Over the last few days, I have added a few dozen new items, mostly t-shirts and coffee cups to The Chamber’s Gift Shop. These are beautifully dark, mysterious designs. Most are captioned with “The Chamber Magazine/ contemporary dark literature/ thechambermagazine.com” I have used imagery that shows people looking intensely at the viewer in order to not only catch the casual shopper’s attention but to hold it for a second or two as well. Check them out in the Gift Shop and let me know what you think. I am always open to constructive criticism. Nine of the new items are shown below.
Often, when I list The Chamber in a magazine directory or a submissions engine or elsewhere, the publishers ask for a copy of a cover image. This has been problematic, because The Chamber doesn’t have a cover like a print magazine or a major online magazine and I don’t want it to. I like that people can come to the homepage and see the titles and icons for the issue’s five works (I consider the five work published on a Friday to be one issue). Not having a traditional cover cuts out the crap and takes the reader to the heart of the matter: the stories. Therefore, I created an ad hoc cover of an ancient but elegant door with the The Chamber’s name and “Slattery Publishing” at the bottom as the parent company (I have used this name in publishing my books on Amazon and IngramSpark) and placed it in the top right corner of the front page to be used occasionally as a cover. I was asked for a cover once again when I listed The Chamber with Reedsy’s Directory of Literary Magazines earlier today.
I haven’t been happy with the door cover, because it is rather boring and doesn’t really give any hint of what one may encounter in the magazine. I do like having the bit of additional artwork adding an additional bit of color to the homepage. So, tonight I created another cover to last the remainder of April and I dated it. I really don’t want to go through the effort of finding and annotating a new cover every week so I will produce only a monthly cover and I will consider the issue to cover the twenty stories/poems published in a month. This seems logical. Were this a monthly print magazine, twenty stories and/or poems would be about the right number to include in a monthly issue.
I should probably call the monthly grouping of works as a volume and the ones produced in a week as an issue. This seems a rather trivial matter to me at the moment, so I will take some time and think about it. I like the idea of using format and terminology to a degree as everyone will be familiar with the terminology and there will be no learning curve for readers. I am all for doing whatever I can to make the experience of using and reading The Chamber as easy as possible. The more one has to work at understanding what is going on, the less enjoyable the experience will be.
Therefore, the plan for now will be to produce a monthly ad hoc cover image for the magazine to use administratively to post on other website and in directories, but also to add color and beauty to the homepage.
Let me know what you think as the months go by.
–Phil Slattery, Founder and Publisher
The Chamber will be offering a new option to authors and poets: if you would like to submit a story or poem that supports a social issue commemorated by a nationally recognized commemorative month (or day), please do so. If it meets The Chamber’s guidelines and if it is accepted, The Chamber will publish it during the appropriate month. This is by no means a requirement of any sort. It is solely a new option available to authors and poets.
However, having a theme will not affect whether a work is accepted. Acceptance is based on quality alone. If you submit a work without a theme and it is accepted The Chamber will always publish it as soon as possible regardless of any theme for that month unless you state that you would like it held until a certain month or day.
For example, if you write a story or poem involving LGBT characters and would like me to publish it (provided it meets all other submission guidelines and if it is accepted) during the LGBT commemorative month of June, please let know and I will hold it until then. If that is not important to you, I will publish it as soon as possible as I do all other works.
Any works submitted must always meet The Chamber’s guidelines regarding subject matter and writing mechanics. If it supports a theme but is not dark in some fashion, it will not be accepted.
To this end, I am adding the following paragraphs to the ends of both the Submissions and the Upcoming Stories… pages.
The Chamber is offering a new option to authors and poets: if you would like to submit a story or poem that supports a social issue commemorated by a nationally recognized commemorative month (or day), please do so. If it meets The Chamber’s guidelines and if it is accepted, The Chamber will publish it during the appropriate month. This is by no means a requirement of any sort. It is solely a new option available to authors and poets.
For those interested, below is a list of the commemorative months observed by the US. If you would like to submit something around the theme for a commemorative month, please do. This is entirely optional. The Chamber is not asking for works to be submitted around any particular theme at any time. This is entirely at the author’s discretion. The Chamber will continue to publish works as soon as possible regardless of whether the work has a theme unless otherwise requested.
To submit a work with a theme, note the theme the work is being submitted for in the subject line of the submission. Any accepted works I receive on a particular theme, The Chamber will try to post in the appropriate month. This is a service The Chamber would like to provide for the greater community.
Please note that having characters or a subject that pertains to a commemorative month will not affect whether your work is accepted. Acceptance is based on writing quality alone.
- National Stalking Awareness Month (January)
- African-American History Month (February)
- Irish-American Heritage Month (March)
- Women’s History Month (March)
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April)
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
- Jewish-American Heritage Month (May)
- Law Day (May 1)
- Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 17)
- LGBT Pride Month (June)
- National Hispanic American Heritage Month (Sept/Oct)
- Constitution and Citizenship Day (Sept 17)
- National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October)
- National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October)
- Veterans Day (November 11)
- Native American Heritage Month (November)
- Human Rights Day (Dec 10)
To gather a little useful information about The Chamber’s readership, I have added a Public Relations page to the website. Here people will be able to subscribe, send their opinions to the staff with a couple of simple, short forms, have a little fun with photos of our (fictional) staff, and contribute to the growth of The Chamber by buying one of our staffers a Ko-fi.
On a side note, I have also simplified and updated the Dark Matters Bookstore and Mercantile sections.
Check them out when you have the chance.
Over the last few days, I have been experimenting with developing a YouTube presence for The Chamber. At this point, I am not much of a filmmaker. I don’t have the time, experience, or equipment to develop a professional YouTube video. Ergo, I have been experimenting with public domain, royalty-free videos I can find at Pexels.com or Pixabay.com using free video editing software at Kizoa (using the basic free membership demands that I have the Kizoa logo on my works) or the very simple stuff available using the YouTube Studio editor. Above is about the best film I have developed so far. I have a longer one of a minute and fifteen seconds in the works. As I get the hang of making these, they are becoming easier to make.
I have not yet developed an ultimate goal for these videos other than to use as basic advertising on YouTube to draw people to The Chamber website. I do have a vague idea of using the public domain material (visual and audible) and free editing software to develop some type of very short film similar to a flash fiction or even micro fiction story. For the moment, I am experimenting mostly with setting a mood to use in advertising The Chamber. Once I have a few decent ones, I may start posting them on the website to encourage people to submit their YouTube videos to the website for additional exposure.
Check out The Chamber’s primitive YouTube page and let me know what you think. More videos will be coming soon.