When I was a teenager, getting published was nowhere near as easy as it is today. I don’t mean to belittle the small, self-publishing or independent presses out there, but back in the eighties (and even the early to mid nineties) putting out your own stuff or getting someone with a local printing company to do so just seemed completely pointless. Every writer wants people to actually read their work, preferably hundreds or thousands of people (if they’re telling the truth).
I guess you had more of a market if you wrote contemporary or romantic fiction, but I wrote fantasy short stories….and the market for that was practically non-existent. If you wrote SF, you could try your luck at getting into Interzone (which was rumoured to have a subscriber base of over 2,000 and a circulation of around 10,000 in the UK), but for fantasy the markets were few and far between.
The obvious place to head was Games Workshop in Nottingham. Although their magazine White Dwarf had been converted into a catalogue for the increasingly lucrative products manufactured by Citadel Miniatures, there was still home for the occasional piece of fiction or ‘colour text’ set in the ‘Old World‘ of Warhammer. They put out a semi-regular magazine called The Citadel Journal (this was in the days before they decided to give short stories their own home with Inferno!), and I decided to start submitting to that.
My first acceptance was a detailed timeline and history of the halfling people, detailing a 700 year fictional history for the village of Stillwater and its hobbit-like inhabitants. When you wrote such a piece for Games Workshop (back then, at least) you had to wait for the company to find you an opening, so my piece eventually appeared when staff writer Wayne Oldfield did a piece on halfling armies (printed below). I was ridiculously proud when it came out, not least because there was genuinely nothing more exciting than getting an official publication inside your own hobby. Words really couldn’t describe it.
I have the folks at http://www.scribd.com/doc/82631909/Warhammer-Halflings to thank for the images below, and also for using my various contributions in the Warhammer Armies Halfling source book that followed: I’m glad I helped to shape a history for my favourite race in Games Workshop’s awesomely detailed world.