Cirsovanomics – On a Razor’s Edge

I know some of you guys are familiar with the economics of putting together an issue of Cirsova, since I’ve frequently discussed the numbers, including things like content costs, art, editing, etc. vs. margins on sales.

But for those who DON’T know, here’s a rough breakdown:

Content: ~$900
Art: $600 for cover [+$200 for interior illustrations when we have them]
Editing: $200
Proofs and Contributor Copies: $100

That’s roughly $2k per issue of Cirsova.

We’ve tried to keep the cover price the same despite rising costs across the board. Anvil selling as many copies as it did for twice Cirsova’s cover price was a shot across the bow, but we’d much rather make up our numbers by growing the audience rather than increasing what we charge for the magazine.

At $15 per issue, we make around $6.30 per physical sale. That means we need to sell over 300 copies to break even. Right now, we sell about 100 in the first month, 50 more throughout the rest of the year, and then between 20-50 in each subsequent year. Which is not really doing it for us.

Anvil Magazine’s first issue got an impressive 500+ backers for its first issue. And you can still back it [I recommend you do, if for no other reason than to check out Cirsova contributor Owen G. Tabard’s story]. I hope they’re able to keep that moment!

The audience is clearly there; we just haven’t been able to tap into it, in part because of my own reluctance to jump into various online zeitgeists, and also probably because I am an asshole. But we need to grow revenues somehow.

Our solo author releases defray some of the annual expenses of keeping the magazine going, but with The Mighty Sons of Hercules unpaid-for on the front end, we need a BIG cash influx to buy stories for 2024!

As it is, we’ve still got some pretty serious outlays:

>$300 for Summer Cover
>$600 for Fall Cover + Art
>$600 for Wild Stars collection cover
>$375 for Mongoose & Meerkat Omnibus art.

And that’s just for the rest of 2023 that’s not been paid for yet. We’re cutting royalty checks this month that clear the coffers of our most recent Kickstarter hauls, so there’s not a business back-up to tap into right now: it’s all being floated out of personal funds.

Right now, the best way you can help us is to back Misha Burnett’s Small Worlds, especially if you get the audiobook add-ons. While our reader is getting a cut from those, it’s still cash without overhead.

Another great way would be to buy something from our eBay store. I know I’ve been bad about updating the listings, but I’ll try to do better about it.

Of course, you can buy anything of ours from either Amazon or, and if you buy it now, we’ll still probably get the funds in time to make 2024 acquisitions, but there’s about a 3-month lag-time in the sales to revenue.

To cover ALL of our present expenses AND have funds to acquire fiction for 2024, we need to make about $5k profit in the next 4 months.


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