Submission Status Update -Getting Close to the Home Stretch

Okay, things aren’t going as smoothly as I’d hoped–I was moved to a Window 10 box last week, which wrecked my workflow. Worse, I lost access to my printer briefly; it’s fixed now, but it means I lost a weekend of working on manuscripts.

But, I’ve at least caught up on sending out rejection letters.

I’ve sent an update to everyone who’s still under consideration or whose stories we haven’t read yet.

We’ve more or less got the Spring issue set, but we’re waiting on some confirmation/payments to clear before we officially announce it, and it may expand as we’re able to fit in more content.

Current numbers:

Offers Made: 13

Under Consideration: 39

Rejections: 82

Withdrawn: 3

Unread: 88

I hate to say it, but MOST of the unread stories are gonna have a tough time breaking in, because there have been some heartbreakingly good stories that have ALREADY been knocked off the bubble by something better. But we still intend to give everything as fair a shake as we’re able.

We hope to have everything “done” by early December.

Round 1 Notices Plus an Some Pulp Economics

Still making my way through the submissions pile. I’m nowhere near done, but I’m making progress.

I didn’t expect this many submissions to read, but we need to actually get the ball rolling on filling our Spring issue.

So, the first few offers have been going out, as have several of the first round rejections.

Even with just fewer than 100 stories left, at the high-end we’re looking at 250k words of fiction, which will cost us a little over $3k.

We’ve made offers on 10 stories, there are just under 50 that are still competing for slots. There are ~40 rejection letters we still need to write, but haven’t gotten to [the ~40 we’ve already written have taken up most my time devoted to it this week so far]. We need to read 95 stories still.

I meant it when I said that all stories will get a fair shake, but be aware that every new story we consider is something that will have to knock something else off the bubble.

Also, recently Something is Going to Happen posted an article that quoted a few of folks in the contemporary pulp scene about the economics of indie zines. You guys know me, I’m pretty cynical and know what I’ve gotten myself into, but Cirsova Publishing came close to turning a profit for the year. Before we started making offers, we were around $1800 in the black for the year. Now, all of that and then some will probably go towards making next year happen, but we came close to showing that IT IS POSSIBLE to make a little money at this. [you don’t want to know what the overall numbers across all 4 years are, though]

2020 Submissions Update

Hey, everyone! The going has been slow for a number of reasons, but we’re making progress.

We’re starting to send out the first round of rejection letters this week. And it’s tough, let me tell you, because we’ll be saying no to some excellent stories from authors we love.

There are

  • 30 stories we desperately want
  • another 30 that it’s gonna absolutely kill us to say no to but we probably have to
  • 20 rejections we’ve written
  • about 40 we haven’t
  • just over 100 stories we haven’t even read yet…

And I’m still wringing my hands over that duct work that needs replacing

The only immediate panacea for this would be to take out an advertisement in our spring issue! That would infuse us with the immediate capital we need to start making offers.

Half-Way Through the Submissions Stack!

We’ve read a little over 100 of our 200+ submissions, and I’ve got to say, we’ve received some truly excellent stories this year!

There are a LOT of stories we’re going to cry about having to turn away before everything is said and done.

With where we’re at right now, we’re looking at nearly 223K words of fiction that we’d love to publish… and reading the next 100 stories, that number is easily going to double [unless the bottom of the pile is all 2nd person elf stories written in the future tense]. The cost of that word count comes shy of $3k, and TBH, we really ought to not spend more than $2k on acquiring fiction right now [I’m sitting on a $7600 estimate to get my ducts replaced in my house that I’d rather not take out a huge loan on but probably will anyway.]

Quick Cirsova-nomics lesson!
1 issue is Approximately 50k words
At our rates, that’s ~$625 for content
We pay our editors $100 per issue for editing
Our covers are $300-$500
So, ~$1k-$1.2k per issue
We make about $3 per copy we sell on Amazon.
We need to sell ~400 to break even.

TL;DR: we really only have money for 3 issues, we want to buy for at least 4 issues, because we probably have 8 issues worth of solid content in our pile.

How to help us afford making 2020 a 4-issue year:

Please note: Cirsova Publishing DOES NOT and WILL NEVER require contributors or would-be contributors to purchase copies of the magazine featuring their stories or any other issues. Purchases WILL NOT be considered when weighing submissions.

Happy [belated] Halloween and Day of the Dead!

As you can imagine, I am swamped–too swamped to blog anything too Halloweeny, so enjoy some Sopor Aeternus.


Dark Phoenix was worse than I’d heard.

Hellboy β was better than I’d heard.

Kamisama Kiss is strangely appealing. I don’t think I’d like the manga, but I’ve been liking the anime. Also, while guys want cute moe waifus, girls clearly want beautiful, impossibly powerful young men who will protect them and be their boyfriend slaves. Also, the girl who sings the OP and ending could make anything sound lewd.

Tonight, I might be seeing Pinkish Black!

Next Weekend, I’ll be running Maze of Nuromen for Blueholme at Arkansas RPG Con, Saturday at 1PM! I’ve got 20 pre-gens rolled up, statted and equipped. And hey, for all that, I averaged 12 minutes a completed PC [it took a lot of time that maybe I should’ve spent reading submissions, but running this game is SUPER IMPORTANT!]

Dreamscape Design has even sent me some free copies of the Prentice Rules so I’ll have extra sets for players, because they are AWESOME.

Wild Stars Backstock Sale

I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it here, but we have made some of the Wild Stars backstock available via our Amazon store.

We had several damaged copies when trying to fulfill our crowdfunds–these have been made available at 1/2 SRP. I’ll note that while a few of these were pretty mangled, most of them were dents, dings and corner creases. While these would’ve been unacceptable to send to backers or for retail shelves [especially for comic folks], these are perfectly good readable copies if you want Wild Stars at a lower buy-in.

Also, Michael Tierney has authorized us to act as an intermediary for his limited stock of the 1st edition printings of Wild Stars: Time Warmageddon.

Our store is here.

Also, Wild Stars is absolutely buried by Amazon’s algorithm. Please help us by leaving a review if you’ve received and read any of our Wild Stars 35th Anniversary Edition volumes!

Some Final Numbers for the 2020 Submission Period

Wow, okay, so we blew last year’s record out of the water! In less than half the time, we received nearly 70 more submissions, with a final total of a whopping 221 manuscripts!

Consider this a status update for authors who are wondering how long it will take before they hear back from us.

As of right now, we’ve read and reviewed 66 submissions.

Even with our nose to the grind, it could be nearly a month before we

  • a) finish reading everything
  • b) sorting and prioritizing stories
  • c) finally get around to sending offers
  • and d) sending out rejections.