Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Month: July 2007

Online Magazines, Fiction, and the Locus Poll

I have a certain interest in the state of online genre magazines and the recent Locus Reader’s Poll has provided me with some data to chew on.  I’ve been looking into the magazine and short fiction results for the last two years and discovering that things are better than most people would have us believe.

This year, twenty-six magazines made the cut and ten (38.5%) are online. As expected, the “big three” took the first three slots, but in fourth is Strange Horizons.  The only other online magazine in the top ten is Baen’s Universe (#8).  Last year, SciFiction had fourth place and Strange Horizon’s had eighth, so online magazines appear to have held rank in the top ten despite the loss of SciFiction.

Of the ten online magazines that made this year’s list, only three of them (Strange Horizons, Baen’s and Clarkesworld) are fiction markets.  Last year, there were four (SciFiction, Strange Horizons, Infinite Matrix and Infinity Plus), but two of those are no longer around.  Online, non-fiction seems to have the upper hand in terms of number of ranking venues.

In both years, the top twenty contained seven (35%) online magazines.  Three of these are fiction markets (15%). The representation of online stories in this year’s Locus Awards for short stories (6%), novelettes (10%) and novellas (0%) is definitely lower than the percentages the magazines themselves represented, but it’s not that bad considering the overall quantity of stories produced by each market.  The novella category is a bit of a standout. They just aren’t all that common in the online magazines.

A few magazines are quite visibly absent from the final (magazine) poll results.  Flurb had the third place novelette in this year’s poll, so it was definitely known to the voters. I also find it hard to believe that Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show sailed below the radar of so many.  Perhaps having to pay for IMS hurt it, but that certainly didn’t hold back Baen’s or any of the print magazines.  Infinity Plus (#21 in 2006 and a ten-year veteran) also did not place.  What happened?  Bad stories?  Bad marketing?

Despite losing the granddaddy of online genre fiction venues, SciFiction, it appears that the landscape is quite healthy.  There are many strong venues and new markets are popping up with what appears to be an increasing regularity.  (More research for another day.)  Several of the newer markets are paying “pro” rates or better. Time will tell if these have sustainable business plans or any degree of marketing savvy.  

Take it for what you will, but this year, Subterranean Magazine (#10) switched from print to online and I know of at least one more print magazine in the top fifteen preparing to do the same.  Is this a blip or a trend?  Who knows, but it will be exciting to watch.  It should definitely have an impact on the poll next year.

What do you think?  Polls are popularity contests.  Will online fiction start growing in popularity or merely hold its own?  How about the awards and year’s best anthologies?  Will we see more online stories represented?  When will the big three start entering the picture (in full, or more likely, in part) or will we have a new big three to replace them?  On a different note, should Locus break out fiction from non-fiction in the magazine category just like they do for books?

Locus Poll and Clarkesworld Magazine

The detailed results for the Locus Poll are out and I’m very pleased by Clarkesworld Magazine’s finish in the magazine category:

Clarkesworld placed 20th. (15 first place votes) [new to the poll]


We only published three issues in 2006 (6 stories), so this is completely unexpected.  Thanks to everyone who voted for us, especially those 15 people who submitted first place votes.  I hope we’re continuing to live up to your expectations.

  -Neil

Readercon 2007

Readercon retained it’s title as my favorite convention, despite the fact that I was locked up in the Dealer’s Room there for most of the weekend.  I sold a lot of books, but not as many as Lisa would have liked (which would have been ALL of them).  I, on the other hand, was quite pleased by how well I did there as a dealer and hope to be back next year.  I brought primarily Subterranean Press, PS Publishing, Night Shade Books, convention guest’s books, and a big stack of magazines.  There didn’t appear to be much overlap with the other dealers.

My strong sellers were books by John Crowley, Catherynne M. Valente and the Prime Codex collection.  I sold out of several magazines and I could have easily sold more issues of Apex, Grendlesong, Subterranean, and Andromeda Spaceways if I had them.  I also sold several copies of Kay Kenyon’s Bright of the Sky.  I totally blanked out at the end of the con and forgot to have her sign the remaining copies.  Argh.  In the end, I only managed to get four books signed:  Prime Codex (signed by many), Blindsight and an ARC of Starfish by Peter Watts, and a first edition paperback of Green Eyes by Lucius Shepard… all now in my personal collection. 

I did bring the camera, but kept forgetting that I had it.  The few pictures I have have been posted to flickr and they include a shot of Paul Tremblay reading his Clarkesworld Story, “There’s no Light Between Floors“, which I believe is the first con reading of anything we’ve published.  I also managed to get a couple of shots of Mary Robinette Kowal’s amazing computer.  You have to check out those pictures, but I’m sure you’ve already heard about it somewhere by now.

During the convention, I decided that the Clarkesworld Books website would close at the end of August.  The orders are slowing down and I had hoped to have wrapped things up by now.  However, I’m still going to have a lot of inventory to sell off, so I’ve made the decision to keep Clarkesworld Books around as a convention-only dealer that will someday just turn into the Wyrm Publishing table.

Now I must get back to catching up on email and orders that came in while I’ve been gone…

And the winner is…

Congratulations to Catherynne M. Valente (

) for winning first place in the Million Writer’s Award for best online story.  “Urchins, While Swimming” appeared in the December 2006 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine.  I couldn’t be happier for her. 

Clarkesworld Magazine July Issue

We’ve posted issue #10 of Clarkesworld Magazine.  Enjoy!

I’ll Gnaw Your Bones,
the Manticore Said

by Cat Rambo

Transtexting Pose
by Darren Speegle

Art by Natasha Nesterova

 

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