Some Thoughts on “The Sad Truth About Short Fiction Magazines”

This article is somewhat disheartening considering my latest endeavor to launch a new Science Fiction market, but it’s certainly not going to stop me or slow me down.

As a one-man operation, I’m a bit limited in what I can do, but the primary goal is to create something that I can be proud of, the authors involved can be proud of and a sci-fi loving audience will enjoy.

Offering subscriptions is something that I can’t exactly do at the moment, and frankly, I would be loathe to ask for Patreon donations rather than sell people a worthwhile product; if people like what I put out, they can buy it to support it.  I’d rather someone buy 4 copies and give them to friends than someone kick a donation my way.

One of the things that the article points out is that most new publications are focusing on digital only to reduce overhead.  While I am planning on making the Cirsova anthology available digitally, I know how much some people love having something to hold onto.  I think that’s why I’m planning on going the less disposable route and going for something of a hybrid magazine and anthology.  Again, I’d point to something like Flashing Swords!, Swords Against Darkness or (to a lesser extent) Dangerous Visions as example of what I’d like to try to do.

Right now, the only real promises I can make are that Cirsova #1 will be a treasury of high quality enjoyable content and Authors will be paid for it.  Maybe not the rates of the big three, though I’d love to reach that point someday, but as the article points out, those are the only pro-zines out there that aren’t propped up by grants or used as loss-leaders.  Cirsova is coming out of my pocket, so I’d better damn well believe in it and go for being the best of the best with what I’ve got if I’m going to make this work.  So there will be quality.  Sustainability remains to be foreseen, but by golly we’re gonna try!

Later this week: Fortress Europa update, Problem Solving in Dungeon Crawl Classics, and I’ll finally get around to talking about The Martian Circe.

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2 responses to “Some Thoughts on “The Sad Truth About Short Fiction Magazines”

  1. The magazines are failing because they are too literary. It is a scene in the sense of a punk scene or metal scene, a closed community where most of the members are also producers and share a specific culture. Most of the writers and editors have English degrees or mfa’s or have graduated from prestigious workshops. The fiction they publish aims to entertain people within that scene. If you aren’t a part of the culture then it doesn’t work. If you are, then great, have at it. But it is generally not the type of product that puts asses in seats. Your project aims to entertain like the old pulps did and I imagine its going to do well, at least as well as it can in an environment where the readership has largely left for greener pastures, like video games, film, etc. I think it is time for a comeback though, a return of the genre to the mythic core as described by people like Leo Grin. As a writer I am on the look out for projects like yours but I am also excited as a reader. I don’t get excitement from most of the current markets. I think your project is going to help bring that back and I am extremely pleased to be a part of it.

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