If you want the short version, here you go:
1. Publication schedule is now six issues a year, one every two months.
2. All issues are now all-content.
3. There's now two weeks between text deadline and publication.
If you want to know why, here you go, part two:
This project started in 2005 as one thing, but has evolved over the years into something pretty darn different. As fandom, the internet, and the editorial staff have changed and grown, we've seen spaces and motivations change in ways that would have seemed impossible a decade ago.
But one of the big changes is in our readership and contribution pool. While dudes-with-dicks stuff is still the bulk of the interest and material here, the most recent issue is pretty solid proof that when you remove that requirement, things spin out in delightful directions. There's also a change here in terms of availability -- the online original m/m market was not a decade ago what it is today, while even now, content for other smutty combinations can still be hard to come by.
So we've decided to make the all-skate policy permanent. From now on, all issues are all-queer, however you want to define that. All of them will still feature opportunities for standalone art submissions, and all of them (except December!) will still be capped at 25,000 words. So instead of having to wait for the special issues, you can submit whatever, whenever.
December will still be a theme-free issue with the upper word bound removed. Because we're eliminating the Artist Special, however, the December issue is now open to multi-page sequential art.
Another thing that's changed dramatically over the past decade is Your Editor's life and schedule. When I took over in 2010, I was a grad student; now I'm full-time faculty. I can't guarantee anymore that I can find enough time during the middle of Edit Week, which is something everyone who's submitted this year has surely noticed (and for that I'm very, very sorry).
That's why we're doubling the reading time -- stories will still be due on a Tuesday, and issues will still come out on Mondays, but now instead of a six-day gap between those two, it'll be a thirteen-day gap. Hopefully, this will make it so I'm not spending all my time scrambling and begging contributors for their patience and understanding. It'll also mean that authors who need a short extension can have one without running the risk that I won't have time to edit their stories as they deserve. So it's a win for all!
Artists, your stuff is still due the Saturday before publication. With any luck, this will open up room for more illustrated pieces, as authors will now have time to approach artists with completed stories in hand.
For a while now, SSBB contributions and readership have been on the decline, and these changes are part of admitting that this project isn't what it used to be. We have no idea what the future has in store -- even the most immediate future is in question, with Tumblr's anti-porn changes. And who knows? Maybe this is a project past its time, fit to ride off into the sunset. But we're not quite done with it yet, and we hope you aren't either.
So if you like SSBB and want to keep it going, here are the three things you can do to see that it does:
What's in an issue depends on who shows up. This goes for illustrations too, so if you're submitting a story, talk to one (or more!) of the illustrators offering services. If you're thinking about being a part of an issue, go ahead and add your name when the signup goes live; signups are not binding, but they're a good way to motivate yourself to live up to your commitments.
Authors and artists alike put a lot of time into these pieces, and doing so can sometimes feel like screaming into the void. If there's a creator whose stuff you like, the best way to ensure that creator comes back is to let them know how much they're appreciated. Even a simple 'I liked this' lets creators know they're not alone.
If you liked something, tell other people as publicly as you can. Sure, not everyone can crow on their family Facebook or professional Twitter about how great an indie porn zine is. However, if you've got accounts with fandom-friendly audiences, please help spread the word. This is going to get even more important as folk scatter from Tumblr to parts unknown.
...And if you really want to help keep things going, here's a fourth thing you can do: Review!
At various points through SSBB's run, various people have read the whole issue, then written up little pieces giving their summaries of and thoughts on each of the stories contained within. (We've done our best to preserve these snippets on the SSBB Wiki's pages for the relevant pieces and issues.) They've been historically helpful for getting people excited about diving into issues. They don't even have to be for the most current -- sometimes they've been about years-old issues, since it's not like the old stories and art have expiration dates.
If you do decide to do this for an issue, please let us know and we'll be happy to share as best we can. Reviews are subjective, of course, but they can also be helpful for people who find their tastes align with the reviewer's.
We'll be announcing themes and dates for 2019 in just a few days, so you can plan your year right. In the meantime, we hope you can work in a little rest and relaxation as 2018 winds down, and that you'll be ready to join us again in the coming year!