Shock Totem Publications: 2015 and Beyond

Shock Totem’s roots stretch back to August of 2008. When John Boden, Nick Contor, and I began this journey, we had big ideas and no publishing experience. We’ve come a long way, to say the least, and it’s been a hell of a ride. I am extremely proud of all that we’ve done through Shock Totem Publications, and I’m grateful to all those who have contributed along the way.

That said, as we enter a new year, there are a few changes coming. Some good, some not so good.

First, there will be no flash fiction contests in 2015. I know this will be disappointing to many, as the contest has been extremely popular since we began running it in 2010, but if you’ve participated in past contests I’m sure you’ll understand why I’ve made this decision.

The next issue of Shock Totem, number ten, will be our last issue for a while. The reasons for this are many, but the biggest reason is simple: kids.

Our first child arrived in October of 2013. From that moment on, life changed in ways I could never have imagined. All parents understand this. Last year was difficult for me. I work from home, so I was basically a stay-at-home dad who also works a full-time job and is a publisher/editor/writer. Suffice it to say, life has been chaos since our son arrived, as wonderful as he is. All parents understand this as well.

I need organization, crave it. I function best when things are organized. As such, I struggled in 2014, was way behind the curve. In the past, authors have told me I was the best editor they’ve ever worked with, particularly with communication. That’s the kind of editor/publisher I want to be. No author published in issues 8 or 9, or our two holiday issues, will tell you that. Each issue was late, e-mails were few and far between, promises were made and not kept—and quite frankly our authors deserved better than that. My staff as well.

I mentioned “kids” above. In late February, or possibly sooner, my wife will give birth to our second child, a girl. (Yes, pushing the elderly ages of 37 and 40, we wasted no time.) Knowing what I know now, knowing how much time and energy just one kid requires, this hiatus is necessary.

As of right now, the goal is to take a complete break from publishing the magazine in 2015 and reopen for submissions on January 1, 2016, with a new issue scheduled for July 2016. That’s the plan. Yes, I know this sort of thing is often a death knell for publications, and I am well aware that it might signal the end of Shock Totem, as I cannot predict what the next year will be like. I certainly do hope to publish more issues of Shock Totem in the years to come. And if I feel that I don’t want to lay her to rest but do need to extend the hiatus, I will do so. Only time will tell…

But that’s just the magazine. We have other plans as well.

In the next few weeks we will begin accepting novel and novella submissions. (Before anyone asks, editing and publishing a novel is infinitely easier than publishing a magazine. And I will have help.) That’s the big one. We have smaller ideas, one-off “fun” projects that we’d like to do, like a zombie collection (trust us, it’ll kick ass), some chapbooks, maybe another holiday issue…

Either way, we’re not going away, not completely; we’re just scaling back for a time so I can be a father. I’d like to read a lot more, too (I read just 13 books in 2014). And I have many stories to finish writing. My DRAFTS folder is overflowing! But most important, I need to first learn what it’s going to take to be a great father to two children. If ultimately that means laying Shock Totem to rest, so be it. We’ve had a wonderful run, right?

But don’t worry. We’re not dead yet.

Happy New Year!

About K. Allen Wood

K. Allen Wood is the editor/publisher of Shock Totem. For more info, visit his website at www.kallenwood.com.
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7 Responses to Shock Totem Publications: 2015 and Beyond

  1. Mercedes says:

    I think it’s a wonderful and necessary decision.ST was always about quality and priorities, and you’ve always been clear about family first. :D

  2. Thanks, Merc. Not an easy decision, but the right one for now. =)

  3. necwrites says:

    As I mentioned on twitter, I wondered if you might be carving out extras as the second bundle makes her appearance. We’re in the twos with the squidlet over here and my hat’s off to any parent brave enough to take on another. I hear the chaos of the first couple years balances out later as they become playmates (fingers crossed for you guys). So, though I’m sad, it’s not a shock.
    Also, a huge thanks for offering my writing a regular venue when it started to fall by the baby-wayside in 2012. I’m so very grateful for all the time you have devoted to the magazine and the contest.
    Best of luck to you and your growing family.

  4. Thanks for understanding, Nancy. =)

  5. Fran Friel says:

    Excellent and intelligent plan. Family and sanity first! No doubt you’ll be doing great things in publishing for a long, long time.

  6. While fully respecting the reasons, and massive kudos for choosing the right priorities, I’m gutted at the loss of the flash fiction comp.
    Hope all goes well with the arrival of sprog2.
    Look forward to ongoing announcements.

  7. neilsendavid says:

    Ken, there are no better reasons to make these large changes than children. Congrats on your family. I have loved the flash fiction contest (though never managing to place higher than 4th) and recently sold one of my contest entries to another publication.

    If you would ever consider allowing someone else to run your monthly flash fiction contests, let me know. I’d love to come up with a prompt and I’m a big data and stat geek, so I’d love to compile votes and what not.

    In any case, happy fatherhood!

    PS: I have two myself, now ages 9 and 11. It does, indeed, get infinitely easier and your children will thank you for giving them a sibling.

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