Now on sale: Inedible Sins, by KV Taylor (Spring 2013 novella)


Spring 2013: “Inedible Sins” by KV Taylor

Set in Washington, DC, just before the civil war, “Inedible Sins” follows a seminary drop-out named Sebastian Jones as he navigates the intricacies of friendship, sex, love, morality, and the social circle to which he aspires. His curiosity leads to questioning God and sin,  his rebellious nature leads him to push back against the world… and his ingenuity gives him a way to do both:

“So I give you Brother Alfie. Disinterested, detached, and capable of proving absolution in the most practical, useful way.”

Though I had expected it to be something of a hit, I was not prepared to have an argument erupt as to who would go first. A dashing young gentleman leapt onto the platform and demanded that I show him how it was done.

“Consider your sin,” I said.

“Any and all of them?”

“Perhaps keep one in mind, and simply choose the categories into which it falls. For the most effective penance.”

The novella is just over 30,000 words long. Taylor’s been discussing the tale over on her blog, where she has a page set up for it. Read more excerpts from the story, and her thoughts on the city and her characters.

Buy it now! Only $1.99

DRM-free ePub: click here or DRM-free .mobi (perfect for Kindle): click here

Also available on Amazon: click here

A Letter from our Novellas department:

Hello! I’m Kelly C. Stiles, the Assistant Acquisitions Editor in charge of Novellas for Dagan Books.

The first of four quarterly novellas we will publish this year, “Inedible Sins” by K.V. Taylor, is a beautifully written story. It’s full of history, romance, sex, and violence. There’s also a sin-eating robot (automation if you prefer). Our second novella will appear this summer. That story is part Greek myth, part spaghetti western, and all awesome. Centaurs in the old west! Two more novellas will also be published–one each quarter. We are still taking submissions for these final two slots, as well as for 2014.

Why novellas, though? I have heard novellas called the perfect story length before. They are long enough for the reader to get into the depth and intricacy of the story, but short enough that the author can’t linger too long on one scene. They’re fast paced, but still complete.

As a staff member of Dagan Books, I get to read a lot. When I receive a submission, I like to glance at the cover letter before I dive into the prose. It gives me an idea of what kind of adventure I’m about to embark on. (As a side note, I don’t care about a writer’s credentials as long as the story is good.) When I read a submission, I usually form my impression quickly. Even if it is not a story I want to accept, I do try to read at least 20-30 pages of it. I know how hard authors work, and sometimes they surprise me a few pages in.

After I’ve finished reading a story, I let it sit for a day or two before I come back to it with a decision. Sometimes I need to leave it for even longer. Eventually, though, decisions are made, one way or another.

Let me tell you a little about what we are looking for:

  • Engaging stories that make me want to keep reading.
  • Science Fiction of all kinds. Hard, soft, near future, we want them all.
  • QUILTBAG characters, characters of color, and other people underrepresented in fiction.
  • Stories with a good ending. By good, I don’t necessarily mean happy. I mean a well-plotted ending.
  • Unique stories. We found our place in publishing by not being just like everyone else. I love finding different, quality fiction in my submissions stack.

What I Am NOT Looking For:

  • Sword and Sorcery stories. Don’t get me wrong, I will read it if it ends up in my stack, but it will be a hard sell.
  • Romance. Romance is fine as a subplot, but there has to be more to a story for me. The plot can’t revolve around whether two people are “meant to be together”, or put the characters through danger and distress simply so they can hook up at the end. (Same thing goes for erotica. We like it, but it has to serve a purpose.)
  • Religious themes of any kind. Again, I will read them, but they will be a very hard sell.
  • Girls or women whose only role is as a damsel in distress. All characters need to be well thought out, even if we don’t see much of them on the page. Don’t start a story with a dead girl unless you’re going to show us something new, fascinating, and special about who she was before she was a part of the scenery.
  • Gratuitous violence, including rape. If it’s there, it needs to further the story. Not just “this thing happened” but a story that couldn’t have moved forward any other way.

What Will Get You Kicked Out of the Slush Pile:

Author racism, sexism, or bigotry of any kind. Of course there is racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry in the world, and your story and characters should reflect that (or show us what’s changed). But there’s a difference between a character having that perspective, shown through  dialogue or internal thought, and a writer including that view as part of the narration. Say, “Bob thinks this,” but don’t say, “The world thinks this and that’s right.”

I am still reading novellas and I need more. Here’s a link to our submissions page.


Our Spring 2013 Novella: KV Taylor’s “Inedible Sins”

Early today we tweeted that:

Our Spring 2013 novella is almost ready to go! “Inedible Sins” by @hawthornetaylor has history, romance, sex, violence… and a robot.

We were talking about this:


click to see a larger, low-rez version

This Sunday, we’ll be launching our 2013 novella series with KV Taylor’s “Inedible Sins“. Set in Washington, DC, just before the civil war, it follows a seminary drop-out named Sebastian Jones as he navigates the intricacies of friendship, sex, love, morality, and the social circle to which he aspires.

Plus, there’s a clockwork robot named Brother Alfie.

Taylor’s been discussing the tale over on her blog, where she has a page set up for it. Read excerpts from the story, and her thoughts on the city and her characters.

Go on, now. Brother Alfie is waiting for you.

Payment and Rights information for Novellas

We’ve been asked what they pay rate is for our novella series. You can find that information here, but we wanted to explain it a little more fully.

We’re buying First Worldwide English-language rights for print and digital (ebook) for novellas. The payment breaks down as follows:

  • For the individual ebooks, we’re paying 50% of net sales.
  • For the yearly ebook subscription, and the annual ebook collection, which will contain four novellas, you will get 12.5% of net sales (equal to 50% of 1/4 of the book’s net sales).
  • For the print collection, you will receive 1 cent per word.

How this works for you:

Say we buy your 25,000 word novella. It comes out January 2013 as an individual ebook. Each quarter end (March, June, September, and December) we calculate the net sales – the amount that we actually get from the sale of the book. If, for example, we sell the novella for $2 through Amazon, we might get 70% or 35% depending on the country the buyer is located in. If we get 70%, then we also have to pay a “delivery” fee. So from a $2 sale, we might net $1.20. Sixty cents of that (50%) would be yours.

Then we also sell subscriptions via our website. The $10 we charge gets buyers all four novellas delivered to them automatically throughout the year, at least a week BEFORE they’re available for sale anywhere else. The fee we pay to be able to sell that online is lower, so we might get to keep $9.00 of that. You would get $1.12 for each subscription that includes your novella.

Since all of the ebook sales are calculated quarterly, including subscriptions, you would get paid for both every three months. However, while the individual ebooks will be on sale forever, your novella will only be included in subscriptions for a 12 month period.

When the print collection comes out at the end of the year, you’ll be paid an additional 1 cent per word – or in the case of your 25,000 word story, another $250.00. You won’t get any royalties on the print collection, but you’ll keep getting your ebook royalties as long as your novella is selling.

It’s been our experience that digital books sell 10 times more than print, and we often don’t make enough to cover the cost of the print book (payments to contributors) through print sales alone, but releasing a print book helps to drive the sales of ebooks through physical presence in stores and at conventions. Also, many reviewers only want print copies of a title, so creating a print book helps to get reviews and word-of-mouth advertising for your story.

All funds payable in US funds via Paypal or US bank check. Ebook payments calculated quarterly; print payment will be sent out within 60 days of print publication. Contributors also receive 3 copies of print collection (publisher pays shipping) and 1 ebook (both .epub and .mobi/Kindle versions).

Why Novellas Matter

A novella is a long story, much longer than the 5000 to 8000 word short stories published in magazines across all genres. At the same time, it’s shorter than a novel, less than half the length (sometimes only a third). It’s an in-between story, not quite either of the two things readers are most used to reading. It’s been defined as being between 17,500 and 40,000 words*, which tells you about how long it might be, but not, really, what it is.

“The beauty of the novella is that is eludes definition. Which, when you think about it, is what makes art art rather than a product. Let’s embrace that.” – Michael Nye

Perhaps it’s not definable as a specific thing so much as a range that a certain kind of story falls into. But if we can’t nail down hard and fast rules about what a novella is, what’s the point of it?

The structure of a novella lends itself to exploration without dragging on too long. Taylor Antrim said that a novella is “fiction’s most open-ended and compellingly discursive form.” It opens the reader up to a new experience but ends before the feeling has faded away, leaving the reader in the moment, in the story.

The point is that a novella offers the best kind of reading experience. The point is that novellas are quick to read, full of impact, descriptive without being overwhelming, and exciting in their brevity. They are, simply, damn fun to read.

The novella is the perfect literary length. Bartleby the Scrivener. The Secret Sharer. The Turn of the Screw — all are novellas which retain the immediacy and vigor of the short story combined with the freedom and leisurely pace of a monologue without losing the gristle and bone and without losing the fat. – Harlan Ellison

Think of all of the chances you’ve had to start reading a new novel, but put it aside because you didn’t think you had the time … A novella can be read in a few hours, or spread out over your lunch breaks one week, or finished on your daily commute.

A novella is everything you need a piece of fiction to be.

John Brandon thought so highly of the novella as a story form that he suggested we all pretend they don’t exist, so publishers can’t find a way to make money from them, so they don’t become mainstream and boring. For the most part, that’s worked, as there are few publishers willing to put out a novella on its own, and even fewer of those handle speculative fiction. It’s this deficit that we want to correct.

“And look,” he said, “let’s keep the novella for ourselves, the adults. We deserve something, don’t we?

You do deserve to be able to read brilliant, strange, beautiful, and wicked stories. You deserve a quality market for speculative fiction novellas. We want to give them to you.

click on the image to pledge

Please pre-order books, art, and novella subscriptions from our Kickstarter today, and help us make a new home for novellas. We only have two weeks left.

* According to the SFWA

Kickstarter Stretch Goal #1: Novellas!

In the first week of our Kickstarter campaign, we met our initial goal. We successfully raised $2500 to pay the authors involved in FISH and BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA, our next two anthologies. With three weeks left, we’re pleased to announce our first stretch goal, designed to cover the cost of producing the first year in a line of speculative fiction novellas.

If we can raise an additional $1500, bringing our total to $4000, we’ll be able to produce four novellas in 2013. Each of these long stories, ranging between 17,500 and 40,000 words, will be released as digital book every three months. At the end of the year, we’ll release a full-length ebook which includes all four stories, and we’ll offer a print collection of the year’s tales as well. We’ll also offer a subscription to the year’s novellas in advance, so you get them emailed to you on release day without any additional effort on your part.

Why novellas? It’s often considered the perfect length for a story, long enough to explore the plot without saying too much. There are awards for outstanding speculative fiction novellas, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Shirley Jackson award. But there are few markets that buy this length of work. We want to be one of them.

We’ve added new rewards to our Kickstarter:

At the $10 level – Digital subscription to the 2013 novella series. Four times a year, the current novella will be emailed to you in a drm-free format of your choice (epub or mobi).

At the $20 level – Print copy of the 2013 novella collection. This 5″x8″ trade paperback will include all four of the year’s novellas, and be released Dec 2013.

PLUS if we reach this goal, we’ll send out a sneak preview of a story from the upcoming BIBIOTHECA FANTASTICA anthology, just to our backers.

We have already opened up to new novella submissions, and have volunteer readers standing by. As always, we appreciate your help, both in donating to our Kickstarter and in sharing our news with your friends and family. We couldn’t do this without you. Click on the logo below to pledge:

Please note: You can pledge to Dagan Books as a gift for someone else. Once the campaign is completed, we will contact you for further instructions. We will happily ship it to any address you specify.

Now Open For Novellas!

We are once again open for submissions of speculative fiction novellas – stories between 17,500 and 40,000 words in length. Please submit the completed manuscript via our online form. You will receive an automated response letting you know we have your novella. You should hear something further from us within 60 days of submitting.

Read more and submit here