Ligature Works is now open for submissions.

Ligature Works, the new venue for speculative fiction and poetry, is now officially open for submissions. See for details on the venue, then click the link for “submissions” in the sidebar. For our first issue, I will be seeking between 1 and 3 pieces of short fiction and 5 and 10 poems. The exact number selected is going to depend in part on what the submissions look like and how much I can afford come September. If the response is much bigger than expected, I might add some dedicated fundraising to purchase more pieces, but I’m looking for a modest start.

I’m not going to repeat the information that’s over there over here, but I would like to take the opportunity to talk about why I’m doing this and why now. Ever since I got into the world of speculative poetry, I have been impressed by how many different venues there are that publish such things, each with their own distinctive characters and styles.

However, it’s hard and not very profitable work to run such a thing, and the people who do so must frequently take breaks, official or not. The result is something that seems like a bit of a quantum superposition between an renaissance and a retreat.

For a long time, I’ve considered offering my services to some of the struggling venues to reduce their workload, but ultimately it seems like adding another person to the mix in a small, deeply personal operation might require more additional work than it relieves, at least at first. If someone is overwhelmed, they can’t exactly be holding my hand or constantly explaining what they’re looking for or how they do things. And however confident I am in my skills, I don’t exactly have a long resume in the area of editing or publishing.

So my contribution is to create a new venue to take up some of the pressure and ease some of the load. It’s something I would have wanted to do eventually anyway, but right now a lot of my favorite poetry venues in particular are either on hiatus or between submission windows. This doesn’t mean that poets have stopped poeting, though, just that they have fewer places to poet at.

Even after the other venues return… well, I think there are always going to be more poems worthy of publication than there are places to publish them, so rather than trying to compete with anyone, I would rather look upon it as joining a vibrant and growing community.

I’m very excited about this project, and more than a little bit scared, but that’s part of the point… well, it’s actually parts of a couple of points. It’s about me not being afraid to do new things, and showing that you don’t have to wait for permission or a sign from above to do things.

At its core, the loftiest literary magazine ever published is still just basically there because somebody decided it was okay to publish a magazine. I mean, no one has access to some special intrinsic particle of legitimacy they sprinkle over their pages to make them “real”.

My main goal with Ligature Works is just to publish things that I like and that I think other people will like. But in doing so as someone who has been relentlessly indie and primarily self-published, I think there is a more subtle point to make about how thin the line between self-publishing and trad-publishing is.  And that really gets into the overall (or underall?) theme of Ligature Works as explained on the front page: exploring the lines and spaces between things.