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 (.

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.

Hugo Awards: Cirsova Eligibility

This is a quick guide to eligibility by category for pieces published by Cirsova in 2016. It is not a recommendations list. While I may post my recommendations and favorites for other categories, we will not do so for any categories in which we published fiction.

Cirsova is a Semi-Pro paying magazine (we pay .01 per word with an additional .01 for the first 2500 words). Cirsova published 43 eligible works in 2016 (45, if you split out Hutchings’s poem). Stories that are available to read for free on our website are linked. Other issues are available on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.

Novella

Novelette

  • A Hill of Stars, by Misha Burnett (Cirsova #1)
  • The Wooing of Etroklos, by J. Comer (Cirsova #3)
  • Shadow Vision, by Preston Dennett (Cirsova #4)
  • The Vault of Phalos, by Jeffery Scott Sims (Cirsova #4)

Short Story

Related Work

Planetary Awards Update and Reminders

This is just another reminder to all book bloggers out there to get your nominations in for the Planetary Awards. You can find more information here at the official site.

I probably will not be nominating anything personally this year, because frankly a lot of the best fiction I’ve read from 2016 is that which I’ve published. I’ve read some other really great recent stories, like those in Swords of Steel and Robert Kroese’s Starship Grifters, but those aren’t from 2016, and I probably won’t get around to reading Swords of Steel Vol 2 in time to make the Planetary Awards.

Karl K. Gallagher’s* Torchship Pilot was excellent and absolutely worth checking out if you have not. The only reasons I’m not nominating it for this year’s award are that I haven’t read the final version yet** (I had the honor of being a beta reader; thanks, Karl!) and because last year I nominated Torchship, the previous book, and it won!

Cirsova contributors Schuyler Hernstrom and Brian K. Lowe have both gotten noms for this year’s Planetary Awards, for Images of the Goddess***(SH) and The Invisible City(BKL), and for Athan and the Priestess(SH).

*: Also a Cirsova contributor.

**:Both of my parents, who are huge SF aficionados, have read it and thought it was amazing, as good as the first, if not better! Now that Mom’s finished it, I can get my copy back and read it myself.

***: Images of the Goddess appeared in Cirsova #2 (Summer, 2016). It can be read for free here, but if you want to kick a few bucks our way, it’s on Amazon and Lulu.

Cirsova Makes the Sad Pookas!

The Sad Pookas is “a recommendation list…for you to consider when deciding on what to nominate for Science Fiction and Fantasy awards, such as the Hugo or the Dragon…composed of Furries and allies to the Furry cause.”

Cirsova has been given a nod for Best Semi-Pro Zine, and I’ve been given a recommendation for best Short Form Editor!

They have a lot of other really great picks, too, particularly Fan Writer and Podcast, both categories significantly overlapping with what I’d probably recommend people check out, myself. Also, Cirsova contributor Donald J. Uitvlugt’s “In the Days of the Witch-Queens” makes their pick for best short story.

Now, while it may seem odd at first glance that Cirsova and the Pulp Revolution folks at places like the Puppy of the Month Book Club have caught the eye of the Furry community, keep in mind that Furries have SFF fans among them just like any other group, and anthros are actually a pretty common feature in science fiction and fantasy. But, you tend to get your talking gorillas, cat people, wolf-men, etc. in the kind of wild and fun anything-goes SFF that has been championed by the likes of the Pulp Revolution crew.

For the curious, I did an interview with The QuQu and Dan Wolfgang, the driving duo behind QuQu Media, which can be found here at Castalia House.

 

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.