Holly Lisle has decided to shut down her startup e-zine “Rebel Tales” before it ever launches. Seems one of her prospective editors misrepresented herself and the e-zine and Holly says she feels responsible.  What a shame.  

I loved the enthusiasm she had when she announced the idea for an e-zine focussed on promoting beginning and mid-list authors, and I’ll admit that I got caught up in that enthusiasm.  The business model she presented was a clever way of giving prospective writers a decent chance to taste how sweet it could be to earn a little freelance money.  Basically, she had an idea that there might still be a way that the little guy could make it into print and do so profitably.  As a matter of fact, I was hoping at one time to get Streets of Payne published there, but I missed the deadline.  

And that brings me to what I thought to be the biggest flaw in her model.  You see, Rebel Tales requested serialized works, but wouldn’t consider your first submission until the entire serial was completed.  Don’t get me wrong, I can completely understand the reasoning.  I mean, who would want to commit to publishing a magazine full of serialized fiction, only to find out that one or more of your submissions isn’t ready by print day?

However, from the writer’s perspective, I had the problem of committing to a 60000 word count and having it completed before the first one was even considered for submission.  For me, that meant that whatever I wanted to submit had to have either been sitting in a drawer for a while (which in turn indicates there was a problem with it), or it was going to be too short for what they were after.  I simply can’t knock out a 60000 manuscript within a two month time frame.  I know that there are plenty of folks who can, but I’m not one of them.  😦

Purely speculative here, but I’m wondering if Rebel Tales ran into a lot of that.  I know that I was on the email list for “early notification” of the submissions desk opening, but when I was notified, there were only a few weeks left before the general announcement.  And then was when I discovered that they would only consider the submission if the entire serial was completed.  I only had the first installment, and part of the second done at that point. When I contacted the prospective editor, they confirmed that they couldn’t accept my submission at that point.  I thanked them for the opportunity and moved the project to a lower priority.

That was last November.  In late December, one of the editors contacted me and wanted to know if I was still interested in submitting, but at that point I was working on a piece for an anthology.  I explained to her that I had shelved the serial for the time being, and was committed to another project.  The question in my mind at that point though, was “are they having trouble filling the magazine?”

Still, I have nothing but respect for someone who puts their time and money into a project like Rebel Tales.  Holly put her money where her mouth was, and came very close to delivering a vehicle whereby the aspiring writer had a chance to get his or her foot in the door. I wish nothing but the best for her in her future endeavors.