All Good Things…

Ten years is a good run for sure. It wasn’t the run I had hoped, but it still had lots of high points. And for LampLight, June 2022, which is its ten year mark, will be its last issue. This was not a decision made in haste, but one planned for nearly two years at this point.

LampLight never found the audience I was aiming for. Subscription numbers never grew above 100, much less to sustaining levels.

And I have reached a level of burnout that will only hurt future issues.

Getting help is never as easy as it sounds, and I will admit I am in envy of the magazines with staff and volunteers.

I am grateful for everyone who helped. To Cat, Paul and Elise who stepped in to edit, to Paula who helped with the masthead and first sets of covers. To Fiona who wrote amazing academic work on dark fiction. To Kevin whose answer “…yeah, I think I can write a novella…” started off the first volume of the magazine. To Ben, who helped me learn as much as I taught. To Jesus who believed in my unformed ideas and gave advice and guidance. And to Katie, especially, without whom the magazine would have never made it past a few issues.

I am proud of what was accomplished these past ten years. Just look at this list of authors.

The pages of this magazine hold some of the best fiction I’ve ever read. And yes, as the editor I am supposed to think that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

LampLight has had an amazing run, but it is time for other projects, other adventures.

I have no doubt LampLight will return one day. But for now, for a long while, it will sit, an archive of 40 issues of amazing dark fiction.

Apokrupha Books isn’t going anywhere. We will have classics and anthologies and more things coming in the months and years ahead.

My final advice to everyone is this: promote new releases from the magazines you want to see stick around with the same level of energy you promote their submission guidelines. A submission is not support, it is a business transaction. Support is promotion, purchase and reading.

About those Guidelines

I was reading posts in one of the writer groups I follow on Facebook the other day and several of the writers were lamenting about the restrictions in markets—things like:

No animal cruelty, no child abuse, no vampire/werewolf/zombies, etc. No serial killers.

One writer commented that they still send stories of these kinds to markets despite the restriction, something they bragged had even worked.

The example restrictions above are actually from LampLight, not the thread, and I wanted to talk about them.

I get stories that go against the guidelines all the time. Some are even fantastically written. Amazing zombie stories, horrific vampire ones. I get a lot of what I would consider ‘drama’—stories that are slice of life, and while tragic, lack that which you need to be a horror story.

Some of which I have quite enjoyed reading. I also rejected them.

The thing about the guidelines is that yes, there is some wiggle room in them, their intention has nothing to do with the writer.

Guidelines are about the reader.

LampLight, as other markets, has a certain theme, mood and feel to it. This helps the reader to know what to expect. A market that goes for anything may be convenient for the writer, but will struggle to find an audience.

More how the story isn’t the whole story—I’m not looking for a good story, I’m looking for a good LampLight story.

Which is why as a submitting author it is important to know the market. And, if the only thing you know about the market is the guidelines, then it is even more important that you abide by them.

2019 In The Rearview

2019 In The Rearview

From the desk of the LampLight editor:

2019 wasn’t a good year here. I’m not going to go into the details and sad stories, but I am going to apologize that it affected LampLight, but for the readers who were waiting for the issue, and the writers whose submissions were horribly delayed.

For the readers: The September issue came out in November. We are pushing the December issue to January, both to give a little breathing room and to ensure all the stories will be eligible for ‘…of the year’ type awards. After that, we will be back on schedule.

Issue 8.1 is amazing, by the way. I hope you enjoy it.

For the writers: all the submissions from March-May of 2019 have been read, and responded to. Please check your inboxes or Submittable account for replies. Again, I am sorry this took so long.

I made the decision once I got behind to still take the time and diligence with each submission as I normally would, rather than try to cut corners to finish faster.

For those who submitted in October – December of 2019, I’m getting to your submissions now, and the response time should be much better this go-round.

We’ll have five issues of LampLight in 2020. We will have some great classics, starting with version of Frankenstein that shows the differences between the 1818 and 1831 editions. We are going to publish some poetry, that I am particularly excited about. And that’s just the beginning.

2020, here we come.