To date we have released three holiday issues. Our first was released in 2011, but the seeds of that issue were planted in the fall of 2010, when we, the main Shock Totem staff, wrote and posted online a batch of Christmas-inspired horror tales. For fun. When the snow cleared months later, we deemed it a success. A year later, after a discussion at AnthoCon, we went bigger (and, we thought, better) by expanding the concept into that first special issue, digital-only at the time. Readers responded well, and many asked for a print edition. Two years after that we made that happen, followed a few months later by our second holiday issue, celebrating Valentine’s Day. And now we’ve just released our third, a Halloween issue.
These are different from our normal issues, in that they feature work from our staff. Some have complained of nepotism, while others have said it’s unprofessional for a publisher to publish work from their own staff members. That may be true for some publishers and in some instances, but not for us. Here’s why we do the holiday issues:
Publishing a magazine is an expensive endeavor. Though we have done well since our first issue was released in 2009, there are still many out-of-pocket expenses associated with every aspect of what we do. The holiday issue is our way of creating something at minimal cost in hopes that it will immediately be a profitable release. We achieve this by calling upon ourselves and our friends for “donations” in the form of fiction and nonfiction.
So that is why these issues feature staff. While other publishers crowdfund to raise money, we do something a little different.