Storm Michael Humbert: His Intergalactic Rejects

Storm Michael Humbert: His Intergalactic Rejects

By Angelique Fawns


Storm Michael Humbert is currently running a Kickstarter for his star-studded sci-fi anthology, Intergalactic Rejects: A Calendar of Fools anthology. It features some incredible talent such as Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson, Robert J. Sawyer, and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki. Ever wonder what sort of stories they’ve had rejected? This anthology will give you hope for your own little misfits. It’s earned the coveted Kickstarter “Project We Love”. The campaign runs until Thursday April 19.

AF: I love this concept! What was your inspiration for this anthology? 

SMH: My inspiration was really just writing and publishing for so long and finding that I’d have good stories that got close here and there and eventually ran out of real estate to find a home. I knew it wasn’t only me. Tons of writers have good stories run out of places to go, and there’s no mechanism in the short fiction markets to catch those and let readers see them. I wanted to both give writers a touchstone they can have on their shelves to remind them that good (and even great) stories get passed on all the time and provide a little market to collect some of these misfits.


AF: How did you convince such a stellar roster of authors to contribute?

SMH: I know all of them, and they were very kind to be part of my project. Samuel R. (Chip) Delany was my teacher and mentor at Temple, Robert and Kevin I know through Writers of the Future and talking with them at cons, and everyone else I met at cons or through mutual acquaintances. Also, all of them were very excited about the project when I shared it with them and wanted to be a part of it, so that definitely felt good. 


AF: Why did you choose Kickstarter, and how did you get ready for your campaign?

SMH: We chose Kickstarter because we’re a new press and don’t have the back catalogue or enough passive sales from previous projects (yet) to fund it up front ourselves and make it back on the back end. We may do that in the future once we’ve published more, but for now we need this is the only way we can afford to put our projects out. As for how we got ready, it’s a ton of work. You have to get all your math right, get your stretch goals and freebies all lined up (which we have a ton of, by the way), do your homework on what things will cost you to make so you can account for how those costs might increase by fulfillment time, and also have a plan for promoting your project. We learned a lot with our first project, “Inner Workings,” though, so it went a bit smoother this time. 


AF: Which rewards have been the most popular?

SMH: It changes daily, to be honest. E-book backer, paperback backer, and full backer tend to be within one or two pledges of each other. Those three are by far more common than either of the critique tiers, but that makes sense because those would only appeal to writers. 

AF: You won Writers of the Future in 2019, how did that change your career?

SMH: It changed it completely. It’s a combination of the support and boost you get from that win and the professionalization lessons you learn at the workshop. Then there’s also that we’re always getting better as writers. But I credit Writers of the Future quite a bit for giving me the tools and the direction to continue advancing my career. 


AF: What is your day job, and how does that influence your writing?

SMH: I’m a legal technical writer working in high-skilled immigration, and its benefits are two-fold. First, I’m lucky to work for an amazing firm. They let me go fully remote, and I have no cap on my PTO, so I am always able to take on a heavy con schedule. Second, many of our clients are doing cutting-edge research in their field, and that can lead me in interesting research directions of my own for science fiction technology ideas.

AF: Tell us about your writing journey.

SMH: I was going to school in undergrad to be a high school English teacher because I’d always been good in school and that seemed easy. Then I took some creative writing classes because they came easy and you pretty much always got an A. I wasn’t serious about it at all until I took Lee K. Abbott’s intermediate fiction workshop. Lee’s love of the craft was infectious, and his support for my own work, constantly assuring me of my talent, and eventual willingness to be my undergrad honors thesis advisor made me realize that this was what I wanted to do with my life. 


AF: What have you found to be the most profitable ventures?

SMH: Lee told me early on that if you want to get into writing, you can’t do it for the money because you’re sure to be disappointed, and so if I’m going to be talking about profitable ventures in my writing career, I can’t do it through a money lens. The truth is, the vast majority of writers can’t support themselves in this industry without a day job. So, my most profitable venture was submitting to Writers of the Future. Sure, it got me flown to LA for a great workshop and amazing gala, but the true profit has been in meeting so many of my peers who are similarly talented and similarly placed in their own careers. These will be my friends and colleagues in this industry for the rest of my life, and I couldn’t ask for a better group. 


AF: What advice would you give to fledging writers? What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?

SMH: In terms of habits, I would say find a routine that works for you. Some writers write every day or write during a certain time. Try different approaches until you find what works best for you. Mostly, though, I would say to not quit as long as you love it. Don’t let the rejections or falling short of your own goals for productivity or achievements get you down. Hemingway said we are all students in a craft of which nobody becomes a master, so enjoy learning in your craft because it’ll never stop. Enjoy the climb because there is no peak. That’s why you have to do this only if you love it, but as long as you love it, keep going. 

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