The idea at the time was to create a publishing company that would eventually put out more than one type of genre magazine and other products like novels, novellas and even possibly comics and graphic novels. That's still the goal, though there hasn't been much time to put out more than Necrotic Tissue up to this point.
Stygian is an adjective derived from the mythical river Styx. The first time I read it in a novel, it was used to describe the dark. I can't recall which book it was, but "Stygian darkness" stuck with me. It brings up images of death, but also passage. A transition from one state to another, and not necessarily for the best. It hints at there being something more and perhaps sinister. So in the fall of 2007, Stygian Publications, LLC was created.
Necrotic Tissue started out as a token pay ezine. I did this because I had no idea whether we could put out even one issue, let alone 8. As a writer, I had seen many magazine disappear even before the first issue was out, and I was not arrogant enough to think we could do better. I knew I wanted to try and I hoped we could and that it would grow over time. The ultimate goal was to be a pro pay market, though I wasn't convinced at the time that we would ever be print.
In July, 2007, after we had three issues under our belt, a man named Nathaniel Lambert wore me down with his relentless insistence that I put out a call for our first print endeavor. He had an idea for an anthology called Malpractice. He had the concept and even the cover art and volunteered to do the heavy lifting by doing the initial screening on the submissions. After a few months, I finally broke down and I'm glad I did. Nate did a fantastic job with Malpractice: An Anthology of Bedside Terror.
Months would go by and three other issues before I decided we were ready to go print with NT. Issue #7, July 2008 was our first. I think it turned out very well and I think we improved slightly with #8, which just came out. I hope we continue to improve and grow over time. Our rates increased from token to semi pro, at 1 cent per word. The story I think is the best for each issue receives pro pay. Eventually, we will raise our rates to pro pay for all stories, but for now we simply can't afford it.
Speaking of not being able to afford it, I have to announce (though many already have heard), that we are discontinuing the T-Shirts. The NT T's were a very cool idea back when we were token pay. It was a gimmick, designed to make us stand out from the other magazines. We couldn't pay pro rates, but many horror fans loves T-Shirts and ours had the word "Published" on the sleeve. Since our goal was to help new writers get published for the first time as well as offer a market for more experienced writers, it seemed appropriate to give them something they could be proud of. Most of the writers we get are not Active members of the HWA, and have had none or very few pro pay sales. This makes sense because we aren't pro pay yet. We knew that there was a large pool of talent that may be writing at a pro pay level, but the fact is there is a distinct lack of pro level markets, and those that exist don't give many slots to people that aren't already at that level.
Part of our goal then is to fill that void between writers that have already "made it", and those that are still working to become known. The T-Shirts were part of that and I'm sad to see them go. Perhaps at some time in the future, if the economy improves and NT get's enough subscribers, we can start them again.
Well that's it for the back history of Stygian Publications and Necrotic Tissue. I hope you swing by from time to time and check out our latest publishing news.
R. Scott McCoy