Tag Archives: electronic

Online reviews and online submissions

I expect many of you will have already noticed that the guys at SF Signal were short of more erudite commentators, and hence decided to ask me to contribute to their new “Mind Meld” feature. The question was:

“From your point of view, how has the proliferation of online book reviews affected the publishing world?”

The responses are very interesting, actually – quite harmonious in many respects, though with everyone playing their own little melodic riffs on the theme. Go take a look, leave some comments over there.


While we’re on the subject of the effect of the web on genre fiction, here’s an intriguing thinking-out-loud post from Jeremiah Tolbert, who’s wondering where he should be submitting to build up his short fiction career:

“For a while, I decided that I would only submit my work to places that would take electronic submissions. I was making so little off of the sales that I did make that it wasn’t worth the cost of postage and envelopes. I haven’t decided whether I should change that policy yet or not, honestly. So many ‘zines do take electronic submissions now. Which don’t? F&SF, Asimov’s, and Analog. The so-called “Big Three.”

I’m kind of curious to see if I can build a reputation for myself without appearing in those markets. They don’t pay that much better than anyone else, and their circulation isn’t spectacular (although it may be better than just about everyone except Escape Pod). It’s kind of weird, but for the purposes of building an audience, I think making reprint sales to Escape Pod might be the best thing I can do for myself.

That’s a very weird situation, and really represents the state of the industry.”

The man has a point. Your thoughts?

[tags]book, reviews, publishing, short, story, fiction, markets, submissions, electronic[/tags]

Hub Magazine ditching hardcopy

Look what I found in my inbox as soon as I got home – an email from Hub Magazine:

“The format Hub is changing. As we have not been able to employ a full-time advertising salesperson we have not had the ability to attract a sufficient amount of revenue to keep the magazine going in its existing format. Even though we almost sell out each issue, sales revenue is never enough to cover costs. You may be aware that the cover price of a magazine (for a magazine of our size, at least) is usually a loss-leader. The aim is to attract advertising, and though the subscribers were with us we simply did not have the business acumen sufficient to sell the quantities of advertising needed. Hub was put together by a couple of people with an interest in genre fiction – not by an experienced publishing empire.

Hub will therefore move to an electronic-only format from issue 3.”

I’m kinda chuffed; it adds weight to my earlier assertions about electronic publication as a better potential business model. I’m kinda gutted, because that’s one less dead-tree mag I’ll be receiving (and I do like them, you know).

Furthermore, it’s distracted me from dwelling overlong on the fact that I just got dumped by text-message on the last leg of my journey home. Happy Easter!

The Caravan Project – new publishing paradigm

Well, this sure looks interesting. The Caravan Project is an experiment into offering non-fiction titles in a whole range of formats, including electronic:

“Just as consumers of music, film and television now can choose how to receive those media, the Caravan Project will offer buyers of serious non-fiction books a “menu” of formats, both print and digital, from which to choose how they read a book.

“Caravan, funded by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, will use all the emerging digital and time-tested technologies for the manufacture of books with a goal of making their distribution in the marketplace significantly more efficient by placing them when and where they are needed.”

Of course, this is ‘serious non-fiction’ they’re talking about. You know, the sort of thing that has a small dedicated readership, and has miniscule print runs in comparison to the latest blockbuster best-sellers. Which reminds me somewhat of a genre I’m rather fond of …

King Canute got wet feet. The tide is coming in. I know that suggesting electronic formats as a future for genre fiction isn’t popular with a lot of people, but I’m damned if I’ll admit defeat yet.

Has science fiction gone future-blind?

Cory Doctorow’s latest column for Locus Online discusses the topical hot potato of copyright, in the context of a world where the electronic distribution of entertainment media is becoming increasingly commonplace; his previous piece had a similar remit. The thing that astonished me most about these two columns was this: the utter lack of public reaction to them from the online sf community.

Continue reading Has science fiction gone future-blind?