Thursday, 12 August 2010

Perils and Pitfalls

Murky Depths: Issue 5: The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative FictionTerry Martin, editor and publisher of the BFA-nominated magazine Murky Depths, has blogged about the pitfalls that await anyone launching a small press magazine.

I'd pretty much agree with all of that, especially his first point. The amount of work involved – or skipping crucial parts of that work – does seem to put paid to a lot of new magazines.

The only thing I'd add to Terry's points is that, from my experience, anyone planning to launch a small press mag needs to decide right at the beginning whether it's a business or a hobby – to make a profit or just for fun – because that has to inform everything else: the payscale, format, frequency, distribution, ad rates, publicity, etc.


  1. I would say even if it was started as a hobby, the work that some people put in, then they may as well set it up as a small business.

  2. I agree - it hadn't occurred to me until recently, for example, that the (small amounts of) money I spend on TQF could be set off against my earnings for tax purposes.

    But looking at it from the point of view of the publisher/editor, trying to build a profitable magazine involves much, much more work - and investment, of time and money - and crucially, as Terry makes plain, a lot of that work isn't much fun at all. Stuff like standing in convention halls while everyone else is in the bar....

    That's why I think it's important to make a decision - or at least to be aware that there's a decision to be made - because if your heart's not in it, if you don't have Terry's determination and dedication, you're going to end up pretty miserable.