Aw, yeeahh. You know that feeling, when all the perks of your position make it the best place in the world to be. Everything’s going right. Nothing and nobody can touch you. Unless you want them to, and even then, you feel in control of the situation.
That’s how I often feel about my position as Marketing Director, Co-Owner, and Author at Storm Moon Press. It isn’t because the job is without stress. Oi, the number of times I’ve wanted to pull my hair out because things don’t go as planned, I’ve fallen behind in my duties, hit a wall with my writing, or some correspondence gets me wishing I could grab someone through the computer screen and just tell them to pipe the fuck down. It’s not an easy job, that’s for sure. I have a lot of hats to wear and more work than I have hours in the day to accomplish… But! There are things that I’m doing for (and through) this press that I feel are very important and make all the hardships and mini-dramafests completely worth every scrap of my time and effort.
Putting Quality First
At Storm Moon Press, our number one priority is to put quality first. This isn’t just us wanting to acquire great manuscripts, but doing our utmost to provide a superior final product. We want to have a high standard for our cover art, the quality of editing that makes the authors’ works shine, and even the typesetting that takes print books to the next level. When S.L. Armstrong and I first founded the press, it was because we wanted those things for ourselves. We wanted great editing and cover art that we could hold to a high standard. We’ve worked with some amazing editors and cover artists so far, and we hope that our authors and readers always have exemplary experiences with us as a press!
Taking Chances on the Unknown or Taboo
One of the fun aspects of being a publisher in a genre such as GLBT fiction is that there is a HUGELY diverse spectrum of content. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve encountered something new in this genre, topics or taboos I’d never given the time of day. Authors in this genre like to pull out all the stops, and it makes for some amazing fiction… if it ever reaches the light of day. As a small press, Storm Moon Press has the ability to seek out some of the more obscure topics that a larger press might sweep to the side. We especially like getting multiple authors’ takes on a taboo, so you’ll see a lot of our anthologies with subjects like bro-cest (Fraternal Devotion), non-con/dubious consent (Like It or Not), gun-kink (Weight of a Gun), and even tentacles (All Wrapped Up and the upcoming Tall, Dark, & Wriggly). Most presses would consider these fringe subjects unworthy of their time and effort, since their appeal isn’t as broad as contemporary gay romance, but as a small press, we get to choose what is important to us, and we love providing the readers in this genre with something a little different!
Exposing the Typically Invisible
The market for GLBT fiction has definitely been expanding the last few years. Books in this genre are starting to gain recognition and turn some heads with readers that had never given it the time of day before. What we noticed early on when we first began thinking of opening Storm Moon Press, however, is that the focus typically stays on the gay fiction. Such a pity! There is some amazing fiction that deserves to be published, and with most presses only having room for the ‘mainstream’ heterosexual romance along with ‘M/M’ gay romance, we started Storm Moon Press with the firm desire to give visibility to quality fiction all over the spectrum of sexual and gender identity, expression, and orientation. Our press was, is, and will always be QUILTBAG-friendly. You don’t see a lot of bisexual, lesbian, and trans* fiction out there from other presses (heck, most don’t even acquire anything other than cis-gendered gay fiction), but from Storm Moon Press, we want readers to get a taste of just how amazing the other parts of the rainbow can be in fiction. We hope that giving visibility to the QUILTBAG community as a whole in our fiction brings about a hint of tolerance, if not outright acceptance, of the fact that no matter who you are or how you identify and express yourself, your stories are worth being told.
Giving to a Great Cause
Being a small press, and a business in general, opens up opportunities in the way of pooling resources for a great cause. Storm Moon Press had the opportunity to do just that when we released our first charity anthology, Legal Briefs this year. We invited authors who had published through Storm Moon Press to donate short stories that were then edited, compiled, and formatted into an anthology, all proceeds of which would be donated to Lambda Legal, an organization representing and defending the QUILTBAG community. It was important to us that different sexualities be present in the anthology, and our authors really stepped up to the plate, giving us three different flavors of trans* characters in addition to cis-gendered gay and lesbian stories. It was a fantastic process with some really amazing fiction, and I love that we were able to give back a little to a cause that benefits the community we depict so often in our fiction.
Bringing QUILTBAG Fiction to a YA Audience
Last, but certainly not least, what I love about running Storm Moon Press with my colleagues is the opportunity to bring QUILTBAG fiction to a younger audience. While SMP was certainly first founded with the intention of publishing erotic and erotic romance in particular, we’ve broadened our horizons as a press through our imprints to include non-erotic QUILTBAG genre fiction (Thunder Moon), het erotic fiction (Wild Moon), and my personal favorite, QUILTBAG young adult fiction (Budding Moon). It’s very important to us that we show younger individuals identifying and expressing themselves along the entire spectrum of gender and sexuality. While erotic content doesn’t typically come into play, younger characters face many challenges as they come of age, and we want to send the message as a press that there is hope and strength and acceptance out there for today’s QUILTBAG youth, despite opposition. For readers young and old alike, we want to bring a new wave of fantastic young adult fiction to the genre that embraces the entirety of the spectrum.
All in all, this press means everything to me, and it’s been an amazing ride to come this far with the genre. I look forward to continuing to push the envelope, to expose readers to new topics and new parts of the QUILTBAG, and to bring great fiction and great authors into the genre! One thing is for certain: it’s good to be the king, and we decree more QUILTBAG fiction for ALL!