Interviewed by Sarah Trick
1. What was the motivation for you and the Scribes to start Electric Sheep Press?
Well, when you put a world class hacker, an ex-Marine sniper, and a writer with a degree from Georgia Tech in a room together... We were either going to create something amazing or destroy each other. Fortunately, we went with the former.
Seriously, though, Dave Maynor (chief architect, AKA Cloudy Scribe), Ryan English (project manager/Man at Arms, AKA Tasky Scribe), and I (editor-in-chief/kill, AKA Spelly Scribe) share a love of good science fiction and opportunity. We're at a very interesting place in the evolution of SF as a genre, and we want to be a driving force in that evolution, and in the evolution of publishing.
2. Your website shows you have an eclectic and whimsical sense of humour. I especially thought your supernatural advice column was hilarious. That sense of whimsy interacting with the ordinary strikes me as central to your editorial viewpoint. As Editor-in-Kill, what kinds of stories excite you? What would be your dream manuscript to publish?
Yeah, no one can ever accuse us of taking ourselves too seriously! We love science fiction's edginess and grit. All three of us are still in love with cyberpunk, but it doesn't ALL have to be dystopias and skies the color of televisions tuned to dead channels (apologies to Mr. Gibson). I'd like to think all of our work, both comic and serious, gets just the right mix of familiarity and alienation. We want to put our readers in an impossible world, but one they could actually almost believe.
As far as stories that excite me... I'm actually, right now, for the future of science fiction. We're in a very interesting time for the genre. Since the "death" of cyberpunk, we've seen this diaspora of subgenres, everything from five-minutes-from-now to afrofuturism to slipstream. I'm just excited to see what's next!
And my dream manuscript? If you're reading this, William Gibson, please, send me anything! But, again, seriously my dream manuscript is a story that takes the building blocks of what's come before (pulp, golden age, new wave, cyberpunk, etc), smashes them into pieces, and makes something entirely new out of the fragments. There's so much amazing writing out there that never sees the light of day, for fear of rejection. I want to see that writing.
Oh, and I'd still like to publish Mr. Gibson's next novel. Just sayin'.
3. Could you tell us a little about your business model? You say on your blog that you want to do something different from traditional publishing, and that you want to pay authors well. You refer to this as 'so crazy it just might work.' How are you going to make it work?
Well, here's where I have to get a little slick. We're in stealth mode until we launch in August. We'll be attending DefCon 21 in Las Vegas, at which point we'll be answering all your burning questions about business models and just exactly how we're about to blast traditional publishing out of the water... Until then, I can tell you we offer our writers editing services, marketing, branding, and design work. They'll also see percentages of the profits from their work that would make most publishers ill. We're pretty serious about this.
4. What will be your first projects?
We're working on a couple of in-house pieces for launch. You can read the prelude to Mr. Maynor's novel on our blog for free right now (http://electricsheeppress.blogspot.com/2013/03/and-now-taste-of-things-to-come.html). Look for more supernatural legal advice and maybe even some ghost stories in there, too. Oh, and we're also considering a how-to series, starting with something along the lines of ESP: How to Start a Publishing Company (the Wrong Way). We're pretty good at doing things the wrong way around here.
And, of course, we're very excited to accept submissions. So, if any of you readers out there have a book, a story, or even just a fledgling idea, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't let the moniker or the guns fool you. I'm pretty easy to get along with.
5. So what is a terminator's perspective on the human condition, anyway?
Are you John Connor?