Problematic Press is a modest operation with limited resources. Our aim is to publish 1-2 books per year going forward.
Our titles are published as paperbacks and ebooks that are distributed through retailers and libraries both online and around the world.
Problematic Press is pleased to make this call for submissions.
DEADLINE: Open and ongoing, so submit whenever.
We are interested in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Final drafts should be 20,000-39,999 words.
Responses will be sent to applicants within two months.
Read the rest of this post thoroughly to get the details.
Find the link to the submission form at the bottom of this post.
We invite pitches from interested authors with titles intended for future publication, generally within the next year or two.
Provided the writing demonstrates exceptional mastery of English, we are open to considering original works from any person residing anywhere within Canada and legally entitled to work and earn income within Canada. However, we very much prefer to work with local creators in the St. John’s region of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. This preference is stated outright.
Understand that any licensing agreement that may result from submitting your pitch represents an investment in you as well as your book. Beyond that, you must maintain a public persona that the publisher is excited to endorse. Liabilities will not be tolerated.
Expect this process to be lengthy, rigorous, and arduous. Our authors and artists thrive when challenged, and they have the dedication and patience required to persevere.
Before and after publication, all authors and artists are encouraged to pursue external funding opportunities, such as federal, provincial, and municipal grants. The timing of such opportunities will have an impact on the timeline of publication. That is understandable, and we are flexible enough to work within such a schedule for our grant-winning authors.
If this sounds thrilling to you, then dare to proceed.
Otherwise, turn back now, saving each of us a lot of time.
Problematic Press embodies the way of the MERCANARY™, our trademark sells-word chimæra.
In that spirit, we are excited to receive pitches for book-length works (20,000 words to 39,999 words in length) in a variety of genres.
The key to a winning pitch is that it is high-quality, daring excitement, but — above all — it must be an achievable goal for each of us, from revising to editing to promotion to publication and to promotion again.
Do you feel up for it?
Do not pitch a series.
Do you have a completed draft of your manuscript?
Turn back now.
You may continue.
Do you still feel up for it?
This is a test.
You are encouraged to come to this well-prepared.
Consider gaining experience and levelling up before you continue.
If you’re still here, you’re doing well.
What Problematic Press Wants
Problematic Press is only interested in pitches for hitherto unpublished anywhere original works of literature, and we are happy to consider such original works that fall within or near the following areas:
One of the most fascinating aspects of myths in general is how there are so frequently variations of the “same” stories.
I mean this in a few senses, but, primarily, consider, say, the stories of Heracles and Hercules, and, secondarily, consider Joseph Campbell‘s concept of the monomyth. I’ll introduce the tertiary consideration later.
Further, the Labours shall use the exact memeoems from the Epic, just reordered, remixed, re-cut.
And, the Labours will significantly shape the prose of the novel, “The Marvelous Saga of the MERCANARY™.”
The tertiary sense of variations of myths focuses (perhaps) more on interpretation. Roland Barthes engages the rhetoric of myth in his theories on semiotics (how meaning is made, how communication functions, etc.).
An Occam’s razor explanation: consider how the reader/viewer/listener brings with them a whole set of biases, attitudes, values, beliefs, and more when they encounter any communicated expression, and that set determines how they might interpret any message.
These memeoems are meant to explode meaning; they ought to have great variance in how they are read.
The prose of the novel will be clearer than the memeoems, without a doubt, but readers should still expect a great deal of coy obfuscation, ambiguity, and wordplay.
By the time the novel is in print, this whole project will be a strange intermedial loop of potential interpretations of the work as a whole.
I’d like to tease a few points about this work-in-progress.
These are “The Revelations of the MERCANARY™” …
I am not mad. While this is a project that plays with themes of identity, psyche, dreams, the supernatural, and more, I assure you that I am deliberately navigating this terrain as reasonably as any writer. Bear with me until it’s in print.
However, I am literally writing a method into what otherwise must appear as complete madness. This leads to the SECOND REVELATION (which is rather lengthy).
Much is already written. The plot is outlined, and maybe 20% of the rough draft is complete. For the remainder of writing the rough draft, I’m taking inspiration from dadaism.
MERCANARY™ began as a ‘zine, became the trademark of PROBLEMATIC PRESS, sought idolization through OPERATION: MERC(H)ANARY™, transitioned to Instagram for the memeoem epic and labours, and will eventually become a sort of gonzo picaresque novel.
Here is where the method enters the madness.
There are 100 slides in the epic (99 + 1 across two highlight reels). Employing a type of cut-up technique, the first 99 memeoems in the epic will find their way into the novel. Additionally, those 99 memeoems will be used to craft the labours.
Each memeoem consists of three fundamental aspects: audio, imagery, and an original poetic line (or the absence of a line to signal a break).
I have numbered each memeoem in the sequence and noted each of these three aspects for every memeoem.
The notes are cut up as slips. The slips are crumpled into balls. The 99 balls of each aspect will be placed into three of my hats, shaken rigorously, and then allotted. Those 297 balls will be evenly distributed to each of the nine “chapters” of the novel, and this lottery will dictate the memeoems that become the Labours.
The audio shall provide the Soundtrack for each of the “chapters” in the rough draft. I shall make and share playlists for each as writing progresses. I will listen to each on repeat as I write the corresponding “chapter.”
The imagery will provide the Cues for each “chapter,” which I will use as prompts for themes or imagery or some other allusion or reference. These will also be mixed into the labours, meaning the memeoems from the epic shall appear in multiple labours. This is myth-making.
The original poems will provide the A’s. A is for Appreciation. The MERCANARY™ epic is a lengthy appreciation memeoem, hence these are the A’s you are looking for. Since I am the author, these will be directly incorporated into the rough draft. Again, this lottery will help form the labours, so expect a lot of multiplicity in the memeoems.
I seek to challenge myself with this intermedia-writing project, and I am confident that each prompt will make it into the rough draft.
However, I make no promises as to what gets cut while revising and editing. This ought to be at least somewhat coherent by the time it goes to print.
Before diving head first into the deep seas of writing (and promoting) this gonzo picaresque novel, I want to provide a little more context about who I am in a clear and distinct voice. My voice. Not the narrator’s.
I’m a child of rural Newfoundland in the ’80s and ’90s, having grown up in Harbour Grace. That’s where I began writing little stories by the time I was 8, certainly. I liked pirates and adventure. I played ninjas with my friends in the woods, as one would. I started writing poetry as a pre-teen. I was already reading Poe and Shakespeare by the time I was 13. I wrote some songs as a teen, but I was mostly writing poetry as a teen.
I didn’t really write anything like that while I was studying at university, pursuing a BA with a double major in Philosophy as well as English language and literature followed by an MPhil in the Humanities. Focus had to shift to an academic voice more thoroughly to succeed. I struggled. Believe me. But, I succeeded, and I published the culmination of my graduate studies.
A common creative outlet that carried over from my teenage years throughout my studies and beyond was playing games – video games as well as pen-n-paper roleplaying games. I created and hosted homebrewed sessions and campaigns for more than 20 years. (The other project I’m working on is a video game: FORTHCOMING, ETA = 2023-ish.)
Before moving on, I want to acknowledge absolutely everyone who has influenced, inspired, or encouraged me along this lengthy and bumpy road. I have too many in mind to name here outright (reading this counts for something, though, if you’re curious who’s on the list), but each of you have my eternal gratitude.
As I get into detailing the writing process for the MERCANARY™ novel, I can appreciate that this is going to seem pretty wild.
Ultimately, keep in mind that this sensible-Dave is still here behind the scenes. I’m a competent writer, I’m schooled in narrative arts, I’ve read McLuhan, and I can appreciate social media as a sort of facade.
I can handle this project.
I got this.
With a little confidence, trust, or faith, this ride goes a lot easier.