Furry Book Month Publisher Q&A: Goal Publications


Today we hear from Goal Publications. This interview took place before their recent news about their potential closure at the end of the year.
We hope you’ll have a read about what they think makes a good furry story, and what they have enjoyed about publishing furry books. Please consider supporting Goal in what may be their last few months – as any support to them will also help the wonderful writers they publish.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, and the publisher you are representing.

My name is Sean, and I’m the owner of Goal Publications. We are a queer-owned press located out of Connecticut, USA, and have published authors from five continents. We tend to focus on furry stories where the fact that these characters are animal-people makes some sort of difference in the story. This can be anything from a change in social customs, to clothing, to physical traits and abilities.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom?

The creativity in this fandom has never ceased to amaze me, whether its through writing, visual media, music, or something else entirely.

What made you decide to get involved with the furry publishing scene?

I’ve been editing freelance for over ten years now, starting within the furry fandom. From there it was a natural progression to working on editing anthologies, which turned into starting my webzine, which turned into starting a publishing house to contain that zine when it turned physical. That transition happened in 2015.

What do you believe makes a good story?

This is a hard question, because it’s such a subjective thing. That’s why so many of our decisions come down to “is it right for our market?”

As for something more tangible than that, a good story should first have something that establishes the setting, a main character, and some sort of stakes, all within the first few pages. More established authors can get away with a longer setup, but newer authors will need to earn the trust of their readers first. Give them something that lets them know they can expect some sort of payoff in the end.

What are some of the biggest challenges with publishing in a relatively niche market?

The biggest hurdle is the number of readers in a community that values visual media exponentially over written media, and thus the lack of sales. This forced us to be a lot more cautious with the books we do take, and the risks we take with it. Every financial decision we make is a gamble, from what book we take, the cover art we commission, the convention we choose to attend or not, etc. Any one of these decisions could be what forces us to close, all because reader-base isn’t guaranteed.

What are some of the best parts of publishing furry books?

I think this is where the niche market shines. We are able to more directly interact with the authors, editors, and readers than a larger market. It allows us to share how passionate we are about the titles and how proud of our authors and editors we are. It allows us to get to know our readers and be able to personally recommend titles. And it allows us to have more casual interactions with writers that could one day write a book for us.

What is the ideal writer to work with like?

An ideal writer for us would be one that both is open to criticism, while at the same time is willing to defend the parts of their work they feel strongly about. It creates a dialogue that, in the end, really does create the strongest story, and instils the most amount of trust between us.

Novels vs Anthologies. Which do you prefer working on, and how do they compare in terms of sales?

Novels all the way. With only one or two exceptions, novels far outweigh our anthologies in sales. They are also a lot easier for us to work on. Working on five 6,000-word short stories takes longer and is more draining for us than working on a 120k word novel, just because of the hard stops and starts involved (due to the different writing styles, different plots, just the different stories as a whole). Add this to the extra contracts and multiple authors… Team novel for sure.

What do you believe is the biggest misconception about the process of publishing, either specific to furry publishing or generally?

In general, the biggest misconception seems to be that authors send us in our stories, and we rake in all this money while authors are getting pennies. I can probably name the number of books we have on one hand that we aren’t underwater on.

Within the fandom, because we have a lot of authors not experienced working with editors, one of the biggest misconceptions I find is that authors think editors are there to take over their story—sometimes to the point of stealing it. That’s just not true, and those editors that try such a thing should flat-out not be editors.

It’s always said “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but just how important is cover art to the success of a book?

Covers are huge. Potentially customers are typically not even going to pick up a book to read more about it if they don’t find the cover appealing. It needs to fit the theme of the book, needs to attract the eye, and most importantly in this community, it has to have some sort of furry character on it. No furry character, and it’s very difficult to get those walking by at a convention or browsing the online catalog to stop and go further.

Is there anything you would like to see more of in furry fiction?

Furry fiction has become a lot more well-rounded in genre and general story styles than it has a few years ago, but one thing that has always been lacking is a larger spread of marginalized voices. This issue has been slowly progressing over the last year or two, but we need submissions more Black and Indigenous authors, more trans and non-binary authors, and more!

What has been your favourite book to work on recently? Why?

We’ve been working on the sequel to Frances Pauli’s Throwback, currently called Primal, and it’s a super fun book. More than that, Frances is definitely one of the best authors to work with. Having a good working relationship with authors is honestly just as important to us as working with a good book, because with that good relationship, even an okay book can become a favorite.


Tomorrow we start up with Oxfurred Comma, but we’ll also be featuring another one of our wonderful writers (who will actually be doing a couple of panels on Sunday!) We hope you’ll join us for both the next blog post and Oxfurred Comma.

Furry Book Month Author Q&A: Domus Vocis


Today’s author in the spotlight is Domus Vocis, who has plenty to share on furry writing – both what he enjoys to write and what he likes seeing from others. Check out his thoughts below.


Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?

I am currently writing two projects, one of which will be published into a duology when the right time comes. The first project is a dystopian gay romance titled “Maverick Hotel”, and it is a Patreon story series about two resistance fighters living in a theocratic dictatorship called The Devout States of America, set in an alternate 2019. The second project is separate from the first. It’s a homoerotic neo-noir thriller novel titled “Cherry”, following a wolf contract killer and his lover, an ocelot male prostitute nicknamed ‘Cherry’, who is being targeted by a mysterious serial killer whose modus operandi involves tricking or bribing others to commit murders. For “Maverick Hotel”, I originally started writing it in the middle of the Trump era to help vent my frustrations, only for me to gradually enjoy writing about the main characters, the setting and even the lore. As for “Cherry”, I have neo-noir comic books and movies to thank for inspiration, such as Frank Miller’s Sin City, the John Wick franchise, and especially furry comic books exploring dark, gritty, erotic themes like Heathen City by Alex Vance or The Dread Fall by TheVale. I think Heathen City played a huge steppingstone for influence regarding one of the characters in “Cherry”, which will be one of two books to be published within the future.

What is your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?

I love how diverse and incredibly creative the furry fandom can be. As a furry author, I enjoy reading and writing in an artistic medium that can provide endless possibilities. Furry fiction has the same infinite potential as any story genre, but what makes it stand out is how it is more than a sub-genre, but an aesthetical appeal that can range beyond genres or even other communities.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?

LOL. I don’t know what a ‘pantser’ is exactly, but my writing process is mainly about outlining and planning the plot. At least, when it comes to complicated stories. It can honestly be tricky for me not to think too much of what I write down on paper. It’s in my nature to make each product the best thing for a reader to enjoy.

What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?

My biggest strength, according to some of my dedicated fans, is balancing characterization and worldbuilding. Sometimes, I can prefer one over the other, but not to the point it is too distracting for most readers.

What is your favorite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?

Oh, that is a tricky question to answer. If I had to break it down to just one kind of story, it would be ones that I have never done before. I love writing stories that are new territory for me or challenge me either personally or professionally. While I also like reading stories I can predict sometimes, it is also refreshing to not know where the plot of a book is going to go. It can be very fun sometimes, being in the dark and not knowing what happens on the next page.  

Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?

Again, another tricky question. If I had to choose, it would be a tie between Adam Grimwald, the protagonist of “Maverick Hotel”, and Peter Gray, the protagonist of my debut novel, “The Adventures of Peter Gray”. I always identified with Adam because of the struggle between his religious beliefs and his homosexuality. My personal relationship with God is…complicated now, and most of the turmoil I experienced in coming to terms with my own sexuality can be found in how Adam feels in balancing his acceptance of his sexuality with firm beliefs in an Almighty. Granted, it wasn’t to the same extremes that Adam went through, but I can still see it in the inner arguments he has with himself, not knowing if his attractions were wrong, second guessing everything his leaders taught him, falling in love for the first time, and eventually coming to terms with who he is.

As for Peter Gray, I identified with the scrappy young wolf urchin for his sense of optimism, despite how isolated he feels. Growing up on the autism spectrum led to me not making as many meaningful friendships until college. Looking back and rereading “The Adventures of Peter Gray”, I just want to hug Peter. I want to tell him he doesn’t have to keep feeling alone. He doesn’t have to hide his loneliness behind a bright smile, that he can be vulnerable around others. It makes him (dare I say it?) human and genuine.

Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?

Outside of the furry fandom, those honors must go to authors like Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Lois Lowry, as well as young adult authors such as Scott Westerfeld, Marie Lu, and David Levithan. In fact, David Levithan’s novels helped me personally throughout high school when it came to my sexuality and writing non-heteronormative characters in my stories.

Within the furry fandom, my primary influence for writing furry fiction all came down to Kyell Gold. Believe it or not, his “Waterways” novel happened to be the very first furry book I ever read going into my senior year of high school. It’s kind of embarrassing how much I loved reading it, but to say it didn’t influence me to write furry fiction would be a big bold lie. “Waterways” can be best described as my gateway into the fandom.

What is the last book you read that you really love?

“Change in the Midnight Rain” by Kageichi Kagi, about an adult blue bunny named Ameya as he’s raised in a male brothel during the Meiji Era in Japan, and the blooming friendship he forms with the foxy daughter of a retired ninja. Simply put, “Change in the Midnight Rain” turned out to be so good that I read halfway through it in one sitting when I just expected to quickly read the first chapter. The next chance I could, I finished the rest of it late into the night. It is honestly the first complete novel that I’ve ever read through in less than two days.

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

Whenever I’m not reading a random book or going for a bike ride when the Midwest weather permits me, I love watching various movies, films, YouTube videos, and documentaries. I am a self-proclaimed history buff too. I’ve also gotten into doing some digital artwork.

Do you have any advice to give other writers?

I’m not the first person to say this, but it really does help; do not overthink it. I’ve seen and known writers who focus more on planning stories and their original characters instead of taking the time to write down the actual story. Jotting down their likes/dislikes, backstory, hobbies, theme songs, job occupations, relationship statuses is fine so long as it leads to more than a profile description.

Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?

I wish to see more examples of furry fiction that don’t just have anthropomorphism as an aesthetic. Instead, have the anthropomorphism worked into the lore, worldbuilding, settings and especially characterizations. I’d like to see it incorporated more into settings in a way justifying the protagonist being a tiger, wolf, husky, etc. Sometimes, these kinds of stories won’t even work more of animal mannerisms beyond a mere mention of fur colors or what kind of animal the characters are. If I had a dollar for every contemporary slice-of-life story that could easily trade its furry characters for human ones, my wallet would burst from its seams.

Where can readers find your work?

Readers can find my content on the following websites.

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/domusvocis

SoFurry: https://domus-vocis.sofurry.com/

FurAffinity: https://www.furaffinity.net/user/domusvocis/

I can also be found on Twitter as @HoppNate and on my After Dark account as @DomusVocis_AD


Tomorrow we return to one of our publishers who have recently shared some unfortunate news about their future. We hope you’ll join us tomorrow and share in some positivity with them.

Furry Book Month Author Q&A: Killick


Today we speak to Killick (who just got married recently, so he might not see this until after his honeymoon! Congratulations!). Before his big day, we asked him a few questions about how he goes about writing, and what he enjoys reading. I think it’s fair to say he’s quite vociferous in recommending a particular book. Read on to find out what!


Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?

My most recent project is something I’m still currently writing. It’s not my first attempt at a novel, but my first where completion (and hopefully publication) is a very real possibility and I’ve been working on it for a little over five years to the exclusion of almost everything else. I’m actually having trouble remembering the most recent finished thing, because it’s just been so long since I’ve focused on something that wasn’t the novel.

So anyway, the novel, ‘Neon’. ‘Neon’ is about love and trust. Two crucial aspects of a successful relationship. It’s also about listening and being there for one another. Sounds all mushy wushy, doesn’t it? Well it’s also framed in a world of superheroes and villains, of action, explosions and lasers. Bryce Bolton, a fox superhero with the ability to teleport, has successfully kept his hero identity a secret from his rabbit boyfriend for three years. But when things start to go wrong in the superhero world, it starts to strain their relationship and threatens to tear them apart.

Weirdly enough, ‘Neon’ was not inspired by the current slew of superhero movies (although I absolutely love the Marvel films and have definitely looked to them for sources of structure and tropes within the superhero genre). I was actually inspired by a card game called “Sentinels of the Multiverse,” a co-operative game where the players build up hero powers to defeat a villain deck. I was playing with some friends one day, and thought ‘Hey, this game is playing out like a really cool action scene. I wonder if I could write that.’ And then I did, and it spawned a whole heap of ideas and characters that just dominated my mind for the next few years.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?

I really don’t know what attracted me to furry characters and the fandom. I just think they’re neat. Maybe it’s the enormous amount of art and creativity that comes out of the fandom. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember, so writing about anthropomorphic characters after I joined the fandom seemed like a natural step to take.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?

I’m definitely still figuring out my writing process. Some of my earlier short stories were a bit easier because they focused on a single concept, one idea that I could just write. I sometimes would need to work out ‘this needs to happen, then this, then finally this,’ but that’s the most basic of road maps in regard to plotting.

With previous novel ideas, I’d have characters, I’d have worlds and situations, but never really a solid through-line. I would write scenes because they seemed cool, rather than having purposes. The current superhero story started a bit like, random scenes jumbled together in completely discordance, but I’ve managed to lasso them into what I think is a good structure.

My next book idea will definitely involve a lot more preparation. Maybe that will work better for me, maybe it won’t. All I can do is try and see.

What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?

My ability to steal my enemies’ words, leaving them in terrified perpetual silence. Wait, no, not that. I’d like to think I can write good snappy dialogue, but I’ve never really had someone come to me and say “Hey, your dialogue slaps. What a bangin’ conversation those characters had,” so I don’t know that for sure.

I can tell you about probably the best compliment I’ve ever received for something I wrote. Earlier this year I met a new friend online, and I learned he liked reading short, shall we say “satisfying” stories online. I told him that I’m a writer, and that, like many other furries, I post my more, um, erotitastic works on FA. I pointed him to a story of a particular, erm, interest that aligned with his *cough* interests, and asked him to give me any feedback he had. Two hours later, he sent me a message gushing about how good the story was and that he had, ah, “finished” so hard that he’d passed out for half an hour.

What is your favourite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?

I love to write a good, fun adventure. I’ve written about superheroes, swordspeople, magic casters, pirates, nazi-punching spies, and aerial dragon combat. For me it comes down to what is the most fun and exciting thing that can happen? That’s what I want to write. Maybe it’s an escape thing, where even the most complex problems can be solved with a few well placed laser blasts. Maybe I’m not emotionally ready to explore deeper ideas, or maybe I do already and don’t even realise it.

That’s usually what I read as well. I mostly read various flavours of fantasy and sci-fi, but I also like to dip into other genres such as horror, romance, literature, and crime.

Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?

At this point, I probably identify most with the boyfriend of my protagonist in ‘Neon’. Simon is a rabbit, clueless to his partner’s superhero shenanigans, and just trying to hold everything together with a tolerable job, mounting bills, and too many chores to do. I identify with Simon, because he’s just trying to make things work with what he has, and sometimes that’s enough. But sometimes it’s not.

Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?

Terry Pratchett is a huge influence on me. I write fantasy and sci-fi, so I feel like this is the most bog-standard, obvious answer, but he’s influential for a reason. He’s a master of the turn of phrase, he approaches ideas and concepts from clever angles, his sentence to sentence writing is consistently interesting, and on top of all that he’s funny. It’s his books that really made me want to be a writer.

I also have to mention Carl Hiaasen. Hiaasen writes environmentalist crime comedy novels that are pure gold. Do yourself a favour and read “Native Tounge” – it is one of my favourite books of all time. Pratchett may have inspired me to be a writer, but Hiaasen is the writer I aspire to be. He is a master of taking the grounded, often grey reality of the real world and stretching it to such ridiculous lengths that the mundane is left in the dust in favour of the absurd. His characters are incredible, often wacky, but there to grab you by the scruff and drag you through the plot. And he has a real talent for writing these long asides that for most other authors would be dull exposition dumps, but in Hiaasen’s hands they are some of the funniest parts of the book.

What is the last book you read that you really love?

I can only pick one? How dare you. I shall resist. A recent book I read that is already generally pretty well known and loved is ‘Pet Sematary’ by Stephen King. It was my first King book, actually, and it was great! I loved how the horror didn’t come from what was happening, but from the potential of what the characters might do. You mutter at the page, “Louis, my dude, don’t do it. Don’t even think it! You’ll lose so much more if you try to fix that,” but all the while knowing that the protagonist is going to end up doing it anyway. Sometimes I find myself randomly thinking about the final image and final word of the book, so it definitely left an impact.

Two more recent releases that I loved were ‘Upright Women Wanted’ by Sarah Gailey, and ‘Wanderers’ by Chuck Wendig. I adored ‘Upright Women Wanted’ – about a bunch of queer librarians (including some great non-binary representation) travelling across the USA after the cowboy apocalypse, trying to get to the safe state of Utah where it isn’t illegal to be gay or gender non-conforming. The book has a hopeful message that you should be free to be who you are, but sometimes you have to fight for that right, sometimes you have to throw a few punches, and sometimes you have to pull the trigger.

‘Wanderers’ by Chuck Wendig might just be the best book I’ve ever read. It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away, because the first third of the book is a mystery, with a second act reveal that dramatically changes the nature of the story. America wakes up one morning to discover a flock of “sleepwalkers” trekking across the country on a mysterious, unstoppable journey. The flock is made up of normal, average people – teenagers, teachers, bus drivers, scientists – but they cannot talk, cannot respond, and cannot be woken up.

‘Wanderers’ doesn’t have subtext, it mostly just has text. It has domtext. The author took a lot of things he is obviously and rightly angry at, and rolled them into one big apocalyptic journey. Global warming, over-reliance on pharmaceuticals and antibiotics, distrust of science, gun control, capitalism, religion, bigotry, xenophobia, and of course white supremacy. I first read this book in 2019 when it was published, and it weirdly predicted a lot events that happened in the temporal trash fire that was 2020. I re-read it a few months ago in 2021 and it definitely hit a lot different.

Please, for the love of dog, read ‘Wanderers’. I desperately need someone to talk to about it.

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I work a 9 to 5 day job and try to write every evening, so free time is something I find less and less of as I take my writing more seriously. I really enjoy cooking and baking, and I know a lot of people think of that as a chore, but I am more than happy to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen tending to a sauce. I actually find it extremely relaxing.

A friend recently got me into model painting, so every now and then I’ll just sit and bring some colour to all of the grey fantasy miniatures I’ve managed to amass over the years.

But what I really love is just sitting down and watching movies. It’s how I recharge. These days I try to watch things I’ve never seen before, but there are times when I just need to watch Back to the Future for the fiftieth time.

Do you have any advice to give other writers?

Finish your shit. Everyone’s good at writing beginnings because we write so many of them. Writing an ending is its own skill but it is just as important. So choose what you begin carefully, put some real thought and preparation into your characters and your direction to give yourself the best chance at completing it.

Also, make time to touch some grass and look at a tree. You’d be amazed what that can do to clear your head.

Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?

I honestly don’t know. We create such a wide swath of genres and ideas that we have a lot of ground already covered. From fantasy epics featuring intelligent mythical creatures, to sci-fi starring genetically engineered animal people, to modern day romance with completely unexplained anthropomorphic animals. We do it all. I’m not even the first person to write a furry superhero story. Not by a long shot.

Actually, I’ve just thought of something. Fat protagonists. I’m tired of slim foxes with glistening abs. Give me a saves-the-day hero with some heft to them. The furry writing scene always strives for progression, inclusion, and recognition in important areas like BIPOC and LGBTIQA+. Let’s slip in a bit of body positivity as well. As a treat.

Where can readers find your work?

You can find a combination of my all-ages adventure stories and adult work at SoFurry and FurAffinity.

I have four short stories currently in print in various anthologies: ‘Three Minutes To Midnight’ published in Gods With Fur; ‘Shells On The Beach’ published in Dogs Of War; ‘Ibis Hotel’ published in Furry Trash; and finally ‘Le Chat et la Souris’ published in The Jackal Who Came In From the Cold.

I also have a non-furry blog, Scribbled Cakes, which I update semi-regularly.


Have you got Wanderers yet? Or perhaps one of the anthologies in which Killick appears? Furry Trash is a fun one! (Disclosure: I edited that anthology.)
Come back here tomorrow for another furry writer sharing their experiences as we build up towards Oxfurred Comma on the weekend.

Furry Book Month Publisher Q&A: Fenris Publishing


Fenris Publishing is producing an exciting array of books, comics, and tabletop games. We asked them a few questions about the furry writing community, and their plans for the future. We hope you find their answers interesting, and that you check out their website to see what titles interest you.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, and the publisher you are representing.

My name is Rex and I’m the owner of Fenris Publishing, LLC.  I first became active in the community online in 1998 when I created my character for the Road Rovers fandom and soon transitioned into the larger furry community.  My first convention was Further Confusion 2004 and I’ve been very active in the community ever since.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom?

My favorite part about this community is how welcoming and accepting it is.  You can be who and what you want to be without judgment.  I find the community overwhelmingly positive, uplifting, and joyful, and we all need more of that in our lives.

What made you decide to get involved with the furry publishing scene?

I got into publishing because I wrote my own tabletop RPG system called Triten and wanted to manage the publication of it myself.  Rather than simply self-publishing and moving on to other creative projects, though, I fell in love with the business of publishing itself and decided to pursue that full time and have been doing so ever since.

What do you believe makes a good story?

For me, the characters are what make the greatest stories, followed by a strong plot.  But primarily, you need to have interesting and engaging characters that I yearn to know more about and follow through their journeys.

What are some of the biggest challenges with publishing in a relatively niche market?

The biggest challenge comes from the business side.  Small, niche markets limit how many books you can sell, and expenses pile up quickly when you’re running a small business.  So, the biggest challenge is reaching a wide enough audience to keep the business afloat.

What are some of the best parts of publishing furry books?

The best part is getting to see all the great stories, characters, and worlds people dream up!  I find great joy in letting a book take me away to a world full of anthropomorphic characters and seeing all the interesting ways various authors craft worlds around that premise.

What is the ideal writer to work with like?

The ideal writer will communicate openly with us and be receptive to the feedback our editors give them.  It’s often a difficult process having an editor go through the work you put your heart and soul into and tell you that certain things need to be changed.  The ideal writer will be willing to engage in that process and be open to making adjustments.

Novels vs Anthologies. Which do you prefer working on, and how do they compare in terms of sales?

We currently are only working on novels and novellas, but we plan to start exploring the world of anthologies starting in 2022.

What do you believe is the biggest misconception about the process of publishing, either specific to furry publishing or generally?

One big thing I think some writers aren’t prepared for is how very slow the process of publishing a novel can be, taking months or even years to complete, especially since most furry publishers and editors don’t (and can’t) do this work full time.  Even just getting through and responding to our submissions can take us months.

It’s always said, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but just how important is cover art to the success of a book?

Book covers are extremely important.  The next time you’re at furry convention, watch how buyers browse at a bookseller’s table.  There can be dozens of titles on the table, and for your average customer, you have mere seconds to attract their attention to something they might like.  Covers need to have sharp art and/or strong graphic design so a customer will even pick it up to look at the blurb on the back.

Is there anything you would like to see more of in furry fiction?

My personal favorite genre is medieval fantasy, so I always want to see more of that.  I’d also love to see more stories with heavier, darker, more mature, and more expansive themes.

What has been your favourite book to work on recently? Why?

Based on my previous response, it’s probably not a surprise that my favorite book to work on recently was Children of Maya by Christopher Vastag, which we will be releasing within the next few months.  The book is a medieval fantasy story featuring human characters who can shapeshift into various feral animals.  The story focuses on how a cruel, tyrannical predator king and those who support him oppress prey species, and it follows a rabbit character on her journey to escape slavery and liberate her people.


One of the biggest strengths of the furry writing community is the healthy selection of publishers. We hope you’ll join us in supporting them during this month – and through the rest of the year!

Our guest tomorrow had a very special day on the weekend, so thankfully we got his answers well in advance. We hope you’ll join us then to see what he has to say.

Furry Book Month Author Q&A: Jess E. Owen


Today we talk to author and gryfon extraordinaire, Jess E. Owen. She has delighted the furry fandom with her gryfons for a few years now (and sparked the endless debate on gryfon vs gryphon vs griffin). So long as we all agree to accept the different spellings of the species, Jess is here to discuss her success in self-publishing, as well as moving on to traditional publishing.


Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?

I currently have two writing tracks going! My indie published fantasy world features gryfons and epic adventures, and I am working on the second book in a series sequel to the complete “Summer King Chronicles.” This story is a sequel to “Rise of the Dragon Star.” On the other track I have an agent and traditional publishing deal for two contemporary Young Adult novels (humans ;D ). The book due out in spring of 2022 is “A Furry Faux Paw,” about a young furry artist who attempts to break free of her controlling hoarder mother by escaping to a furcon with her friends. I’m nervous and excited and hope the fandom enjoys it.

The inspiration for the Summer King Chronicles was, at its heart, to write something unique with animal characters, featuring a fantasy species I felt was underserved. There are lots of dragons around, and a few unicorns, but not too terribly many gryphons.

The inspiration for “Faux Paw,” was, obviously, the fandom itself. My original books brought me into the fandom where I’ve found friends and wonderful experiences and a truly unique culture, and I wanted to write about someone in that “world” and so . . . I did!

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?

I have always been drawn to animal fiction since I started reading. I think there’s a little part of all of us who wishes we could truly transform, have the animal experience, fly, swim, run. Writing furry fiction is a way of exploring that, and as a fantasy writer, it stretches the imagination to inhabit a whole other species and way of being. I think one of my favourite parts of the fandom is the joyous abandon with which people own their creations and share with each other. And after reading so much animal fiction as a kid, the transition to writing it just came naturally.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?

After years of writing, I’m still discovering my process! I have found that my stories do best when they’ve had a year or two (!!) to marinate and form in my brain, sifting and picking up and discarding ideas until the real story steps forward. So I really try to pick the story I’m going to work on well in advance so I can obsess and inhabit it when the time comes to write. Then I do a loose outline with a general three act structure, at least a main character arc and so on. I’ve tried various methods and decided I’m a “plantser.” I need a beginning, some fun scenes to pin the plot to, and ending in mind, but otherwise I find much of it as a go, and new things occur to me as I visualize scenes and continue fleshing out the characters.

What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?

I like to think that readers are able to connect quickly with my characters, and that I can draw them into my worlds with specific sensory details. I pride myself on my scene-level pacing and walking readers through a variety of emotions to hit them in the Feels when it counts.

What is your favourite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?

I like writing all kinds of things and I think it changes the more I write an explore. Currently I really dig into writing characters with high emotional stakes tied to whatever they’re trying to accomplish, no matter the genre. I realize when I get bored of a story it’s because the character doesn’t have enough inner conflict going on and I gravitate to characters who are conflicted or trying to overcome some pain. I gravitate toward reading fantasy, obviously, but I tried to read across genres and experiences to really have a well-rounded scope.

Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?

Ooooo so many. In the Summer King Chronicles, I think, even though Shard is the main character, by the end I bonded thoroughly with Caj and Sigrun because they are both just gryfons trying to do the best thing for their family, struggling through difficult and conflicting goals, in a very dangerous and trying time.

Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?

Meredith Ann Pierce was a huge influence, both her Firebringer Trilogy and her Dark Angel series. Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea Cycle had a huge impact on the themes I like to bring to my fantasy—oof, so many!! Those are a top two for sure. I’ll think of a dozen more later.

What is the last book you read that you really love?

I loved “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik. It is sumptuous and perfectly crafted.

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

“Free time…?” I draw and paint, I work a day job. My husbird and I have never-ending house projects, and this summer has seen a lot of family obligations. When I have actual free time I try to get out in nature or hunker down in a coffee shop and watch people go by.

Do you have any advice to give other writers?

Never stop learning. You can hear the same bit of advice ten different ways and it won’t help you until one day, someone says it in a way that makes sense to you, and it will change your world and help you level up. Challenge yourself. Terrible at action scenes? Read a bunch write one, keep improving. Finish projects. You learn more from writing more things, new things, than from tinkering with one thing for twenty years. Trust me. And finally: take all advice with a grain of salt and do what works for you! 😉

Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?

I am excited to see more authors dipping their toe into (or at least expressing an interest in) Young Adult furry fiction. There are so many young people coming into the fandom, as well as people (like me!) who simply enjoy the YA reading and writing experience.

Where can readers find your work?

Well, next year in May/June you’ll be able to buy “A Furry Faux Paw” by Page Street Publishing (cover reveal coming in November!!) wherever books are sold, and the Summer King Chronicles & other gryfony stories are available through just about every online retailer there is. You can start with the first book here: https://books2read.com/u/3JXwvJ and of course my website www.jessowen.com where you can contact me or explore more about my fantasy worlds.


Tomorrow we talk to another one of the furry fandom’s publishers. These people may be some of the newer publishers to the game, but they’re already making great ground in the work they are producing. We hope you’ll join us tomorrow to hear what they have to say.

Furry Book Month Reviewer Q&A: Furry Book Review


The furry writing community is more than just authors, editors, and publishers. Reviewers can also play an integral role in the community. Today, we find out a little bit about why that is.


Tell us a bit about yourself, and the Furry Book Review.

I’m Thiger, a writer, editor and illustrator. I edit for Thurston Howl Publications and Weasel Press and run Furry Book Review and the Leo Awards. The FBR is for furry reviews and the Leos are for furry literature prizes, but both have the same goal: increasing the fandom’s visibility and spreading the good word. Running the FBR is less carefree than it sounds, since most of the actual reviewing is done by my gracious contributors, but it’s still fun! I never expected myself doing it, but the lovely thing about the furry lit world is how it’s relatively small and everything is connected, so a job can take you to another unexpected job and so on.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom?

I think the furry aesthetic makes reality more approachable, and that can mean all sorts of things, from cultivating a curiosity for wanting to draw by watching Disney films as a kid, to letting you explore your sexuality because bodies with animal heads are less threatening than humans.

What made you decide to get involved in the furry reviewing scene?

I love reading things critically, which led me to editing, which is my current major. So when this position was offered to me, it seemed a natural fit.

What do you believe makes a good story?

I think a novel can have great plot and worldbuilding, but without great prose and characters it can never be called “great.” I consider depth of characters the same as depth of themes or plot, since they carry both of those out.

What do you believe is the main importance of providing formal reviews for furry books?

The furry world is small, but the furry literary world even more so. For small authors, oftentimes self-published, our review can be their first and their first boost of visibility. The blog is a great way of spreading positivity around the community, even when the review isn’t positive.

Are there sometimes any difficulties in providing impartial reviews?

There have been cases where people involved with the blog needed to have their books reviewed, but our network of reviewers is vast, so there’s always uninvolved available to offer an unbiased review with no “conflict of interest.” For FBR’s Leo Awards, we go even further, and try to compose half of the judges with non furries.

Are there common issues you see throughout furry fiction? Is there any advice you would give to furry writers as a whole?

This is a tough question. I’d say a major problem for furry literature is that it’s very niche and it’s very hard for it to sell, so it has to protect itself by merging with other well known genres as cushion, which can result in a proliferation of similar genre books heavy on tropes. Even for more serious furry lit, which is usually called Xenofiction, it’s hard to escape Watership Down’s shadow. On top of that, it’s hard to assert a work’s anthropomorphism without visual aid, which can result in books with “zipperback” characters, meaning they could be replaced by humans with no changes.

My advice for aspiring furry writers would be to consider all these challenges before starting, and to be mindful of tradition. I think knowing who came before us and paved the way is extremely important, and it’s always a good idea to read the kinds of books you want to write, so definitely give the furry classics love. This is common knowledge with human novels, but often overlooked when it comes to furry novels. There’s a canon there, too.

What do you believe furry fiction provides that other genres can not?

What I said earlier about furry being more approachable is doubly true when there’s no pictures, as Kyell Gold proved by publishing Waterways and helping hundreds explore their sexuality. On top of that, literature’s more introspective nature lends itself to exploring how an animal might think more than, say, a furry comic or cartoon, which is as fascinating as reading about any alien civilization.

Is there anything you’d like to see more of in furry fiction?

I’d like to see more innovation and variety. There’s already been some furry poetry books out there, but I’d love to go further and see furry epic poetry, furry postmodernism, furry of all kinds which haven’t been done before or, at least, since the middle ages.

What kind of stories do you wish writers/publishers would send to you?

While we love getting books from the fandom’s biggest names with guaranteed quality, what tends to make me feel warmest is when we can make a small author’s day better. And while the main mission purpose of the blog is to enrich the fandom, I do love when we review things from outside of it like mainstream comics or regular novels with anthro characters, just for the bizarre reactions.

Which book that you have reviewed would you recommend over all others?

Akela, by Ben Goodridge. That book went above and beyond avoiding the pitfalls I described earlier; it did so effortlessly by being an ambitious, sober, sombre book about Australian culture that pulls no punches and depicts a main character with so many dimensions, you’ll find yourself falling in love with him.


We hope that you’ll check out the Furry Book Review site and see what books they recommend. Authors, consider sending your books through to them for review.
Tomorrow we hear from another author – one who has found great success in the self-publishing area, and is now making the transition to traditionally published. Found out more tomorrow!

Furry Book Month Publisher Q&A: Sofawolf


Sofawolf Press is one of the furry fandom’s oldest publishers, and have been responsible for producing some of our most beloved books. Jeff Eddy was kind enough to answer some of our questions about their history and what furry publishing means to the community.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, and the publisher you are representing.

My name is Jeff Eddy, and I am the President and co-founder of Sofawolf Press, Inc. The company was founded in 1999 and we have produced nearly 100 novels, anthologies, periodicals, and graphic novels. We have four people on the board of directors and have had up to ten individuals managing and editing specific projects, but the majority of the day to day work is done by two or three people.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom?

I love that, as a fandom without a source material and really without a specific genre, people are free to create anything they want. As long as it has some kind of animalistic anthropomorphism in it, it’s “furry”.

The fandom is also great about embracing creators who are furries, even if the things they create may not ultimately be furry in nature. That’s pretty awesome.

What made you decide to get involved with the furry publishing scene?

In 1999 there were not a lot of publications open to the kind of stories we wanted to see told. We felt there were a lot of people capable of writing serious, quality fiction that was neither aggressively sexual nor emphatically general audience. We wanted to explore the vast middle ground (though obviously we expanded our catalogue into the other areas eventually).

What do you believe makes a good story?

There is no one answer to this. You have to balance giving the reader what they expect with giving the reader something new and different; but too many people get hung up on the “new and different” part and forget about giving people what they expect. Obviously, whatever you do it needs to be sufficient quality to keep from pulling the reader out of the story to puzzle over words or structure or logistics. And finally, everything is character-heavy these days, so you have to make sure your characters live and breathe and grow.

What are some of the biggest challenges with publishing in a relatively niche market?

One of our biggest challenges was striving for variety. The fandom is still pretty small, and despite our best efforts we never managed to get much quality from the general writing community. So, it was a significant effort to try to keep introducing new names in our anthologies.

What are some of the best parts of publishing furry books?

When I talk to other publishers, the one thing they always bring up is how easy it is for us to find great artists to work with. Not only in terms of quality, but in terms of enthusiasm for the material they are creating. As a publisher, I can select an artist whose natural style works particularly well for the material, and usually have multiple options to choose from.

What is the ideal writer to work with like?

The ideal writer understands that our job is to help them make their work enjoyable to the greatest number of readers possible. In this, we are often in the position of telling them vastly different things than they have been hearing from the peer editing process they have been going through while creating their final draft.

Novels vs Anthologies. Which do you prefer working on, and how do they compare in terms of sales?

Anthologies require a lot of project management because you are dealing with multiple authors and potentially multiple artists as well. There are a lot of balls to juggle, and a lot more opportunities for things to go wrong. The flat licensing payments make upfront costs a lot higher, and with rare exceptions the sales tend to be lower. So, it takes a lot longer to recover the initial investment on the title.

Novels usually take a lot longer to edit and produce, but most of the time you are dealing with a single author and a single artist, which makes things a lot easier. Unless it is part of an established series by a well-known author, there is always a risk that a new title will fail to sell particularly well. But, since most novels pay the author in annual royalty payments rather than upfront flat payments, it helps smooth out the costs.

What do you believe is the biggest misconception about the process of publishing, either specific to furry publishing or generally?

Oh, that would be the misconception that small publishers are big, evil corporations that make huge quantities of money off the hard work of the writers and artists that we publish. The profit margins on publishing are very slim, and the only way the big publishers make money is by producing at scale and maximum diversification of their catalogue.

This is a labour of love, and no one on the Sofawolf Press staff has ever been paid for their work.

It’s always said “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but just how important is cover art to the success of a book?

This depends a lot on who the potential reader is. People who are picking up a book because they are familiar with the author, or who have had the title recommended by a friend, are less likely to pay a lot of attention to the cover artwork. A nice cover is still important, but not as important as it is to the casual browser.

For the casual browser you often have only two opportunities to make a sale: the front cover and the back cover. The front cover is what makes them pick the book up. The back cover blurb convinces them to read it.

Is there anything you would like to see more of in furry fiction?

This is one of the hardest questions in this list, because creators in this fandom do such a good job with the usual problem areas: inclusivity, sensitivity, elevating marginalized voices, etc… There is always room for improvement, but we’re so far ahead of the curve there.

I think I would love to see more creators exploring Young Adult themes. Some authors have, and have done it well, but there is room for a lot more.

What has been your favourite book to work on recently? Why?

Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher (aka: Ursula Vernon) was a special joy for me. Not only was it a terrific story that had resonated with a lot of people at a very difficult time in our recent history, but Lauren Henderson (aka: Louvelex) was absolutely the perfect artist to have agreed to work on the illustrations for it.

The fact that we got to run it as a Kickstarter, allowing us to do some nice reward goodies and produce an excellent cloth-bound hardback limited edition, was just icing on the cake. And having both author and artist named in the Hugo Award Nomination was even better.


Tomorrow, we have an interview that will be a little bit different from the earlier ones, as the focus is not on writing or publishing. Instead, we interviewed a reviewer. We hope you’ll come back tomorrow to see what they have to say about furry writing!

Furry Book Month Author Q&A: R.A. Meenan


Today we discuss furry writing and the writing process with R.A. Meenan. Every writer has a different method of writing, and takes different inspirations from both within and without the furry fandom. Though we are seeing a bit of a pattern emerge with plotting vs pantsing!

Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?

My most recent published story is called Some Things Remain, and it’s a story about draft dodgers living in a community during a catastrophic world war. On the surface, it’s setting up for my third novel which is set in that war, but deeper down, the story talks about xenophobia, self-hate, manipulation, and the horrors of war. Since all of these, even war, are big social issues right now, they’re important to touch on and are constant themes in my stories.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?

I love the inclusion of the furry fandom! I know it has its issues, but for the most part, I feel like I can be fully myself in this fandom.

As for writing furry fiction, I just find furries more interesting to write than humans, especially for speculative fiction and I write pretty much exclusively spec fic.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?

Hoo boy, my writing process is a mess. I do several forms of detailed outlines and then end up just pantsing a lot of it. But it usually starts with vague ideas, then a “big picture” outline, then a very detailed outline based off the Take Off Your Pants method. Though I frequently find that I modify and change outlines a LOT while writing. So I suppose I’m in-between.

What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?

For the process, probably my ability to tell when I need to change something that just isn’t working. I can get a feel for it and just KNOW this isn’t working. For the writing itself, it’s worldbuilding without infodumping. It was a hard-earned skill, but I think I’ve nailed it.

What is your favourite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?

I like to write psychologically gritty stories, with a lot of man-vs-self. I also love to write stories with a lot of suspense. The kind that has cliffhangers at every chapter (though with a non-cliffhanger, satisfying ending).

It definitely does NOT align with my reading preferences though, haha. These kinds of gritty cliffhanger stories tend to stress me out while reading and I’ll often skip ahead in them to see if my favourite characters are going to die so I can prepare myself… emotionally.

Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?

The character I WISH I identified with is Matthew Azure. Idealistic, optimist, self sacrificing, always checking in with himself to make sure he’s doing the right thing, etc. These things tend to bite Matt in the tail – he has a hero-complex and the tendency to overthink things – but overall he’s the person I wish I was.

However, I’m definitely more like Trecheon Omnir. Cynical, pessimistic, mad at the world, sick of seeing racism and xenophobia everywhere, wants to change things, but has no idea how, or feels like nothing he could do would ever be enough, so it stops him from even attempting, etc.

Trecheon and Matt are definitely foils of each other, but as their friendship grows, their good traits tend to rub off on each other. I like to think my husband, who is definitely more of the real-life Matt, has done this for me.

Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?

MCA Hogarth’s Pelted universe was a huge inspiration for world-building for me. Her worlds feel so REAL, both physically and culturally, like you could just pick up and move there.

Jess E. Owen of the Summer King Chronicles is one of my biggest inspirations not only as a writer, but also as a self-published author. She’s done amazing things with her world, and I eat up every new novel she writes. She’s the writer I want to be.

Michael Crichton’s style of character voice, POV, and description has influenced my writing style since high school. He’s fantastic at character voice and the way he jumps seamlessly from one POV to the next with simple section breaks is fantastic.

What is the last book you read that you really love?

K. Vale Nagle’s Eyrie was the last book I read in entirety, and I immediately fell in love with it. I read the whole thing in two days. The world was really fantastic, and I loved the characters. I bought almost all the rest of his books and once I get my next book ready to publish, I’ll be diving in again. I can’t wait!

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

Pretty much all of my hobbies are creative – knitting, sewing, cosplay, etc. Mostly I do art though. I mainly draw my own characters from my books, but I’ll occasionally do fan art too. Beyond that, my free time is dedicated to my toddler… and video games. Mostly Destiny 2 these days.

Do you have any advice to give other writers?

The most common bit of writing advice that you hear from writers is “write every day.” For a lot of us, that’s almost impossible. Many of us have families, day jobs, or even just mental issues that make it difficult to write every day. For me, that’s ADHD. If I’m hyperfixated on art, writing is really hard for me and I have to work through the art fixation before I can think about writing again.

So rather than “write every day” I say “live in your stories every day.” Sometimes that’s having a mental conversation with your characters. Sometimes it’s making art. Sometimes it’s just jotting down ideas or outlines. Sometimes it’s just daydreaming. And it doesn’t have to be long either. Give your stories ten minutes of your time if everything else is too wild. It’ll help keep you focused and give you ideas when you’re ready to write again.

Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?

More contemporary fantasy stories. There’s plenty of fantasy set in the time of rogues and knights and dragons, but not a lot set in modern or future times.

Where can readers find your work?

The best place to find my work is at Zyearth.com! There’s lots of art, worldbuilding, character profiles, free hidden short stories, and links to all my novelettes and novels.

Thank you for the interview!


Tomorrow we speak to the person behind one of the oldest active furry publishers. We hope you’ll join us for that.

Furry Book Month Author Q&A: Tempe O’Kun


Today, we speak to author Tempe O’Kun, author and writer for the youtube channel Culturally F’d. He has a long history of writing furry stories across multiple different mediums. He happily shared some of his insights to the writing process and the furry fandom as a whole.


Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?

My new novel, Marian, is inspired by the Reynard the Fox and Robin Hood legends. I wanted to establish the idea in our society of a bureaucrat hero —a highly-moral politician— who uses her social-skill super-powers for good. Maid Marian was a natural choice because she’s established as part of the ruling class, but also paired with a more action-centric love interest. The Reynard stories add a fun layer of complexity and mischief to both her and Robin.

I also just finished a sci-fi audio series, which is getting posted on my YouTube channel, Culturally F’d. It’s called Puplift and in it I narrate as a dog explaining the future society he lives in. I started it as a reaction against the bleak futures I so often see in sci-fi. While it’s important to warn society away from dark paths, it’s equally vital to show them possible futures we can strive for.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?

I really like the equality and respect in the furry fandom. I know that sounds a bit strange when talking about an internet community, but look at it this way: when you pick up a furry book, you know it’s going to present LGBT people in an authentic and empathetic way. The fandom has an enlightened set of values about race, gender, sexuality, economic status, and so on. We don’t always stick to these values perfectly, as nobody can be perfect, but we at least agree what they are—that every person has worth.

As for furry as a genre, I write in it for several reasons. First, it encourages world-building and creativity—how do an elephant and a mouse sit at the same table, for example. Second, it allows us to bypass a lot of the built-in assumptions we make with human characters, so it puts our problems in a new context so we can get a fresh perspective. Star Trek does this with aliens. We do this with animals. Third, it is very global. No matter where you come from in the world, you expect a ferret to fidget, a lion to lounge, and a bunny to bounce. Thus, readers enter the narrative with a head-start on understanding your characters.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?

I am about halfway between an outliner and a seat-of-the-pants writer. I research a lot of background info and study up on the genre I’m going to be writing in. That said, I don’t know what exactly will happen in a given scene until I’m writing it. I know the hero escapes the dungeon, but I don’t always know how or what complications will arise in the process.

What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?

Readers tell me I’m very good at shifting genre and tone. Whenever I start a new work, I think about what genre is will fit into and what kind of tone I’m going for. Authors often feel a temptation to say that their work transcends genres, but genre is just part of the dialog between you and your reader. If you are in the mood for a mystery and start reading something that claims to be a mystery, then you want it to be a mystery. I think if it like search tags on websites, rather than a box that constrains your story. So I read works from that genre and check out TVTropes for that genre. I also make a playlist of music that gets me in the correct mindset. To establish a tone, I make a document with “rules” for that story or series. These are things like how characters talk, what sort of sentence structure the narration takes, and even how modern of language to use.

What is your favourite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?

I like to write stories with healthy relationships. I am all about friendships, romances, and empathy. That lines up with what I like to read. I quickly get tired of a story if it’s too violent or if the characters are cruel. If I am to spend hours with these characters, they should be people I enjoy. I can get quite enough fuss and misery in real life. I write by the motto of “You have to see it to be it;” meaning you have to know something is a possibility before you can opt to do it. If you have seen lots of good relationships in fiction (or real life), you can be more mindful in how you assemble the parts of your own relationships. In the end, happy fiction makes for happy people.

Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?

All of my main characters embody some part of my personality. Six has my determination. Blake has my interest in social structures. Kylie has my impulsiveness. Max has my nerdy tendencies. Robin has my passion for justice. Marian has my social savvy.

Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?

James Gurney’s Dinotopia taught me to create the sort of worlds I’d want to live in. Plus, it has talking dinosaurs, so that gets extra points from me.

What is the last book you read that you really love?

The entire Moomins series by Tove Jansson. That world is just so cozy and supportive. It stars adorable marshmallow hippos and most of the cast is anthro. Everybody is living in this cottagecore valley with magic and adventure. It’s a very reassuring place to recover from the horror of the last four years and ongoing the pandemic. For those looking to dive into the series, I really recommend the 1990 cartoon (The Moomins) or the 2019 animated series (Moominvalley). Even the original text has really cool bisexual and poly themes, which aren’t surprising given the author’s life. No doubt I will be writing an episode of Culturally F’d soon about Moomintroll as a bisexual icon.

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I really enjoy cooking. I bake fresh bread every few days. I also really enjoy fixing things. I often don’t feel like I own an item until I’ve repaired or improved it. I like taking walks. I also like table-top RPGs quite a bit, so I write modules like Ironclaw: The Book of Monsters.

Do you have any advice to give other writers?

I find that my best works are made when I am writing the sort of story I’d want to read. If I want very badly to read a story, to the point of taking it upon myself to write it, then I know it’s something truly engaging. So don’t worry about chasing trends. If you’re crazy about it, that passion will translate through to the reader.

Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?

If we apply the above rule to my writing, I apparently want to see more female characters of all stripes (zebra and otherwise). I’m also trying to get more stories into the furry canon about stable poly relationships. For all the orgies we write about, we tend to really shy away from orgies with feelings involved! And I’d love to see furry stories from a broader range of backgrounds. So no matter who you are reading this, don’t feel like you have to write the same sorts of stories that anybody else writes. Nobody is more qualified than you to show off your little corner of the world.

Where can readers find your work?

Books: https://furplanet.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=219


Tomorrow we speak to another one of our wonderful authors, so be sure to check back then!

Furry Book Month Publisher Q&A: Zooscape


The furry writing community made an important milestone this year. For the first time, there is a professional-paid venue specifically aimed towards the furry market. That is Zooscape, a quarterly e-zine produced by Mary E. Lowd and sponsored by FurPlanet.
Today, Mary E. Lowd will talk a little about how Zooscape came about, and how important it is to have a professional market in the furry writing community.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, and the publisher you are representing.

Hey, readers, I’m Mary E. Lowd, the founder and editor of Zooscape.  Before Zooscape, I was the editor for five volumes of FurPlanet’s ROAR anthology series.  I actually primarily see myself as a writer and have quite a few books and short stories of my own published.  However, I really, deeply, profoundly believe in the importance of furry fiction (largely because it’s what I want to read), so when I saw places in the furry writing scene where I could make a big difference by stepping up as an editor, I felt called to do so.

Zooscape is the first pro-paying, SFWA-qualifying short story venue for furry fiction.  A lot of us in the furry writing scene had been wishing for a market like Zooscape for years before the zine actually launched.  I hope that Zooscape lives up to those dreams.  From what I’ve seen of the reaction to it from outside the fandom, it seems like it’s performing admirably as an ambassador for furry fiction to the mainstream sf/f community, which was part of the point.  Zooscape’s stories are all available to read for free online, so they’re easy to share with potential new fans of furry fiction.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom?

I love animals.  I love stories.  I love stories about animals.  So, the furry fandom provides a nexus for two of my absolute favourite things to meet and combine, and it lets me meet and connect with other people who understand those passions.  Before discovering the furry fandom, I had to deal with people asking me, “But why otters?  Why make the characters in your sci-fi book OTTERS???”  After discovering the furry fandom, I didn’t have to fumble for reasons or get lost in self-reflection about why I couldn’t just conform to standard writing practices and make my characters human.  No, I could just say, “Because it’s furry.”  And that is so much better.

What made you decide to get involved with the furry publishing scene?

Teiran at FurPlanet asked me if I would take over the reins for editing ROAR, and I realized that I could see a lot of possibilities for how I could draw on my connections in the broader sf/f writing community to get a wider base of submissions.  It was a chance to really pull writers from inside and outside the fandom together, and so of course, I accepted the editor position.  After a while, I realized that I might be able to provide more for the fandom by founding an online zine, and there were other good editors available to take over ROAR.  So, I moved on to Zooscape.

What do you believe makes a good story?

Otters and spaceships.  But seriously, I’m a big sci-fi fan, and much of what I love about the sci-fi genre is that it’s about asking questions and considering possibilities.  What would the world be like with a new technology?  What if we lived on a different kind of world?  Of course, that kind of mindset doesn’t have to be limited to science-fiction and, in fact, dovetails really nicely with furry fiction.  What would life be like if you had wings or hooves?  What kind of society would otters build?  So, beyond the standard answers of — characters the reader cares about, an engaging plot, and beautiful prose — I think that bringing a sense of wonder and curiosity to a story, infusing it with interesting ideas, helps make it good.

What are some of the biggest challenges with publishing in a relatively niche market?

The main problem I’ve come across with publishing furry fiction is simply that a lot of people don’t know what it is.  Either they’ve never heard of furry fiction, or they have some pre-conceived, overly limited notion of what the term “furry fiction” means.

Furry is a very broad genre.  Basically, it’s any kind of fiction that significantly features an anthropomorphized character — so, for instance, The Last Unicorn and The Brave Little Toaster are both furry.  But a lot of people don’t even realize that Watership Down — one of the cornerstones of the genre — is furry fiction.

If writers don’t know the name of the genre they’re writing, they won’t know to send their stories my way.  And if readers don’t know the name of the genre they love, they won’t know how to find books and stories to read.

What are some of the best parts of publishing furry books?

I love that I get to make writers’ dreams come true by publishing their stories, and I love it when I get to see a reader deeply connect with one of our stories.  That’s the whole point.

What is the ideal writer to work with like?

Ideally, a writer will follow the guidelines we’ve posted on the Zooscape website when submitting their story.  You wouldn’t think that’d be a high bar, but if you do that, you’re already ahead of the game.

Novels vs Anthologies. Which do you prefer working on, and how do they compare in terms of sales?

I could answer this as a writer… but as a publisher, I’ve only worked on anthologies and a magazine.  Those are very similar.  Zooscape releases three to four issues per year, and each issue is like a miniature anthology.

What do you believe is the biggest misconception about the process of publishing, either specific to furry publishing or generally?

If an editor rejects your work, that doesn’t necessarily mean there was anything wrong with it.  That just means the particular piece wasn’t suitable for the particular market at that time.  There are a lot of amazing stories out there, and there simply isn’t room for any given publisher to take every single piece that deserves an audience.  And since editors do receive so many submissions, they don’t necessarily have time to give personalized feedback on… well… almost any of them.

So, good luck, and don’t let the rejections get you down, even when they’re mere form letters.  And find somewhere else to look for feedback, because even if an editor wishes she could give feedback to all the writers who submit, she very likely has to choose between giving feedback and being able to keep up with the sheer volume of submissions.

It’s always said “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but just how important is cover art to the success of a book?

Short stories don’t generally come with cover art, especially when they’re published exclusively on the internet.  However, I find a piece of art to go with each story anyway, because I think it makes them more eye-catching for readers.  Also, as a writer myself, I know how nice it is to see my story adorned with a piece of art that the publisher carefully selected for it.  Getting cover art is one of the best parts of being a writer, and while I can’t capture that full effect for short stories, I think it’s still nice to make sure they each have a little something to go with them.

Is there anything you would like to see more of in furry fiction?

I’d like to see more science-fiction.  Also, more Hugo and Nebula awards.

What does it mean for furry writers that there’s now a professionally-paying, SFWA-qualifying market for short furry fiction?

The hope is that by having a pro-level furry zine, readers and writers outside the furry fandom will begin to take furry fiction more seriously. Those of us who’ve been inside the furry writing scene for the last decade know there’s a lot more to furry fiction than outsiders often realize — it can be so many different things, and yet, there’s still sometimes a stigma against focusing on animal characters too much and definitely against being labelled as furry. Zooscape is trying to change that by showing the mainstream writing scene that furry fiction can be all the things that other types of fiction are — just about animals.

Ideally, Zooscape will pave the way for more furry writers to join SFWA, and it will show writers who are already in the mainstream that it’s okay to share the stories they’ve written about animal protagonists. And even more than that, it’s okay to call them furry. In fact, it may even help them find more of an audience.

What has been your favourite book to work on recently? Why?

Uh… I’ve been really enjoying writing Otters In Space 4… but you mean as a publisher.  So, in that capacity, I just put together the line-up for Zooscape’s December 2021 issue, and while it involved some extremely difficult choices, I’m very, very excited about how it’s turned out.  The December issue will be Zooscape’s first issue paid at the new, pro-level, SFWA-qualifying pay rates, and that’s a pretty big deal.  I’m really looking forward to sharing it with the world.


We hope you have learned a little about Zooscape, and that you’ll check out the December issue when it is released.
Check back here tomorrow for an interview with another of the fandom’s writers.