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Love Our Blog Posts? Give Us a Tip!

Just a note y’all – we’ve turned on Tipping for the Duck Prints Press Tumblr Blog (here) and for our original posts (EXCEPT those written by guest bloggers, because US getting tips for a post written by a guest blogger just feels super awkward and not-quite-right).

So, if you want to support us, and you don’t want to become a ko-fi member, back us on Patreon, or shop at our store…now you have yet another option!

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Announcing: The Contributors to “He Bears the Cape of Stars” and “She Wears the Midnight Crown”!

36 remarkable authors—18 for He Bears the Cape of Stars, 18 for She Wears the Midnight Crown—have come together for this project. These authors have been toiling away on their stories since February 1st, 2022, and we’re currently work with them on edits to get them publication-ready. We’re delighted to share their work with you!

Contributors to He Bears the Cape of Stars:

Contributors to She Wears the Midnight Crown:

You can read about them—in their own words!—see select author portraits, and more, by clicking this link:

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New Backer Free Short Story: “Not So Trivial Matters” by Nickel J. Keep

All monthly backers on our Patreon and our Ko-fi get access to one free short-story per month (fluff, rated gen or teen, up to 2,500 words). We’re actually playing catch-up right now – we fell behind on fulfilling this reward while I was dealing with health issues, but all the stories are now written and in various stages of being editing for posting to our account, and we’ll be sharing them over the next few weeks! So, if you want to read a whole bunch of wonderful short stories, full of fluff and good feels and queerness, and all written by authors transitioning from writing fanfiction to original fiction, why not back us and check them out? Backers can also access all the past backer-stories – that’s ten short stories you can read right now, just by backing us!

This month’s story is:

Title: Not So Trivial Matters

Author: Nickel J. Keep

Genre: Modern

Rating: General Audiences

Relationship: enlm

Character Features: non-binary character

Tags: anxiety, coming out, emotional hurt/comfort (mild), fluff (domestic), internalized transphobia, past tense, pov third person limited, slice of life

Copyright © 2022 Nickel J. Keep

Teaser:

“Sky? Are you almost done in there?” Matthew’s calm, reassuring voice rang from the other side of the door, not settling Sky’s nerves in the least bit. “We need to get going.”

“Yeah,” Sky replied after a moment. They took a look in the mirror. Matt had told them it would be okay, that they could dress how they felt most comfortable. Standing in the bathroom and regarding their reflection in the mirror, the knots in their stomach drew tighter. Where there had once been long brown hair now rested a short mop of green, styled into a quiff. Their lack of chest, hidden by the binder that had arrived that morning, was startling. But it felt right. Paired with a slightly baggy T-shirt and boot-leg jeans, they almost didn’t recognize their body.

It was perfect.

Want to read more? Become a monthly Duck Prints Press supporter on Patreon or Ko-fi and this and lots of other great stuff can be yours!

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Coming Soon: May Trope Mayhem!

Get your mental engines in gear and your keyboards ready, because Duck Prints Press will be hosting our second annual May Trope Mayhem starting on May 1st, 2022!

May Trope Mayhem is a multi-fandom/original creation event open to writers, artists, and content creators of all kinds! We’ve put together a list of 31 of our favorite tropes, one per day through the month of May, and we encourage creators to join us for this month of fun tropey mayhem.

Our goal is to promote motivation and help with habit building, so we’re encouraging people to keep their ficlets under 1,000 words, or if you make art or a gif or some such, to stick to a sketch or a single image.

This event is primarily held on Tumblr, but you’re welcome to participate on anywhere Duck Prints Press has an account (you can see all our current platforms here) and we’ll keep our eyes on our tag everywhere!

How can you participate? It’s easy! There’s just a few simple rules:

  • to participate, write a ficlet, a poem, create art, make a gif, or create any other content that you want, aligned with the prompt for the day!
  • post your correctly tagged fills to Tumblr, and we’ll reblog them!
  • you must tag warnings such as gore, MCD, sexual content, etc., so that people can avoid triggering material!
  • please also tag fandom and ship, so people can find what interests them!
  • we ask that you put the tags at the top of your post, so they’re easy to find.
  • if you write more than 1k words, please use a read more,
  • if you write something with NSFW content or potentially triggering material, please put the entire story under a read more.

Ping us (@duckprintspress) or tag your creations “#may trope mayhem” and so we can find them! We’ll reblog all fills that follow the above rules and are posted between May 1st and June 8th, 2022.

If you post to AO3, you can also add them to our collection there!

You don’t have to sign up, just post your fills. You don’t have to be a member of the Press, or following us. You don’t have to be part of a specific fandom. We’re open to all ships, genres, formats, etc.! You don’t have to post fills on the corresponding day, though we ask that if you’re creating for a day that hasn’t happened yet, please wait for that day to post.

This is a low-pressure event, held all in good fun, and we look forward to seeing what you create! You can see last year’s list here, and read fills from 2021 by going to #may trope mayhem or by visiting our AO3 collection.

The official 2022 May Trope Mayhem List will be released on May 1st, 2022!

(though, Patreon and ko-fi backers get a sneak peek today…)

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Formatting Tweaks to Help Your Typesetter Have a Great Day

The last few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of editing, which also means I’ve been doing a lot of small changes to ensure that the documents are print and e-book ready. Preparing manuscripts involves doing a lot of tiny, fiddly tweaks to make sure that spelling, grammar, and formatting are uniform across all the stories in an anthology, are accurate to the authors’ intentions, and look nice in all the formats we’ll be offering (print, PDF, ePub, and Mobi). None of the changes are complicated, but making them all is surprisingly time consuming—I usually spend about 30 minutes “cleaning up” each story with modifications that are largely invisible to a writer and reader, but still essential to produce a polished finished book.

Each Press and Publisher will handle these formatting things in slightly different ways—while some of these (such as “when do I use a hyphen vs. an en dash vs. an em dash?”) others are publisher-discretion. If you are submitting a manuscript and want to look like you’ve really, really paid attention, consider making some of these changes yourself—but make sure you check if the place you’re submitting to has a public style guide first, and if they do, anything they say in their style guide takes precedence! (Duck Prints Press doesn’t have a guide yet—we’ve been working on one, but it keeps getting back-burnered in favor completing more timely tasks). 

This post is written from our point of view—which is to say, I wrote it specifically for how we at DPP handle these formatting matters—but it can provide some general guidelines, especially if you are submitting to a publication that hasn’t provided a style guide. Even if what you do based on this guide doesn’t match what they do, at least by being consistent in your own submission, you demonstrate that you were paying attention! (But: NEVER do any of the below if it contradicts the submission information and/or style guide provided by a different publisher!!)

Note that to really do most of these tweaks, you’ll want to use an actual word processor. Google docs doesn’t have the functionality for the most fiddly bits. Despite its downsides, DPP currently uses Microsoft Office 365, and this guide is primarily written with Word in mind. If you also use Microsoft, here’s a couple quick tutorials—you’ll need to know how to do these two things in order to do…all the rest.

Tutorial 1: Inserting Special Characters

1. Go to the “Insert” Menu

2. Go to “Insert Symbol”

3. If, like me, you use the same 4 special characters over and over, the symbol you’re looking for will most likely be in the “recently used” list that pops up. But, if it’s not there, pick “More Symbols.” That opens a screen that looks like this:

image

4. While you could scroll through this list until you find what you want, it’s much easier to go to the bottom boxes I circled in red, where it says “Character Code.” Enter the 4-digit-and-letter code for the character you want. This way, you can be sure you actually get the character you want. Make sure that the “from” field matches the code type you’re using—I pretty much entirely use unicode, and that’s what I reference/include numbers for in this post. (Usually, googling “(name of the character you want) unicode” will get you the number.)

5. Note that not every character is available in every font; if you want to be sure you can access the maximum number of characters, I recommend using Arial or Calibri.

Tutorial 2: Turning on Mark-up

1. Go to the “Home” menu

2. In the “Paragraph” section, find the ¶ option; if your menu is drop-down it might be called “Show/Hide ¶” (in Word, it can also be turned on with ctrl + * )

image

3. Show ¶.

4. Profit. (okay, no, not really.)

Tutorial 2a: Using Mark-Up to Find Weird Formatting

Are there tab indents where there shouldn’t be? Extra spaces? Superfluous paragraph breaks? Turn on “Show ¶” and tada, you can see all the usually “invisible” formatting! This is essential for spotting a lot of problems, so it’s worth taking a peek at for your own work. Here’s an example of what it looks like when you do this (using an early draft/outline of this post!)

image

Dots are regular spaces. Circles are non-breaking spaces. Forward facing arrows are tabs. ¶ is a standard paragraph break. There’s a bunch of other symbols, too, but those are the ones that come up most often. I’ve labeled a couple others on the above image, to help you have an idea what you’re looking for. You’ll need this information to help you trouble-shoot some of the things below. If there’s a symbol on yours and you’re not sure what it is, I recommend Google.

So, you’ve got a handle on the above…on to all the formatting tweaks your editor and/or typesetter does that you may have never even considered as an essential part of publishing!

Getting Rid of Bad/Published-Book-Inappropriate Formatting

Tabs: published manuscripts doesn’t use tabs to make space. They make a huge formatting/spacing mess. Instead, we use paragraph formatting -> first line indentation -> (whatever indent amount the publisher has chosen as standard —we use 0.25”). If I get a manuscript that’s used tabbing—if you’ve used tab indents and want them gone—I get rid of it with a find-and-replace.

Find: ^t

Replace with: (blank)

Tada, all tabs gone!

Paragraphs: people who add lines between their paragraphs by making extra paragraphs used to be the bain of my editorial existence…until I figured out how to remove the extra paragraph breaks with a single button click. There should only be one paragraph break after every paragraph; if there are multiple, then…

Find: ^p^p

Replace with: ^p

Tada, all paragraph-paragraph breaks now only have one paragraph break!

Set Up Base Formatting

At least for editing/manuscript preparation, I start by getting the whole document into one, consistent format. I personally use:

Font: Arial

Size: 11

Paragraph Indentation: 0.25”

Line Spacing: 1.15

Space Before Paragraphs: 0

Space After Paragraphs: 0

Alignment: left

Justification: none (note: when formatting for print, right justification will ultimately be re-added in most cases, though there’s been a bit of a move away from that because justification can make it for people with certain forms of neuro-divergence to read; when formatting for e-book, never use right justification!!)

(If you know you always use the same base, you can also set it up as a “style” so you can do all the above with one click!)

Marking Bold, Italics, Underlining, etc. Text Formatting

Ultimately, even after doing the last three steps, there’s going to come a point where—to be absolutely sure that no janky formatting gets into the manuscript—I take the entire document and nuke all the formatting. When that time comes, any italicization, bolding, or other base-text-type modifications will also be lost. To make sure it’s not actually lost, I mark all words for which special formatting is used with a highlighting color. Which color to use is obviously arbitrary; here’s my preference:

Italics: yellow highlighting

Bold: green highlighting

Bold and Italics: purple highlighting

Strikethrough: blue highlighting

Strikethrough and Italics: red highlighting

(Those are all the ones I’ve had to do, and I add new colors as they actually come up in our printing.)

Epistolary or Other Non-Prose Writing Passages

Every Press is going to handle this differently; your best bet as a writer is to just make sure your intentions are super clear and be open to whatever your chosen publisher has as their “standard” for handling stories that include non-prose sections such as letters, text messages, schedules, poems, bulleted lists, charts, etc. From an “editor/formatter” point of view, I mark weird formatting spots (and special characters, which I discuss next) with comments so that I can find them again.

Special Characters

Cafe or café? Facade or façade? 🙂 or 😀? © or ©? What special characters are available depends on what font is being used, and not all Presses use the same special characters. Your best bet is to use standard English text characters only, and then ask if (for example) an emoji could be inserted in your text. (For us specifically, we use basically all special characters).

Quotation Marks and Apostrophes

Did you know that, depending on which word processor you use, your quotation marks and apostrophes may not format uniformly? For example, if you write in Word (and haven’t turned off auto-formatting), your quotation marks will auto-switch from just two straight lines side-by-side into a pretty curly thing:

On the other hand, if you write on Google Docs from mobile, it will never auto-format your quotation marks. They’re called straight quotes or, sometimes, “dumb” quotes, and they look like this:

” (some viewers are auto-formatting this to a curly quote! google “straight quotes” and you can see the difference)

This is especially stark and frustrating if you do some of your writing in gdocs from mobile and some from desktop; then, you’ll end up with a document where some of the marks are auto-curved and others aren’t. Leaving them this way makes for a disjointed, inelegant look, and should be changed.

Industry standard is curly quotes.

One of the first things I do when I open a new manuscript to format for print-readiness is a find-and-replace to make sure that all of the apostrophes and quotation marks are formatted the same way. If you put an unformatted (“straight quote”) quotation mark in the “find” field and a formatted/curly one in the “replace” field, tada, every quotation mark fixed at once! And the same for apostrophes.

Directional Apostrophes

Speaking of apostrophes—one side effect of the ‘curly’ apostrophes is that they’re directional: an “open quote” curly apostrophe doesn’t look the same as a “close quote” curly apostrophe. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem. If you’re writing dialog, the ‘curly’ quotes will auto-format to the correct directions and the beginning and end of your quote. If you’re writing a contraction, same—the apostrophe will auto-format the correct ‘curl’ direction for your contraction. But, did you know? There are cases where using a lead-in apostrophe is necessary, but if it’s formatted in the ‘lead-in’ direction, it’ll be wrong! These are cases where auto-format will think you “need” a forward facing apostrophe, but you actually are supposed to use a backward facing one. The two most common instances of this are:

  • When using slang formed by dropping the first syllable. For example: ’tis, ’til, and ’cause.
  • When writing shortened years. For example: ’98, ’12, ’45.

(Can’t figure out how to force the right curve? You’ve got two choices: find one pointing the way you need, ctrl-c copy it, then paste it where needed; or you can get it from the Insert Symbol menu, unicode: 2019)

Hyphens vs. En Dashes vs. Em Dashes

Before I was a professional editor, I had the idea that figuring out when to use a hyphen vs. an en dash vs. an em dash was super complicated and inscrutable, but it’s actually easy to know which is appropriate in the majority of cases.

Case 1: you are writing a compound word. Compound words get hyphens. Now, what words get hyphenated, and when, and which don’t, is a completely separate issue, and not one I’m going to get into here. This post isn’t about grammar, it’s literally about formatting, and for formatting purposes, if you know you need to connect two or more words with little lines, the little lines you want to string those words together with is a hyphen. This is a hyphen: – (unicode: 2010)

Case 2: you are writing a range of numbers, dates, or times. You want an en dash. This is just about the only time when you want an en dash. This is an en dash: – (unicode: 2013)

Case 3: you are writing a sentence interjection—like this one!—or you’re indicating an interruption in dialog. You want an em dash. There are plenty of other cases when you should use an em dash, but those are the most common in fiction writing. This is an em dash: — (unicode: 2014)

Reference a style guide or tailor a google search if you’ve got something quirky going on and you’re not sure which type of dash to use.

Types of Spaces

Believe it or not, not all spaces are created equal. In fact, there are four used often, and some others to boot. The most common ones are:

Hair space: this is teeny tiny. Unicode: 200A

Thin space: this is roughly half the size of a normal space. Unicode: 2009

Normal space: the one we know and love. Unicode: 0020

Non-breaking space: a special kind of space that, when used, indicates to the document software/printer/e-reader, “even if this is at the end of a line of text, do not break the text here to start the next line: this ‘space’ should be treated as a fixed character for line-breaking purposes.” Also called an nbsp. Unicode: 00A0

Usually, you should be using, normal spaces, but depending on how your printer/publisher chooses to format things, others may be used. For example, some places put thin spaces on either side of em dashes. Here at Duck Prints Press, we put hair spaces after ellipses (…in some cases…) and we use nbsps in cases such as “When we’re quoting something ‘and there’s a sub quote that ends the sentence.’ “ (as in, there’d be an nbsp between the ‘ and “.)

Spaces and Formatting

As the existence of the nbsp implies, spaces can play funny with formatting, which is part of why in the age of digital the double space after periods has largely gone away—two space were important when typing on a type-writer, but when working in digital text it’s superfluous and can cause formatting issues. So, for example, I always do a find “  ” (two spaces) and replace it with “ ” (one space) for the entire document.

It’s also necessary to remove extra spaces at the end of paragraphs. Yes, every single one. Why? Because, especially if it’s an nbsp, it can actually make the manuscript longer. Picture it: you’ve got the end of a sentence, then a period, then an nbsp, then a paragraph break. This tells the e-reader that space HAS to be kept with that period and the last word. To do that, e-readers will bump the word onto a new line…solely because the space was there! And, while you might think this doesn’t come up much…if a trailing space is left at the end of a paragraph in gdocs, and that paragraph is copied and pasted in Word, every one of those spaces will be converted into nbsps. I once reduced a twenty-page document by half a page by removing all the trailing nbsps. Cutting them is important! Even if the space inserted isn’t an nbsp, it’s still important to get rid of it, because if that end space is what causes a line on an e-reader to be too long, bumping that extra single space to a new line will result in a blank line between paragraphs. Considering that e-book text size can be increased or decreased depending on device and reader, the only way to prevent extra spaces at the ends of paragraphs from dotting your document with blank lines is to delete every single one. By hand. I have done this t.h.o.u.s.a.n.d.s. of times seriously, you want to make your text formatters day? Please don’t leave spaces at the ends of paragraphs, I’m begging you. (and if you know ANY faster way to get rid of these TELL ME PLEASE!)

Ellipses

Here’s a simple and obvious one. Find all the … and replace them with …

Scene Breaks

Whoever is doing typesetting is probably going to use something pretty and/or fancy for marking scene breaks. The way you can make this easiest for them is to format all scene breaks in the same way, and simpler is better. For example, our default way to mark a scene break is:

…the end of the previous scene, with a paragraph break after it.

#

The start of the next scene.

No extra paragraph breaks, only one symbol that’s unlikely to have been used elsewhere in the document, easy to read and follow. Just using extra paragraph breaks can be confusing, using lots of characters is annoying (and a nightmare for screen readers)—you don’t want your editor to be guessing, so do something straightforward and stick to it.

Capitalization Quirks

Honestly? The section of this post about “times you don’t realize you need a capital letter but actually do” and “times you think you need a capital letter but actually don’t” got so long that I’ve decided to break it out into a separate post; that one will come out next week, so stay tuned.

Remove All Formatting

Once I’ve done all that…changed all the little stuff, marked anything unusual/stylistic (special characters, non-prose, italics, etc.), and gotten everything cleaned up…I go to the “home” menu -> “styles” -> “clear formatting.” This gets read of all formatting, including anything wonky/weird/broken/undesired that I may have missed. The notes and other changes I’ve done make sure that I don’t lose any information I need to format the document correctly, and just to be absolutely positive, there’s a reason I do this now in the process, instead of after the last step, which is…

Actually Finishing Editing

…because if I HAVE made a mistake, when I do my final editing pass and send the document to the author for final approval, they will hopefully notice anything that got lost in the process!

Long story short? Check your own documents for weird formatting stuff before submitting your stories, and save an editor and/or make a typesetter’s day!

Happy writing, everyone!

(Have a writing question? Send us an ask!)

(Love what we do? Support us in our shop, on Patreon, and/or on ko-fi!)

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Did you know…

Did you know that our Patreon backers get a lot of exclusive blog content? We post multiple times a week to our Patreon blog, sharing teasers, art previews, behind-the-scenes glimpses, extra information on our financials and expenses, opportunities to participate in votes that determine the types of content we create, exclusive fluffy short stories, exclusive slightly-longer erotica stories, 24/7 “AMA” for the DPP management team, and more! Further, to make sure that we’re always transparent about how much work we’re doing and how we spend our working time, we also post a Weekly Business Update every Friday, giving a synopsis of all the progress we’ve made in the previous week.

And now, all this and more is available to monthly backers on ko-fi, too!

We know that not everyone uses Patreon, and often people don’t want to have accounts on multiple websites, especially when those websites involve spending money monthly. We never want anyone to feel they have to join Patreon just to get access, so now we’ll be cross-posting all our exclusive backer content to both Patreon and ko-fi! For features such as surveys, which Patreon offers through internal functionality but ko-fi doesn’t, we’ll now list the surveys through a third-party website (probably Google Forms, for now) to make sure that all our supporters, regardless of platform, get a say!

What does backing us get you?

I’m so glad you asked! We offer 4 backer levels, each building on the previous.

Mallard Duck Backers: $3/month on Patreon or ko-fi

  • access to our backer-exclusive blog, featuring business updates, teasers, works-in-progress, art sneak peeks, and more
  • one free short story per month, up to 2,500 words, written by one of our authors, rated gen or teen (usually, these stories are fluff).
  • voting rights on polls that determine anthology themes
  • access to the Duck Prints Press Discord
  • optional inclusion on our Supporter List

Muscovy Duck Backers: $5/month on Patreon or ko-fi

  • everything that Mallard Ducks get, plus…
  • ask us anything! leave us a comment or send us a message with a question about what makes Duck Prints Press tick, and get the inside scoop written just for you (and our other backers…)
  • complimentary copies of any works of fiction under 1,000 words long that Duck Prints Press publishes
  • nominate themes for blog posts, prompt lists, short stories, and more
  • voting rights on surveys to determine the monthly 2,500 short story, themes for blog posts, etc.

Canvasback Duck Backers: $10/month on Patreon or ko-fi

  • everything that Muscovy Ducks get, plus…
  • a backer-exclusive extra reward for backers who also support our crowdfunding campaigns
  • one free erotica story per month, up to 5,000 words, written by our authors, rated M or E
  • one free e-book from our catalog each month
  • voting rights to determine the theme of the erotica story

Mandarin Duck Backers: $25/month on Patreon or ko-fi

  • everything, yes everything, that Canvasback Ducks get, plus
  • a complimentary copy of all “flat” merchandise produced during our crowd-funding campaigns (for example, art prints, bookmarks, stickers, enamel pins, magnets, keychains) even if you do not back the campaign (if you DO back the campaign, and you choose a level that includes this merch, you’ll get 2 of everything!)
  • a Duck Prints Press T-shirt (3 months backing required)
  • two die-cut stickers per year, produced in June and November each year (1 month backing required)
  • one merchandise item per year, distributed annually in August (last year it was two art prints!) (3 months backing required)
  • optional inclusion on our Premium Support List, which is included in all our e-books and published in all our print books!

As you can see, we have a whole lot to offer! And, supporting Duck Prints Press monthly helps us maximize the amount we can pay our creators – our monthly crowdfunding supports our software expenses, consulting costs, professional/legal services as need needed, supplies and hardware, and more. Our goal is to have our Patreon + ko-fi support total enough that it covers all our overhead each month! This would enable us to pay authors 90% royalties (we’re currently paying 75%), and we’d be able to afford to pay the authors who do the backer short stories (they get edited for free and the story rights revert to them in six months, so they don’t get nothing, but we’d love to offer cash-in-hand), and produce more merchandise, and raise the hourly pay for our staff, and I (the owner) might be able to take a paycheck someday, and, and, and. There’s so much we’ll be adding as we grow, and we’d love you to contribute to making that happen!

So.

Do you love queer creators? Do you love queer stories and art? Do you want to support fanfiction authors pursuing their dreams of publishing their original stories?

This is your moment!

Support Duck Prints Press monthly on Patreon or ko-fi, and help us grow!

(want to support us with money, but not monthly? You can always buy us a one-time ko-fi, or check out our shop, featuring our currently available book titles and our merch!)

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The “And Seek (Not) to Alter Me” Kickstarter is Now Finished!

Duck Prints Press LLC is thrilled to share that our second crowdfunding campaign, aimed at raising $12,000 to enable us to publish And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” has come to a successful conclusion! Over 30 days, 242 backers contributed to support us for a total of $14,914 US.

Backing the campaign was the only way to get a print copy of this gorgeous anthology, but it’s not your only purchase opportunity! We expect that the e-book version (in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats) will go up for sale on our website sometime in July; if we have any extra merchandise, we’ll likely offer that for sale at that time, too. So keep your eyes peeled (and make sure you follow us on social media!) and you can be among the first to hear!

Whether you backed this campaign or not, always remember that you can support us, and the fan-creators-transitioning-to-original-creation with whom we work, by backing us on Patreon. Alternatively, if you prefer Ko-fi, we don’t yet offer a subscription model on Ko-fi but we will soon (we expect to set it up in the next week or two! We’ll likely also open a merchandise store there) so consider following us there, and you’ll get a notification when we open up monthly subscription options there! And, of course, you can buy our books and merchandise anytime through our webstore!

Wondering what’s next for Duck Prints Press?

We’re so glad you asked, because the answer is: a lot!

  1. Our next two anthology, She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars, are in-process. These two anthologies feature stories involving masquerades – in all kinds of settings, and with a very loose definition of what counts as a masquerade! She Wears the Midnight Crown focuses on wlw stories. He Bears the Cape of Stars focuses on mlm stories. Both include a huge variety of settings, types of characters, relationship models; we’ve got lots of genderqueerness and poly, too. Authors’ final check in is today; based on the editors’ reviews of work submitted at Check In 1 and Check In 2, trust us, you are not gonna want to miss these two books! We’ve also recently (technically, today!) contracted an artist for the two front covers – more on that in the coming days!
  2. The crowdfunding campaign for these two anthologies has a planned June 15th launch date, but! As promised in January when we were recruiting authors, we will not be continuing our relationship with Kickstarter. Instead, we will be working with Seed & Spark, an independent crowdfunding platform that focuses on projects that tell stories; they primarily work with film media, but we’ve had a lovely e-mail chat with the folks there – they’re happy to have us, and we’re delighted to be an early (but not the first!) book publishing project launching there. We’ve got a member profile there already set up – so, if you have an account there, we encourage you to give us a “follow,” and if you don’t have one yet, now might be a great time to make one! We’ll also share a followable version of our project at least a couple weeks before launch – we’ll make an announcement when the time comes, so be on the look out.
  3. With the help of our Patrons, we’ve officially decided on the theme for our fifth anthology! The project is still in its early planning phases – we have a theme but no title or schedule – but at our management meeting this week, we’ll be discussing a tentative timeline for production which amounts to, “hopefully formally announced/opened for recruitment in June, with an anticipated crowdfunding campaign in the fall or early winter.” Expect an announcement sometime in late spring or early summer.
  4. We’re also in the very early planning stages of an erotica anthology and our next “Queer Fanworks Inspired By…” anthology. Both would have 2023 crowdfunding releases.
  5. Now that we’re almost caught up, work-wise, on the backlog of editing that resulted from my health issues, we’re also looking to other “next projects,” especially working on publishing more novels. We expect to build on our existing relationships with A. L. Heard and Tris Lawrence, by publishing a re-edit of Hockey Bois and editing and helping crowdfund further books in Lawrence’s “Welcome to PHU” ‘verse. We’re hoping to have Hockey Bois our sometime this summer and a crowdfunding launch for “Missed Fortunes” and “Into the Split” (books 2 and 3 of the “Twinned” trilogy) sometime in Quarter 4. In addition to these known projects, we’ll be opening the floor to authors who’ve previously worked with us, likely in late summer or early fall, to discuss projects they may have in mind or in progress that they’d be interested in pursuing and potentially publishing with us. We’re tentatively hoping to publish 3 – 4 anthologies in 2023 and up to 4 novels. And, as always, you bet your bottom dollar everything is gonna be hella queer!
  6. As you may be aware, Patrons at the $10 and $25 level on our Patreon get access to one erotica story per month, written just for them – but, what you may not realize is that after 6 months, the rights for those stories revert to our authors in full, and they can do what they wish with those stories – including publishing them with us! One of our authors has opted to do so, and we’re hoping to have the story published on our website by the end of April (more information on this soon)! We’ve been hard at work tweaking our website and shop configuration in preparation for this, and Alessa Riel has developed an awesome variation on our standard Dux logo, for all your citrus-scale needs…

We’ll share more on the erotica label soon!

And none of this includes our ongoing projects – our regular blogging on writing, publishing, and prompting (we’ve been expanding our stable of blog post authors!); events like #drabbledaysaturday on Twitter and May Trope Mayhem (coming in 2 weeks!); our monthly Patreon short stories and erotica stories; and more!

As you can see, there’s a lot in the pipeline, and there’ll continue to be more to come. The success of both of our first crowdfunding campaigns has been a huge boost for us, helping us build a profile, grow our relationships, develop more reliable streams, and more. Thank you all for your support, your reads, your signal boosts, your backing, and your interest. There’s loads more work to do, of course…but the result of that work is going to be a growing catalog of amazing queer works by queer authors and artists, and honestly? We couldn’t be more excited about what tomorrow will bring!

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Help Us Decide the Theme of Our Fifth Anthology!

Right now through next Friday, our Patrons have the opportunity to vote on which of three possible themes we’ll use for our next anthology (or, specifically, our fifth anthology – And Seek (Not) to Alter Me is our second anthology, and our third and fourth are already in the works). Here’s what we’ve already established about the anthology:

1. This anthology will feature genderqueer characters who AREN’T trans – genderfluid, agender, non-binary, bingender, omnigender, polygender, pangender, etc. This means that at least one of the main characters in every story must have a non-cis non-trans genderqueer identity.

2. Stories should be relatively fluffy/optimistic, and must have a Happily Ever After or Happily for Now ending.

3. All stories must incorporate a family element – in a positive light. So, NOT stories about “someone comes out and the family isn’t happy;” instead, we’re looking for stories about genderqueer folk having wonderful family experiences. This can be biological family, found family, married life, platonic, romantic, parenthood, adoption, fostering, etc. – we’re taking a loose definition of family, and we’ll be encouraging people to pitch stories that are not romantic. (there’ll be some romance also, promise, but we want a variety!)

That covers a lot, so what’s left? Setting! Our Patrons are voting on whether these stories will take place in an aetherpunk setting (a modern or historical setting featuring technology that runs on magic); a solarpunk setting (a modern or near-future setting featuring solutions to ecological issues and an emphasis on solar power); or a tidalpunk setting (a modern or near-future setting (also) featuring solutions to ecological issues, with an emphasis on the ocean, water, and living asea).

Are you itching to help steer the future of this project? Now is your chance! Become a Patron of ours, and cast your vote!

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Free Coloring Page!

Have you seen our awesome notecard image created by Miss Aceriee (Instagram | @aceriee-art on Tumblr | Twitter) for our current Kickstarter campaign, And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”?

Well, I doubt it’s surprising to learn that we put a lot of thought into which flags to represent with each flower, and which flags to include. We wanted to make a bouquet as diverse as our queer communities, as inclusive as impossible, and to reflect the range of queer identities featured in the book and among our authors and artists. It was really great to research the different flags and decide which ones we wanted, and where. Do you recognize them all?

Yes? WAY TO GO!

No? Here’s a quick key – listed in counter-clockwise order, starting at 9-o-clock:

Gerbera daisy – Pride flag (we opted for the Philadelphia flag – the brown and black are in the center, as a representation of how central BIPOC are to queer communities and history; we’d have used the Progress Pride flag but since we were already separately including the trans flag and intersex flag, we went with the Philadelphia flag instead)

Violet – genderqueer flag

Lily – asexual flag (these are also the colors of the demisexual flag)

Tulip – bisexual flag

Gladiola – has flowers for the lesbian flag (pink/orange – there are multiple lesbian flags, we use this one as it’s generally considered the most inclusive), the gay men’s flag (blue/green), the trans flag (white/blue/pink), and the aromantic and agender flags (both are green/black/grey)

(No longer only blue)bell – has flowers for the genderfluid flag (pink/blue/black/white), non-binary flag (yellow/purple/black/white), intersex flag (yellow with a circle), polyamory flag (red/blue/black), and pansexual flag (pink/yellow/blue)

We couldn’t include every Pride flag – there are far too many for that! – but we tried to incorporate all the most commonly used and most widely recognized. We wanted as many members of this community to see themselves in this arrangement as possible – but in the end, we’ll never be able to include everyone.

That’s where you, yes YOU, come in!

Do you wish the flowers had been assigned flags differently? Is there a flag not represented that you wish was? Would you have handled the coloring of the image in an alternative manner? Do you love it exactly as it is but like to play with colors?

YOU ARE VALID AND WE SUPPORT YOU!

AND, we’d love to see your work! This is your moment – because we asked Miss Aceriee to make a coloring page version of our note card! All the line art, none of the colors, so you can let your imagination go wild!

So, here you go – a lovely blank version of our note card art:

Or, you can download a high resolution, *enormous* version, in a zip from our website – here.

If you choose to draw with our coloring page, we’d love to see – and share – your work! @ us on the social media platform of your choice – we’re duckprintspress on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Pillowfort, Dreamwidth, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Archive of Our Own (…okay, you can’t ping us there, but if you post there, give us the link and we can make a collection of works!) – and show us how YOU’D use this gorgeous bouquet of flowers to celebrate the rainbow variety of queer identities!

(Use a different social media platform and wish Duck Prints Press had a presence there so you could follow us and ping us in your creations there? Let us know, we’ll see what we can do to add the platform of your preference!)

Have a wonderful, and very queer, weekend, everyone. And happy Trans Day of Visibility (…slightly belated, but we think trans folk deserve many many days of visibility, and we hate April Fool’s day, so. Two day celebration!)!

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And Seek (Not) to Alter Me Kickstarter: Now Live!

Duck Prints Press LLC is delighted to announce that the Kickstarter for our second anthology, And Seek (Not) to Alter Me, has commenced!

In And Seek (Not) to Alter Me, 16 authors and 16 artists have come together to create an exquisite, full-color collection of artwork and stories inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing. We encouraged contributors to stretch their imaginations, think outside the box, and put their own unique—and queer—twist on Benedick, Beatrice, Hero, Claudio, Don Pedro, and the whole gang! In true Shakespearean fashion, our creators utilize gender, sexuality, romanticism, and a host of costume changes to tell unique stories—some featuring original characters, some characters from the play—that show Shakespeare’s work in a whole new light.

So—grab a cup of tea and reread or rewatch your favorite version of Much Ado About Nothing to refresh your memory. Our stories and artworks feature wlw, mlm, poly relationships, trans characters, gender swaps, canon divergent tales, AUs…there’s even a two-page comic! Settle in with this delightful collection and enjoy visiting Massena (and elsewhere!) and falling in love with Leonato’s family and the troops of Don Pedro’s army (and many others!) again and again and again!

And Seek (Not) to Alter Me is a stunning zine, printed in full color, A4 size (8 1/4 inches x 11 3/4 inches/21 cm x 30 cm), approximately 150 pages long. It includes 16 stories, each up to 5,000 words long, and 20 full-page interior artworks. Creators share their visions with us, discuss their inspiration, and take us along on a journey to experience what this play and these characters mean to them. 

Ready to get your Shakespearean queer on? Us too!

The Kickstarter for And Seek (Not) to Alter Me will run through April 14th, 2022.

Check it out NOW!