Saturday, March 14, 2009

Science "Friday": Quirks and Quarks/ Grand Vision continued

1) I've been trying to ignore the existence of the CBC radio network in Canada, averting my thoughts from the idea that its programming is probably available via live streaming and podcast just like NPR's programming. I just don't have time in my listening week to add another whole country's public radio shows. But this morning I broke down because I kept hearing of Bob McDonald's Quirks and Quarks science show.  So I went to the CBC site, turned my gaze away from most of what it had to offer, zeroed in on this one show and signed up for the podcast.  I am listening to it right now.  It's way cool. It's sort of like Wisconsin Public Radio's To the Best of Our Knowledge but with content similar to that of NPR's  Science Friday (but without the people calling in to the show). Our Canadian readers probably all know it's on at 12:06pm on Saturdays on Radio One.  One of the subjects of the installment that I am listening to this morning is dark matter and efforts to detect it in a straightforward way. 

2) Those interested in the bright future of the M-Brane zine, please read Thursday's post if you haven't already. I'm dead serious about what I say. There is no good reason why we can't attain that level of readership and have it be, from the writers' standpoint, a pro mag. It's only about half of what circulation one of the old-line pro digests (Analog, Asimov's, F&SF) gets, and their circulations are frankly pitiful considering that these are the "big" magazines of our genre, completely dwarfing the handful of other pro-level mags that exist. I'm also not convinced that they will successfully adapt to the new, emerging ways of doing things. The readership goal, as I stated in a comment to that earlier post, is not a prerequisite to being able to go to professional rate for the stories. That can start happening when we cross the three-to-four thousand circulation level.  This is based on some calculations (don't worry, I won't bore you with them) involving what an issue of M-Brane would cost me in payments to writers at SFWA pro level and how many subscriptions or other kinds of income need to be brought in to fund it at that level. It will be a huge cost: M-Brane is always going to publish a lot of stories.  There were eight in #1, nine in #2.  There will be ten in #3, and I think I have eleven or twelve booked for #4. I am not ever doing a mag like the webzine Clarkesworld that only runs two stories per issue nor am I ever putting a low word-count ceiling on the writers. I want it to have both quality and quantity like the old digests. Of course, the stories won't be the sole expense when it reaches that point: I won't be able to do it all by myself like I do now if it's a prozine. The stature of the zine will draw in far, far more story submissions than I can slog through alone, so I would have to add some editorial help and pay for that, too. 

Another positive aspect to having a big-time readership, is that I could more cost-effectively produce the print edition.  If I had demand for even a 100 copies of it, I could get it out for little more than half its current cost (btw, a few copies remain of print #1 and #2 via the "subscribe" link, and I'll have the Lulu store open again with the release of #3 in April).

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D. D. said...


Can you send me some promotional material, like book marks, blurb sheets and such? I will pass them around at the Slug Tribe Critique group and also the Armadillo Con.

Keep it up!!!

Christopher Fletcher said...

Yeah, I need to come up with something--I'll try to get on it quickly. When is Armadillo Con? I think you told me about it but I don't remember. And, yeah, if anyone else who is reading this is going to any cons or is involved in any groups that would be interested in a zine like this, do let me know about it.

D. D. said...


The 'Dillo Con is in August, but the Slug Tribe meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays each month. If you have a couple of extra copies I can give away, I'll make sure to pass them out at the meeting. I'm also going to the Writer's League of Texas' Agents and Editors Conference in June, so I'll try to pass out some promo stuff if I can.

Anonymous said...

You might also consider contacting OWW... I think they may --I could be wrong-- have special accounts for magazine editors/ etc.. I'm not sure how that can benefit you, but definitely getting on the yahoo groups associated with the site would be a good way to read a lot of writers:

Also, if you get a verticle banner that would fit in the sidebar of a blog, I would be happy to put it on mine... Maybe do a 'tell me who sent you' contest for print subscribers to try to spread the banner ad/ word of mouth. :)


Christopher Fletcher said...

Good ideas, DD and BB. I'll get these things on my list of Things I Ought to Do.

DD: I'll see about the copies situation. I'm being kind of tight-fisted with the ones I have left right now (in case they actually sell...ya know, for money), but it could happen that I need to run some more anyway. Also, I should mention that it's cool with me if people want to send around their PDFs of issue #2 to people they know who might be potential future readers--I've been not wanting to post the whole thing publicly like we did with #1 until I get some more traction out of its limited release..which is happening, we are picking up some more paid readers lately.

Brandon, I'm not sure if I know how to do a banner like that as far as how to configure it. I'll need to research it.


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