Archive for the ‘my magazine’ Category

BCS and Million Writers Award

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Yesterday I received great news about my magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies. storySouth recently named BCS as the runner-up for their Million Writers Award for Best New Online Magazine of 2008, saying that BCS was “already a top online SF/F market.”

In addition, two stories from BCS were named among their Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2008: “The Crystal Stair” by Charles Coleman Finlay & Rae Carson Finlay and “Architectural Constants” by Yoon Ha Lee. These stories and the other hundred or so semi-finalists will be culled down to ten by May 15; then the public will vote top winners.

storySouth is an online literary magazine founded by writer and editor Jason Sanford. They tirelessly champion online literary fiction of all genres, including SF/F. Over fifty magazines were represented in the finalists for Notable Stories, so it’s a great honor to have BCS and these stories recognized among such great venues and work!

Save the Semipro Zine Hugo!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

In a move that could affect the majority of SF/F short fiction magazines currently operating, there is a motion up for vote at this year’s WorldCon to abolish the Hugo Award category for Semipro Zine.

This Semipro Zine category covers many of the most vibrant magazines publishing today, including Clarkesworld Magazine, Weird Tales (which published my story “Excision” in #347), and Fantasy Magazine. My own magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies also fits this category.

Many great stories have appeared in Semipro Zines since the category was established in the 1980s. These magazines publish far more new writers and experimental fiction than the “pro” zines do. Clarkesworld Magazine and Weird Tales were both nominated for this Hugo this year. I think it would be a shame if we lost this Hugo category as a way to recognize accomplishments made at this vital level of short fiction publishing.

Editor Neil Clarke has started a website to Save the Semipro Zine Hugo. It features listings of Semipro Zines and awards they and their fiction have won. It also explains the WorldCon voting process and how attendees can participate.If you are as concerned about this as I am, please visit his site and learn what you can do to help.

Fine Praise, Indeed

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A very complimentary overall review of my online fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies in a blog post by fantasy novelist Marie Brennan.

Of course, Ms. Brennan also has an interest in BCS because we’ve published several of her stories (the second of which is due out in Issue #14 in a few days). But I think it’s even higher praise to hear that the magazine is impressing people as readers.

I started BCS because no fantasy magazine was consistently publishing the type of fantasy stories that I love to read–set in a secondary world (invented or historical) and focused on strong and interesting characters.

It sounds like that type of fantasy is also what Ms. Brennan likes to read. So I’m delighted not only that she’s enjoyed specific stories in BCS, but even moreso that she’s enjoying the overall flavor of fantasy that BCS specializes in.

If you do too–if you like fantasy with strong, driven characters that’s set in awe-inspiring worlds–definitely check us out.

What the Future May Bring

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

With Realms of Fantasy shutting down last week, lots of writer and industry blogs have been speculating yet again what will happen to SF/F magazines, which have been declining steadily for twenty years and now face the same rough economy as everything else. The big wildcard in this for the last ten years has been online publishing. Everyone sees tons of potential in it, but no one knows yet how to make online fiction work as a business.

I’m an amateur musician, so my analogy for online publishing is the situation that digital/online music was in ten years ago. There was no business model because there was no market of paying consumers yet. Then Apple launched the iPod, providing easy and popular hardware for playing mp3 files, and that created a market of people who were willing to pay 99 cents for songs. Apple covered that side of things as well with their iTunes online store, and the combination of widespread hardware and an online store changed music forever.

For magazine publishing, I think if or when e-reader hardware becomes as common among readers as iPods became among music fans, then profitable business models for online magazines will take shape.

The seeds of this model are already out there. I’ve had e-reader fans contact my magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, asking about ebook versions. Unlike web fiction, ebook files a reader can amass, store, and read whenever they like. These e-reader users are willing to pay a couple bucks per issue, even for stuff like BCS that’s available free on the web. There aren’t enough of those consumers yet to make a business model work, but when the hardware becomes more ubiquitous, there will be.

I also think audio fiction will be a significant part of the future. Escape Pod, the SF short fiction podcast, has about 20,000 subscribers, nearly double that for each of the big-three digests. I think most of those people are commuters with iPods, who perhaps wish they had time to read print fiction but don’t, and during their commute they are a captive audience for audio fiction. But unlike music mp3s, podcasts are almost always provided at no charge, so the business model there might have to be advertiser-driven.

One of the roots of the decline of magazines is the declining readership of short fiction–readers just aren’t as interested in short stories as they were thirty years ago. But one of the hidden benefits of ebooks and audio fiction may be that both those formats work very well if not better for short fiction than for novels. So it may be that once these new formats become common, they will attract more readers back to short fiction.

So are we at the nadir of a decline, or are we at the tiny start of a huge renaissance in short fiction that will all be delivered electronically? Or both? Only time will tell. But like a great speculative fiction story, it will be a lot of fun to find out.