Why Publishers Publish Online Magazines - Income Streams etc.

Mon0Zer0

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To date, most of my own work has been self published and sold through crowdfunding and at conventions, so I'm a complete novice at submitting to magazines. Looking through the submissions markets, I'm bowled over by how many paying markets there are, beyond famous magazines or ones attached to larger book publishers. There seem to be a lot out there, and I'm wondering how sustainable the industry is.

I'm really curious what the smaller paying publisher's motivations for publishing are. Are these wealthy (ish) fans of the genre who do it for the love of it? If not privately wealthy, what do they hope to achieve and what kind of income streams do they have to keep the publisher ticking over? Bar ads and patreon and maybe Amazon collected volumes, I'm unsure how they continue to publish stories.

Does anyone have any knowledge about this side of the industry?
 

AlexH

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From editors I've spoken to and seen/read interviews with, it's mostly done for the love. Even editors of the biggest magazines give up lots of their own time to support the magazines. Apex Magazine, for example, use Patreon and Kickstarter, and have events where the editors give up their time to raise money that mostly goes towards paying authors. Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner (Apex Magazine Editors) have both said they love finding and publishing great fiction.

There are exceptions. In literary fiction, for example, some magazines charge ridiculous submission fees for contests and make lots of money as a result. I choose not to submit to those contests/magazines.

I'd love to edit an anthology or two myself one day - I don't think I could manage all the time and effort required for a regular magazine.
 

alexvss

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@Mon0Zer0, my magazine's editor-in-chief wrote an editorial that summarizes what you want to know: Why lit mags don't pay.

Also, I'd recommend Clarkesworld's editoral for this month, Fifteen, where Neil reflects on the magazine's trajectory in the last fifteen years.
From editors I've spoken to and seen/read interviews with, it's mostly done for the love. Even editors of the biggest magazines give up lots of their own time to support the magazines. Apex Magazine, for example, use Patreon and Kickstarter, and have events where the editors give up their time to raise money that mostly goes towards paying authors. Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner (Apex Magazine Editors) have both said they love finding and publishing great fiction.

There are exceptions. In literary fiction, for example, some magazines charge ridiculous submission fees for contests and make lots of money as a result. I choose not to submit to those contests/magazines.

I'd love to edit an anthology or two myself one day - I don't think I could manage all the time and effort required for a regular magazine.
Yeah, love is certainly a key-word here. Passion for the short fiction format is what keeps magazines going, even the "bigger" ones. Most editors have day jobs, and work their asses off. Now it's just me wondering but... I often see editors getting sick with very serious diseases. Maybe that has to do with the heavy workload and subsequent stress? :unsure:

As you said, there are contests that charge fees to submit. The standard for seems to be U$ 20,00 (which is A LOT for a South American :p ), but they also pay high prizes, so I don't think they're robbing anyone. The winner could get up to $3000 and publication, the finalists also get money and publication, and ALL entrants are considered to be published, just like an ordinary submission.

That's why I'd say the worst part of the industry are paid anthologies. They're predators. You'll be paying to appear on the pages of a book that will only be bought by the authors themselves. I fell for that.

Note that not all anthologies are bad. If someone invites me to organize one, that will be a milestone in my career; but the anthology has to pay the authors, and not the other way around.

Well, money flows to the author.

@alexvss probably knows the most about this subject
Thank you for this. I guess all those hours surfing around the web, looking for markets to submit, are finally paying off! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: But I have to recognize that the authority for SFF magazines in this forum is @Bick though.
 

Mon0Zer0

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my magazine's editor-in-chief wrote an editorial that summarizes what you want to know: Why lit mags don't pay.

When you say your magazine, do you mean you own it?

Very interesting, if somewhat sobering article. I wonder how long these magazines can continue with the subscription business model.

Is the pay to submit model widespread? Are the fees really $20? Are these refunded if you're accepted, and is it really worth submitting to a journal that does this?
 

AlexH

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@Mon0Zer0, my magazine's editor-in-chief wrote an editorial that summarizes what you want to know: Why lit mags don't pay.

Also, I'd recommend Clarkesworld's editoral for this month, Fifteen, where Neil reflects on the magazine's trajectory in the last fifteen years.

Yeah, love is certainly a key-word here. Passion for the short fiction format is what keeps magazines going, even the "bigger" ones. Most editors have day jobs, and work their asses off. Now it's just me wondering but... I often see editors getting sick with very serious diseases. Maybe that has to do with the heavy workload and subsequent stress? :unsure:

As you said, there are contests that charge fees to submit. The standard for seems to be U$ 20,00 (which is A LOT for a South American :p ), but they also pay high prizes, so I don't think they're robbing anyone. The winner could get up to $3000 and publication, the finalists also get money and publication, and ALL entrants are considered to be published, just like an ordinary submission.

That's why I'd say the worst part of the industry are paid anthologies. They're predators. You'll be paying to appear on the pages of a book that will only be bought by the authors themselves. I fell for that.

Note that not all anthologies are bad. If someone invites me to organize one, that will be a milestone in my career; but the anthology has to pay the authors, and not the other way around.

Well, money flows to the author.


Thank you for this. I guess all those hours surfing around the web, looking for markets to submit, are finally paying off! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: But I have to recognize that the authority for SFF magazines in this forum is @Bick though.
On the contest/submission fees, I think some take advantage of writers. 500*$20=$10,000, so for the most popular contests, it doesn't take that many submissions to get the cash rolling in, and some are not all that well respected in terms of a publication credit.
 

Bick

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But I have to recognize that the authority for SFF magazines in this forum is @Bick though.
Appreciate the sentiment but I don’t think so. I have some appreciation of magazine quality and contents, but I’m no expert on how they are run and what they pay, etc. there are many on here who know a lot about current magazines, and Victoria probably reads more of them than anyone else.
 

alexvss

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When you say your magazine, do you mean you own it?

Very interesting, if somewhat sobering article. I wonder how long these magazines can continue with the subscription business model.

Is the pay to submit model widespread? Are the fees really $20? Are these refunded if you're accepted, and is it really worth submitting to a journal that does this?
No, I don't own it! I shouldn't have said, "my magazine" but rather, "the one I work FOR" :ROFLMAO:

And the $20 fee is just for some contests I've submitted lately. I used as a reference because it's somewhere around that. The H.G. Wells short-story competion, another one that I lost twice, charges £10. And that's just for contests, mind you; it would be a huge price if it were just a regular magazine. I submitted to markets that charge, and if I remember correctly, it was around $3 or $5. It's not worth it at all.
 

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