Twice the Madness

Every year since 2009, my family’s little publishing house, Popcorn Press, has put out an anthology of horror poetry with a bit of fiction thrown in. It started as a lark in 2009—a wild idea to hold a contest and call for entries on October 1, and see if we could get a book to press by October 31.

The result was Vampyr Verse, a “nightlong” collection with dark pieces up front in a “Sunset” section and lighter pieces behind in a “Daybreak” section, with a short story serving as “Midnight” between them. The process of selecting, editing, and packaging was so much fun that we did something similar in 2010 with The Hungry Dead, and again in 2011 with Halloween Haiku. Because poetry tends to be a small market, we could pay contributors those years only in copies of the books—the number of copies determined by how many submissions a poet had accepted.

This year, we’re putting out another anthology, Cthulhu Haiku and Other Mythos Madness, and we’re paying contributors cash. To fund that, we set up a crowdfunding project to take preorders.

Now, as luck would have it, we constructed the original crowdfunding project at Kickstarter. And it was initially “delayed.” Kickstarter was under media scrutiny at the time, and their knee-jerk reaction was to clamp down on any slightest possibility of trouble. Popcorn Press had just a closed a successful campaign with Invasion of the Saucer People, and Kickstarter wanted us to finish delivering all awards (which are in production at the moment) before launching a new project.

I pointed out that this is a Halloween project, one that can’t be delayed, and reasoned that with 27 years of publishing history, including three years of putting out these October books, we could be trusted to deliver two such relatively modest projects. Kickstarter responded with a form letter and changed our original “Pending” to a flat-out “Denied.”

So we moved the preorder fundraiser to Indiegogo, and began learning the ropes there. Then I happened to see a few other people who had new Kickstarter projects approved while their previous projects were still in the process of delivering awards. I wrote Kickstarter a “Please explain” message, and within five minutes received “You’re approved!”

So now we have a fundraiser going at both sites. Cthulhu Haiku at Kickstarter is the standard “All or nothing” pledge drive, but with the goal set at a ridiculously low $13. (We’re going to publish the book one way or another; pledges just help us plan better.) The one at Indiegogo.com/CthulhuHaiku is a “contribution” drive, which is to say that pledges there go directly to PayPal, and Popcorn Press immediately receives that funding.

So choose your poison: Amazon or Paypal, a charge on Halloween or a charge right now. In either case, you’ll be seeing some great horror poetry in a Lovecraftian vein soon.

—Les

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