Issue 5 Going Out to Backers – Submissions Pre-Announcement

Issue 5 has been sent to all backers who’ve backed for physical copies (minus those still getting their surveys in).

Plan is still for the ebook version to go live on the 31st. If you missed the Kickstarter, you can still pre-order here:

If you want to get in on next year’s Cirsova, get writing and get editing. We WILL have a very brief open submissions period from June to July. Space will be very limited, so I recommend writing shorter pieces (5000-7500 words). I’ll post more specific guidelines closer to when we’re ready to open, but for now the following should suffice:

Do Send:

  • action driven stories
  • stuff with space ships
  • stuff with swords
  • stuff with rayguns
  • stuff with dashing heroes
  • stuff with daring dames

Don’t Send:

  • thinky stories where nothing happens
  • math problems or engineering troubleshooting disguised as fiction*
  • stuff with elves

We pay semi-pro rates of 1 cent per word with a bonus of an additional 1 cent per word on the first 2500 words. Payment is on acceptance for exclusive rights for one calendar year from the date of the publication.

*:we do accept “Hard” Science Fiction, just make sure that it’s something like Karl Gallagher’s Torchship or Paul Ernst’s Raid on the Termites (.

Fuck the Science Fiction Community

Bet that got your attention, didn’t it?

I thought about letting this go, but I feel like it’s incredibly important to highlight as just an example of how truly awful people in the science fiction community can be to one another.

Cirsova got mentioned in the comments of a blog post as “One of the interesting things to come from Sad/Rabid Puppies”.

Because we were brought up in a discussion about short fiction, I mentioned that we have a decent chunk of content freely available if anyone was interested in checking us out, and I pointed out that despite our fans having a conservative bent, we really only care about good stories, and I offered to field any questions.

And I got called misogynistic fascist.

By someone who is a regular columnist for Interzone Magazine.

http://archive.is/09GYG

Let that sink in a minute. An editor for a SFF publication responds in a conversation on a SFF blog where the publication was brought up and offers to field questions

AND IS IMMEDIATELY CALLED A MISOGYNISTIC FASCIST.

BY A COLUMNIST FOR A MAJOR SFF MAGAZINE.

This bothers me more than the time Nick Mamatas said I’d have to answer to Jesus for my lies, because everyone knows he’s kind of an asshole.

It even bothers me more than Joachim Boaz, who I’d had pleasant discussions with on WordPress and even plugged him a few times, blocking me on Twitter for no discernible reason.

I didn’t approach as a troll, a rando, a sad puppy, a rabid puppy, a member of Gamergate, the Alt-Right, or anything. I approached as an editor of a magazine willing to discuss what was going on in fiction and publishing.

Frankly, it blows my mind how fucking awful so many of people in our “Community” can be.

Attempting to Define the Pulp Revolution: What It Is and What It Is Not

The “Pulp Revolution” seems to be met with confusion, misunderstanding and conflation when those unfamiliar with what is going on first catch wind of it. As such, I wanted to try to define and explain some of what the Pulp Revolution is and is not to dispel some of those misunderstandings. I’d like to disclaim that Cirsova Magazine is NOT the Pulp Revolution (it’s much bigger than us), though we are happy to be a part of it, with many friends and writers who are involved to varying degrees. 

The Pulp Revolution is not a genre or a subgenre.

The Pulp Revolution is not about reprints or rehashes. We are writing and creating new things every day.

The Pulp Revolution is apolitical and international. There are writers and readers from all walks of life and all political persuasions – the Pulp Revolution only cares about great storytelling.

Pulp Revolution is not a rebranding of the Sad Puppies. Some of us got drawn into the maelstrom of fandom politics when Sad Puppies 3 blew up and caught our attention, but at this point, we’re doing our own thing independent of Sad PuppiesTM. In fact, I daresay that the Mad Genius Club might be happier without us being associated with them.

We also aren’t just a rebranding of modern pulp (New Pulp/Pulp Revival). Those cats are doing what they do largely apart from us. To my knowledge, there’s been very little if any crossover influence between the New Pulp/Pulp Revival crowd and the Pulp Revolution folks.

We are not using the term “Pulp” as a substitute for “classic SF” pre 1990. Various folks involved with the Pulp Revolution may have slightly different definitions, but I’m talking about the literal pulp format (not the digest mags), and in terms of influence, I’m specifically looking at a handful of titles that published stories that influence MY acquisition guidelines (Planet Stories, Weird Tales, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Argosy, if you need some specifics).

We are not using the pulps to recapture kitsch; we are not using the pulps as a trope-mine. What we are doing is going back to some of the exemplary authors from that period and using them as a starting point. Not to ape them, but because we love them – we love the stories they told, the characters they brought to life, and the vivid colors in which they painted the exciting futures and worlds of the unknown.

We are not hell bent on re-inhabiting the past; we are using it as a launching point to go off in new directions. We do not ignore nor do we deny the influence of writers who are not from the pulp eras.

The Pulp Revolution today has only a tenuous link to the ‘pulp revolution’ of the 70s. That pulp revolution was part of the climate that inspired things like D&D by bringing a bunch of pulp writers who had fallen into semi-obscurity back into the forefront via paperback reprints, pastiches and homages. But that was 40 years ago. That was a generation ago. Many of us were not even alive in 70s, much less old enough to been a part of that resurgent wave of fiction. Do not assume that because people got interested in the pulps 40 years ago that everything is all good and people don’t need to get interested in the pulps again. There was not an unbroken cultural continuity that kept those works and authors in the public conscious. Do not assume that we are only talking about Burroughs, Howard or Lovecraft. Do not assume that because you have old works sitting on your shelf that people today know about them or worse that new people do not need to be told about them or should not be excited about them.

I am curious what lessons we are relearning that we do not need to relearn. Of course authors are going to write what they want to write – that is why we are supporting those who do who also happen to be writing the stories we love. Many writers involved have been writing for years, yes. The Pulp Revolution itself is more defined by the surge of excitement among these authors’ shared reader-base, who have come together to celebrate and encourage what they are doing.

But we have already been done. We are pointless. We will cease being a thing after a relatively short time. We can safely be ignored.

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.

Cirsova Pre-Orders for 2017

Many of you know the routine by now. For those who don’t, here’s the scoop! We are using Kickstarter to take pre-orders and sell subscriptions for our 2017 issues. As usual, all stories have been paid for.   Our cover artists are paid. Layout is more or less done, and Issue 5 is already in the hands of our copy editors.

What do we have in store for 2017?

Our Spring issue (Cirsova #5) primarily features stories from Misha Burnett’s Eldritch Earth Geophysical Society, a writing group devoted to telling Burroughsian adventure stories set on a pre-historic Lovecraftian Earth. Expect unspeakable monsters from the stars, cultists, sorcerers, lizardmen, crabmen, fishmen (and fishwomen) and every manner of daring rogue! Also, Adrian Cole’s Witchfinder Arrul Voruum investigates the lingering evil in Karkesh in an all new Dream Lords story, Michael Tierney cooks up a historical fantasy with Bears of 1812, and Lynn Rushlau tells of daring escape in Through the Star-Thorn Maze.  Plus, the latest installment in James Hutchings’ My Name is John Carter.

Cover art by Benjamin A. Rodriguez.

issue-5-front-cover

Novella  

  • The First American, by Schuyler Hernstrom

Short Stories

  • In the Gloaming O My Darling, by Misha Burnett
  • War of the Ruby/Shapes in the Fog, by Brian K. Lowe
  • Beyond the Great Divide, by S.H. Mansouri
  • Darla of Deodanth, by Louise Sorensen
  • The Queen of Shadows, by Jay Barnson
  • A Killing in Karkesh, by Adrian Cole
  • Through the Star-Thorn Maze, by Lynn Rushlau
  • The Bears of 1812, by Michael Tierney

Poetry

  • My Name is John Carter (Part 4), by James Hutchings

Our Fall Issue (Cirsova #6) will feature the usual array of exciting SFF goodness, including the return of a few characters introduced to our readers in previous issues; Strongjohn picks up on Triton where At the Feet of Neptune’s Queen left off, Thompson’s adventurer Captain Anchor Brown pursues a mysterious god-beast deep in the wilds, present meets past in the Sacred City as Cole continues his  Dream Lords saga, plus more Othan! We’ve also got some Raygun Romance from Spencer Hart & Tyler Young, and the start of a brand new Sword & Sorcery series by Jim Breyfogle.

Cover art by Ku Kuru Yo.

Issue 6 Cover 1 front only.png

Novelettes

  • The Last Job on Harz, by Tyler Young
  • Magelords of Ruach, by Abraham Strongjohn

Short Stories

  • The Battlefield of Keres, by Jim Breyfogle
  • Tear Down the Stars, by Adrian Cole
  • Temple of the Beast, by Hal Thompson
  • Death on the Moon, by Spencer Hart
  • Othan, Vandal, by Kurt Magnus

Essay

  • TBA

We have simplified our offerings a bit, focusing on those previous pledge levels that were most popular. Both 2017 issues will be approximately the same page-count, so there will not be an issue of one item having a substantially different unit cost as was the case with our winter issue.

We will be attempting to sell advertisement again through Kickstarter. To simplify things, anyone pledging for a advertising slot can add to their pledge at whatever level they would like to back to include physical copies. To keep matters simple, advertisers buying ads through Kickstarter do not need to worry about shipping costs if they are outside the US. You want the back cover ad and both softcover copies? Just pledge $120, and we’ll sent them anywhere in the world at no extra charge.

If you want adspace in both issues, pledge for #5 and double your pledged amount.

1/4 Page – 3.5″ w x 4.5″ h 300 DPI

Back Cover – 7-8″ w x 8.75″ h 300 DPI

Please prepare ad images as high res .PNG or .TIF files.

Advertisements for Issue 5 should be sent to no later than one week after the end of the Kickstarter.

Risks and challenges

Like our last pre-order Kickstarter, backers are taking a bigger gamble, as they will be pledging for two issues which will not be sent right away.

However, Cirsova has a proven track record of delivering in a timely manner, adhering to our release schedule.

As in the past, all story content is paid for. Our volunteers have been doing wonderful turn-around work on deep pass copy-edits, and I expect them to continue doing so.

While things are still on an upward track for us, our coffers did hit empty after making 2017 acquisitions. Still, it’s all paid for and we don’t have any expenses that will prevent the issues from being completed. Rest assured that following the success of this Kickstarter we will have funds to cover all expenses related to fulfilling backer rewards. However, we WILL need to go above and beyond our goals for 2017 subscriptions to remain viable as a semi-pro paying market into 2018.

End of the Year: the State of Cirsova HF&SF Magazine

So, I’m closing the books on 2016.

Cirsova paid out roughly $6.5 K for content in 2016. This includes art for four issues and content for six issues (7 issues worth of content).

We had about $6.2 K in gross income. Sounds great and all, but given our small profit margins (we want to keep costs to our readers as low as we can), the disparity is much greater than it would appear at first glance.

Good news, with the exception of artwork, 2017 is paid for in that big $6.5 K (to the tune of $1300) and we anticipate recouping at least a decent chunk from our pre-orders which we will be taking next month. Plus, we’re reaching a point where Amazon sales of assorted issues are amounting to a not insignificant $100-ish per month, and this will hopefully grow as we get more issues out. Also, it’s still in its infancy, but our merch store should grow our revenues without increasing our overhead.

We did receive enough submissions of quality that we could have put out 3 full-sized issues in 2017; I folders of manuscripts for issue 5, manuscripts for issue 6, and manuscripts to cry about because we couldn’t afford to make offers on them. Instead, we’re planning on two slightly-thicker-than-usual issues (128 pages each instead of 108).

We’re golden for 2017, and should have art for both issues early next year. 2018 is a bit hazier. I’ve said before that as important as the zine is to me, I’m willing to sacrifice it to see the Stark project come to fruition. I don’t want it to come to that; I may even get lucky, and the Stark project may not only pay for itself but give us extra resources for the zine.

If you want Cirsova to keep on keeping on beyond 2017, there are a lot of things you can do to help us:

  • Write Reviews – this is easy and free. If you like what you’ve read, leave a review on Amazon. If you have a blog, write one there. Plus, we take some choice pull quotes from our favorite reviews and stick them in the hardcovers’ dust jackets. But seriously, Simple Amazon reviews will help a LOT.
  • Check Out Our Merch Store – While we don’t have much up yet, we are planning to grow this, featuring all cover art going forward, plus a few cool odds and ends we are able to scrape together. We are using TeePublic, because they are substantially cheaper for customers than CafePress, and I’m told they offer significantly better quality prints.
  • Support our advertisers – Selling adspace is best way we can defray costs and keep the lights on. To sell ads, though, advertisers have to find us a worthwhile investment of their money.
  • Buy Advertisement – All advertising dollars go straight into our acquisitions & operating budget as opposed to the small slice of each sale. For instance, a single $35 quarter page ad sold does the equivalent of selling a dozen copies on Amazon for our bottom line.

We hope to be announcing the Kickstarter for 2017 soon. We WILL be offering adspace through Kickstarter again, as well as through the site.