Hi all! Today I want to discuss some significant changes to how Compelling Science Fiction will operate going forward. These changes will have an effect on both readers and authors, so this post should be of interest to everyone.
Before I get into the details, I want to mention that I’ll be releasing the third issue this upcoming weekend (look for it on Sunday the 14th). I’m very excited for the release, as always -- we’ll have four great stories written by four excellent authors.
What this post is really about, though, is what’s happening after the third issue. As many of you know, I guaranteed that I would “fund the magazine for at least 3 issues no matter what” in a previous blog post. I also said that I will have to see where we stand with respect to support when the third issue rolled around. Well, that time is now. As of this writing, Compelling Science Fiction is being supported by 128 amazing individuals on Patreon, for a total of $503 per issue. That being said, each issue costs me between $1500-$2000 to produce, with nearly all of the cost going to pay authors professional rates. Ultimately this has resulted in me spending over $5000 out-of-pocket to pay authors for their work over the last six months. In my opinion this was money well-spent, but unfortunately I can’t sustain that rate of expenditure (no matter how worthy the cause). It was an interesting experiment, but now I have to try something different.
The two goals that I had when I started this magazine have remained the same: to broaden the availability of hard science fiction, and to support the authors who create such fiction. Everyone affiliated with Compelling Science Fiction volunteers their time because they believe that science fiction is important -- it expands the mind and drives progress through inspiration. I don’t want to compromise on either of the magazine’s stated goals, which leaves me with a limited number of options.
Ultimately, I decided to go with an unorthodox approach. As soon as issue 3 is released, I will be adding a progress bar to the home page of Compelling Science Fiction. This progress bar will track reader contributions, and once the bar reaches
$2000 $1200 I’ll open author submissions once again and we’ll compile and release issue 4. This will allow me to keep the stories free to read, and to continue paying authors for their work. You, as readers and authors, can help move the bar right away by contributing to our Patreon (www.patreon.com/compelling) and spreading the word.
No matter what happens, I will continue to host the existing issues of the magazine at compellingsciencefiction.com for many years to come.
I also want to publicly apologize to those authors who received an automated email after we filled our quota for the third issue -- I sent the email to release your queued submissions as soon as possible so that you could submit to other venues, but I did not consider how abrupt and jarring that email must have been. When we reopen submissions I will be removing the ‘no simultaneous submissions’ rule in our guidelines, so that you need never be concerned about your stories being held in our queue. I know that selling publication rights is hard enough even without the normal restrictions publishers generally place on submissions. Our acceptance rate for stories is about 1% (before we stopped accepting submissions we received about 250 submissions a month); I imagine that acceptance rate is much, much lower for large publishers.
To conclude, I think that the first three issues have been a success, despite having to change our model. Thus far we’ve reached 19,600 unique readers, and supported 14 outstanding authors. As always, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or concerns. And I'll be at Worldcon in a week and a half -- email me if you'd like to say hi! I always enjoy meeting readers and authors. Thanks for your support,
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