I took a break tonight from banging my head against the keyboard. Yes, my head has ten fingers attached to it. It is how I type. My wife thinks I look obscene when I write because of this. Go ahead, you figure that statement out. During that break, I took out my copy of The Best of Necrotic Tissue.
When I first received this collection of stories published during the 14 issue life span of Necrotic Tissue, I bounced around from story to story, picking and choosing which ones to read from the table of contents. You know, just kind of read it willy nilly. This time I decided to start from the beginning.
I made it as far as the forward, written by R. Scott McCoy, the owner of Necrotic Tissue. The forward wasn’t bad. No, it wasn’t bad at all. The truth is, if you actually read the forward you would understand a truth—the truth—of how great a publication the horror genre has lost.
No, this isn’t about the actual publication. It isn’t even about the stories. It’s about… Sunshine. Sunshine is… wait. Do you want to know what Sunshine is? Pick up a copy of the book.
I know. I know. That’s all sorts of wrong, but McCoy and his Staph deserves for folks to buy this collection. Again, it has nothing to do with the stories. Not in this case.
This has everything to do with love.
No, not that mushy stuff between a girl and a boy when they first discover each other. No, not that love you have for a car or an object that brings you pleasure—some of you really need to behave and get your minds out the gutter. Sheesh. No, not the type of love you have for a television show or a comic book character or a video game. No, not the love of a sports team.
It is the love for community.
No, not your neighborhood.
Hear me out. The horror community is small. It may seem large, but it’s not. There are few quality markets out there. And when I say quality, I don’t mean just in the writing and artwork departments. I also mean in professionalism. Necrotic Tissue excelled in professionalism.
In the time period that NT was around, I submitted seven stories to them. They accepted two of them, including my first professional sale. They rejected four of them and two others were shortlisted, one eventually rejected, and the other, well, the other one had been shortlisted before they closed their e-mail account forever.
They were every bit as professional as any publication could be.
Professionalism. Something that is missing in a lot of markets these days. Let’s see, they:
* Had quick turn around times with their submissions (both acceptances and rejections).
* Provided feedback on the stories that were rejected. And with that feedback, there was never, ever an insulting tone to their comments.
* Made payments when they said they would.
* Delivered a quality publication.
* Worked with the writers to make sure their stories were clean of errors, and helped make good stories better.
A few numbers for you:
In fourteen issues, Necrotic Tissue:
* Received 2975 submissions .
* Published 298 of those submissions.
* Sent 2677 personalized rejections!
* They received 266 of these __________ . What were they?
Let’s go back a step.
They sent 2677 personalized rejections. Personalized. Not a form letter, folks. Personal rejections. Do you know how long it takes to write a personalized rejection that offers feedback to just one story? It takes a while, because in order to write that personal e-mail, the editors would have had to read each story in its entirety. No, not skimmed over them. No, not read the first few pages. They had to read all of the stories from beginning to end. Eyes must have bled during this process.
There is a reason for this. You see, R. Scott McCoy is a writer. He has been on the other end of the submission process. He sweated bullets while he waited to hear from publications, sometimes three months later, sometimes six months later. Sometimes never hearing from a publication at all. A lot of times the rejections came in a form letter. All that waiting and nothing to show for it. Not even a ‘hey, this was crap, dude.’ Anything is better than nothing.
One of the things he set out to do when he started Necrotic Tissue was to give the writers a place to submit to, with quick turn around times and personalized comments. I guess that’s really three things, isn’t it? Oh, and he wasn’t rude about it.
McCoy did it the right way.
Because he loved—still does, if I’m correct—the horror community. He gave back to that community by putting out a quality publication that didn’t seek big names to fill the pages, but quality stories instead. He knew that in order for writers to get better, they have to know where they went wrong, what they made mistakes on, whether they were close to publication or as far away as another planet. If they know what they need work on, and they heed the words of the editors, then (most of the time) they get better. If they become better writers, that means more quality stories for other editors and readers.
McCoy got it—he understood what the community needed. He and his staph (yes, I know that is not the way the word is spelled, but anyone who has read NT knows the reference) gave of their skills and their time… and time is something you can’t get back. They put out fourteen glorious issues.
Necrotic Tissue was my favorite horror publication. I was saddened when I received the e-mail releasing my story from consideration because they were closing up shop. I miss it.
I’ve said all that to say this: Hey, R. Scott McCoy, in your forward you stated that you didn’t know if you helped any of the writers you sent rejections to, but if you helped one writer the way you were helped, then you would be content. Well, you can be content. You helped this writer. Not only with a rejection, but an acceptance (or two, for that matter) as well.
You see, McCoy, if you hadn’t rejected the first four stories I sent to NT, then I might not have been as inclined as I was to get better. Sure, other publications rejected stories, but the fact that you were willing to give feedback made me think about some of the things I did wrong. I tried harder—possibly the hardest for any publication—to make it into Necrotic Tissue. By doing so, my writing improved for other publications.
I’m certain I’m not the only one who you helped, but I feel this is long overdue.
Thank you for being willing to take the time to better the horror community. Thank you for your rejections. And, of course, thank you for your acceptances, as well.
R. Scott McCoy, thank you.
I hope this is a little Sunshine for you.