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Received Asks: How Did You Pick the Name You Create Under and What Influenced that Decision?

A collaboratively written post by multiple members of Duck Prints Press. The input of every individual author has been used and lightly edited with permission and credited in the way they’ve requested.

Two days ago, a member of Duck Prints Press posed the following questions to our blogging team:

  • Whether you publish under a pen name or your given name, what factored into your decision to use one or the other?
  • Was personal safety the primary reason behind deciding to use a pen name, or were there other reasons? 
  • If you use your given name, do you feel safe? 
  • What’s your advice for [creators] who are thinking about publishing original [work]? 

A number of us replied, and we all felt that the compiled responses would make a good post to share, as “whether or not to use a pen name” is a recurring question we often get in-server, and is likely one many of y’all out there thinking of publishing your original work have pondered as well. 

Do you publish under a pen name or use your given name, and what factors influenced your decision to use one or the other?

@arialerendeair: I publish under a pseudonym and always will! I decided to go with names that riff off my fanfic name (Aria Lerendeair) – Aria L. Deair (for non-erotica) and Aria D. Leren (for erotica) because I’ve built a community and wanted it to be a bit of an in-joke when they find/buy my content. If someone were to find the story organically – they might get the name reference, they might not. It’s a fun way to create not-separation between the names and have one for the different genres! 

B. T. Fish: I (try to) stay anonymous aside from necessary contracts because of personal safety as regards certain family members. I honestly don’t worry about strangers knowing who I am, but if I am aiming for anonymity I have to commit.

Annabeth Lynch: I use a pen name, but I plan on taking at least the first name as my legal name when possible. I won’t share that or my pen name with my family because 1) they don’t know I write, and I’m not content to share that with them at all, and 2) I don’t want them to know I’m queer. They likely wouldn’t be hellish about it but I would certainly be mocked. Also, now I live in the south and while I live in a liberal section because of the nearby colleges, the place I want to move after my husband’s schooling is ~liberal~ in a vague way but definitely not as good as where I am now. It’s one reason why I’m hesitant to try and get my books in bookstores that might want in-person events.

Dei Walker: I went with a pen name for the erotica I wrote for DPP (and I’ll keep with that), but the first name holds a link with my real name in some ways. My husband’s a teacher at a fairly prestigious private school, and there’s a degree of “yeah my wife writes smut” that’s okay with colleagues but isn’t okay if the parents find out about it if they use search engines to learn more about me.

Willa Blythe: I chose to use a pen name. One, my real name is kind of weirdly spelled and I don’t actually even use my first name because it is a very popular name from the 80s that my parents left a letter out of… I go by my middle name but I spell it differently than what’s on my birth certificate, and I’ve gone by this name since I was 18. Everyone in my life knows me as (NAME) save my family, and they know I go by that. It’s not a nickname, it’s my name, and that’s fine. 

Anonymous: I decided to use a pen name for two reasons: 1) my name is incomprehensible to English speakers – not only is it hard to pronounce, but it also uses special characters; 2) I’m a primary teacher in a small town where gossip goes wild (for example, when I decided to go part-time so I have more time for writing it was going around that I was pregnant ) so I don’t want anyone to find out that I’m queer and write queer romance. There are idiots out there who wouldn’t want me to teach their kids because of that. I eventually came up with a pen name that is a word play on my legal name so it still feels like me, and the people I want to know would recognize it as me but strangers are unlikely to make the connection.

Nina Waters ( @unforth ): I publish under a pen name because people always mispronounce my last name and my understanding is that it’s better to make a pen name people can pronounce. Back when I was still considering trad pub, I was planning to use multiple pen names so I could write across genres. Nina Waters was gonna be spec fic and romance, but I love historical drama type stuff too and like. Those sell better with a male name on them? So I was gonna use either C. P. Houck (so, my actual initials and last name) or Charles (or maybe Chuck) P. Houck, since Charles is a family name (my uncle, my grandfather, and my great grandfather on my dad’s side are all Charles’s). That all said, when I decided to go the small Press creation route instead, there was basically no way to keep my real name out of things since as the owner I have to put it on all official paperwork, which means it’s filed with the government and a matter of public record. Since anyone could access it, there didn’t seem to be much point in keeping it a secret/separate. 

Was personal safety the primary reason behind deciding to use a pen name? What other reasons influenced your decisions?

(some authors included their answers to this in their replies above)

Nina Waters: Not really, though I did originally concoct the Nina Waters name for a really silly version of personal safety? I was writing a thing based on my unrequited feelings for someone and I obviously couldn’t put that under my real name without risking them figuring it out, so I needed a pen name. I never did finish that project lmao and now I would never bother but the pen name stuck. 

arialerendeair: Part of [why I use a pen name] is because I was doxxed (and received threats) from a non-writing community almost a decade ago. I’m not afraid of attaching my real name to my works – I’m proud of them! But with the very real possibility of that happening again at some point in the future, I didn’t want to risk it!

Willa Blythe: There was an additional reason that using a pen name was important to me, though. When I wrote fan fiction, I was the victim of a targeted hate campaign aimed at people who wrote fanfiction about a certain character. I wrote fic that I loved and I stayed in my corner, but I got aggressive and hateful messages constantly about not only myself but also my young son, for the crime of choosing to write about a young man of color instead of the overwhelmingly popular white m/m ship in that fandom. It was alarming, especially when people I didn’t know sent me messages about my workplace and my movements there. Prior to that, I’d been pretty open online. I’m not now. I take doxxing very seriously. My son’s safety, but also my own and my roommate’s, are of huge importance. I write about things people don’t love: complicated queer relationships, critiques of capitalism and white supremacy, critiques of religion and spiritual practices, etc. I have to do what is necessary to create distance between my real life, my fandom life, and my writing life. That said… I’ve done more to separate my fandom and writing identities than my real and writing identities, for a variety of reasons. It’s complicated, but as much as I love fandom, it does breed a certain kind of entitlement that my personal friends and family just don’t have.

If you use your given name, do you feel safe?

@owlishintergalactic: My wife and I had a huge conversation about the implications of me writing under my wallet name. I am quite politically involved in the Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education sectors in my county and state. This is a sector where being openly LGBTQ can cause problems with a particular subset of parents and voters. Yet, we don’t believe we should have to hide who we are and that we are LGBTQ – like many other parents in our state. We decided, in the end, that since I don’t write anything more racy than “mature,” it makes sense to build my platform using my real name. My writing is a part of me. It is a part of my advocacy. It’s my profession. But it is a risk, and it’s mitigated some because I live in one of the most open and inclusive communities in the US. For the most part, though, I do almost all of my online work under a variation of Owlish because it creates a layer of protection between me and the internet masses who don’t always have the best intentions.

Nina Waters: I. uh. Mostly? I definitely worry about it. I’ve been thinking about getting a P. O. Box for the business so I at least don’t have to use my real address all the time too. I worry that if someone took offense to the kind of work I do, they could go after my children, and that scares the crap out of me. In retrospect I wish I’d worked a little harder to keep my identities separate, but they were already mostly merged by the time I had kids and I’d have had to completely restart with new screen names and everything, so it felt like it was already too late by the time the business became public.

What’s your advice for [creators] who are thinking about publishing original [work]?

Nina Waters: The advice I give to people in the Press is if they’re even a LITTLE unsure, they should use a pen name. At any time when they decide they’re comfortable they can always switch to using their real name, but once the genie’s out of the bottle there’s no putting it back.

arialerendeair: There are a great many reasons to choose to use a pseud! For your own personal reasons, for reasons involving your spouse, your family, your activism work, because the internet is a scary place sometimes and many grew up in the web safety diligence era. If you are picking up a pseud for any reason at all – great! They can be fun, they can be punny, (is it a coincidence that D is the middle initial for my pseud that I write erotica under? Nope!) and they can be a chance to reinvent yourself for an audience that doesn’t know you yet. There’s a power in being able to shape a persona – and sometimes it’s fun to grab that and see where it leads!

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Do you – yes, you, the person reading this! – use a pen name for publishing your art, fiction, or other types of creations? Have you kept your fandom, creation, and meatspace selves separate? We’d love to hear your answers to the above questions, so feel free to comment and weigh in!

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Have a question? Feel free to drop us an ask any time!

Want to support what we do and get access to extras and behind-the-scenes information? Back us on Patreon or ko-fi!

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Celebrate Pride by Learning About Ten Queer Independent Publishers!

This week, we’re spotlighting other queer, independent presses out there – some queer-owned, some focusing on publishing queer stories, some both. Take a look below – and if you know another press that’s not on the list, add it in the reblogs! The more queer publishers, the better. 😀

Brown Recluse Zine Distro is a collectively run organization created to support and center zines by queer and trans people of color. Check out their shop for zines on dozens of topics, from personal reflection to political organizing.

Zombies Need Brains has been publishing themed anthologies for 10 years, and, this summer, they’re expanding to publish two short stories per month through their Patreon. Their next anthology’s theme will be announced in July; in the meantime, you can also pick up their previous anthologies and other ebooks in their store

Interlude Press and their YA imprint, Duet Books, have published more than 90 works of LGBTQ+ fiction across genres. Their catalog is full of award-winners, and with the plethora of genres, they offer something for everyone.

All Worlds Wayfarer, a quarterly speculative literary magazine, has recently started producing themed anthologies as well. Their latest, Prismatic Dreams, contains 30 sci-fi, fantasy, and horror short stories with queer protagonists.

Speculatively Queer “publishes speculative stories about queer hope, joy, love, affirmation, and community.” It Gets Even Better: Stories About Queer Possibility is available now, and Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth is available for preorder.

Renaissance Press publishes diverse Canadian voices across genres. Their latest release is AfriCANthology: Perspectives of Black Canadian Poets. 

Microcosm Publishing is a Portland-based publisher founded in 1996 to focus “on … the experiences of what it is like to be a marginalized person.” They especially focus on publishing work by women. They’ve currently got a Kickstarter running for their next title, “Unf*ck Your Grief.”

OFIC Mag is a small, new press focused on publishing a quarterly anthology featuring original stories and art by fanauthors and fanartists. They recently opened their third edition to submissions.

Ylva Publishing focusing on stories about women loving women, with an emphasis on diversity. They’re woman-owned and cross-genre, releasing everything from mysteries to romance to historical to erotica. They also publish YA titles!

Atthis Arts Indie Publishing is a small press named after a character from Sappho’s poetry. They are especially interested in publishing works by members of underrepresented groups.

Bonus! An 11th Press

Space Wizard Science Fantasy, an indie press focused on queer sci-fi and fantasy, is just getting started. They’ve launched a Year 1 Kickstarter, featuring a number of titles they are working on, and they could really use more support. Back their current Kickstarter to purchase individual books or subscribe to the whole Year 1 slate of fiction!

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How to Read Manhua on Bilibili: Legal, Free, and in English

This is a repost of a tutorial I wrote for a fandom art side blog I run on Tumblr. As it’s fairly fandom-general and goes into a lot of detail on ways that readers can access original queer manhua (Chinese comic) titles for free, we feel that it’s of wide enough interest to be relevant to the Duck Prints Press blogs, too. It includes information on accessing Bilibili and some specific titles I’ve enjoyed that I thought might be a good starting place for someone interested in reading manhua this way.


In my posts on this blog, I keep sharing screen caps from manhua I’ve read on Bilibili, along with the link to read it yourself, but I know:

This blog doesn’t have all that many followers.

It’s one thing for me to post the link and quite another for people to realize just how easy this is to do.

Considering how often I see English-speaking MXTX/c-novel/c-drama/donghua fandom peeps screaming and begging for more content, I’m now begging you in return:

STOP SLEEPING ON THE BILIBILI APP!

If you want more danmei content, fully legal, entirely free, already translated, you literally c.a.n.n.o.t. do better than using the Bilibili app to read manhua. That’s not to say this is a perfect method – their translations are…um…wanting sometimes? (Shout out to the four pages in a row I recently read where someone broke in to a residence and every time the breaker-inner was mentioned they were called “the intrud”) But it’s still ALL THERE, FOR US, ANYTIME, and the more eyes the manhua in the apps gets, the more content we’ll get, so please, PLEASE, if you’re out there thirsting for danmei content, DO THIS.

Wondering how?

Well, I’ve got you covered.

WAY 1: The Bilibili Manhua Website

I know I said “get the app” but honestly you don’t even need an app to do this! You can read on Bilibili using any web browser.

The website is Bilibilicomics.com.

It looks like this: 

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Yes, you’re reading that right: there’s an entire section of BL.

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There’s also an entire section of GL!

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There are 38 titles in GL and 121 titles, yes ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY ONE titles, in BL.

AND there’s het stuff, and non-romance stuff too!

New episodes general come out weekly or biweekly, though a few things are daily. The website is often a few chapters ahead of the app (which I actually didn’t realize until just now – Chapter 55 of Legend of Exorcism, for example, came out today on the app, but it lists 60 episodes as available on the website. Which, considering the cliffhanger I just read… *eyes emoji*…though apparently in other cases there are more chapters on the app than on the website, so ymmv.)

The best-known title available (again: FOR FREE. OFFICIALLY. LEGALLY. IN ENGLISH) is Tian Guan Ci Fu. When you go to a specific title’s page, you get this…

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…and reading it is as simple as selecting the chapter you want, clicking it, and et voila! Just scroll down and read to your heart’s content!!

NOTE: SOME CHAPTERS WILL HAVE WAIT TIMES. More on this shortly.

WAY 2: The Bilibili App for Android

I personally have been reading primarily from the Android app, since I have a Samsung Galaxy phone and a lot of time sprawled on my couch while my kids watch cartoons.

You can download the app from the Play store – here’s a link, for what that’s worth.

It looks, essentially, like this (I’m logged in so mine looks a little different than non-logged-in, I made an account even tho you don’t actually need one):

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If you don’t want to make an account, you don’t have to. If you choose to, as you see it’ll try to guess what other titles you might like. tbh I have no idea how good these recommendations may be; I’m still reading/catching up on the specific titles I wanted to read so I haven’t had to try their recommendations yet. But, there’s definitely some stuff that looks interesting (that top middle one definitely looks up my alley…)

You can also “favorite” things (again: EVEN WITHOUT AN ACCOUNT) and it’ll store them in your library and make a red dot (like you can see on the above screen cap) when something has an update you haven’t read yet. For example, here’s my Favorite list, which helps me keep track of what I’m reading and enjoying (or, well, in one case I’m more “wtfing” than “enjoying” but hey that still counts).

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There’s even a weird, like, “dress up” side game??? So like, every chapter you read there’s a chance the app will drop a “card” and you can use the cards to dress your avatar up, and there’s a whole crafting system built in? It’s. A little odd. But, considering I recently quit my Love Nikki addiction after 3+ years, it’s nice to get a small hit of pointless dress up.

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Yes, my avatar is currently wearing San Lang’s shirt.

The point is, again: this app is free to download, and incredibly easy to use, and even has a fun pointless side game.

BUT. There is one “but” here. See the Coins: 0 Top Up right below my randomly assigned username?

There is an optional pay system. What does it do? It reduces wait times.

Some titles, but not ALL, have a “built in delay” that kicks in at some point. On some, it seems to start when you’re “within 5 chapters of the most recent” (that’s what’s happened with Global Examination and TGCF, for example). For others, it seems to be arbitrary – for A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost, it kicked in at chapter 40 even tho there are, like, 80 something chapters up. Regardless, it always works the same.

The system functions using wait times, and it has 5 tiers that are always the same.

Tier 1: You must wait one minute before you can read the next chapter. This tier is rarely an issue; the count down sometimes (but not always??? it’s weird) starts when you start a new chapter, and it almost always takes more than one minute to read a full chapter, so this tier is often “satisfied” before you even get to the next chapter.

Tier 2: You must wait six minutes before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 3: You must wait one hour before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 4: You must wait six hours before you can read the next chapter.

Tier 5: You must wait twenty-four hours before you can read the next chapter.

I initially thought this system functioned as “once you reach Tier 5, you’re just stuck there and can only read a chapter a day” but it’s turned out that’s not the case – A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost having 40+ semi-locked chapters has given me the chance to actually test this a bit. In fact, what happens is:

The first time you hit a “wait delay” chapter, it puts you at Tier 1 and you have to wait a minute. The next chapter, you up to Tier 2, the next to Tier 3, then Tier 4, then Tier 5…and then it cycles back to Tier 1. So, with a little care and planning (which I almost always fail at) I can time reading something with many wait-delayed chapters such that I can read 5 chapters in one day, then I have to wait a full day, then I can read 5 more chapters.

Here’s how it looks when you’ve done your waiting in purgatory and can now read on…

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…and here’s how it looks when the sad trombones play…

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Now, I mentioned I’d circle back to the coins? THE TIME HAS COME! Because, look – for 17 coins, you can read on instantly!! Alternatively, if you’re willing to share on social media, you can also skip (I have no if that’s something you can do over and over, or just once, cause I haven’t tried – you can skip the wait time once for free). This begs the question, then…is 17 coins a lot?

And the answer is…

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…eh not really, no. Ten bucks will get you the ability to pay 17 coins many, many times (58, to be precise), but honestly? I haven’t spent a penny yet and I’ve caught up on 7 different titles and am steadily reading through two more (one of which hasn’t had wait times kick in yet, I just can only read so fast).

All of which is to say: yes, there’s a pay system, and tbh, I’m probably going to throw them a few bucks not because I care about the wait times but because I’m getting so much enjoyment out of reading these titles and I want to support them a little (I also bought the print version of the TGCF vol. 1 and will likely buy the other volumes, and I once-upon-a-time paid to watch TGCF s. 1 streaming as they came out). With a little patience there is absolutely zero call for spending even one penny to read as much of this cornucopia as you want.

WAY 3: Download the Bilibili App on Apple

I don’t have access to an iPhone and don’t feel like grabbing my tablet rn and I’ve hit the Tumblr image limit anyway, but the Apple app looks about the same as the Android app, and you can download it HERE.

Basically: use the website, or download the app for whichever platform you’re using, and READ, READ, READ!

So, what is there to read?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

I’ve been reading on the app pretty regularly for like two months (prior to that I was only reading TGCF, and only when I remembered, which was rarely), but I’m juggling a lot AND reading other stuff too so I am far from having explored the wide range of options. I can, however, highlight a few I think are likely to be of interest to a danmei-reading audience. Note that of these, I’ve only read the novels for TGCF, TYQHM, and Daomu Biji, which means that I only know as far as the manhuas have covered for the rest – I haven’t read farther than that yet. 

A. Tian Guan Ci Fu by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. The one, the only – this is the official manhua with art by Starember. It tells the story of newly ascended god Xie Lian trying to navigate the intricacies of the heavenly bureaucracy, figure out his place in the world, and understand why a sexy guy in red keeps showing up in his life. (Worst synopsis ever award goes to: ME!). The English translation is currently on episode 77, which has Xie Lian and Hua Cheng in the gambler’s den. A volume just ended, which means it’s on hiatus temporarily – there’s usually a month or two break between volumes – so it’ll be back soon!

B. Global Examination by Mu Su Li. Based on the book Global University Entrance Examination, featuring art by E Zi. Global Examination is a story set in a dystopian near-future about a world where groups of people are randomly selected (read: kidnapped and forced) to participate in an “exam” where they have to answer extremely complex puzzles. If they succeed, they get to live and become one of the people who administer the exam. If they fail, they die. Despite the premise sounding dark, it’s really not been so bad and I’m reassured it won’t become so. The story itself focuses on You Huo, a recently selected examinee with amnesia, the other people in his examinee group, and Examiner 001, who clearly has some kind of history with You Huo. If only he didn’t also have amnesia, we might even know what that history is…

C. Dinghai Fusheng Records and Legend of Exorcism, both based on the books of the same names written by Fei Tian Ye Xiang. The art for Dinghai Fusheng Records is by Qianerbai (who has also done a lot of work for the Mo Dao Zu Shi audio drama) and Legend of Exorcism, it’s by Warp. These stories are set in the same ‘verse, at least several hundred years apart; it’s a xianxia high-fantasy setting, and the main enemies are demons (…or are they? dun dun duuuun). Dinghai Fusheng Records takes place, chronologically, first, and occurs a couple hundred years after a calamity caused all qi to fade from the world – there are only mortals, and no one can cultivate. It follows Chen Xing, a young man born with a gift, as he seeks his protector – Xiang Shu – and others, and they encounter (surprise!) unspeakable evil. Legend of Exorcism takes place in the “future” of Dinghai Fusheng Records, and focuses on Kong Hongjun, a half-demon boy who has received a summons to join the Exorcism Department, as he explores the mortal world for the first time and gets to know the others who have summoned to join the Department, especially the mortal leader Li Jinglong.

D. Daomu Biji titles, originally by Nanpai Sanshu. There are two DMBJ titles on Bilibili right now, though both only have a few chapters, and the website lists them as “on hiatus.” I’ve read them both, and am not entirely sure what’s up with one especially, but… Grave Robbers’ Chronicles starts where Book 1 starts, with changes of course but it’s quite recognizable as the initial “Wu Xie is brought a silk scroll and gets curious” plot line. The Grave Robbers’ Chronicles Seven Dreams is…odder…and as far as I can tell is an alternate canon/AU which starts with a “what if” of “what if the Zhang’s were incredibly abusive, raised child!Zhang Qiling themselves, and Wu Xie and he met as kids.” It’s. Um. Extremely weird. But I’m still hoping they’ll release more than 9 chapters, if only because I’m curious.

E. A Single Strike of Shimmering Frost, based on the novel A Sword of Frost by Yu Xiao Lanshan. This one opens with the Prince Ji Yanran approaching Sect Master Yun Yifeng, who runs a sect of spies and information collectors, to ask for help finding an item that has been stolen from the palace. In exchange, he promises to give Yun Yifeng the cure to an ailment that plagues him. Problem 1: he doesn’t actually have this cure. Problem 2: everywhere they go people start dying. Problem 3: catching feels for the pretty Sect Master. Despite having the trappings of xianxia, this story has actually thus far been a sequence of murder mysteries with politics-related causes.

F. Saved the Public Enemy By Mistake by Liu Muqiao. If this is based on a novel, I haven’t been able to track it down. It’s xianxia; demon immortal cultivator Liu Jianghe shows up, nearly dead, on the doorstep of Lu Jiu. Not knowing who he is, Lu Jiu saves him, and finds a mess of politics on his doorstep…but nothing is actually how it seems, there’s amnesia and hidden back stories galore, there’s a heavy side plot of sword lesbians, and honestly I’ve read like 50 chapters I’m still a little lost but the art is pretty and I really need to read the reveal on the the two MCs history together so I’m sticking with it. Warning that it’s got a fair amount of blood and gore.

G. Those Years in Quest of Honor Mine by Man Man He Qi Duo. A historical (non-cultivation) setting focused on politics, machinations, and the long history and deep love between Zhong Wan – former top-scorer on the national exam who lost his position when his adopted father was accused of treason – and Yu She, of dubious parentage and believed by most people to be the bastard son of the Emperor. I loved the book for this, and finding out that the manhua was on Bilibili is a lot of what drove me to download the app.

So – that’s everything I’m currently reading: 6 titles inspired by explicitly BL danmei titles, 2 based on other books I like that aren’t BL, and 1 BL that just looked interesting and my taste.

There’s SO MUCH MORE, seriously. I’m going to be reading on this app for months and still finding more, I’m positive of it.

But unforth, I hear you say, there’s some other manhua I want to read! What about Mo Dao Zu Shi? What about Erha? Are those on Bilibili? Can I read them? And the answer, sadly, is no. Those two are published by Kuaikan, which does not offer free legal English translations at this time. But! I am holding out hope that if the audience for Bilibili grows, other manhua publishers will see the profitability in emulating them. I cannot guarantee that anything we do will result in this happening, but I do feel pretty confident that if we don’t read with the options currently available, we sure ain’t likely to get more options.

SO. GO FORTH. READ THE THINGS I’VE MENTIONED. READ OTHER THINGS. COME BACK AND TELL ME WHAT YOU LOVED SO I HAVE SOME IDEA WHAT TO READ NEXT.

PLEASE.

I’m begging. GO READ MANHUA!!!

RIGHT NOW.

ON BILIBILI.

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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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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.

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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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24 Hours to Go!

Well, technically there are twenty-five hours left in our Kickstarter, but! TIME IS ALMOST UP!

We’ve reached our first stretch goal, and we’ll be able to commission art for our back cover! Every single e-book will come with the graphic for the front and back cover, every print book will have full-color illustrations on the front and back, and backers at Levels 3, 4, 5, and 6 will get an extra art print featuring the back cover art! Gio Guimarães (Facebook (giovannabcg) | Facebook (giosdoodlesandartworks) | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter) is the artist. Gio and DPP have already signed a contract, and once we have sketches to share we’ll give y’all an update!

We’d love to reach our next stretch goal, at $16,500, so we can give our authors and artists a raise which doubles how much they earn for their contributions to the anthology. You can help! Check out our merch, help spread the word about the campaign on social media, and – if you want a copy – make sure you buy your own!! This is your only chance to get And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” in print, and we’ve got a host of amazing merchandise for our backers too, so don’t miss out!!

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“And Seek (Not) to Alter Me” has Funded!

Well, well, well, look at this amazing, thrilling e-mail we received last night! As of yesterday, “And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing'” has met it’s initial/base funding goal, and will definitely be produced as a print book! We are over the moon; there was much celebration and rejoicing in the Duck Prints Press Discord chat. 😀

But! The campaign isn’t over yet. We have 3 more days – our official end time is Thursday, April 14th at 11:30 a.m. Eastern – and we’d love to hit our first two stretch goals! What are those?

Well, we’re at $12,150 right now.

If we can hit $12,500, we’ll be able to print the books (and include in the e-book!) art for the back cover by front cover artist Gio Guimarães! Backers at Levels 3, 4, 5, and 6 will also receive a second art print (at no additional cost to the backers!). To be honest, we’re pretty certain we’ll hit this goal – so confident, in fact, that we already have commission Gio, contract signed and everything.

More ambitious – if we can hit $16,500, we can give all our authors and artists a raise from 1 cent per word/$50 per page to 2 cents per word/$100 per page – doubling how much we pay them! We’d love to be able to do this, and we think it can be done, but we need your help!

Do you love this project? Do you want to support our authors and artists? If you haven’t backed yet, consider doing so – just $15 will get you the e-book in PDF, ePub, and Mobi format, or you can take advantage of this one-and-only time to get the book in print format, for $40!

If you can’t afford it (we get it! times are tough!) or if you already have backed – help us spread the word! Reblog, retweet, share, and boost our posts on one or more of our social media accounts!

As always, you can find our Kickstarter campaign here – get yours before it’s too late! 3 days left…

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“And Seek (Not) to Alter Me” Art Teasers: Casei Solus and Sunny Powell

Presenting And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”

Duck Prints Press has launched our second Kickstarter, running now through April 14th, 2022 – And Seek (Not) to Alter Me, a gorgeous collection featuring the work of 16 authors and 16 artists in a full-color, A4 size soft cover size-style book!

Today, we’re highlighting the last 2 of our artists…

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Artist Spotlight: Casei Solus

Work Title: Corkboard

Biography: Casei is a self-taught artist from Florida, USA. She is known for her impressionist fanart and her minimalist pride merch. For work, she designs and mocks up merch for clients. She doesn’t care about her pronouns.

Links: Linktree

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Artist Spotlight: Sunny Powell

Work Title: Sunny has done two pieces for this anthology – this one is “Beatrice and Benedicia” (the other is “Hiro and Claudia” – both our main couples!)

Biography: I’m a they/them ace-spectrum trash panda with a love for political science and working hard to change the world one, act of kindness at a time. I’m a graphic designer by day, a multimedia creator and writer by night, and I’ve been involved with various fandom communities for nearly twenty five years. I live in Portland, OR, with my 7 year old son and two cats.

Link: SunnyPowellArt.com

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Visit our Kickstarter to see other teasers, stories, merchandise, campaign extras, and more!