Thu
Apr 16 2009 3:03pm

Little Fish, Big Pond

My name is Jason Sizemore. If I had to guess, I’d say not many of you have heard of me. I’m a small fry in the genre cooker. But like a lot of people in the business of words, I wear many hats. I write (I just sold my first short story collection!). I edit (Stoker Award-nominated as an editor). I publish. That last one is important. It’s my one claim to fame and notoriety, and I abuse it for as much personal gain as possible: I’m the owner and editor-in-chief of Apex Publications, a publisher of quality dark SF, dark fantasy, and horror. In fact, I’m pretty sure the whole Apex thing helped me land this terrific gig.

Short bio: I live in Lexington, KY, where I work as a software developer for the state’s Department of Education. I moonlight (about 30-40 hours a week) as a book & magazine (Apex Magazine) publisher. I’m 35 years old. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science from one of those hippie liberal art schools—Transylvania University (and yes, it is a real college, minus the vampires but choked full of hairy frat boys that could certainly pass as werewolves). My heroes include but are not limited to: Ellen Datlow, Mary Doria Russell, Deb Taber, Brian Keene, Cherie Priest, Tom Piccirilli, Alethea Kontis, and Mary Robinette Kowal. I really like Neil Gaiman, but he’s blocked my number and no longer answers my calls.

Pablo Defendini and the wonderful people at Tor.com deserve a shout out for giving me a platform to talk about small press publishing, the chores of editing, and the perils of being a writer.

So, remember earlier when I described myself as a small fry? Yeah, well, it’s true, and it took a small amount of coaxing by Pablo to convince me to join the blogging team. I’m a small press guy. Tor is something akin to what many small press publishers want to become…at least in terms of roster talent and revenue. What can Mr. Small Fry Guy add to the genre conversation that would interest the readers of Tor.com?

It wasn’t until one afternoon at work, while staring at the cover of the same issue of Architecture Monthly (March, 1992) that had been in residing in the men’s bathroom stall for the last 18 months, that an idea occurred to me.

I could fight against the prejudices many people have toward the small press. I would become a voice for the scorned and mistrusted small press industry.

And do you know why?

Not all of us exist only to publish poorly edited anthologies with crappy Poser covers.

Not all of us exist only to self-publish our crappy horror novels.

Not all of us exist just to be existing, to be able to say “Hey, I am a publisher.”

Nope, some of us want to succeed, grow up into a Tor-sized monster of publishing (or at least become a successful, respected small press publisher such as Subterranean, Soft Skull Press, Prime, Snow Books, Raw Dog Screaming Press, and others). We want to bring quality product to you for your dollars…lots of your dollars.

Therefore, I will endeavor to focus on the great aspects of the small press.

I want to highlight great writers from the small press folds that you should be reading. I want to point out titles that are worth your time and expense. I want to show you the smart people who work their tails off for little or no recompense just to be doing something they love.

I want to show you the people who do it right. Maybe we’ll both learn a little something along the way.

12 comments
Dave Thompson
1. DKT
Very cool to see your name here, Jason!
J.C. Hay
2. J.C. Hay
Allow me to second DKT - it's good to see you posting here Jason. I'll look forward to more.
rick gregory
3. rickg
more! In an increasingly digital world I'd love to hear more about how you started and why, the challenges, how you see the advent of online fiction sites and ebooks, etc.
J.C. Hay
4. Nick Mamatas
I can't believe I didn't make the hero list.
Adam White
5. Gorgonzo
Hey, welcome and congrats! You're out there doing what I'm sitting here wishing I could, so I applaud your initiative and ability.
J.C. Hay
6. editormum
Great to see you doin' it for small press Jason! Look forward to seeing your posts.
Jason Sizemore
7. apexjason
FTR--I was kidding about the bit with Gaiman and him putting me on block. The only time I've called Neil was to interview him and he was a gentleman and scholar.
Jason Sizemore
8. apexjason
DKT: Thanks man, hope you enjoy my posts.

J.C. HAY: Again, thanks! I'll do my best to keep you people entertained.

rickg: That's definitely a set of topics I plan on addressing. :)

Nick: I 'hero worship' you...not quite the same as you being one of my 'heroes'.

Gorgonzo: Thanks man! Be sure to check out Apex and keep reading my Tor blogs.

editormum: I have a lot of fun doing the small press thing. Hopefully I'll keep you entertained in the process.
Michael Burstein
9. mabfan
I'm looking forward to seeing your posts here!
J.C. Hay
10. Mari Adkins
I'm so proud of you!
J.C. Hay
11. Fran Friel
*swoons*

My gawd, Mr. Sizemore, you sure do know how to impress a girl. Fabulous first blog, sir. Huge congrats on the new gig. True Gemini that I am, I'm green with envy and so completely thrilled for you. Like Mari above, I'm also very proud of you.

I've Diggited you, and will soon blog you to death. I'm also subscribed and can't wait for your next article.

Bravo!
J.C. Hay
12. Kenwood
Great stuff, Jason. You and everyone at Apex deserve nothing but praise.

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