Home > cultural commentary, fiction, horror > What are the odds?

What are the odds?

I was going to blog about something else today but this happened.

A long while back I finished a story, a paranormal horror, and sent to to a magazine. I heard nothing for a while (which is normal) and then got an apologetic email saying the mag has ceased publication.

We live in hard times. I didn’t think much of it. I just sent it to the next magazine on my list. I am at least organised enough to have  a ‘hit list’ for each story, of potential markets for it.

A few months have gone by, and now the same thing’s just happened again – apologetic email, ‘we have officially ceased publication’.

Anyone apart from me see any parallels here with the horror film ‘Ring‘? Have I got a story on my hands that is so spooky it can cause magazines to fail?

Should I accept some moral responsibility about where I send it next? Or just create a hit list of people and agencies that have pissed me off in the past, send it to them and see what happens?

I think I need to try at least one more place just to prove it’s no coincidence.

Suggestions, anyone…?

  1. January 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Two out of three ain’t bad, so they say. So go for a third, if that mag fails start on the pissed off hit list and write some more….

  2. January 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Good advice, I think… Still open to other comments though!

  3. January 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Made me laugh! Yes, this has happened to me, and not just with horror magazines. Apparently, online magazines crash and burn with alarming regularity. Money, I suspect, is the big issue, which lies in its readership, donations and advertisements. If a magazine does develop a following, the readers get bored or forgetful, waiting months and months for the next issue to come out. Plus, I can’t imagine that advertisers wait around for long either.

    I mean, I wouldn’t subscribe to a magazine that only has 4 issues a year with 6 measly stories per issue–stories that I could read in one hour, tops. Would you? The internet community is a fast crowd, always moving on when the party runs down, the booze dries up and the chips get soggy. Something bigger, better and newer is just a click away.

    • January 25, 2011 at 1:37 am

      Thanks for this, it’s a very sensible response – even if it does trash my theory about the story’s paranormal influences! And yes, I think it’s an astute observation that people these days are more likely to look at a blog that puts up a story each day than a magazine that comes out every three months. Maybe I should be looking to those as markets (or set one up…? I shall have to consult some of my friends…)

  4. January 25, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Jon, I think you should gather up your short stories and publish them as an anthology on Kindle for $2.99. I think you’d garner a great readership, especially since the SF/Horror genre sells well there.

    As for money, all I can add is my own personal experience. I never expected my out of print books to sell as well as they do, but it’s a very nice amount every month. Enough to pay the mortgage.

    • January 25, 2011 at 1:44 am

      Thank you for the vote of confidence, Karen! I’d need a new set of stories, though, because the ones I list on my ‘stories’ page are mostly already on the magazines’ websites and there are a couple of others where first serial rights haven’t yet expired.

      I do have some plans for the future, though. The one I’ve been working on a while would, for all sorts of technical reasons, be better done in PDF format rather than ePub and might be more a candidate for Smashwords for that reason. It’s hanging fire at the moment due to a couple of other deadlines but I’m hoping it will see the light of day a bit later this year.

  5. January 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

    send it to the government, seems like they’re already flailing anyway lol

  6. February 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    FYI – just found this site http://www.clmp.org/directory/index.php

    Not through investigating it myself, but this might be a list of magazines that are a bit more serious and professional than the average TomDickHarry sitting in a dirty basement.

    • February 27, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      Looks interesting. I tend to use Duotrope, and occasionally Ralan, for investigating markets – Duotrope has the advantage of being searchable by genre, keyword, length etc. However I’ll pursue this link – thanks!

  7. February 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    What you say is true. However, you know that any JoeBlow can start an online magazine and register it with Duotrope. I’m just saying….note how many of them aren’t really web pages, but ordinary blogs. And the fact that they don’t pay the writers.

    Besides, I kind of like the idea of these online mags having to jump through a few hoops, like they make us jump. whahah!

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