The Town Drunk  
FAQ
The Town Drunk publishes lighthearted and humorous short stories that contain elements of science fiction, fantasy, or the supernatural. We seek to offer original, accessible fiction with plots that make sense and endings that satisfy. Our primary purpose, though, is to amuse and entertain, and we hope our stories will leave you smiling—or better yet, laughing out loud.

General Questions

Why was The Town Drunk founded?
How often do you publish?
Who is behind The Town Drunk?
How do you make money? How can you afford to offer fiction online for free?
Why don’t you publish poetry?
How can I contact you with questions or comments about the webzine?

Submission Questions

How do I submit a story for consideration?
Why don’t you accept submissions via e-mail or snail-mail?
Why do you accept manuscripts only in Rich Text format?
Why do you count words the way you do?
Would you consider serializing a story longer than 5,000 words?





Why was The Town Drunk founded?

We feel that lighthearted humor remains under-represented in contemporary speculative fiction. The current trend in the market is to favor literary merit over entertainment value, and lighthearted fiction is not considered “serious” enough for many magazines. When it does appear, it's usually something of a novelty, like that comic episode of The Twilight Zone starring Carol Burnett. As both readers and writers, we want to see more.

The Town Drunk is not the first or only publication to specialize in humorous and lighthearted speculative fiction. Still, we feel we can add a unique voice to that small chorus. Plus, we get to read a lot of funny stuff while deciding what to present to our readers.

How often do you publish?

We publish a new issue on the first day of each month. Each issue contains 1-2 stories.

Who is behind The Town Drunk?

Check out our Staff page.

How do you make money? How can you afford to offer fiction online for free?

At this time, The Town Drunk is completely funded by the publisher. We are, however, accepting donations to help defray costs. Also, we participate in the Amazon.com Associate Program; if you follow an Amazon.com link from our site and purchase the linked merchandise within the same session, we will receive a small kickback.

In the future, we hope to sell merchandise—possibly even anthologies—to support the magazine on an ongoing basis. We do not, however, expect to implement paid subscriptions for our online content.

Why don’t you publish poetry?

Speculative poetry is a very specific literary niche, and lighthearted/humorous speculative poetry even more so. We’re skeptical that there’s enough quality material of that type to interest us. We may publish poetry in the future, but for now, we’re trying to keep things simple by offering short stories only.

How can I contact you with questions or comments about the webzine?

The best way to contact us is to complete the form on our Contact Us page.

How do I submit a story for consideration?

When The Town Drunk is open to submissions, a submission form is accessible from our Guidelines page. Please read our guidelines completely and carefully before submitting, and don’t forget to check out our Hard Sells page.

Why don’t you accept submissions via e-mail or snail-mail?

Spam is a big reason we decline to accept e-mail submissions. But also, an e-mail-based system would make our evaluation process less efficient. Currently, our submission form enters a manuscript into a database where it is immediately visible to all submissions editors. A reader can then “check out” the submission and review it whenever s/he has time, all without e-mail forwards or any other clerical juggling. This automation helps keep our response times competitive. We believe that our web form is easier for authors as well, at least those who are Internet-savvy. It prevents writers from omitting required information or submitting stories in unacceptable formats.

We do not accept snail-mail submissions for the simple reason that we have no central office. We are a “virtual” organization with staff scattered all across the U.S. and around the world. Even if we had a good document scanner, we feel that evaluating hardcopy submissions would be too unwieldy to be worth the effort.

Why do you accept submissions only in Rich Text format?

Rich Text (RTF) is a standard document format almost universally supported by word processors. Unlike Microsoft Word documents, RTF files are not vulnerable to viral infection. If you are having trouble saving your manuscript as an RTF, please contact us, and we will try to help.

Why do you count words the way you do?

To us, a word is six characters, including spaces (assuming only a single space between sentences). This formula is more commonly used by book publishers than magazines. Chuck Rothman’s article “What Is a Word?” on the SFWA website explains why.

Publishers of print magazines are under a variety of pressures, including tight space constraints and the cost of paper. As Rothman explains, short lines take up as much space on a physical page as full ones, and editors need to be able to compensate for that.

As a webzine, The Town Drunk is not subject to the same constraints. We do, however, need to worry about the time it takes a typical visitor to read a story, and that’s usually related to the number of syllables in a piece, since most of us subvocalize when we read. For these reasons, we defaulted to the simpler, standard formula used by book publishers.

Microsoft Word, at least, includes a character count (with and without spaces) in its word count tool.

Would you consider serializing a story longer than 5,000 words?

Not at this time. We are currently unable to evaluate long submissions in a timely manner, in addition to all the shorter fiction we receive. We may change this policy in the future, but probably not in the near-term.
 
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