Well, here we are. Issue 2. Thank you.
When I envisioned an annual journal devoted to literary horror and weird fiction—something I’d thought a great deal about for a long time—I wasn’t sure what to expect. From the beginning, my goal was to illustrate that horror wasn’t a pejorative; that it could be thoughtful, entertaining, and literate.
Why? Because horror has a bad name, often deserved.
Many of the so-called horror magazines feature lurid covers, and badly written stories whose chief objective is to shock. That’s not horror. Worse yet, it’s a disservice to the readers. Editors and publishers have to act as gatekeepers, keeping standards high. Sadly, these days, anyone can stick their name on a book or magazine, publish it, and call him or herself an editor. Quality, and preserving the genres strong literate roots, isn’t their priority.
Yet, I sense change in the air. If not change, then at least a burgeoning core group of writers, editors, and publishers who value an aesthetic that doesn’t pander to the base horror tropes. Editors who value style and content. There are a number of journals and magazines that are publishing short horror fiction to a high standard: Black Static, ChiZine, New Genre, NightJar Press, Postscripts, Supernatural Tales, and The Weird Fiction Review, to name a few. I urge you to seek out these journals.
So, as I didn’t know what would come of this mad publishing venture, I deliberately tempered my expectations. The first issue was a critical, if not financial, success. But I’m not here for the money. I’m here to celebrate horror fiction as a genre and as a mode of literature, in the short form. I do hope that you will celebrate alongside me.
I’d like to address a matter that keeps coming up, and try to clarify my position on said matter: electronic versions of Shadows & Tall Trees.
I am not, contrary to some reports, averse to e-Books. Shadows & Tall Trees was conceived as a print literary journal. I’ve always had a passion for small, well-designed journals. I was hoping to construct a lasting artefact; one that you’d be happy to display on your bookshelves and coffee tables. A unique, singular object that was worth your time. I personally feel it is important to promote short horror fiction in printed literary journals. The best of them leave an indelible and lasting impression.
Which brings me to a related point: I do not send out PDF’s of the journal for review. I try and budget for extra copies. So, I do send physical copies to select editors, reviewers, and award jurors. As this is a small one-person operation, after the allotted copies are gone, I simply can’t afford to keep sending out more copies. If you are a reviewer who isn’t on my allotment list, and you are well and truly interested in the journal, you will have to purchase a copy. Sorry. That’s the economics of the situation. The same goes for readers. I had several requests to pass along the PDF. I politely declined. I have only contracted print rights from the contributors. I truly believe, as well, that the best possible reading experience is with the physical journal itself.
You will, if you’ve read the first issue, likely notice several changes to the journal. There is no interior art this time. Truthfully, I found the reproduction a bit too murky. I’ve decided that I should focus on the fiction.
The other major change is that I’ve had to increase the cover price. Postage and printing costs both have increased dramatically. I did increase the print run for this issue, though.
As well, the first issue featured book and film reviews by yours truly. I’ve managed to hand those tasks off to infinitely more qualified people.
For those of you considering submitting fiction, I’ve considerably shortened the submissions window. Instead of a 6-month window, I’m now open to submissions for 2 months only: January through February. For this issue, after wading through hundreds of inappropriate submissions, I closed down to unsolicited submissions after February. It was quite clear that many writers didn’t bother to read the guidelines, and quite evident they had no real sense of the journal’s aesthetic. That said, I think you’ll really enjoying the offerings assembled herein.
Finally, I’ve taken on an Associate Editor: Courtney Kelly. This issue would not have been possible without her stellar contributions.
I had planned to run a letters page, but received no letters. Please feel free to send along your correspondence and I may publish it in issue 3.
This venture is very much a collaborative effort. And perhaps the most important part of the collaboration is you, the reader. Thank you all for your support. I do hope you enjoy this issue of Shadows & Tall Trees.