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June 14th, 2013

My Musa Publishing Statement

Originally published at Ramblings from the Flip Side (Site under construction). You can comment here or there.

So I’ve been debating on whether or not to say anything about the Musa/Penumbra Rising Talent situation. There are some angry people out there, some who have been connected with Musa and some who have nothing at all to do with the industry. Words have been said, flames have been counter-flamed, and posts-gone-too-far have been deleted or moderated on various boards. It seems no one can say anything about Musa (bad or good) without getting cyber-lynched in certain circles. In this atmosphere of high emotion, there is little that can be said that won’t be taken out of context.

But I do feel the need to make a statement. So here it is:

I work for Musa Publishing’s Urania imprint and do editing & acquisitions for Penumbra eMag. While I did not create the Rising Talent, it was explained to me after I came onboard. Reading the submission guidelines with that information in my head (I didn’t read them before the explanation), they seemed clear and concise to me. It never occurred to me that they weren’t clear to everyone else.

As a member of SFWA, I should have thought about the situation. I didn’t. If I caused any harm to anyone over this, I apologize. Harm was not intended. Neither was evil. The intent of Rising Talent was to get as many new writers into the field as possible. Unfortunately, Penumbra’s current budget doesn’t allow for publishing nearly as many authors (new and veteran) as we would like. I failed to recognize that the Rising Talent story/essay on the website would be viewed as part of the magazine. I failed to recognize that the RT would be considered harmful to authors.

To all the authors I have interacted with at Penumbra, I failed you and I apologize. As the Rising Talent is no more, there will not be a repeat of this at Penumbra and I promise to carry this lesson over to all other editing or publishing jobs I have in the future. I will not let this happen again.

To clarify a few points.

1) At no point did Penumbra actually claim that it was a SFWA qualifying market magazine.

We have stated that we want to be, and are working hard toward that goal. But to get there, we need to get our circulation numbers up and rectify any lingering disqualification issues. I promise to do everything in my power to fix those issues.

2) I believe in Musa as a company and Penumbra eMag as a product.

I love Musa’s mission statement and committment to bringing new authors into the industry. Penumbra’s quality of submissions and issues has increased exponentially the past nine months. The authors who submit to us are all fantastic and I wish we could buy more of their stories for each issue.

3) I am still working for Musa and intend to continue doing so until my schedule dictates otherwise (working 3 jobs is painful).

This is not intended as a Musa evangelist kind of post. Some people have legitimate complaints about their interactions at Musa. I acknowledge that even as I must acknowledge that there are many situations which I have no control over. They didn’t happen at the imprint I work at.

The Rising Talent thing did, however. So I will take responsibility for my part in that. As I believe in the company and what the directors are trying to accomplish though, I will stay at Musa, doing what I can to support the company while working to support authors’ rights as well.

It’s the best I can offer at this time. I hope it is enough.

Brandie's Stories

The Monster of Mogahnee Bay (reprint ebook, Coming Soon, Musa Publishing)

The Drunkard's Progress (Coming Soon, Musa Publishing)

Slipping Thru the Cracks, Latchkeys #7 (Sept 2012 Crazy 8 Press)

Legend of the Beemen (June 2012 Musa Publishing)

Feast of the Torn (upcoming Buzzy Magazine)

The Hunt for Liberty Jones (Space Tramps, Flying Pen Press)

The Tales We'll Tell Tomorrow (Shadowrun: Street Legends, Catalyst Game Labs)

Silk and Steam (The Ladies of Trade Town, HarpHaven Press)

Love Me Knot (A Lady Katya Story, Storyportals.com)

Another Day, Another Labor (A Career Guide to Your Job in Hell)

Locke-Down (Blue Kingdoms: Mages & Magic)

The Rose Garden (Shadowrun: Corporate Guide-Mitsuhama Fiction, Catalyst Game Labs)

The Monster of Mogahnee Bay (Blue Kingdoms: Shades & Specters)

Just My Luck (Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms)

Two for the Price of One (Transformers: Legends, iBooks Inc.)

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