A Special Message to the OSR & Gaming Community

Kickstarters have been a staple in the OSR and Game Blogging community since well before I became a member. Crowdfunding has been used as a platform for countless bloggers and game devs to get everything from their latest module & supplements to their complete fantasy heartbreakers off the ground and into people’s hands. Even big name publishers have been using it as a tool to get new projects and new printings funded with quick investment capital.

There is, however, a downside that has been seen all too often in our community. It seems like much of the content at Tenkar’s Tavern over the years I’ve been following him has been a litany of failed and delayed Kickstarters. Sometimes life got in the way, other times dishonest folks took the money and ran. Even great companies with established track-records for success sometimes bite off more than they can chew, resulting in some pretty significant delays. The Skinny DM had an excellent article on the situation with Goodman Game’s DCC 4th printing Kickstarter which, despite my fondness for Goodman Games, I absolutely agree with.

So, why do I think you should back our Kickstarter?

A Proven Track Records – In 2016, Cirsova ran 3 successful Kickstarters – one for our first issue, one for our second issue, and one for our third and fourth issues. In all three cases, backers received their rewards almost immediately* after the money cleared through Kickstarter and Amazon Payments. There may have been one or two individual hiccups or items lost or damaged in the post, but I am confident that anyone you’d ask would say that we resolved all issues as quickly and satisfactorily as possible.

We Are Gamers – Before we started the magazine, Cirsova  was a gaming blog. We came out of the RPG Blog Alliance and the OSR community. Many of our contributors are fellow gamers, and the stories we all love and that shape our content are the same stories that shaped our games. Many of the stories we publish are the kind that could be run as a one-off adventure with nothing more than a couple of stat blocs; in fact, that’s almost an unspoken acceptance criteria!

We Exist to Support Writers – More than anything else, Cirsova exists as a Semi-Pro Market to support writers of exciting fiction. There are people out there still writing stories in the vein of Burroughs, Brackett, and Vance, but they need places to sell and publish their stories. Many of the big-name magazines and publishing houses are simply not interested in the kind of adventure fiction that inspired the games so beloved in the OSR. By supporting Cirsova, you allow us to stay open as a market for these writers and to continue paying in the $75-$100 range for short fiction.

Please consider checking out our Kickstarter. It costs only $1 to get both of our 2017 issues**, if you’re just curious. You have to admit, that’s hard to beat. We also offer softcover and hardcover editions of our magazine.

If you have a gamebook, module or other product coming out, or even if you just want to get word out about your blog, consider supporting us with some advertising space. In 2016, we had over a hundred subscribers and ended up selling over 500 copies of our magazine.

*:Needless to say, they received the winter issue when it came out, rather than in September when the money cleared and we sent the fall issue.

**:PDF and eBook.

both-covers-small

Interview With Jon Del Arroz, Jeffro on Geek Gab, and Cirsova Line Art

Not long after our interview with Chris Lansdown, we also spoke with Jon Del Arroz about Cirsova’s background as an RPG setting and the types of stories Cirsova publishes and is looking for.  You can read it here.

Also over the weekend, Jeffro Johnson, one of our regular columnists and the author of the bestselling Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons, was on Geek Gab.

Finally, I took a minute to snap the line-art that Ben Rodriguez sent for our Eldritch Earth cover.

Line Art photo.png

Should I have put this up on the chopping block? Probably, but I wanted to actually own an original piece of Cirsova artwork, at least for a little while.

Please consider backing us on Kickstarter! Only $1 gets you a digital subscription to our 2017 issues.

Cirsova Kickstarter: Day One Complete!

It’s been about one day, and we’re halfway to our $2000 goal!

That’s pretty great news.

I’m less concerned right now with the dollar amount raised than I am seeing an increase in our overall reach. Our last kickstarter got us about 120 subscribers. We’re up to 40-something after day one. I’d really like to see Cirsova reach 200 subscribers, even if most of those are just digital only. The way we’re going to grow and succeed is by getting the magazine out there and into more people’s hands.

2017 is gonna be a big year for us, do or die!

I see this as the year that Cirsova could reach critical mass.  Right now, things are rather tight, but our prospects for 2018 are bright, and will be brighter still if we can push really hard to get new readers now, which will help on the second biggie,  getting advertisers on board.

We already have a couple big things planned for 2018, but we’ve gotta get through this year to bring them to you.

We Did It! Cirsova 3 & 4 Funded!

We raised over $3,000 in pre-orders for our 3rd Kickstarter! That should be enough to pull together two issues in 2017.

Additionally, we’ve got some really cool stuff that will be sneaking their way into issues 3 & 4! We had just enough space to squeeze The Space Witch, a short piece by Schuyler Hernstrom, into issue 3, and we are looking to acquire My Name is John Carter Pt. 3 by James Hutchings to stick in Issue 4 so our readers won’t have had to wait an entire year for the next part of his ongoing retelling of A Princess of Mars. That’ll put us at a total of 330 pages of Fiction for the second half of 2016!

We will have additional details as they come, and very soon folks will be able to download their digital rewards.  In the meantime, Issue 2 is free all this week (M-F) on Amazon to celebrate, and, because of how the two versions got their own listings, will be free next week (M-F) as well!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1161542777/cirsova-sff-pulp-zine-issues-3-and-4

We Made It!

We’ve reached our initial goal of $2500!  That’s well and good, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re going to stop!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1161542777/cirsova-sff-pulp-zine-issues-3-and-4

The $2500 we’ve raised will help ensure that we can afford to put out at least two more issues of Cirsova, in Spring and Fall of 2017.  If we get more pre-orders, however, we’ll be able to up that number to as many as 4 (though that would require roughly $8000 in pre-orders).

The near-final physical proofs of issue 3 should be in soon.  The hardback is on its way, as are 5 copies which will be for sale at Spa-Con in a couple weeks.  Why only 5?  There are a few last minute ads that folks have asked me to hold on for, but I wanted to make sure I had something to sell at my table in the meantime.

So, what are the state of things for Cirsova Publishing in general? Since we’ve been crowdfunding, I think it’s only fair to share with our readers and supporters what the future looks like.

With all expenses related to content, production and fulfillment to date for Cirsova 2016, we’re looking at roughly $5k in the red.

“That sounds terrible!” I hear you say? Well, I won’t lie and say that it’s great, but consider this: except for fulfilling backer rewards for this last kickstarter, for which we have not yet collected funds, everything in 2016 is paid for.  I’ve got one more check I need to write for the Issue 4 cover, but that’s already factored into that $5k.

Amazon residuals are beginning to trickle in, and they were slow at the start, but last month we sold 20 physical copies plus a few dozen digital copies (on top of what was sold through the second Kickstarter), and those numbers will continue to grow as word spreads about what a fine publication we are!  So, with Issue 3 coming out in a few weeks and Issue 4 coming out in early December, there will be plenty of time for us to accumulate sales numbers to defray our start-up expenses.

So, if you have not already backed us on Kickstarter, please consider doing so!

Last Week for a Big Push!

It’s the last week of our Kickstarter for issues 3 & 4! We’ve been hovering around just $200 shy of our goal as backers tinker with their pledge levels down the final stretch.  To be safe, I’d like to see us well up over our $2500 goal so no last second surprises sink the ship.

Some things to consider:

-Backing for $1 gets you 3 issues

-Backing for $3 gets you all 4 of our 2016 issues

-We have a track record of delivering pledge rewards within about a month of the Kickstarter’s end date (two weeks for funds to process and about two weeks for fulfilled items to arrive.

-By those who have read us, we are considered one of the best new ongoing SFF publications on the market.

Please help us clear this hurdle so we’ll have funds to keep going in 2017!

Update on Kickstarter & Future Plans (sorry for scant posting!)

I’m very happy that we’ve had so much outside content worth sharing, as I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write nearly as much as I normally do.

Copy edits are done on Issue 3, and I’m doing a secondary round of line-edits on Issue 4. A part of me wants to shill for advertising slots, as we haven’t sold many yet, but finishing the Kickstarter with enough money to meet the goal is the top priority. Frankly, until we meet our goal, my hands are a bit tied on what else I can work on and offer.

So, this is enormously important. While we are garnering several positive reviews and good publicity, it’s critical that we are able to grow our readership to the point of sustainability, or at least near sustainability. The good news is the Amazon sales are not chump change; the bad news is they aren’t enough to sustain a quarterly semi-pro publication. Still, I suppose it at least means we’re not overwhelmed with more orders than we can handle.

I have a massive time-sensitive project that I desperately want and need to do, but I need around three grand to pull it off. It’s important enough to me that I’m willing to skimp on Cirsova Magazine if I need to so that I have funds to allocate to it. What is this time-sensitive project? A fully illustrated 70th anniversary edition of the Early Stark trilogy aimed at younger readers. I can’t give away more details, but I have big plans for it.

So, please support us on kickstarter! With $2500, we’ll try to shoot for two issues. $5000, we’ll have 3. $10,000, we’ll certainly be able to be quarterly again in 2017.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my rejected clickbait article over at Castalia House because I didn’t have time to finish Queen of the Martian Catacombs and Astounding’s letters section was kinda boring and I don’t know that I’ll be able to get an article out of it.