Tag Archives: magazines

Money Flows from the Writer

As of January 1, most of the services on Duotrope, a popular site for tracking submissions and getting information about literary markets, will only be available to paying users. The site is currently donation-supported. According to Duotrope’s announcement, “We haven’t met any of our monthly [fundraising] goals since 2007. Quite simply, we can no longer afford to run Duotrope this way.” The new fee structure is $5 per month or $50 per year for writers.

After this was announced, a predictable wave of “Why Wasn’t I Consulted?” commentary ensued. Access to the site will remain free for editors, leading many writers (and a few publishers) to suggest that Duotrope is looking in the wrong place for funding. “We would ask @Duotrope to put the burden of cost on publishers, not on writers,” tweeted small press @CrossedGenres. “More submissions=more diversity/choice=better titles/publications. That’s the value for us.” Others suggested holding big auctions or crowdfunding pushes as one-time fundraisers.

Even those who think asking authors to pay is reasonable feel $50 is awfully steep. “I don’t see the benefit to Duotrope’s users at $50,” author and editor Michael Nye wrote in a Branch conversation. “Established writers don’t need the info on the site – we know what journals have poor response times – so this is mostly on the back of the uninformed.” Richard Flores IV blogged similar thoughts: “Let’s put this in perspective here. $50 a year means selling 5,000 words a year at one cent per word…. I don’t always get 5,000 words sold in short stories each year.  And considering the bulk of Duotrope’s listings don’t pay anything, there is not much chance of making any money on your $50 investment.”

A few people compared Duotrope to Ralan’s SpecFic and Humor Webstravaganza, a donation-funded site that offers extensive short story market listings completely free of charge, or Writer’s Market, which charges $40/yr for author access. I was surprised not to see comparisons to the Wooden Horse Magazine Database, which charges writers $149 a year. On the other hand, Wooden Horse lists plenty of high-end trade and consumer magazines that might pay $500 or more for a single article. A quick search on Duotrope for science fiction markets in the “pro” pay bracket brought up 39 markets, most of which I could have listed off the top of my head–and most of which can be found on SFWA’s list of qualifying markets, though SFWA’s site doesn’t have all the information that Duotrope does.

Some of Duotrope’s users who already know the markets are planning to switch to other methods of tracking submissions. “As the days go by, I find myself thinking that this is just the excuse I needed to put together my own spreadsheet,” writer Devan Goldstein said in reply to Nye on Branch. Flores agreed: “Duotrope offers little more than you can already track yourself. After all the most valuable feature to the writer, is the submission tracker. To be honest, all you have to do is make an Excel spreadsheet to do that. I admit that the response stats, acceptance rates, and ‘Top Market’ lists are fun.  But you really don’t need any of that information to be an author.”

As of this writing, Duotrope is standing firm. “We have always known this decision meant parting ways with some of our users,” says a post on the company’s Facebook page. “If you will not be joining us, then we thank you for all the support, promotion and participation over the last seven years, and for helping grow Duotrope from an experiment into a mature company and service. If you have already subscribed or are planning on subscribing, we can’t wait to have you along for the ride!”

A Global SF/F Magazine

I didn’t know a magazine of international SF was in the works until I started seeing links to the first issue popping up on Twitter today. It is, quite sensibly, called International Speculative Fiction, and issue 1 features fiction by Joyce Chng, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and Marian Truţă as well as an article by Stanislaw Lem on Philip K. Dick. Issue 0 came out in June and had fiction by Alliete de Bodard, C.M. Teodorecu, and Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro; an article by Fábio Fernandes; and Cristian Tamas interviewing Judit Lörinczy. The magazine is entirely a labor of love: they don’t run ads or solicit donations, and they don’t pay writers or editors. Learn more and download issues 0 and 1 for free here.

Weird Tales: From Frying Pan to Fire

At the end of the previous episode of Weird Tales: A Sad Decline, publisher John Harlacher had taken down editor Marvin Kaye’s offensive editorial, made an announcement that Revealing Eden would not be excerpted in WT, and said that Kaye was traveling but would “make his own statement shortly”.

Instead of doing so, Kaye is apparently responding directly, and defensively, to subscription cancellation requests. Lisa A. Grabenstetter reprints one such email, which addresses her criticism of Hamlet’s Father (first published in Kaye’s anthology The Ghost Quartet, as longtime Genreville readers will recall from this blow-up last year) as well as Revealing Eden:

Your wishes will be respected; I believe the publisher will handle that, I regret your decision, and can only say that after reading the book, I found it a powerful attack on racism, just the opposite from the charges leveled at it. However, I only recently saw the marketing of this book, and find it in terrible taste; had I seen it, I would not have read the book. As it is, we have decided not to publish the story.

Regarding Scott Card’s story, I did not see any homophobia in it, or I would have objected, but for the record, I did not want to buy anything from him; the publisher, Tor Books, made it clear that if I did not include his story, they would not publish the book at all.

MK

(While the ethics of reprinting personal emails are debatable, I would consider this a corporate response to a business-related request–though obviously Kaye is taking it on himself to inject the personal into the professional–and I see nothing wrong with sharing such a response with the business’s current and potential customers.)

Kaye had previously made similar statements about Tor bearing responsibility for the Card novella, but here he gratuitously takes the additional step of saying he “did not see any homophobia” in a book that has the blatant premise of a gay man molesting boys and turning them gay and/or insane. The homophobia in it is precisely as obvious as the racism in Revealing Eden–which, as Debbie Reese points out in this article, is extensive and continues throughout the book (h/t to Grabenstetter for that link). Kaye also clearly hasn’t read the many comments on Harlacher’s statement asking why there’s all this focus on the marketing materials for Revealing Eden when the book itself is so obviously problematic.

Like many people, I continue to await Kaye’s official public statement, but at this point I’m not really sure why. It doesn’t seem likely that he’s going to realize just how oblivious he is, or how tragic it is that he’s turned a reputable publication into a laughingstock.

Weird Tales Goes Back in Time

This editorial by Weird Tales editor Marvin Kaye, defending Victoria Foyt’s widely criticized novel Saving the Pearls: Revealing Eden and promising to print the first chapter of it in the magazine, has a lot of people up in arms. It’s a tragic turn for a magazine that’s up for a Hugo this year thanks in great part to the leadership of Ann VanderMeer, who was ousted by Kaye & co. when they purchased WT almost exactly a year ago. (VanderMeer remained on board as a contributing senior editor; she announced her resignation today following the publication of Kaye’s editorial and the subsequent outcry.)

Foyt’s “discrimiflip” novel, in which dark-skinned Coals oppress light-skinned Pearls and a white woman who wears blackface falls in love with a black man who is literally described as bestial, has been widely criticized for both its extensive use of racist stereotypes and the poor quality of the writing. Foyt’s response to the criticism has been defensive and often contradictory. And as Kaye notes, it’s SF–not fantasy, not horror, not New Weird or slipstream, not the sort of work that has always given Weird Tales its name. Given that Revealing Eden would not generally fall under WT‘s genre purview and that the prose and story are hardly so transcendant as to justify making an exception, it’s impossible to read Kaye’s decision to reprint the first chapter as anything other than a defense of racist writing. It is just barely possible that Foyt may have had the best of intentions and been genuinely taken aback when her book was called out for displaying her unconscious racism. Kaye, however, has no such excuse. This is a calculated statement of scorn for non-white authors and readers and their allies, and it stinks.

WT turns 90 next year. As Andrew Ti of “Yo, Is This Racist?” is so fond of pointing out, 90-year-olds shouldn’t get a pass on espousing racist nonsense just because they grew up thinking it was perfectly fine. VanderMeer did a wonderful job of bringing WT into the 21st century; it’s tragic to see Kaye (who already had a dubious reputation for publishing bigoted trash) dragging it back down.

 

EDIT: Welp, that was quick. In a new editorial, WT publisher John Harlacher says that the book excerpt will not be published in WT and that he personally found several elements of the book (which he has not read) “goddamned ridiculous and offensive”. He adds:

Marvin [Kaye] says if you read the whole book, she explains her use of this imagery, and it ends up as a plea for tolerance. I say, so what. And that is the position of Weird Tales — and upon reviewing the video and other materials, Marvin is in full agreement.

I deeply apologize to all who were offended by our association with this book. I am offended by it. I fully respect those who have been writing negative things about us today. You are correct.

Harlacher has taken down Kaye’s statement, which is unfortunate; I firmly believe that such things should be allowed to stand, with appropriate addenda, especially since taking down the statement also takes down all the comments that were left on the page. Fortunately Google cached it (thanks to Aishwarya Subramanian for that link) and Nick Tramdack has screencaps.

In a comment, Harlacher adds, “Marvin changed his mind after I showed him the video and other marketing materials. He only read the novel, and did not see how it was presented. I will let him respond further in his own statement.” So apparently Kaye is still willing to support an offensive novel but not offensive marketing materials. Glad to know that’s cleared up.

In response to the original WT announcement, Shimmer has announced that it is now paying pro rates (underwritten by Mary Robinette Kowal, a former staffer for both Shimmer and WT), specifically so that authors who are no longer willing to submit to WT will have another pro-rate magazine to send stories to.

 

EDIT 2: Jeff VanderMeer reports on a conversation he and Ann had with Kaye and Harlacher back in June, wherein the book was described and Ann said unequivocally that it sounded terrible and shouldn’t be published in WT. That makes Harlacher’s “it didn’t occur to me to read it” defense look even weaker than it already did.

Anyone who subscribes to WT through Weightless Books and wants to cancel their subscription can transfer the value of their remaining issues to any other magazine subscription that Weightless carries.

Link Roundup

I have a cold that’s turned my brain to mush, hence the dust gathering in the corners around here, but have some links to tide you over until I remember how to have opinions again.

Link Roundup

Link Roundup

Lots of interesting news tidbits hitting the inbox today:

Turnover at Strange Horizons

Surprising many people, Susan Marie Groppi has announced that she is leaving the Strange Horizons fiction editing staff after nearly eight years at the magazine, seven as editor in chief (for which stint she won a World Fantasy Award). This announcement comes a month after Karen Meisner also left the fiction department, leaving Jed Hartman the last editor standing.

Susan, who will be “actively involved” in the process of hiring her and Karen’s replacements, says, “Our goal is to put together a strong and fabulous editorial team that will continue to publish groundbreaking fiction from all over the speculative fiction spectrum — and represent all of the voices in our community. We’ve already started speaking to a few promising candidates, but we’re interested in hearing from applicants who we might not have already considered, so we invite anyone who’s interested in what we’re doing at Strange Horizons to consider applying for a position as a fiction editor.”

In 2006 and 2007, I had the pleasure of reviewing several books for SH. Niall Harrison (then head of the reviews department, now editor in chief) and Susan were terrific to work with, and I was very proud to be affiliated with the magazine. I hope they can find some wonderful new editors to carry on SH‘s tradition of excellence.

Link Roundup

This week’s roundup has surprisingly little to do with SF/F/H fiction per se. I think that’s a sign of how scattered my brain is while I get ready to move house.

  • Angry Robot is hiring an editor—for a brand new crime fiction imprint set to launch in 2013! Quoth the press release: “The imprint will be a standalone line, with its own name and presence, but will employ the same fresh and distinctly modern approach that AR has in the SF/F world. The editor will play a key role in building the personality of the imprint, and telling the world about its brilliant books, especially online.” I can’t tell you how glad I am to see publishers committed to doing new things with mystery, which is the most resistant to change of any genre I know (possibly excepting literary fiction).
  • Are you an aspiring comic creator? The magnificent Kate Beaton will answer your questions.
  • There’s a nerd bar in Brooklyn with a TARDIS bathroom. Apparently I am the last person in New York to find out about this. Fortunately I found out about it because I’m about to live around the corner from it.
  • Recent successful genre fiction Kickstarters: Fireside Magazine issue 1 and Laura Anne Gilman’s From Whence You Came. Also noteworthy: Melissa Gira Grant’s Take This Book: The People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street, the cyberpunk RPG Always/Never/Now, and a statue of Harvey Pekar. Nerds got funds!

Fireside Wants to Keep Writers Warm

I got an email today from my Twitter-friend Brian White (@talkwordy), reminding me that there’s still a week and a half to go on the Kickstarter for his new magazine, Fireside. He writes:

It’s a multi-genre fiction and comics magazine. I have six writers lined up for a first issue, to do four stories (by Tobias Buckell, Ken Liu, Chuck Wendig, and Christie Yant) and a comic (by D.J. Kirkbride and Adam P. Knave).

I have two goals with the magazine, one, to find and publish good stories, and two, to pay creative people at a rate that helps them make a living being creative (12.5 cents per word for issue No. 1).

The magazine’s website is http://firesidemag.com/. There is a lot more information there about what I am trying to do, and also links to the Kickstarter and my Twitter account.

As I think you all know, I am always in favor of paying creative people a living wage. I’d also love to see whether e-zines other than Strange Horizons can suceed with a donation model. And work from Knave & Kirkbride (whose Popgun #4 won a Harvey Award) and Toby Buckell is pretty much guaranteed to get my attention. If it gets your attention too, check the link above for more info.

Link Roundup

I get a cold, you get links:

Link Roundup

I’m putting together the November 14 romance issue, which doesn’t leave much time for blogging. Enter the handy link roundup!

Link Roundup

Lots of interesting links have come my way recently! Here’s a roundup:

One Editor Leaves, One Magazine Enters

Weird Tales has been sold, and the new owner, Marvin Kaye, appears to be ditching the entire staff. The entire Hugo-winning staff. Including Ann VanderMeer, who’s due the lion’s share of the credit for dragging the magazine kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. VanderMeer’s last editorial isn’t even a proper editorial, as she cuttingly notes; it’s a post on the Weird Tales blog. That’s a pretty ignominious end to an illustrious five years.

But take heart! Magazines have risen from the grave and will again. New Worlds, for example, which raised the New Wave movement from infancy, is coming back after 40 years in mothballs. SF Signal reports that it’s to be retitled Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, though Moorcock’s primary role is to contribute his name and occasional editorials. It’s not yet clear how the staff will be structured or what they’ll publish. No one’s really writing New Wave SF these days, and indeed, I’m not sure it’s possible to write post-AIDS New Wave fiction, though I’d love to see someone try. At any rate, the magazine is looking for “contributions of all kinds”.

I feel like no one talks about SF/F magazines very much, but they’re really important. A lot of good novelists start out writing stories; that’s where they learn how to send in submissions, how to handle rejection, how to work with an editor. A lot of good writers are simply good short story writers and they stay on that end of the field without ever coming to the attention of book-readers. A handful of talented editors, many of whom hold their posts for decades, plow through unimaginably huge slush piles to select the stories that shape the industry. I’m a passionate fan of short and medium-length SF/F–particularly the novella, a form that has given rise to some of the best fantastic fiction of all time–and I think it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the people who devote themselves to the often thankless task of publishing it in magazines.

Ms. VanderMeer, I salute you and hope you find a new gig very soon. New New Worlds editors, best of luck to you. I’m very glad to see you still care about trying to keep SF/F magazines alive until someone figures out how to make them profitable again.

Friday Links

I go to conventions, you get linkspam.

  • PW reviewer Adam Lipkin points to the trailer for Juan of the Dead, billed as “Cuba’s first horror movie”.
  • I went to high school with a lot of nifty nerdy people. One of them is science journalist Charles Q. Choi. He emailed me today to let me know that he’s starting a feature for Scientific American where he writes SF short-shorts and pairs them with science news related to the story. Here’s the launch piece. I love the idea and can’t wait to see where it goes.
  • On the World SF Blog, Aliette de Bodard (France), Joyce Chng (Singapore), Csilla Kleinheincz (Hungary), Kate Elliott (US), Karen Lord (Barbados), and Ekaterina Sedia (Russia/US) talk about (global) women in science fiction. Set aside some time to read the whole thing.
  • SFWA reports on Night Shade Books’s probation status.

If you want to know how I’m doing over the weekend, follow the #readercon hashtag on Twitter and picture me jumping up and down with joy every time someone says something nice about a panel. Regular operations resume on Monday.

ChiZine Publications Launches Supergod Mega-Issue of Chiaroscuro

Back about ten years ago when I was just starting out in this business, I did a bit of resume-building editing work for an obscure little online magazine called Chiaroscuro. Little did I know that this obscure little online magazine would be the seed from which sprouted ChiZine Publications, one of my favorite independent publishers of speculative fiction; the CZP/Rannu fund for writers; a superb reading series that makes me wish I lived closer to Toronto; and lots of other awesomeness.

Chiaroscuro was funded by Dorchester for a long time, but that sponsorship seems to have gone away, so the magazine is switching to a Strange Horizons–like donation model. To draw in readers (and donors), they’ve put together a “Supergod Mega-Issue” featuring a ton of fiction and poetry, all available to read online for free.

I hope this venture works out well for them. Seven cents a word might not sound like much, but it’s enough for a fiction sale to qualify toward SFWA membership, and the more paying venues there are out there, the more writers can keep writing and feeling valued for what they do.

Link Roundup

Lots of interesting things going on out there on the interwebs:

ChiZine Press is holding an unusual contest, where you enter to win a CZP e-book by reviewing one of their books on Amazon or Goodreads. Note that positive reviews are not required; all they ask for is “an honest assessment” of a book you’ve actually read.

Bitch magazine has irritated a lot of people by first listing and then de-listing three books–Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, and Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan–on their list of 100 feminist YA titles. Sarah at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books waxes eloquent on being a longtime Bitch supporter who’s upset by their decision. Authors requesting to have their books removed from the list in solidarity include Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, and Maureen Johnson; as of this writing, Bitch has not responded publicly to those requests.

Kirrily “Skud” Robert notes that a big recent discussion about book piracy has been overlooked by mainstream tech and book bloggers–perhaps because it’s mostly happening on the LiveJournal and Dreamwidth online journaling services, which are often considered “not real blogs”; perhaps because the discussion has a strong social justice slant; and perhaps because most of the participants are women. Her post includes data, a lovely graph, and links to the highlights of the discussion, all of which are very much worth your time.

Locus Magazine Launches Digital Edition

Locus has announced that starting with issue #600 in January, the magazine will be available in PDF as well as print, with plans for ePub and Kindle versions as well. Digital subscriptions will be available, as will single issues.

The announcement includes this nod to the work involved in creating digital editions of print publications: “We have to reformat the layout of the entire magazine each time to produce the digital version, but it’s worth the extra work.” Take that, people who think “e” is short for “free”!

This reminds me to remind you that PW is also available in digital formats, and that digital subscriptions cost less than print subscriptions. Check out the digital version of this week’s issue; I think it looks pretty snazzy.

John Joseph Adams to Oversee Fantasy Magazine

John Joseph Adams, bestselling anthology editor and fiction editor at Lightspeed, will be taking the helm at Fantasy Magazine. He promises a new look, and a new approach.  The full announcement on his blog is here. This puts him in charge of both a major science fiction magazine and a major fantasy magazine.  Will that result in any boundary blurring, or a sharpening of the divide?  We wish him the best of luck whatever course he takes.

It’s a Magazine AND an Anthology Series!

When I arrived at the KGB Fantastic Fiction reading on Wednesday, Matt Kressel, who co-hosts the reading series and also runs Senses Five Press, handed me a copy of Sybil’s Garage #7. I started to protest that I don’t like reading fiction in magazine format. Then I realized he had given me a POD trade paperback. Suddenly I was a lot more interested.

At a young and formative age, I acquired a couple of Terry Carr YBs from the 1980s and became a devotee of SF and fantasy anthologies. It’s still my dream to edit one. (Someday, someday…) As I began collecting anthologies–which now occupy an entire bookcase, floor to ceiling, in my library–I found a special love for unthemed series, like Damon Knight’s Orbit and Carr’s Universe. Sybil’s Garage, a quietly upstart zine for its first six issues, seems to have turned into just such a series with its switch to trade paperback format. Matt confirms that he plans to put out one “issue” a year.

When I asked why he made the switch, he cited distribution concerns. Low-budget small-press zines get shoved to the very top or very bottom of magazine racks when they make it onto magazine racks at all. Low-budget small-press books, on the other hand, are just about as easy to produce and vastly easier to get into stores and in front of readers. Given that, I wonder whether other zines will follow suit. There have certainly been zine/book crossovers, like the Best of Strange Horizons Year One and Year Two anthologies and The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. Still, seeing a zine wholly transform itself into an anthology series without any real change in content is fascinating, and perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

The reading was deeply awesome, by the way. The world is about to be very impressed by Cat Valente’s Deathless and M.K. Hobson’s The Native Star. Deathless is still in production and won’t be out for a while, but The Native Star is due out in September; keep an eye out for the review in PW‘s online review annex.