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  1.  (1609.1)
    What was surprising about the cover art, on reflection, was that it was something of a backwards step for TTA, who have previously prided themselves on designing magazines that did at the very least look millennial, if not Right Up To The Minute. Compare it with TTA's first issue of INTERZONE:

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      CommentAuthorLucifal
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2008
     (1609.2)
    I have to agree with that. But then, it has a manga influence that isn't necessarily what the old fart sci-fi buffs would appreciate. Hang on, that's me and I much prefer it to the bug! I wonder what you think of (I'm sorry) the Murky Depths covers.
  2.  (1609.3)
    I have to agree with that. But then, it has a manga influence that isn't necessarily what the old fart sci-fi buffs would appreciate.

    What, both of them? Here's the thing: it's no secret that no-one buys INTERZONE. So why keep the old farts happy?

    I wonder what you think of (I'm sorry) the Murky Depths covers.

    The current one looks like a screenshot from Second Life, from what I can see in the reduced-size version on the website. It fits particularly badly with the red/yellow treatment on the fonts you're using on the cover.
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      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2008
     (1609.4)
    A note on distribution. I've got a short story I just sent off to Weird Tales. I've read what they put up on their website, and felt comfortable with my chances. But today, while in downtown Portland, I figured I'd pick up a few issues just to get a better idea on their standards.

    I couldn't find a single issue anywhere in Portland. One of the most populous nerd havens on the West Coast and all I could find were a bunch of Analogs shoved into the corner in Powell's.
  3.  (1609.5)
    I couldn't find a single issue anywhere in Portland. One of the most populous nerd havens on the West Coast and all I could find were a bunch of Analogs shoved into the corner in Powell's.

    Distribution is the trick indeed, because it requires navigating a catch-22. No-one buys sf magazines because they've become too hard to find? Well, why distribute them if no-one buys them? Well, how can they sell if they're not distributed? Well, why did people stop distributing them? Well, because no-one was buying them. But now no-one can buy them because they've become too hard to find. Repeat until veins in your head burst.

    (Partial blame may possibly be laid at the feet of subscription drives at the expense of looking for ways to force the magazines into other venues. I'm fairly certain all the main sf magazines can be ordered through Diamond, for instance.)
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      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2008
     (1609.6)
    So is there a way out? Or are SF magazines a dying media to be replaced with the lower overhead of online magazines?
  4.  (1609.7)
    So is there a way out? Or are SF magazines a dying media to be replaced with the lower overhead of online magazines?

    Any idiot could sit down and write out a twelve-point plan, say, to mitigate the annual drops. I think the point is -- and I never used to extend this to IZ, but maybe it's time -- the main sf magazines don't want to change. They want to stay exactly as they are, and they're going to go to the grave with their audiences.

    I think WEIRD TALES want to make a go of it. I'll be interested to see what their annual sales figures end up looking like.
  5.  (1609.8)
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      CommentAuthorLucifal
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2008
     (1609.9)
    The current one looks like a screenshot from Second Life, from what I can see in the reduced-size version on the website. It fits particularly badly with the red/yellow treatment on the fonts you're using on the cover.
    The red and yellow was meant to jar the visual senses. Previous covers had been totally lost on the comic shelves. Issue #4, launching at Bristol in May, is far more subtle.

    10. OK, so the MD site needs a bit of TLC.
    9. Interesting and very odd. I don't remember setting up a Ning account.
    8. Very hard to break a habit of a lifetime. It was drummed into me as a kid at junior school.
    7. Maybe we are wrong to appeal to a mature audience. We've been looking at producing a spin-off junior version. But, heh, kids'll see and hear far worse in their gaming.
    6. My wife has been beating on about this for years. I'm actually very positive about Murky Depths because it's different and exciting (then I think about how much it's costing me).
  6.  (1609.10)
    Don't feel bad about not finding Weird tales in Portland. Half the time, I can't find Asimov's in San Francisco. Why? "The distributor forgot to bring any this month. Oops. Maybe next month."
    • CommentAuthorS.H. Segal
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2008
     (1609.11)
    Jon: Sorry to hear you couldn't find WEIRD TALES in Portland. A few points that may help:

    - Right now, we're far more prevalent in Barnes & Noble, B.Dalton, and Books-a-Million than in Borders -- our distributor hasn't been able to make much headway for us with Borders.
    - Warren is correct: Diamond Comics Distributors carry WEIRD TALES, so if your local comic shop isn't stocking it regularly, they can certainly special-order it upon request.
    - Since most bookstores only stock a few copies of the magazine, then you may have simply gone looking for it after the last issue sold out and before the next arrived. The new issue -- which is the big 85th anniversary edition -- should be in stores within the next week or so. You might want to check back at B&N, it looks like this:

    Weird Tales - 85th anniversary issue

    And thanks for sending us a story -- good luck!
  7.  (1609.12)
    Since the "5 things" article mentioned above was about science fiction - not just magazines - this may be encouraging. TOR Books is offering free content and trying to set up a science fiction social networking site:

    at Bloggasm
  8.  (1609.13)
    TOR Books is ...trying to set up a science fiction social networking site:

    That article's two months old, and the site still isn't up.

    It would have taken, at most, one working day to pretty up a boilerplate Ning page and map a domain on to it.
  9.  (1609.14)

    I have to agree with that. But then, it has a manga influence that isn't necessarily what the old fart sci-fi buffs would appreciate.


    Looking at that Interzone cover and that Weird Tales cover I want to open those magazines up, see what's inside, fucking buy them. Those are curious objects, the sort of things that stand out on the news rack. The logo for Weird Tales alone is smarter than anything I've seen in ages. I agree with Warren, I think they're really making a go of it.

    And are we really still talking about the "manga influence" like it's bird flu on the horizon? Flip on any animated show since about 1985 or so, look at the nintendo impact, generations have come up with manga as a fact of life. That some duffers are up in arms because things "look japanese" sets my teeth on edge like my old uncle talking about Schlitz beer. Let them grumble, like the superhero fans who hate a book for years they'll keep buying. While covers like that might bring in new readers all the same.

    Speaking of idiot-proof web pages. Wordpress 2.5 just came out. I spent a chunk of today showing my co-workers, some of treat computers like the monolith from 2001, the streamlined dashboard and getting them used to posting on the company site. The tools to make a simple, easy to update web site have never been easier to come by.
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      CommentAuthorLucifal
    • CommentTimeApr 16th 2008
     (1609.15)
    Murky Depths Issue #3 cover
  10.  (1609.16)
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      CommentAuthororwellseyes
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2008 edited
     (1609.17)
    No invited editors responded.

    That's...disappointing.

    Having seen a number of comics editors come out here and on Panel and Pixel to speak about the health and state of the market in pretty frank terms, I don't get it. If anything it could help people understand the market better, perhaps dissuade someone from sending their 120,000 word space opera (that's totally not star wars) in to the magazine that's looking for shorter pieces.
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      CommentAuthorLucifal
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2008
     (1609.18)
    Jason Sizemore is the editor of Apex but he doesn't really have much to add to the debate. If someone sends in a 120,000-word story to a magazine that's after short stories they need shooting. Guidelines are there to help writers (and busy editors). I agree there's no shortage of stories. Murky Depths receives about six a day. That might not sound much but we only started publishing last September. Even six is pushing our abilities to cope; while I pay contributors a token amount my editors just get my thanks. I'd love to be in a position to pay everybody a reasonable amount. I'd like it to be more than just a labour of love. And I remain ever hopeful!

    It's scary that a lot of people talk about the writers and not the readers; claiming that the only people who read short story magazines these days are budding writers. Does that mean that the only people who read comics are budding comic artists, writers, etc? I doubt it.
  11.  (1609.19)
    Kadrey wrote: Don't feel bad about not finding Weird tales in Portland. Half the time, I can't find Asimov's in San Francisco. Why? "The distributor forgot to bring any this month. Oops. Maybe next month."

    Why? Because it's ten whole blocks down to Aardvarks from your house, you old man!

    Not that there's ever anything in it more entertaining than the reviews.

    But here's the thing I've noticed. The magazine might have dropped dead, but I'm spotting more and more original anthologies and collections of shorts by the likes of Kessel and Baglialymphoma (I can't remember how to spell his name, dammit); not to mention that Solaris thing, and the stuff PS puts out.

    I remember Shirley telling me, God, five years ago that it was a waste of time writing shorts, because there wasn't a venue for the good stuff. I mean, I see his point. But still, I reckon there's more out there now than there has been for a while (even if a very great deal of it is crap). Although, of course, booksellers are great big dummies and tend only to keep the novels in stock. ("But only novels sell!" "The how come that same copy of Distraction's been sitting there for a year, but the short story collection is represented only by a gap Shane MacGowan could be proud of?")

    As soon as someone gets off their arse and makes an e-book that's actually any good, the bus ride short story will make a killing.

    Oh, and there's a lovely book of SF related short stories based on songs by The Fall, too. Solid 90-95% hit rate.
  12.  (1609.20)
    I remember Shirley telling me, God, five years ago that it was a waste of time writing shorts, because there wasn't a venue for the good stuff. I mean, I see his point.

    See, this is one of the things I completely fail to understand. If you're the magazine editor and you know the people who write The Good Shit, how in hell do you not double their rates or find some other way to bribe them and buy residencies?