In 2011 I wrote a short story for the U.K. horror anthology, Weird War Volume One. After the usual number of delays you’d expect from any publishing venture, final word came down about a fall 2012 launch date. High resolution scans of the splendid cover art were emailed to the writers and we were encouraged to promote the anthology on our various blogs and websites. I held off, preferring to wait until the actual day of publication. And wait I did. Wait we all did.
With a final “publication-imminent this weekend” announcement, things fell dead silent and stayed that way. There was no communication again, ever. The Facebook page became a series of echoing “Well…? Well…?” posts. The promised website relaunch never materialized. It was as if the book, its contents, its editors and its publishers were zapped out of existence, leaving only a faint scorch-mark of a web presence behind. The strangest part of the whole event, at least for someone like me who has been to the publishing blue-balls brothel a few times, was that we’d all been paid in full long ago. It’s not like anyone tried to skip out on dinner when the cheque arrived. We’d been covered, drinks and all.
My sole disappointment was that apparently my story was never going to appear somewhere beneath such a marvelous cover.
By the terms of my contract, all rights reverted to me last year. Although I waited patiently, and would happily continue to wait if there were any lines of communication open, I can only assume that something so dreadful happened that the anthology has been cancelled and we’ll never receive word why.
As you may have noticed, there’s a short story section in the main menu of Eyestrain Productions that’s been effectively empty up until now. “Bayonet Baby” has become the first of my short stories to be hosted there. Since I doubt there’s any point in waiting and hoping that Weird War will dig itself out of an early grave, I might as well use this as a venue to let interested parties read the story.
Of course, should I ever hear from the editors again, and receive some good news about Weird War’s revival, I’ll be pleased to pull the story from my website and give them a chance to publish it themselves. It won’t be a first publication anymore, but I can still offer them exclusivity for the duration of the initial run of the book. This isn’t big of me at all. It’s entirely self-serving.
Because I’d really like to have a copy of a book with that cover and my story on my shelf.
I took the same rollercoaster ride you described above, contacted the editor/publisher, got the sense that things had gone south in his life, especially in the job sector, as I recall, my memory being what it is… (He still had to pay the cost of publishing the book.)
I am equally proud of “Rolling Thunder” which was written specifically for the anthology. Over the past twenty-something years I’ve had maybe sixty-five sales, of which maybe a dozen died on the vine, including my very first sale. It seems to go with the turf, like the thousand or so rejections.
I consider myself lucky concerning “Weird War” on two counts. One, I got paid. Two, weird war anthologies are not that uncommon–at least two others have been announced and filled, while I, like you, waited hoping for a WW V1 resurrection. (SNAFU http://cohesionpress.com/news/ and WAR STORIES http://jaymgates.com/editing/war-stories/ )
With a little more luck, we’ll find “Bayonet Baby” and “Rolling Thunder” appearing in another venue before too long.
Thanks for the info, Paul. I always tend to assume personal issues are behind the sudden folding of pending publications. Shit happens, and I figure the people in charge are probably having a hard enough time without me badgering them for specific explanations. I’ve had several sold stories and articles die on the vine over the years, often with no payment or kill-fee in the offing. At least now, in the digital age, this material doesn’t have to languish in a drawer, unseen forever. More than my own story not seeing print this time, I will always lament the zombie-Kitchener cover going unused.