This page is left here for historical and explanatory purposes only; we are no longer taking volunteers to edit Birkensnake 6.

We invite you to participate in an experiment.

We want to entrust several pairs of strangers with editing Birkensnake 6. Strangers to each other. We do not yet know how many pairs. Each pair will assemble its own version of Birkensnake 6, and we, sometimes editors but in this case merely publishers, will publish all of these versions, together and individually, as Birkensnake 6.

There may be some confusion among readers as various disparate texts present themselves simultaneously as Birkensnake 6. This is fine with us. Desirable, in fact.

If you are interested in co-editing a version of Birkensnake 6 with a stranger, you should tell us before July 15, 2012. On July 15 we will choose some number of participants and put them in pairs. One year later, on July 15, 2013, we will collect the texts of Birkensnake 6.

Why are we performing this experiment?

We are interested in what happens when two people, especially two strangers, work together as curators of art.  Working together as artists is one thing, but working together as curators is different. Do the two stranger-partners create a different aesthetic space than either would create alone?  Does this space simply represent an intersection of tastes, or is there a more complex interaction? Are there aesthetic spaces that can only be reached by pairs of curators, and never by individuals?  Are there aesthetic spaces that can only be reached by pairs of curators who are also strangers?

What will happen to the stranger-partners themselves?  Once they have curated art together, will they ever be the same again?

What You Would Do

Talk to the partner we offer you.  Decide what kind of short fiction the two of you would like to publish together, and how to find and obtain rights to that kind of short fiction.

Working together, assemble a collection of short fiction and e-mail it to us by July 15, 2013.  The stories can be by anyone, as long as you can obtain rights. They can be by yourself, but remember that you will have to negotiate all contents with your partner.  There can be many stories or few stories and they can be of any length, provided that the total length of your issue is under 25,000 words.  (The typical Birkensnake has been about 20,000 words.  Yours can be a little bit longer, or a little bit shorter, or much shorter, or the same. If you have some particular reason for wanting it to be much longer, we can discuss it.)

Some of the stories can be reprints if you like.  They can be similar to what we’ve published in the past, or different.  They can be in any language.

No verse.

Send us also, by mail, a collection of signed contracts in which the various writers of the stories you’ve chosen give you/us the right to publish them.  We will give you a form for these contracts; you don’t have to write them yourself.

Finally, we encourage you to write something about what happened during the project, and e-mail that to us too.  This can be anything at all.  It can be fictionalized.  It can be of any length and in any language.  No verse.  We don’t know what we will do with this material.  We might publish it with all the different versions of Birkensnake 6, as a meta-Birkensnake-6.  We might publish only part of it.  We might cut it up.  It’s a risk you take, not knowing.

How We Will Help

You might want to set up an e-mail account somewhere, or a Submittable account, for people to send you submissions.  If you tell us the URL, we will put it on our Submissions webpage.  You might want to accept hardcopy submissions at a mailing address; we will also put that on our Submissions page.

You might want to write some kind of description of what you’re looking for, so people know what to send you.  If you do, we will put it on our Submissions page, above your address(es).

We will tell people that this whole thing is going on, and suggest to writers that they go to our Submissions page and look at the guidelines and addresses for the various parallel Birkensnake 6s and send their work to one or more of these addresses.  We can’t guarantee how often we will do this activity, or with what level of conviction, but we will do it sometimes at least.

If there is a call for it among the various editorial pairs, we might establish some sort of forum or mailing list for you all to communicate with each other.

We will try to answer questions.

What We Will Do When You Are Finished

We will publish the text you send us, both in print and online, as Birkensnake 6.  We hope that many prospective editors will become involved in this project, and that there will be a large number of different Birkensnake 6s.  We will not conflate these Birkensnake 6s; the Birkensnake 6 of each pair of editors will be distinct from the Birkensnake 6s of all the other pairs of editors.

We might print the Birkensnake 6s in numerous pamphlets, and put together boxed sets of the pamphlets.  Something like that.  Actually we have no idea.

We, the usual editors of Birkensnake, will not produce our own text of Birkensnake 6.  All texts of Birkensnake 6 will be produced by you and your partner and other pairs of stranger-partners.

DRM-free electronic versions (HTML, EPUB, PDF) of all the Birkensnake 6s will be available free of charge on our website.  Print editions will be available for a small amount of money.  We will use this money to cover (or, more likely, not cover) our costs for postage and materials, and unfortunately cannot give you any of it.  In fact, see “Money” below.

We will mail you and each of your writers a print copy of all these versions.  All together.  You can see what everybody did.


There is no money involved in this activity.  You will neither pay nor be paid.  Typically we pay our writers a small amount, but because of the unusual nature of this issue, we will not be doing that this time.

Note, however, that you are free and even encouraged to make your own edition of your version of Birkensnake 6, independent from ours, which you could then sell.  Your edition might be nicer than ours — different anyway — perhaps more desirable.  You can put some price on it, and sell it.  If you have a website for selling it, we will link to your website.

You can also pay your writers, if you like.  But, again, you would do that independently.

How To Begin

If you would like to co-edit Birkensnake 6 with a stranger, please write us a note about who you are, why this project interests you, and what sort of Birkensnake you think you might like to put together.  You do not have to write some sort of formal essay.  We do not have a rubric.  We just want to know what you are thinking. Also mention where you live, because we might try to arrange pairs of editors who live near each other and can meet face to face.

Save your note and send it to us via Submittable. It doesn’t matter what you put in the “Title” and “Cover Letter” fields (although you will have to put something there).

We do not know how many participants we will accept. We also do not know what we will be looking for.  Will we prefer people who want to publish something like what we already publish, or people who want to publish something different?  We don’t know.  Will we prefer experience or inexperience, age or youth, man or woman, wolf or bear?  We don’t know.  Since this project is about pairs of editors, rather than individuals, some of our decisions may depend on who else volunteers, and whether we think there is a good fit.

You may not volunteer as a pair, or specify some other volunteer you would like to work with.

We expect that most interest will come from writers, but we also welcome non-writers. We welcome genre writers (any genre). We welcome poets, provided they understand that they must not publish verse. If you are someone we know, or a past contributor, or a famous person, we welcome you too, even though we have not solicited you personally; we are soliciting nobody, the whole project being, in many ways, harebrained.

We will respond to everybody, yes or no, on July 15, 2012.  We will also assign partners on that date.