But if you're even vaguely thinking about contributing to an issue of Shousetsu Bang*Bang, you should really consider leaving a comment on the signup post expressing your interest. Signups are non-mandatory, which means that if you completely neglect to sign up but have a submission in our inbox on (or before!) deadline day, you're good to go! But here's a few reasons why you should sign up anyway:
- It gives us editors a sense of what to expect. If we get a whole page of comments, we can figure it's going to be a pretty good-sized issue and relax a little. If only four or five people sign up, though, we're going to be making a lot of noise and issuing a lot of reminders, trying to generate more interest in what we're assuming is going to be a very small issue.
- Bandwagons are fun! Being able to see all the names of all the other people who are planning on participating can be encouraging for other potential contributors.
- Artists, the signup post is the perfect place for authors and artists to meet! We love illustrated stories, and if you'd like to be one of those illustrators, the best place to start is by announcing yourself in the comments. This is also why I recommend artists sign up SOON after the issue is announced, since authors will often visit the signup post to sign up, see no artists have volunteered, and then not think to go back again; I've seen lots of talented artists volunteer their illustration services several weeks after the issue is announced, only to have their kind offers go unnoticed. (My other recommendation, artists, is that you actually embed images in your offer instead of making lots of links, as the latter tends to trip the spam filter.)
- Authors, the signup post is the perfect place for authors and artists to meet! Usually the authors ask the artists to dance, but we've got some bold artists who'll approach authors about collaborating on upcoming stories. Obviously it's much harder for them to do that if they don't know you're going to be writing. And illustrated stories are such a delight!
- A huge part of creativity is discipline. While contributing to SSBB should never be anything but fun, there's something to be said for taking on a particular project deadline and seeing it through. Saying 'that sounds interesting, but I'll come back and sign up once I have an idea' is a fantastic first step toward doing nothing at all. Waiting for your muse to move you is a great way to end up staring at a blank page for the rest of your life. Commitment is good for you! (At least, this kind of commitment is.)
- And of course, signups are non-binding, which means if you sign up and then don't finish your story/art, you don't even have to come back and tell us that you're bowing out -- you can, sure, but we won't come knocking at your door on deadline day, bill-collecting for your half-finished gay porn romp. Statistically, about half the people who sign up will actually submit, so there's no shame in not following through. But we like it when you do!
If any or all of that sounds convincing, you should go to the signup for our February issue and toss your name into the hat! Or think seriously about signing up for at least one of the other eight issues coming up this year when those posts come around. This project is, as always, only as good as you make it.