Q: Why does Crimson Streets ask for exclusive print rights to a short story for 18 months?
A: Crimson Streets is an experiment in a new business model for publishing short fiction. We’re calling it web now/print later, but it could just as easily be called free now/sold later. During the year, we work with authors to collect great pulp stories for www.crimsonstreets.com. These stories are free to read and published without annoying ads. At the end of the year, we spend a few months collecting the stories into an anthology which we will make available on the iBooks and Kindle stores. In addition, our plan is to use a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to produce a print edition of the anthology. The revenue from these sales will then be used to pay for the next round of purchases of fiction for the web site. Time wise this breaks down as 12 months of new fiction, plus 3 months of prep, plus three months of sales, for a total of 18 months.
Q: How do you decide which stories to publish?
A: Short Version: Janet, our editor, reads the stories as they come in and we publish the ones she likes.
Longer Version: Our editor reads each story when it comes in, and if she enjoys the story she asks three questions.
- Does the story take place between 1925 and 1965?
- Does the story have a strongly developed sense of atmosphere or mood?
- Is the story fast-paced with a focus on action, adventure, or drama?
The stories that are most likely to be accepted are those that have all three qualities. While we will consider fiction that is out of period, these stories must have a very strong pulp, or noir feel and be exceptionally strong in both of the remaining areas. A perfect example of something out of period, but that would be perfectly acceptable to Crimson Streets is the original theatrical version of the Ridley Scott film Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford. While this film takes place in the futuristic year of 2019, it has everything; a hard-boiled detective, a femme fatale, a gloomy retro-future backdrop, and a film noir voice over. Occasionally, if Janet is on the fence about a work, usually over its “pulpiness” she will ask one of our other team members to read the work, and provide an opinion – however the editor has final say.
If we like a story, but it’s set outside of period, we may ask the author if they are willing to provide a revision set in period.