To Clarion West 2014! And Victory!

Hello friends, strangers, and gentlefolk of the internet. I have been invited to attend the Clarion West 2014 Six Week Workshop, and am raising funds to make that possible.

Okay, That's Lovely. So What's Clarion West?

Well, for those not already familiar with the Clarion West six week program, it's an intensive course of study, focusing on writing speculative short fiction and honing the students' craft thereof. The workshop is run annually and is taught by six different instructors over a period of ... wait for it ... six weeks. Each year a mere 18 students are selected from a pool of applicants.

It is an extraordinary opportunity both for one's career and the advancement of one's skill as a writer of short fiction. It is an honour to be invited, and the kind of thing you do not pass up if at all humanly possible.

Now, after the fierce competition to get the coveted invitation to Clarion West, there follows a still fiercer challenge:

Paying for it.

So What am I Trying to Pay for With This Fundraising?

There have been several 2014 campaigns for fundraising toward Clarion West's sister program (which would be the Clarion workshop in San Diego; Clarion West being run out of Seattle), all of which have focused principally on funds for tuition and travel costs.

I'm in a slightly different boat from those other fundraising campaigns. I received a scholarship toward tuition costs, but I'm disallowed from discussing the amount of same--I checked and though I can mention that I did receive one, I'm not allowed to talk about the amount itself as per Clarion West's policy on not publicizing scholarship information.

However, despite the scholarship's help, I make my living by working as a freelance editor, and for six weeks I will not be able to work as a freelancer. (The workshop schedule doesn't allow for it.) In effect losing me two months of income. I can't afford that loss, so the funds I'm seeking are principally an attempt to make up that shortfall.

I'm also not seeking travel costs. I'm just going to foot the bill on that myself (unless this campaign exceeds its goals, in which case I will apply excess funds toward my travel costs and lower my credit card expenses). That monetary goal (the $3,300) also includes the ~8% that GoFundMe keeps in processing fees.

Since My Fundraising is Time-Sensitive, Why Is There No End Date on the Campaign?

While the tuition for Clarion West has to be paid by June 22nd (the workshop runs from June 22nd through August 1st), since I'm also fundraising to make up a shortfall in earned income around the workshop, I can technically take some of the donations while at Clarion West to put toward August's living expenses when I'm back.

So I've effectively made that option available, but I would really rather people not wait that long to provide aid if they're going to. It makes things much more complicated down the road. If everyone could try and provide whatever aid you're able to by June 22nd (or earlier) that would be immensely appreciated.

All That's Well and Good, But Who Am I?

I'm a gender fluid writer, poet, editor, anthologist, and book reviewer from Toronto (the one in Canada). I'm also a Managing Editor (CZP eBooks) with ChiZine Publications, and a Submissions Editor with Apex Magazine. As an anthologist I've got three books coming out in 2015 (Start a Revolution, Exile Editions, Spring 2015; This Patchwork Flesh, Exile Editions, Fall 2015; The Humanity of Monsters, CZP, Fall 2015).

My short fiction and poetry is published or forthcoming in a handful of venues, including Ideomancer, and anthologies like Chilling Tales 2Dead NorthFracturedFuture Lovecraft, and Masked Mosaic. And I've received Ontario Arts Council funding along the way for ongoing projects, so I'm apparently doing something right.

I also periodically teach creative writing and short fiction marketing workshops, do a fair amount of talking about the publishing industry at length in various capacities, and try and educate other writers about the realities of the publishing industry as much as possible. Because in 2010 Karl Schroeder was generous enough to do so for me, and I have been paying that forward ever since.

On That Note, Some Reward Options:

One of several reasons I didn't set this campaign up through some of the more reward-focused fundraising platforms is that I really don't have tangible benefits to offer people in return for aid. My strengths, as with those of most writers, lie in largely intangible assets. But one of the things I can do for everyone is use my knowledge of craft and the publishing industry for the benefit of others.

Specifically, I'm offering to, for those donating at least a certain amount, as noted above, offer a critique of fiction, or simply talk about the publishing industry either via e-mail--or if you're local (to me) I'm more than happy to just sit down in person--and answer whatever questions you have about the publishing industry, short fiction markets, or anything related to that.

(Re the critique reward level: ordinarily I advise people to never pay for having short fiction assessed for money because the return on investment is so low/unlikely. I am however simply not possessed of enough time to assess longer works toward this or I would offer that, so I am breaking my own rule in this one instance only.)

There is also the possibility that I may end up being able to offer other rewards if people are donating giveaways to the campaign (the possibility has been broached), so we'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, once you've donated at one of the reward levels listed at the top of the page, get in touch with me via the Contact button in the upper right hand corner of the campaign page (in the "Created by" widget) and we'll set up getting you the reward benefit.

How Do You Get In Touch With Me (For Any Reason)?

Use the Contact button in the "Created by" widget in the upper right hand corner of the campaign page (right at the top) to get in touch with me. I'm also readily accessible as @fomcontest on Twitter. And my website is at

Other Ways You Can Help.

Spread the word. Link, post, repost, share, tweet, (please don't spam), but otherwise pass around this campaign however you are comfortable doing so. Every mention helps.

Pass along the word that yours truly does freelance editing for a living (information at this link). I cannot begin to stress how much spreading word on that latter point helps me, in this instance and in general.

A Final Note

I recall that there are other Clarion West 2014 attendees who mentioned that they might need to be doing fundraising to attend the class as well. If/when I find their campaigns I will be linking to them from here.

Beyond that, thank you, sincerely, to everyone who is able to help. In whatever capacity.
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Michael Matheson 
North York, ON
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