I’m still fiddling around with the layout on Claw and Quill but the major fiddling is wrapping up—barring sudden major redesigns (never out of the question), from this point on it’ll be minor tweaks.
This, of course, means I need to start thinking about (ominous music chord)… content.
What I’m leaning toward definitely has an emphasis on writing over art. Furry fandom is a visual medium yadda yadda yeah I know and I don’t disagree, but the whole point of this exercise is to address a lack of “showcase” spots online for furry writing, right? Having said this, one of the first things I’ll need is—natch—artwork for the front page. (720 pixels wide, 200 – 300 pixels high, specifically.)
Here’s what I’m thinking of for guidelines:
- Fiction should be in the 2,000 – 5,000 word range. I’ll accept nearly any “genre” but there must be an integral “talking animal” component. I’m not holding to a specific rating, but gratuitous sex and violence won’t be accepted. (While I’ll be searching for a better way to put this, the idea is to have stories that you could show anyone who doesn’t identify themselves as a “furry” as an introduction.) Serials are possible but not encouraged.
- Articles that could be of interest to the audience are also welcome, although they should probably be queried first.
- Yes, poetry would also be accepted.
- If people have ideas for columns—say, appearing monthly or bi-monthly or whatever, running around 800 – 1200 words depending—I’d like to hear ‘em.
- Art will generally only be solicited for stories, and generally I’ll be looking for a single illustration that can be reproduced in a landscape size, probably in the 640×300 area or thereabouts. I have almost no idea how to handle this, so I’ll be desperately hoping to build a “stable” of artists willing to work at ridiculously low rates with the understanding that they’re keeping all the rights save C&Q’s one-time reproduction.
- Did he say “rates”? Yes, the idea (God help me) is to pay either ½¢ per word or just a flat rate of $20 a story—I haven’t decided yet. Columns and poems would more than likely be a flat rate of $10.
- Art rates, then? I’m open to suggestions. I’m buying limited-use reproduction rights at well-below-print resolutions, could find a way to watermark images (although stamping “Copyright 2004 Artist Name” in 16-point Times across the image is not gonna happen, thanks), and would link back to the artist’s site if they wanted and might even be able to work on setting up a “print shop” down the road. (I’ve always wanted to be able to offer real high-quality reproductions at reasonable sizes, rather than this 8½″ × 11″ laser copy nonsense.) I’d prefer color work and will have to be getting what are, in effect, commissions. I doubt paying more than $20 for a picture is in the cards, though.
Musings about funding will come in a later message. But for now, I’m actively looking for submissions. For launch, I’d like to have two or three stories (in addition to one that I’m hoping I’ll get written myself), at least one non-fiction article, and maybe an inaugural column of some sort.
And of course, the “cover art.” I’m open to suggestions on how to approach that, too. Think artists might go for it as a rotating showcase position using crops of their existing best artwork, with “payment” as a prominent link? Yes, it’s me asking for free art, but theoretically, it’s free art they don’t have to put any work into creating, and they’re getting free advertising in return. I’ll let artists tell me whether they think that’d go over like a lead balloon, though. (In practice there’s not going to be a lot I can pay for that, either, so if I can’t do it as a link exchange, it’ll be “the site cover picture” rather than a possibility of changing it every so often!)
Oh, what’s that? Deadline? Well, there isn’t one yet. The sooner I get the stuff I talked about wanting for launch, though, the sooner I can, uh, launch.
Right now this hasn’t been “advertised” anywhere but this journal, by the way—if there are people you think I should be getting in touch with, as writers or artists, either let me know or let them know.