the Little Red Reviewer

Seeking more writers “who aren’t afraid to piss off readers”

Posted on: August 25, 2018


As of the writing of this blog post, The Apex Publications “Do Not Go Quietly” Kickstarter is just shy of 70% funded, with 15 days to go.  Jason and Lesley have let me annoy them with e-mails and tweets and Q&A’s.  I have to admit, I am fascinated not only by this particular kickstarter project, but by the behind the scenes of crowdfunding in general.  This is the fourth (fifth? I’ve lost count) Kickstarter that Apex has done, so crowdfunding projects must be fun!


Well past the 50% funded mark, the DNGQ project is now open to unsolicited submissions, through Sept 19th. They are looking for stories of Resistance. Of Revolution. Of standing up and demanding to have your space, your say, your right to be. Even if it means pissing people off.


Looking for some inspirational music? On the DNGQ blog is a Playlist of Resistance with more suggestions and music links in the comments.


But you came here to hear what Jason and Lesley have to say about resistance, voting, this anthology, and kickstarter, right?   Onward!


Andrea:  You’ve got voting information on the Do Not Go Quietly Blog. Um, why?

Jason: Lesley and I aren’t violent people. We certainly appreciate the sentiment behind punching neo-Nazis, but we don’t want to endorse any action that would see someone be harmed (particularly those who aren’t neo-Nazis). The simplest and most pain free way to resist in a democracy is to vote the assholes out. We want you to use your power to cast a ballot for those who are not racist, who does not suffer xenophobia, and discriminates against religion.

Lesley: Jason’s right. The best way to fight back and to resist is to be knowledgeable of what is going on in politics. So many people seem to feel like their vote doesn’t matter, like they can’t make a change by going, but that isn’t true. I would encourage everyone to pay attention. Know who your representatives are and what they stand for. If they don’t represent your beliefs or are actively trying to take away the rights of people they’re supposed to be representing, VOTE THEM OUT. The fastest way to get the attention of people in power is to take that power away when they abuse it.

Andrea: I am LOVING this cover art by Marcela Bolívar! What else can you tell us about her? Will she be creating any more artwork for this project?


Jason:  Marcela might be my favorite working artist right now. She’s from Brazil. Early to mid-twenties with the talent of someone who has been making art for decades. Her work has powerful edge to it, often feminist, and mostly speculative in nature. Her mix of beauty and darkness in her work made her the perfect choice to make our cover.

In most works dealing with resistance, the designs harken to the 1950s “The Reds are going to get you” angular industrial aesthetics. Marcela created a rather organic, flowing design that implicates it’s central focal point breaking free of the thorns (a stand-in for chains, I presume). It’s quite well done.

Lesley:  Assuming that we hit our goal and Do Not Go Quietly is funded with some time to spare, we do have stretch goals in mind – one of which is adding interior artwork by Marcela to the anthology.

More Marcela Bolivar cover art at Apex Magazine


Andrea: You’ve surpassed the 50% funding mark, and are now open to submissions. What kinds of stories are you hoping to pull out of the slush pile? Any tropes or pitfalls hopeful authors should avoid?

Jason:  We value powerful writing. If you look at our TOC, you’ll see that many of the writers are the sort who aren’t afraid to piss off readers. And they’re fantastic writers (otherwise how else are you going to piss off readers and expect them to stick around). Look at Cherie Priest’s latest story in Apex Magazine (“Mother Jones and the Nasty Eclipse”) where Cherie unloads against the misogyny that helped keep Hillary Clinton out of office. Brian Keene has made a living poking the powers that be with his work.

Andrea:  This is your fourth (fifth?) anthology that was funded through Kickstarter. What kind of planning goes into running a kickstarter campaign?

Lesley:  Don’t let anyone tell you that running a Kickstarter campaign is easy. Or that once you set it up, you just let it run and the money rains it. That is a lie!

Jason and I have spent a solid year prepping for this Kickstarter: coming up with the original idea, soliciting authors, working with Marcela to create the artwork and with John to complete the graphic design. And that all had to be done before we even thought about setting up the Kickstarter page itself (mind you, we are doing all this while publishing a monthly magazine and decent amount of books, plus holding open novel/novella submissions to secure 2019’s books – someone else may be able to do it faster than Jason and I). Beyond the things that you need for an anthology (authors, cover art, graphic design), we also had to plan out backer levels, work out the budget, and get all the bells and whistles set up for the Kickstarter page. It’s a lot of work, and no matter how badly Jason and I want this project to be successful, now it comes down to whether or not enough people think it’s a worthy project, something they want to invest in and be a part of. I hope that they do.


Friends,  readers,  what kinds of things do you resist, do you wish were different?  I’m talking everything from dress codes (are leggings business casual?) to the cost of child care, to how medicaid and health insurance works, to conceal and carry policies, to pregnancy discrimination, to being ignored (or given unwanted attention, to anytime you knew you deserved to be treated better.  Resistance is small things, resistance is medium things, resistance is gigantic things.


Some of you are saying “this resistance stuff isn’t for me, I don’t even know what this is”.  Are you a fan of Lord of the Rings?  that entire series is about resistance and fighting back.  Hunger Games? Harry Potter? Game of Thrones?  same deal.  You’re already in it.

5 Responses to "Seeking more writers “who aren’t afraid to piss off readers”"

Ah, the good old “authors who aren’t afraid to piss people off!”… A phrase that has long been to the taglines of conventional, unthreatening publishers much as “people who want work that is challenging, creative, that truly makes a difference!” is to the job-fair prospectuses of middling accountancy firms…

Everyone says they want authors who piss people off and aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves. But the stories they buy are formally conventional and ideologically conformist – re-iterations of the safe dogmas of a comfortable establishment. [which is not to say, of course, that any or all of those dogmas are wrong!]

You talk about the resistence in The Lord of the Rings – but do any of us expect that this anthology will have many tales of conservative Christians, of the sort Tolkien might approve of, resisting secularism? Will there be a lot of stories from Trump supporters? Will there be many stories of the white working class resisting immigration? Resisting the relaxing of gun laws?

Now, you may not want to read those stories. I’m not sure I do either. They’d probably piss me off. But then, that’s the point. By all means publish an anthology of party-political agitprop – agitprop has a very legitimate place in social and political history, and occasionally even makes for good literature. But then drop the guff about it being about resistence, about pissing people off. Because I’ll wager that when the anthology comes out there’ll be somewhere between zero and one stories that actually piss off any of the people who buy it. The others will be written, selected and consumed all by the same choir (same as almost any anthology).

On the other hand, we should at least be glad that there’s something that can unite both right and left. Because “resist to the last breath, never compromise, and don’t be afraid to piss people off” is at least a slogan that both sides can happily march under at the moment!

[now, if you really want to piss off as many people as possible, try writing a story that praises compromise, understanding, and acceptance. You’ll be guaranteed to get death threats from both sides within days…]

[[I’m not saying Trump’s not unpleasant, or that the Democratic Party isn’t the better of the two by far. And I’ve no problem with people trying to claim the moral high ground, especially when the deserve it. It’s when they try to pretend that they and the moral high ground are actually THE SAME, as if, say, the party platform of the Democratic party in symbolically (and ineffectually) opposing Donald Trump on some issues (but not others*) were actually the same as “resistence”…]]

*I’ve recently been deafened by the silence of Resistence to the Democratic-Republican consensus of raising the military budget by 40% over the last two years and to continue to do so yearly from now on…


Apex Publications may be using the phrase “not afraid to piss people off” in a slightly different context than you have heard it before. But what do I know, right?

looks like you’ve got some great story writing prompts though!


Oh, I don’t want to write those stories either. As I say, those stories would piss me off. (and my stories would probably just piss off the editors, so there’s not much point submitting them!).

I guess I actually originally had two points, which may have become confused.

One is that “not afraid to piss people off” and related phrases have become as ubiquitous in marketing as “innovative”, “bold”, “game-changing” and so on, but are actually almost always applied to things that are sure not to piss off anybody (at least, none of the target audience) in the same way that “innovative” tends to mean “exactly the same” and “game-changing” tends to mean “familiar”.

The second point was that there’s a sort of hypocrisy in equating a particular position with some positive property and then saying that you’re looking for that positive property – while in fact looking for only a particular position. It’s the same as the way a lot of people on the right promote “religious liberty”, yet strangely only seem to care when it’s the liberty of fundamentalist Christians at stake… because “resistance” and “liberty” are just code-words for “my side”.

But maybe I’ll be proven wrong on both counts by this new anthology! We shall have to wait and see…


Anyway, sorry for bringing unwanted cynicism to your blog – I didn’t mean any offence by it. The manipulativeness of modern marketing sometimes just gets me down. I hope the anthology is as good as you think it will be.


no worries, no offense taken. You had some important points to make, and it is good to have the opportunity to make our points.

yep, i hear you on the annoyingness of manipulative advertising. I have been known to angrily turn off the radio because there are particular ads I find nauseatingly offensive and manipulative. But, full disclosure here: As someone involved with Apex Magazine I have a vested interested in any Apex project succeeding. I like what I do for and with Apex, and I would like their business to continue existing, so that i can continue doing what I do. That said, the entire purpose of this particular blog post about the kickstarter is to a)separate people from their money, and/ or b) encourage them to share the information so that if they are not interested in being separated from their money, perhaps they know someone who will be. I am literally asking people to put their money where their mouth is, if this is a project they believe should see the light of day. And if they dont? that’s ok too.

I hope so too.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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