baen. Baen has always been a little different. And always good at marketing. And clearly outstanding at meeting the needs of its readers. And paying its writers.


All of this falls in the food-for-thought category–when considering any change in direction that our editorial practices or tools we might offer. I think the accomplishments of the UA submission process are unique and radically different than ours. Would it be the way for us to go over the next year? Maybe. Would it be the way to go over the next five years? Probably.

Similarly, how does the speaker’s predicted trend affect our print and eBook initiative? Is that trend more damaging than the marketing challenges faced, or is it a different take on the same symptom? In other words, is the way to increase print / eBook revenue to take a look at the reader’s interest in the format versus the reader’s interest in the content?

It could be argued that the entire presentation could be largely ignored with regard to Black Denim Lit, but it is distinctly more relevant when looking for success with our print / eBooks.



Announcing Black Denim Press~!

There is a new link below for the book press:

The Press The Magazine
bdp-facebook-preview bdl-facebook-preview

You can see above that we have added a new Facebook page to describe the book press efforts. The press is the larger entity under which we’ll make the magazine and stand-alone books and other publications. We’ll divide the publishing like this:


So, Black Denim Press serves as Publisher, Distributor and Editor of Books and Magazines, print and eBooks.

The governing submissions guidelines for stories are found here. Remember:

  • General Lit and Sci-fi/Fantasy preferred.
  • Action/adventure or Western.
  • Mystery, Crime, Suspense or Thriller.
  • …but not erotica nor horror.
  • Prose, not poetry.
  • Fiction, not letters, essays, journals or other non-fiction.
  • Material of all length considered

Over 17,500 words will be stand-alone volumes under Black Denim Press. Under, will be handled in the magazine, Black Denim Lit.

Without entering into a debate as to what qualifies as “literary” we are looking for stories that have unique and lasting artistic merit.

Find all of it on or Twitter, Facebook, and most social media using “BlackDenimLit” keyword.

Comment below or write us and tell us what you think~!


How do we do eBook Distribution? Glad you asked…

What formats?

Every month we provide new stories, but did you know we compile these into a free eBook for eReaders? There’s EPUB, MOBI and PDF and more.

In stores, too?

We push these to all eReader storefronts. To do this, we use four channels: Smashwords, Amazon KDP, Google Play and Lulu. This covers every eReader, and then some.

How fast?

Note that it can take weeks for our monthly issue to appear in those catalogs, so if you are too impatient waiting for your issue, you do have the option of using the direct links to your favorite format, which you can “sideload” on your own. Once our monthly tasks in the four channels above are completed, then Nook is probably the first thing to show up. If they are not first in the eBook market, at least they can be first to market.

Can you keep it up?

It might not seem worth all the work to distribute monthly, so we make sure that every issue is at least 15,000 words. We’ll need your submissions for that, right? Hint, hint?

More information?

For exhaustive details on these channels please read, About Distribution, at the main site. Here are sample links for March, 2014.


eBook (free)

eBook (free)

eBook (free)

eBook (free)

eBook (free)

eBook (free)


As a writer, why should I care?

Because, when you change from publishing in journals to publishing yourself, you’ll learn a lot about where your work is being read. I love graphs. Don’t you? Here is one about worldwide markets for all eBook sales:
Statistic: Global e-book revenue from 2009 to 2016*, by region (in million U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

3 Writing Acceptances Sent; Adding Author’s Note; Got more?

Let’s face it, we’re getting stories we like, but we could use more submissions. You writers get personal feedback on every submission. It’s like we’re right there with you telling you, “No,” but holding your hand, while we do it. Doesn’t that sound nice? Creepy, you say? No.

We’d like the authors to have a chance to add a post-script to their piece and have it included. This isn’t original but we like it, so we’ll add it on a case-by-case basis. Just think how nice it is when Robert Osborne comes out and tells us a little context or backstory, before or after a film and it makes the viewer go, “Huh, wow, Bobby’s getting old.”

You know the drill: We’re calling writers for literary fiction short stories and flash fiction submissions at our journal … genre fiction is OK, too.


Anecdote, Reminiscence and other Side Effects

Selecting first-person narrative is high-risk. Will you, the writer, create a first-person story that is anecdotal, reminiscent, exposition-heavy, didactic or …? Odds are: yes. Check out this example:

  • Narrative gives off this tone: “This is important because I remember it.”
  • Readers think: “Stop talking already. I’m trying to hear the story.”

Is this your story? If so, try shifting the narrative power to stealth mode. It more easily transports the reader without speed bumps, without authorial intrusion. Does “first-person” always fail?  Of course not. Just be objective about how your choice in relating your story either complicates or enhances the reading.

March Stories are Out! New from @davelaureate @t_morrissey @seanmmonaghan

March Stories are Out! New from @davelaureate @t_morrissey @seanmmonaghan

The Way to Shangri-La
David W. Landrum
“Your calling to live in an ashram and pursue a certain type of spiritual attainment is at an end. You have come on this pilgrimage to find new direction. Your calling has changed.”

Scent of Darkness 
Ted Morrissey
It seemed to absorb the dark of night so that in dawn’s twilight it appeared more than merely black but an actual void, an emptiness in the air that one might step through into another place altogether, like Alice’s rabbit-hole.

Sean Monaghan
It is an old thing. The kind of machine that was innovative a hundred years ago, but now is pretty left behind. I like to keep it on hand just to see how the old markets are doing. They never do very well, but I still have money out there, locked away.


David W. Landrum teaches Literature at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. He has published over a hundred short stories in various journals and anthologies. His novel, The Sorceress of the Northern Seas, is available from Netherworld Books, UK, through Amazon; his novellas, Strange Brewand The Gallery are also available fromAmazon. The BDLit Stories by David W. Landrum: “The Way to Shangri-La – Issue #2, Mar, 2014. Also on: Goodreads. @davelaureate
Sean Monaghan works as an educator in a busy public library. His stories have appeared inPerihelionAurealis and The Colored Lens, among others. Website: The BDLit Stories by Sean Monaghan: “800” – Issue #2, Mar, 2014. Also on: Goodreads. @seanmmonaghan
Ted Morrissey holds a Ph.D. in English studies and is an adjunct lecturer in English at University of Illinois Springfield and in the Writing and Publishing Program at Benedictine University Springfield, where he’s a reader for Quiddity international literary journal and public-radio program. He is the author of the novels An Untimely Frost and Men of Winter, as well as the novelette Figures in Blue. His short fiction has appeared in nearly twenty journals, including Glimmer Train StoriesThe Chariton Review, and PANK. He’s also published the monograph, The Beowulf Poet and His Real Monsters. Please see for further information. The BDLit Stories by Ted Morrissey: “Scent of Darkness” – Issue #2, Mar, 2014. Also on: Goodreads. @t_morrissey