Friday, December 5, 2008


Things are coming together well as far as the content for the mag.  I have acquired a few really nice new stories lately, and I think that my debut issue will be totally respectable. I am in a conundrum, however, as to how to handle the print edition.  There has been virtually zero interest in it, with everyone instead opting for the PDF version. I can't say I blame anyone for that.  That's certainly what I would do...and you can go ahead and print it yourself if you want it on paper once you have the electronic version.  I am certainly not going to print a whole lot of copies of issue #1 in February if there's no one paying for them. But does the whole thing lack cache and stature if it's not in print?  If so, who would know or care if no one is wanting to buy it anyway? Should I just bag the print edition altogether?  I guess I will wait and see what happens.  It could also be that interest in a print version picks up after people have gotten a look at the electronic one. A huge advantage, however, of going PDF-only, is that I can forget about any constraints of page-count or content and, if I so desire, compile ridiculously huge issues.  Someone may wonder why my plan isn't just to put it up as a webzine.  The answer is that webzines aren't my bag for a number of reasons that I don't feel like describing right now. I will probably eventually spin off another website separate from this blog to promote and sell the zine, but I doubt I will ever publish its full content to such a site.  

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Anonymous said...

Upfront, I have a ulterior motive since I would like to see my work published in M-brane. And I don't have to deal with any of the headaches of getting a magazine produced and distributed, so it's easy to have an opinion.

The print medium adds legitimacy to a publication. It also takes written works out of the electronic ether and onto a page that has a potentially longer lifespan that a web-based solution, and allows for growth into outlets such as bookstores, conventions, etc.

Greatest Uncommon Denominator might have a good model for the 'a little bit of both' path. And in addition to being able to download pdfs from them, I have seen copies of GUD in my local Hastings or Borders (can't rem which) so that is pretty cool.

Anyway, economics is a huge factor, of course. And being one of 'not very many' print markets for short genre fiction is a cool thing. I miss magazines like 2AM and Pulphouse, that I grew up reading.

Regardless of the format that M-Brane eventually takes, I believe that anyone working to provide an outlet for short stories is doing something important and valuable. Maybe we can't be a Harlan Ellison these days and make a living of short story writing, but at least, if it is good enough, we have places to see the work published.


Christopher Fletcher said...

I agree with you as far as the reasons to want a print mag. It may always be somehow cooler to be able to hold it in your hand than to look at it on a screen. When I was teenager, I published a Trek fanzine for a couple of years, and this was in the days before decent computers and there was no web at all. In fact, the one primordial computer that we had use of, we actually eschewed in favor of producing our finished copy on typewriters because it looked better than that awful and unformattable dot matrix print of those days. We pasted the thing together with rubber cement and Exacto knives, photocopied it and mailed it out in manila envelopes. Nowadays, it seems crazy, but at the time it was really neat to be able to hold and read the finished zine. I'm less romantic about all that now, but I am still considering my options as far as the print M-Brane goes. One big problem is that the costs have gotten crazier, and it's no surprise to me that I am not having a lot of luck inducing people to spend a lot of money on a mag that has yet to be launched. I am considering trying to offer the print edition by way of a print-on-demand publishing service rather than producing and distributing it myself. I have some more research to do on this, but it might be the solution. It still won't be cheap, but but it might be a reasonable way to do the print mag without having to commit to a big inventory of copies of it. And it would be keep me out of the mail business, which would be nice.


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