Thoughts on the upcoming publication

It’s been a while since I wrote a short story. The reason is I’ve been busy with life and drafting the next novel. I’ve also been editing my synopsis, my query letter, trying to find more agents that might be interested for a story like The Darkening, etc. The list goes on and on.

So I’m really excited that one of my older short stories is only five days away from publication. This coming Friday the 22nd, Bride of Chaos will publish my story, Whisps of Memory, in their 12th issue of 9 Tales told in the Dark, along with eight more stories. As the title of the publication suggests, this is a collection of horror stories, and the genre may not be something everyone likes.

But thinking about this story and how long it took to get published, how many magazines I had to research through The Grinder before I found one that was a good match, I couldn’t help but notice how few magazines there are out there compared to the number of writers. And again, to a certain extent, I think it comes down to the fact that magazines and small presses need our support to survive. I talked about the importance of these presses and magazines in an older post, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself. But I will stress the need for these markets to carry on doing what they do. A few weeks back I learned that yet another magazine, one that had published one of my stories in the past, closed permanently. The main reason was lack of readership, which of course resulted in lack of funding.

If you’d like, talk to your friends and families, ask them if they can spare the money to occasionally buy an issue from a lesser known magazine. This upcoming publication also needs our support. Just to be clear, I’m not trying to make you give me money by buying the issue my story’s included. No. I was already paid for my story, and I intend to return some of that money by buying the issue, just like any other reader. There are no royalties involved or any other form of gain for me, except knowing my story will reach an audience (you can check their submission guidelines if you don’t believe me). What I am saying is that it’s important you help and support small magazines, so writers like us – all of us – can continue publishing our works and experiencing that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You know the feeling I’m talking about. I know all of you experience it every time you publish something, be it self-published or otherwise. If you still think I’m trying to make you buy this particular book, go to amazon, type “magazine” in the search bar, choose your favourite category from the list on the left, and buy whichever literary magazine you like. Who knows? You may come to like some of the stories there, perhaps even discover a writer whose style is closer to what you like.

The importance of literary magazines

Ten or so days ago, I submitted a sci-fi cyberpunk short story (damn, that phrase has a lot of S sounds in it) to a professional magazine named Sci Phi Journal. I’ll be honest with you, I really like this story. I like all my stories, they’re like my babies, but this one had something that really clicked with me. Perhaps because of the philosophical implications that most dystopian/post apocalyptic stories have on me. For the record (and this is the hook of the story), it’s the story of a small time crook, who tries to survive in any way possible, in a world where time is the only available commodity and everyone lives to work. Basically, each person is implanted with a timer that shows how much time they have left. Once it goes to zero…

Anyway, at the bottom of said magazine’s submission guidelines, the publisher requests potential contributors to talk about the magazine. The reason for that is there’s no way for the magazine to continue exist and pay professional rates, unless people know the magazine and buy it. And that’s true for every magazine. So, it got me thinking.

Now, there are thousands of magazines out there, most of them short-lived. Which is sad. In fact, one of the magazines I got published is now permanently closed (although in their guidelines they say they are on a hiatus). Which saddened me even more. I couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty in some way. Maybe if I had advertised my work more, maybe if I had done this, if I had done the other, and so on. Bottomline, it’s just sad. I understand it’s how the market works, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

So, I was thinking, what would happen if all magazines were to go bust. In a few words as possible, there would be no more places for publication for us aspiring authors. That in turn means, that fewer people would have the chance to perfect their craft, which in turn could either lead to fewer people going after their dream, or that the big traditional book publishers will end up with a slush pile of lower quality. And that will lead to either fewer published books or of poorer quality (assuming they lower their standards to continue publishing a certain book number per year). For some of us (and I include myself in this category), these publishing credits may be the only ones we’ll ever get to see. Quite frankly, I like seeing the byline with my name, don’t you? It’s not a matter of vanity or cockiness. It’s a reward for our efforts on its own, even if we submit our work to a non paying market.

So, I believe it’s important to support magazines (the small ones more than the bigger ones), and through that, the aspiring authors.