Welcome to Unspeakable, a queer Gothic anthology which will be published January 2020! Gothic literature has been around for over two hundred years, yet there are still fresh uncanny stories to be told. Unspeakable will feature over sixteen stories by both new and established authors, all celebrating the queer Gothic. We are also active on Twitter @UnspeakableGoth.
The anthology is the brainchild of Celine Frohn, a current PhD researcher at the University of Sheffield. The theme combines both her academic work on the nineteenth-century Gothic, as well as her love for contemporary speculative fiction. Queer authors and queer stories are notoriously underrepresented in traditional publishing - in this anthology we hope to celebrate exactly those voices.
What is queer Gothic? ‘To queer’ can mean to destabilize, to deviate from established meanings. At the same time, queer has become a (contested) term for any identity that deviates from the allo-cis-heterosexual norm; identities that are included into the LGBTQIAP+ umbrella.
Historically, Gothic tropes of doubling, masquerade, and ‘unspeakable’ horror expressed through elision, have been used to express same-sex desires and slippery gender identities. For literary historians, studying Gothic texts from this perspective has proven very fruitful.
In more practical, contemporary terms, the queer Gothic provides an opportunity to challenge boundaries of conventional fiction. It is an opportunity to represent other points of view, and to rewrite and reinterpret beloved Gothic tropes from a 21st-century perspective. We leave it up to the author to write queer Gothic in whatever way inspires them. Unspeakable is an inclusive anthology, and particularly welcomes submissions with queer protagonists, and/or stories that ‘queer’ Gothic tropes. We are still seeking submissions, so if you are an author, do check out the submission guidelines!
The University of Sheffield (UK) has generously provided a small grant to the editor to cover basic costs like website hosting and a small payment for authors. However, publishing a book is expensive, and we need help to make Unspeakable as good as it can possibly be. When we reach the funding goal of €1200/£1090,* the breakdown of funds will look as follows:
- Author payments: If we reach our Kickstarter goal, we can pay our authors between €25 and €50 per story (depending on length; £20-£40 roughly). It is important to us to pay the authors as much as we can - creatives deserve a fair wage for their labour. The stretch goals below outline how additional funding will influence the author payments.
- Editing: We will hire a professional copyeditor to make sure the anthology is as polished as we can make it.
- Shipping: This includes the estimated shipping of the paperback copies as part of the backer rewards.
- Publishing fees: This includes the purchase of an ISBN (a unique number that all published books need) and payment for the distributor.
- Kickstarter fees: Kickstarter charges about 5%, while credit card purchases are subject to another 5% fees.
All backers of €5 and over will receive a copy of the finished product (ebook, paperback, or both - please check the rewards on the right-hand side). Please note that the cover art is for illustrative purposes only. The final cover will be made by a cover designer and revealed closer to publication.
Edit 06/09/2019: We also have some adorable merch available in the 'Raffles Fan Edition' bundle, which includes a postcard, badges, and a T-shirt featuring Raffles the pride ghostie! After the Kickstarter has completed, we will send you a survey for your size and preferred colour (choices will include at least black, grey, white, and dark blue) & silhouette (straight-cut or fitted). If you chose the Patron tier, but would also like a T-shirt, we will send you one at no extra cost if you request one. We simply can't edit tiers once they already have backers.
Current goal: €1200. This means the anthology can go ahead as planned!
Stretch goal #1: €1700. This means we can give our authors a raise. They will receive between €40 and €80 for their story.
Stretch goal #2: €2500. Not only can we pay our authors more (€60-€120). This approaches a fairer wage, and it would be wonderful if we could reach that. Reaching this point also means we have a small marketing budget, and can afford to send review copies out.
Stretch goal #3: €4000. This would be an absolute dream. With this budget, authors can get paid up to €200 per story, AND we can make a hardcover edition of Unspeakable with internal art!
* While we originally budgeted in GBP, the pound is currently volatile and losing value compared to other currencies. As such, we decided to budget in the more stable Euro.
Risks and challenges
While the call for submissions is still active, we have already received a number of stories. We already have a minimum budget in place that will make the anthology reality. While there is a small risk of authors dropping out, the anthology as a whole is rather risk-proof. Only severe illness or accident of the editor could cause publishing delays, which will be communicated to the backers accordingly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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