First off, I want to thank all the people that submitted and all the people that helped us get the word out about submissions. We received some tremendous work this time, and it's wonderful to read (though not so wonderful to have to choose between the good ones).
The real point of this post is to ask what people really want from their fiction, and especially their fiction anthologies like HBM. I'm very happy with what Here Be Monsters has turned in to. I feel like it showcases some great stories that people won't read anywhere else while still being the weird vehicle that Vincent, Duane, and I use to get our writing out. It is a strange hybrid though, I don't deny it.
I'd love for people to recommend some more books in the same vein as HBM to us. We recently all picked up copies of Imaginarium because we wanted to learn more about the world of Canadian speculative fiction. It's a much larger format, and it got me thinking about our own format at the discussions we've had. Our last issue (Settler 26), was larger than the rest, and it's looking like Issue 7 will be around the same size. Initially, I wanted to keep our slimmer profile because I felt like it made our book a bit more approachable, which is something that any indie publications full of strange stories could use. I don't think it makes much of a difference in the end, but if it does, I'd love to hear from people.
Which reminds me: Do you guys know anyone that has picked up HBM and isn't a regular reader? Because that would be one ticked box on the "things-to-do-before-I-die list".
We use an arcane system involving haruspicy and the stains left in the bottom of coffee cups to determine the stories we put in our books, but I will say that one thing I ask myself when reading a work (and this goes for my work as well as others') is "is it fun to read?". So, to me, I'm looking for stories that people will enjoy. I don't want one of our stories to drain part of your day away and for you to come away with nothing. And I'm not too concerned if it isn't the most original idea, either. I want it to spend your time well, and this is what I expect of other stories too. This means that the overall message of the piece isn't as important to me. In fact, when the message becomes the point of the story, I tend to get turned off very quickly - (I think sci-fi is more guilty of this than fantasy, but that might be my own prejudice.)
If anyone wants to let us know what they want in their fiction (be it of a particular genre or otherwise), please feel free to comment here or on our Facebook page. Thanks!