Interview: Richard Thomas on his new Kickstarter, Gamut

RichardThomas_ErikKramer_CroppedPlease welcome Richard Thomas back to the blog! He’s got a great project in the works called Gamut, and it’s up to you to get it funded. Lots of amazing talent is in on this, so I don’t think you’ll want to miss it. Read on for details!
Will you tell us about Gamut and what inspired the project?

I’ve wanted to start my own magazine for twenty years. But I’ve never been able to get the numbers to add up, as far as printing, design, shipping and postage. After editing four anthologies (The New Black and Exigencies at Dark House Press; Burnt Tongues with Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Widmyer at Medallion; and The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, at Black Lawrence Press) this seemed like the next logical step. Being the Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press has also taught me a lot, inspired me to edit and publish other authors. It’s exciting. Working with artists to create compelling covers, emotional interiors, that’s all part of the creative process, something I’ve done in the world of advertising for twenty years.

Gamut will be an online magazine of neo-noir, speculative fiction. We will publish new fiction every week, and will pay authors ten cents a word.

What are the challenges in putting together a project like this?

Obviously the hardest part, with the most risk, is raising the funds. There are a lot of people who complain that there aren’t paying markets, especially for dark fiction. We’re paying, we’re publishing edgy fiction, but unless people turn out and subscribe, thousands of people, it won’t happen. So, every day it’s a rollercoaster ride—up and down, loop the loop, screaming, exhilarated, freaked out, big endorsements, Staff Pick at Kickstarter, Featured Publishing Project, and then a rush of rewards selling out and then crickets. And then it all starts over again.

It’s intense.

What kind of submissions are you looking for?

Primarily we’re looking for fiction, but also non-fiction, poetry, and flash fiction. The fiction will be that sweet spot between genre and lit, taking the best qualities from both. It’ll be the kind of fiction I write, have edited in the aforementioned anthologies, and have published at Dark House Press.

What do you personally like to see in a good story?

I like to be surprised. I like to feel strong emotions. I like to fall into a world and then look up an hour later, spent, wondering what happened. The authors at Gamut speak the truth, and they do so with heart, and danger, and in innovative ways. They make me cry. They make me get up and go hug my kids, lock the doors, and then lie awake at night asking myself, “What would I have done in that situation?” I like dark stories, tragedies, because I want to see how they get OUT, how they SURVIVE, and who they really are. Brian Evenson’s “Windeye” does that to me, Stephen Graham Jones’s “Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” does that me, Lindsay Hunter’s “The Fence” does that to me. Really, all of the authors involved with Gamut write stories that rough me up, inspire me, make me sweat—they thrill me.

What’s one piece of advice that you would offer authors that might be hesitant to submit a story?

Risk it. Take the chance. Write the story that makes you uncomfortable. That little bit of weirdness, that part that makes you flinch and hesitate—do it, that’s your voice, coming from your experience. You ARE a special snowflake—so show me what you’ve got. All in. No hesitation.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If your readers want this to happen, if this sounds exciting to you, then click over and contribute—subscribe. The $30 a year rate will never be offered again. And if you renew, it will always stay that rate. If you there, yeah YOU, the author who wants to be paid $500 for a story, if you want a new market for your stories, then help us make this happen. Be a part of this. The opposite of love is not hate—it is indifference. It is apathy. I can’t do this alone, I don’t want to—I want you to run away to the circus with me. Come on, it’ll be fun!