UPDATE: Posted Jan. 27, 2016
Over the weekend, we hit our minimum survival goal of $13,500 — enough to keep Fireside going for the rest of Year 4. We’ve also had a huge jump in our Patreon, which will help keep us sustainable in the future.
Those of you who’ve been with us for a while know that Fireside has always hit its minimum goals at the last minute. This time is different. This time, we still have 10 days left. Ten days to fund more words in every issue, to bring you more stories from more voices, to buy great work that we otherwise would have had to turn away, to give more writers their first publication credit. Ten days to fund hiring Daniel José Older — co-editor of the stunning Crossed Genres anthology Long Hidden and a critical voice in the conversation about diversity in publishing — as a guest editor for our next submissions period!
Bekki Callaway, a longtime supporter of Fireside, has a challenge for us. If we can hit $18,000 by our February 5 deadline, she’ll kick us up to $19,000. But ONLY if we hit that goal by then.
Bekki wrote us a beautiful letter (you can read the whole thing here), asking tough questions about the sustainability and viability of Fireside. These are questions that we at Fireside have asked ourselves. Here are our answers.
Is writing a losing proposition? Do we simply not value stories enough to pay authors for the time it takes to create them?
We hope not! This has been the central proposition of Fireside: that we can pay writers fairly and stay in business doing it. Our rate of 12.5 cents a word, and our refusal to lower our standards, makes keeping the magazine funded hard. Even so, people always believe in us enough to keep us going. And not only are we still going strong, but rates at a number of magazines have been slowly creeping upward, especially since the SFWA raised its pro rate to 6 cents a word.
Is the market saturated with similar magazines, such that people are finding similar reading material for less? Or is it the “Amazon effect” — we've been conditioned that magazines should be $2.99 an issue and we're not willing to pay more?
There has definitely been a flourishing of fiction magazines online the past few years. We see these publications not as competition, but as part of an ecosystem that feeds people's love of great storytelling. Lightspeed is destroying science fiction in the best way, Uncanny is adding more weird to our world, Mothership Zeta is sprinkling our brains with fun. And while it’s true that people have limited dollars to support all these great venues, we believe that readers are willing and able to support great storytelling in all its myriad forms.
Are you doing something wrong? Picking stories people don't want to read, publishing authors whose voices are tired and stale? Do readers feel they're not getting their money's worth?
We hope we aren't. People we talk to love the stories we pick, the voice that Fireside has found. I think that our problem is that we need to break through to new readers, find our way in front of new eyes. In order to keep Fireside thriving, we need to expand our audience and our subscription base. This is why our community is so critical; you all spread the word to people who'd never find us otherwise, and that helps us thrive.
Bekki also asked a few questions of herself, and of why we support efforts like Fireside.
Do I look at this like an investment? Like a stock purchased in hopes of greater returns down the line?
Do I look at this like an act of love? Like a gift, freely given, with no expectations or strings attached?
Do I look at this like an act of defiance? Like a voice raised in protest saying loudly and for all to hear, this, this is what I believe?
Do I look at this like a leap of faith? Like a single spark dropping onto a log, waiting for the right moment to burst into flame?
However you look at it, thank you for supporting Fireside.
—Brian J. White
Editor and Publisher
Since 2012, Fireside has been publishing great storytelling across genres. We pay our writers well above the average in the genre short-fiction market.
Fireside has published dozens of writers, from established authors like Mary Robinette Kowal, Daniel José Older, Elizabeth Bear, Ken Liu, Lilith Saintcrow, and Chuck Wendig to authors who made their very first sale to us. We love having a mix of new and experienced voices, and we will continue to seek both through our submissions.
Fireside believes that it is critical to reflect the endless array of diversity in the world, and we are working hard to make sure our magazine does that. (You can read more about our thoughts on diversity on out Submissions page.)
Patreon is a crowdfunding site that lets you to make a monthly pledge, starting at $2. In return, you can get ebooks of our issues, as well as wallpapers, postcards, or prints of Galen Dara’s Fireside art.
A regular subscription to Year 4 is $20, and gives you ebooks delivered monthly through our own store. You can also get Years 2 and 3 for just $10.
If you just like reading on our site and don’t want ebook or swag, a donation through Paypal would be a big help!