Update on “The Future”TM

Couple things…

I’m almost done going through the submission pile. I’ve got about six stories left to read. If you haven’t heard from me yet, you will hear from me soon. If you’ve already heard from me and your story has been accepted, I’ll be in touch with a terms and an offer in the next couple of weeks. I think we have enough content to keep us tided over for a bit, maybe even into early 2019.

I’m also serious about wrapping up Cirsova’s “Volume 1”. We’ve published some great stories and will continue to publish great stories, as we continue to receive and read great stories. But the scope of the magazine has shifted away from what it was originally intended, and unless I forcibly refocus it, it will continue to do so and become a cyclical problem. Unfortunately, the inclusion of Heroic Fantasy in the title and publishing works of fantasy and sword & sorcery have nudged the window a good bit in that direction, which also means that the spread has gone that direction with it. Honestly, we get far too many mundane fantasy pieces, fairytalesque fantasies, and lone swordsman stories with very little to make them stand out. And if changing our subtitle will get me one less little girl in the woods story, so be it, it’ll be worth it.

On the plus side, I think that we may have enough solid contributors who can and do write what I’m looking for that we can and will go back to an invite-only status. That will allow me to conserve my time and resources to work with the writers I know can write what I’m looking for, or, for those who are close and just good writers, I can have them write to spec.

We’ve got things planned out for Cirsova Publishing for a couple years now, which is good. I don’t know if we’ll stay the “gold standard” of the “Pulp Revolution”, but I really can’t focus on that right now, because I’ll probably be busy trying to address the massive disconnect between modern, contemporary writing and the sort of pulp stuff I’m actually looking for. Even with our guidelines clearly spelled out, it’s obvious that a lot of folks don’t really get what we’re looking for when they submit – part of that is that folks don’t always look at the markets that they’re submitting to (a problem that will be addressed, to a degree, by going invite only for a bit), but also I feel like I’ve failed to make it understood just what I’m looking for because people are not nearly as aware of the examples I’ve held up as I think they should be. So, I’ll be redoubling my efforts towards raising awareness of the kinds of stories from the pulps I enjoy and specifically what it is I’m looking for and wanting to see more of. Cirsova Publishing may even branch into collections of public domain works by relatively unknown pulp authors who should be better known. Or at least I’m thinking about it. I don’t know yet. I still hate the mercenary nature of most pulp reprints.

Anyway, the strategic direction of the flagship magazine is temporarily locked in for the foreseeable future; volume 2, if there will be one, won’t launch until 2019. The Pulp Revolution’s successes and failures in 2018 may shape how well we do as an influencer in that community, and with so many new publications springing up, it would be unsurprising if an agile newcomer became the new tastemaker for that scene. There are enough writers writing enough content that there’s not going to be any kind of real “drain” on the scene, which is great. Switching back to invite only will also allow us to be more agile; we took submissions this summer in part because so many people have wanted to write something for Cirsova, but anything we buy now won’t be published for at least 9 months, much of it longer, and that’s hardly agile! It’s nuts to think that nothing written in 2018 will be published by us in 2018. That’s an entire year of energy that 2017’s Pulp Rev boom will have fueled that we won’t be tapping into! Ultimately, that may be a huge mistake for us, but by 2019, I think we’ll be jumping right back in with the agile approach.

Lastly, reviews…

Cirsova Issue 5 has been out for 3 months, sold nearly 250 copies, and has only garnered one review on Amazon. I’ll reiterate that Amazon reviews help us A LOT, they’re quick to write and it doesn’t cost you a dime, but I don’t think that saying it again will make that much difference. At this point, I really don’t know what to do.

I will be hitting people hard for reviews on Issue 6; the earlier in an Amazon’s product life reviews are left, the better that product tends to do. Y’all can make it up to me by helping Issue 6 get those critical 25 reviews the first couple weeks it goes live!

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15 responses to “Update on “The Future”TM

  1. Hiya! This is Evelina, from that comment you left on my friend’s blog about the review copies. I hope you can see my email address to contact me through here, and if not, just visit my blog, there’s an About section that has a contact form. Thank you!

  2. “Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction” does invoke a certain image. It certainly pushed me in a particular direction when I wrote “A Hill Of Stars”. Something more along the lines of “Tales Of Mystery And Imagination” might be a better fit if you want more of the Weird Tales feel. (Okay, so I ripped that off from Poe, but you get the idea.)

  3. “Or at least I’m thinking about it. I don’t know yet. I still hate the mercenary nature of most pulp reprints.”

    I know there a ton of stories you have reviewed and are available online that I have not read and probably never will unless they show up in some used Best of Book or anthology I come across.

    If they show up in Cirsova I will read them and by the fact that I enjoy the new stories you choose to print I am pretty sure I would love any old pulp you pick.

    I am just one person with a dying dead tree only reading habit and therefor just an anecdote.

    Still I got to say it.

    I want some pulp reprints in Cirsova.

      • Right now, I’m more likely to want to put out some anthologies of just old pulp stuff, rather than include them in Cirsova proper, but we’ll see.

        Progress is being made on the Illustrated Stark, and I’ll be ready to put out the press release on that soon as the covers are ready.

        After that, I’ll probably put together an anthology of Albert de Pina.

      • Anthologies of old pulp stuff sounds good too.
        When you say “Illustrated Stark”, do you mean Brackett’s Stark? Because I’ll buy that.

        Are you accepting advertising for issues 7, 8 or 9 yet?

      • Yep, the original 3 novella trilogy.

        Right now, we’re trying to fill interior adspace for 6, but we could accept ads in future issues.

        BTW, did you still want us to keep using the same image ad for the back cover of 6?

  4. As the submitter of a what I would guess to be a “lone swordsman” story, I feel a bit conflicted. I’m part of the problem!

    • Yeah, but your story was a gothic weird twist on the story of the chivalric knight who stumbles onto bizarre and heretical degeneracy, which is why I liked it.

  5. I haven’t read my copy of issue 5 yet, because I seem to remember some talk of an audiobook version. Is that still happening?

    I’ll try to put up Amazon reviews of 2, 3, and 4 over the next couple weeks. Don’t hesitate to kick me in the butt if I forget.

  6. Going to invite-only is not healthy for a pulp revolution. Closing a market to writers who haven’t gotten into the club seems like premature ossification. I appreciate the practical difficulties you are having, but this seems a strategic mistake. Cirsova might have been a launching pad; now it will be a landing strip.

    • We’ve been invite only before (for the content coming out this year). We will probably be alternating between invitation and open. Our goal has always been to focus on supporting and growing the audience of our contributors, and giving them some priority allows us to do so. If operating a semi-pro paying zine were at all lucrative, we’d have the time and resources necessary to operate as a truly open publication, but it’s not and we don’t. We have nearly a hundred contributors, so we’ve hardly hit a point of ossification yet. The bigger problem for us right now is that we won’t be able to buy anything new until late 2018 IF we buy anything for 2019. There’s a long time for a lot of things to change. Maybe I’ll change my mind on whether or not to accept open submissions.

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