Clarkesworld – February 2015

The February 2015 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is now available. You can get the issue:

or help us pay the bills by purchasing Clarkesworld with a subscription at:

FEBRUARY 2015 – ISSUE #101

FICTION

“The Last Surviving Gondola Widow” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Indelible” by Gwendolyn Clare
“The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” by Kelly Robson
“Meshed” by Rich Larson
“The Osteomancer’s Son” by Greg van Eekhout
“It Takes Two” by Nicola Griffith

NONFICTION

What in the World Do They Want, Anyway? The Myth of the Friendly Alien by Mark Cole
A Little Paranoia: A Conversation with Liza Groen Trombi by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
The Spurred Storyteller: A Conversation With Tang Fei by Ken Liu
Another Word: YA is the New Black by Dawn Metcalf
Editor’s Desk: The Next Hundred by Neil Clarke

PODCAST

This month’s stories will be released in audio form over the course of the month. Read by Kate Baker.

COVER ART

Lady and the Ship by Atilgan Asikuzun


If you enjoy what we do, please consider supporting us by spreading the word about our subscription options or Patreon account on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Your subscriptions make everything we do possible.

Thanks!

One Year on Patreon – Pros and Cons

In early 2014, I detailed the strengths and weaknesses I observed as a magazine and podcast publisher using Patreon. Since that post is still receiving a fair amount of traffic, I thought it only fair to write up a new pros and cons list that better reflects where Patreon is today.

patreonlogo

 

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a cross between subscriptions and Kickstarter. Unlike Kickstarter, Patreon doesn’t focus on a one-time project. It’s aimed at fundraising for long-term projects that include recurring creations, like issues of a magazine or episodes of a podcast. In our case, your Patreon pledge is a per-issue contribution to the magazine.

Clarkesworld’s Status on Patreon

Clarkesworld Magazine has had a Patreon page for a little over a year now. At this time, we have $662 in monthly pledges from a total of 177 patrons. We successfully unlocked our first goal of $500, which allowed us to add a story to every other issue. The next goal is at $750. We have never been one of their featured sites.

Clarkesworld has an online readership of over 35,000 and a monthly podcast listenership that is over 9,000. The percentage of readers/listeners actively supporting us through Patreon or other avenues (ebook subscriptions, PayPal donations, Joyride, etc.) is disappointingly small, but this is not a reflection on Patreon or any of the other services we use. Part of the problem is marketing, but the big challenge is convincing people to support what they can get for free. We’re not alone in this. Talk to PBS sometime. What this means is that we still have a large number of potential supporters.

Patreon Cons – Updated

1. Discoverability – While they’ve fixed searching and added tags, category tags are very broad and it when you view the category, it appears to only list featured creators. Personally, I’d love to see them implement strong categorization similar to what Kickstarter has done with their DISCOVER button and make it a breeze to find projects I’m interested in. (Go play there and see for yourself.) It might also be fun to have the ability to nominate people to be featured. Right now that’s a bit of a black box.

2. Payment Processing – My prior problem as a monthly content creator went away when I discovered the MONTHLY CAMPAIGN checkbox on the edit my campaign page. Now I don’t need to worry about whether or not pledges come in after I’ve posted new content. Patreon now matches our schedule.

I didn’t mention it last time, but there is one problem in this category. I’m not sure why, but it can take days to process a pledge. Maybe it’s a volume thing, but I’ve never had any other monthly service not be able to bulk process charges in a few hours. Just for clarity here, I’m not nitpicking about declined charges. Those happen and they’ve been good about trying to get those situations straightened out. They’ve also been very clear in stating the processing time. This won’t be a problem for many people, but in our case, we have a subscription reward tier and those have to go out on the first… which is the same day they process charges.

3. New – This was bound to fix itself if everything was going well. Patron is now processing over one million in pledges every month. There are still a lot of people who are unfamiliar with them, but they’ve also received fifteen million in funding from investors, so expect their visibility to continue to grow.

Patreon Pros – Updated

1. Support and Service – I’ve had to use it less often than in the past (which is a testament to their design), but their support staff are top-notch and easy to work with. I don’t know many who do it better. In fact, I should probably ask them about the above payment processing problem. (I can’t imagine that they don’t already know and are working on it. That’s what I’ve come to expect from them.)

2. Growing Community – I don’t know if our experience had anything to do with it, but I now see a number of my colleagues using Patreon and a few of our supporters supporting them (and vice versa). That’s great for all of us and I expect to see more and more people launching Patreon pages in the years ahead.

3. We’re Getting Paid – While it might take a few days to process the payments, everything runs smoothly and they’ve even added a direct deposit option. Patreon is now an important part of our business model.

4. Opportunity – A year later, I still feel like we’re in the early days of something big. Being in early has certainly had benefits for us and I’m sure those coming in now will have similar experiences assuming they don’t assume Patreon to be a magic money box.

Closing Thoughts

After a year, I am still very pleased with Patreon and continue to recommend it to people. While I continue to have some issues with the service, it has built a strong foundation and they appear to have the intelligence, staffing, and resources to grow into something even more impressive. Listen to them talk sometime. It can be quite motivating.

In the meantime, I have to learn to become better at marketing. I can’t expect them to shoulder the discoverability problems on their own. We have a large audience of people that aren’t currently supporting us. That’s on me. Patreon is one of the tools in my kit, but I still have to learn to use it more effectively.

That said:
Visit patreon.com/clarkesworld and sign up to become one of Clarkesworld’s patrons today!

Capclave 2014

I will be at Capclave in Gaithersburg, Maryland this coming weekend. I’ll have a Clarkesworld table in the dealer’s room (and plenty of copies of UPGRADED). I’m also scheduled to be on a few panels. Not sure why they all have six participants. That will make things a bit different.

Friday 5:00 pm: Small Press Publishing

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Scott H. Andrews, Neil Clarke (M), Shahid Mahmud, Ian Randal Strock, Sean Wallace

Running a publishing company, publishing a magazine or semi-pro zine. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? How do you handle the intellectual property rights? How do you publicize your product? How do you get it into stores? What should your website look like? If you’re publishing books do you want to do print copy and e-books? Only e-books (and maybe some POD)?

Saturday 11:00 am: Anthology Builder

Panelists: Neil Clarke, Ron Garner (M), Robert Greenberger, David G. Hartwell, Mike McPhail, Alex Shvartsman

So you want to edit and publish an anthology. How do the stories get picked? How do you come up with a theme? What sells and what doesn’t? How do authors produce readable fiction in the straitjacket of an original themed anthology? How do you properly curate your anthology?

Saturday 1:00 pm: Crowdfunding Dos and Don’ts

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Bill Campbell, Neil Clarke, Jonah Knight, Alex Shvartsman (M), Lawrence Watt-Evans

So you have a fabulous idea or product and a shortage of funds – what do you do. Panelists will discuss successful and unsuccessful crowdfunding campaigns, either their own or those of other people. Topics include how to set reward levels, how to budget how much money you need and the merits of various crowd funding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Pozible.

Saturday 7:30 pm: Mass Signing
Saturday 8:30 pm: WSFA Small Press Award Ceremony

(“Bits” by Naomi Kritzer, from our October 2013 issue is a finalist)

October 2014 issue of Clarkesworld

The October 2014 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is now available. You can get the issue:

or help us pay the bills by purchasing Clarkesworld with a subscription at:

OCTOBER2014 – ISSUE #97

FICTION

“Taxidermist in the Underworld” by Maria Dahvana Headley
“Lovecraft” by Helena Bell
“Seeking boarder for rm w/ attached bathroom, must be willing to live with ghosts ($500 / Berkeley)” by Rahul Kanakia
“Pithing Needle” by E. Catherine Tobler
“A Rich, Full Week” by K.J. Parker
“Wizard’s Six” by Alex Irvine

NONFICTION

“I Sing the Lady Electric” by Brian Francis Slattery
“Science Fiction Writers Wear Disguises: A Conversation with Robert Reed” by Alvaro Zino-Amaro
“Another Word: What You Know” by Daniel Abraham
“Editor’s Desk: Eight is a Good Number” by Neil Clarke

PODCAST

This month’s stories will be released in audio form over the course of the month. Read by Kate Baker.

COVER ART

The Haunting by Sandeep Karunakaran


If you enjoy what we do, please consider supporting us by spreading the word about our subscription options or Patreon account on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Your subscriptions make everything we do possible.

Thanks!

August 2014 Issue of Clarkesworld

The August 2014 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is now available. You can get the issue:

or help us pay the bills by purchasing Clarkesworld with a subscription at:

AUGUST 2014 – ISSUE #95

FICTION

“Five Stages of Grief After the Alien Invasion” by Caroline M. Yoachim
“Bonfires in Anacostia” by Joseph Tomaras
“The Saint of the Sidewalks” by Kat Howard
“The Rose Witch” by James Patrick Kelly
“Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik
“Nevermore” by Ian R. MacLeod

NONFICTION

“The Issue of Gender in Genre Fiction: Conclusions” by Susan E. Connolly
“Human Nature: A Conversation with Peter Watts” by Julie Novakova
“Another Word: Obstacles and Style” by Daniel Abraham
“Editor’s Desk: Having an Adventure with Dad” by Neil Clarke

PODCAST

This month’s stories will be released in audio form over the course of the month. Read by Kate Baker.

COVER ART

Slumbering Naiad by Julie Dillon


If you enjoy what we do, please consider supporting us by spreading the word about our subscription options or Patreon account on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Your subscriptions make everything we do possible.

Thanks!

July 2014 Issue of Clarkesworld Magazine

The July 2014 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine is now available. You can get the issue:

or help us pay the bills by purchasing Clarkesworld with a subscription at:

JULY 2014 – ISSUE #94

FICTION

“The Contemporary Foxwife” by Yoon Ha Lee
“Stone Hunger” by N. K. Jemisin
“Soul’s Bargain” by Juliette Wade
“The Halfway House at the Heart of Darkness” by William Browning Spencer
“Gold Mountain” by Chris Roberson

NONFICTION

The Issue of Gender in Genre Fiction: Publications from Slush by Susan E. Connolly
The Issue of Gender in Genre Fiction: The Math Behind the Slush by Susan E. Connolly
Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance: An Interview with Jeff VanderMeer by Ben Fry
Another Word: Reclaiming the Tie-In Novel by James L. Sutter
Editor’s Desk: Adding Some Color by Neil Clarke

PODCAST

This month’s stories will be released in audio form over the course of the month. Read by Kate Baker.

COVER ART

Depot/Station by Albert Urmanov


If you enjoy what we do, please consider supporting us by spreading the word about our subscription options or Patreon account on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Your subscriptions make everything we do possible.

Thanks!