Monday, 2 July 2007

Ringing the Changes

My witty title refers to the Robert Aickman story, in which a honeymoon goes horribly wrong. Not that I'm planning on having a honeymoon, disastrous or otherwise. But changes are on the cards re: Supernatural Tales. The problem is money. I can't cover the costs of printing the high-quality ST covers any more. I have the options of simply killing the magazine, raising subscriptions by several hundred per cent, or returning to the original, cheaper stapled booklet format. I favour the latter - I don't want to stop yet and I don't think readers will bear a huge hike in prices. But what do other people think?


nomis said...

If it comes down to nothing or staples, I'll go with staples, but I'm really not a fan of the folded journals.

But I understand there's little to be done. It's not like the bookstore shelves are exploding with original short fiction by small press writers. You should be commended for keeping ST going this long. Far too many others have started up and burnt out between ST#1 and ST#11.

valdemar squelch said...

Thanks, O Nomis! I am trying to keep ST going but subsidising it heavily isn't my idea of fun. Perhaps it's encroaching middle age, but I feel I ought to be saving money. I agree about folded journals, but they are much, much cheaper to produce. Of course, if ST had several hundred more subscribers economies of scale would kick in, but that's not going to happen.

editor galaxy said...


You and I should talk about this via email... New Genre is at the point where it can't go on much longer if sales don't go up... yet my skills re. promotion are poor, to say the least.

I think promotion is the key. I've been tellin' people about ST forever, but every year I go to a con people don't know about it--how is that possible? Same for NG.

We'll talk,

Todd T said...

I have a couple of observations that may have something to do with opportunities to increase subscription. First let me say that I do not mean to be critical in any way. I've never published a journal, never tried, doubt I could manage it, and I do not believe it is or ever will be easy. But here are a couple of things I've observed:

1. It's a bit difficult to subscribe. The ST web page, at least on my computer, only comes up partially, and all of the ordering information fails to appear. As far as I can recall, the information does not appear anywhere else either. So I presume some folks who are interested may be stymied on their way to sending you money.

2. Once the web page is in order, you could get some other sites in the field to link to it. I would imagine that the Ghost Story Society, Ghosts and Scholars, Horrorfind, Nomis's blog, and probably others would be willing to post a link to you, and perhaps a blurb about what you are offering.

3. Not as affordable as that, but some additional advertising in other publications might help too. Sales of small press publications and membership in the GSS suggest at least the possibility of a couple hundred more subscribers, but they must know you are there and what you are about.

All else being equal, I too prefer the perfect bound volumes, but all else is not equal, and I'd love to see you continue in whatever format you find feasible. I like ST a lot, and the world needs more homes for fiction such as you publish. So I offer the comments above only in hopes of helping. And another way of helping would probably be for me to mail off some renewal money for #12 and beyond, so I'll get on that.

valdemar squelch said...

Valid points raised, Todd. I'll try and do something about the information blight. But it would take a HUGE increase in circulation to make it possible for me to cover my costs i.e. hundreds more people signing up. I doubt that that is possible. At the moment the small print run means that subscriptions cover the cost of postage and not much else.

Christopher Roden said...

Drop me a private e-mail to, and tell me what you are paying for printing, where you're getting it done, and how many copies you're printing. I may have some useful suggestions for you.