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

Month: March 2011

Ebooks, reviews, year’s bests, awards, and don’t forget to vote!

I’d like to thank everyone who has been spreading the word or purchasing copies of the latest Clarkesworld ebook issue. The preliminary results in our 99 cent ebook experiment are interesting, but it’s the rest of the month that will provide the most useful data. I’d also like to encourage those of you who purchased copies to go back to Amazon or later and review or rank it with their star systems. Reviews are another factor in the equation and we haven’t been very successful in getting feedback in those markets.

In other news, it appears that "The Things" by Peter Watts was our runaway story last year. It has picked up Year’s Best nods from Strahan, Dozois, Horton and Guran, an Honorable Mention from Ellen Datlow, and is a nominee for Best Short Story in the BSFA Awards. I couldn’t be happier for Peter and all of us at CW have our fingers crossed in hopes that Peter finds himself on the Hugo ballot again this year.

Speaking of the Hugos and other awards, if you are attending Worldcon this year (or did last year), you are eligible to nominate. The deadline is March 26th and it will be here before you know it. I think it is very important for people that can nominate to do so. As you know, we won the Hugo for Best Semiprozine last year and that’s a category that has been under fire in recent years. If you feel that magazines like Clarkesworld should be recognized, please remember to nominate in that category. There are lots of worthy semiprozines. Support them and their stories with your nominations. Trust me, it means a lot to the people who get nominated.

The Locus Poll is also up and running. Anyone can vote in that one. I know some people think they should boycott it because of their practice of counting subscriber votes twice, but you aren’t really helping anyone by doing that. If anything, it should encourage you to get more people voting so the doubling becomes less likely to be be statistically meaningful. It’s the closest thing we have to a free and open vote from the SF community. (Yes, yes, the Hugos are a popular vote, but not free.) Support it by voting and use the comments on the form to discourage their doubling practice.

Ebook Battle for Control of my Mind and the Price of Clarkesworld

We’ve been publishing $2.99 ebook editions of Clarkesworld Magazine for a while now. Why $2.99? Well, Amazon and B&N, our two biggest resellers, have a tiered royalty system that provides publishers with an incentive to do so.

70% royalty (minus delivery fee) for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, 35% royalty for everything else
B& 65% royalty for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, 40% royalty for everything else

I’m not terribly distressed by the $2.99 price point. It’s less than a gallon of gas or a 2 liter bottle of Coke, but then again, when I turn on the TV, I get barraged by commercials for $1 Value Meals. Is $1 the magic number? It certainly doesn’t indicate quality, but it is popular. I was talking with a friend about all this and they issued a challenge… "You offer more quality than a Value Meal. Lower your price to 99 cents and you’ll kick ass!" The idea has been festering in my head since. (Or maybe that was the cold I’m just recently over.)

$0.99 for an issue of a Hugo-Winning magazine.

The logical/mathematical side of my brain is screaming, NO, NO, NO, we would have to sell nearly 6 times as many books at Amazon and 5 times as many at B& to maintain our current income. We need that money… Then the not-so-logical side of my brain (the one that decided to launch a magazine) steps up to the mic:


The two side slugged it out for a few days before eventually coming to a compromise. The result: it’s time for an experiment. For one month, at our two biggest resellers, we will be selling copies of issue 54 for 99 cents each. At  the end of the month, I’ll look at the results and determine whether or not this will be our new list price.

Will our special value meal of quality SF&F be worth a buck to enough people to make this price change workable? With the short window I’ve set for this experiment, I’m going to have to count on our friends and readers for a little help. Please spread the word, near and far, electronically and in person…

Clarkesworld #54, only 99 cents @

Amazon (Kindle, Mobi)
B& (epub, Nook, Sony, iPad)

I’ll let you know what happens.

Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 54, March 2011

The March issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is now online and available in handy-dandy ebook formats from:


If you enjoy this issue please consider supporting us by making a donation or buying one of our books.

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