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Thread: Black Matrix Publishing LLC

  1. #1
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    Black Matrix Publishing LLC

    They say they are going to publish four new quarterly magazines but I can't find out to much about them. Do you think they are someone good to submit too or not?

    Link:
    http://www.blackmatrixpub.com/

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Usually I advise people not to submit to a magazine until they've read a couple of issues.

  4. #4
    Likes picnic with roast beef. Eirin's Avatar
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    There's a bit of discussion concerning Black Matrix going on over at Scalzi's Whatever.

    Black Matrix blog responds here.

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  5. #5
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    One-fifth cent per word? ONE-FIFTH CENT PER WORD????

    IIRC, when I first started trying to get published 35 years ago, typical rates were 3-5 cents per word!

    ONE-FIFTH CENT PER WORD????????
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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Whenever you started, zines and hobby publication did not pay pro rates.
    Emily Veinglory

  7. #7
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Whenever you started, zines and hobby publication did not pay pro rates.
    From what I can tell (tho I might be wrong), Black Matrix is calling its magazines pro publications. Big difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    From what I can tell (tho I might be wrong), Black Matrix is calling its magazines pro publications. Big difference.
    Not from what I've read from the publisher they aren't. They are calling themselves 'small press' and those rates are still common among 'hobby' publishers.

    Since I used to run a small press zine years ago, the rates he's paying are not unusual. I paid $1 a poem, and $1-$5 per short story and all payments and printing were paid out of pocket by me. Even now a lot of very small presses pay in copies, or flat fees. Even some of the better known much larger small book presses pay flat fees on stories they then earn hundreds of dollars from by keeping the print anthologies they are part of in circulation for years.

    I know a lot of the authors here always say 'start at the top' but for most genre fiction that's not possible. There are very few pro magazines out there for scifi and fantasy and the majority of them are perpetually filled and closed to subs which leaves aspiring authors going to small press to see their work published. This is the route I took, and while I'm not 'pro' published I am multi-published at various ebook publishers and I'm happy with that. I make money and don't have to have an agent.

    But I honed my craft at small zines first. I enjoyed the relationship and learned a lot from the experiences I had with them.
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    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    At a $9.95 price per issue of the magazine, you think he could pay a bit better. Are hobby 'zines usually that expensive to buy? Or maybe he's not generating any ad revenue...

    In comparison to pro magazines: The cover price for Fantasy and Science Fiction is $7. As is the cover price of Realms of Fantasy (well, $6.99).

  10. #10
    Likes picnic with roast beef. Eirin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    At a $9.95 price per issue of the magazine, you think he could pay a bit better.
    It's not a 4theluv pricetag, no, even if the rate they offer writers definitely are in that category.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael_b View Post
    I know a lot of the authors here always say 'start at the top' but for most genre fiction that's not possible. There are very few pro magazines out there for scifi and fantasy and the majority of them are perpetually filled and closed to subs which leaves aspiring authors going to small press to see their work published.
    While it's true that there aren't hundreds of pro-paying SF/F magazines, there are at least a dozen I can think of off the top of my head. Asimov's, Analog, Realms of Fantasy, F&SF, Clarkeworld, Fantasy Magazine, OSCIGMS, Pedastal, and Apex Digest are open to submissions and regularly publish new writers.

    Postscripts and Subterranean Online require you to query first, but they also pay pro rates. Then there's Strange Horizons, another pro magazine, which does close to subs for two months out of the year, but the rest of the time it's open and it has a splendid record for publishing new writers.

    So a writer *can* start at the top and work their way down if they want.

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  13. #13
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    Something lost in all the pay discussions... one writer mentioned the number of typos added to the story he'd sold them.

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/12/0...comment-179725

    They're going to need to improve on that if they want to draw in the readers. And if they're not drawing in the readers, you won't get much from submitting to them.
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    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Personally I much prefer:

    http://www.ralan.com

    He breaks it down a lot more clearly than duotrope and seems to be much more up to date.

    For instance:
    http://www.ralan.com/m.pro.php/

    Read the notes at the top of the page to see what pubs just closed to submissions in the pro markets.
    Last edited by michael_b; 12-04-2009 at 01:35 AM. Reason: added pro market link to show closed markets
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    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    At a $9.95 price per issue of the magazine, you think he could pay a bit better. Are hobby 'zines usually that expensive to buy? Or maybe he's not generating any ad revenue...

    In comparison to pro magazines: The cover price for Fantasy and Science Fiction is $7. As is the cover price of Realms of Fantasy (well, $6.99).
    Looking at it from a reader's perspective, if I'm going to pay more for a magazine than I'd pay for F&SF, ROF, and so on, then I better be getting stories that are as good as the pro mags publish. Which isn't going to happen when authors are getting paid a pittance.

    So the strategy, it seems to me, is not only ripping off authors, it's also ripping off readers....expecting them to pay good money for substandard stories. Sure, a few authors will produce stellar stuff that Black Matrix will buy, but at the rates they're paying, most of the stories will be far below the standards of the pro mags.
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  16. #16
    So many ideas, never enough time. michael_b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqb View Post
    While it's true that there aren't hundreds of pro-paying SF/F magazines, there are at least a dozen I can think of off the top of my head. Asimov's, Analog, Realms of Fantasy, F&SF, Clarkeworld, Fantasy Magazine, OSCIGMS, Pedastal, and Apex Digest are open to submissions and regularly publish new writers.

    Postscripts and Subterranean Online require you to query first, but they also pay pro rates. Then there's Strange Horizons, another pro magazine, which does close to subs for two months out of the year, but the rest of the time it's open and it has a splendid record for publishing new writers.

    So a writer *can* start at the top and work their way down if they want.
    A lot of the mags you listed are currently closed to submissions. Keep in mind there are limited slots per year and many of them are grabbed up by prior contributors and established pro authors which leaves even fewer openings for new authors.

    If you're writing short stories, and aren't an established pro, there really aren't a lot of places to go to other than hobby pubs.

    Also if your story doesn't fit with the exact readership of the established mags then you're out of luck.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael_b View Post
    A lot of the mags you listed are currently closed to submissions.
    Which ones? I know a few are temporarily closed, but the key word is temporarily. Frex, SH always closes for two months each year. Someone who can't wait two months for the perfect market is too impatient for publishing, imo.

    If you're writing short stories, and aren't an established pro, there really aren't a lot of places to go to other than hobby pubs.
    I strongly disagree. All those magazines I mentioned regularly publish new writers. If you read the bios, you'll see that. Sure, it's not easy, but it's definitely not impossible.

    Here's the truth. If you are happy in semi-pro and 4theluv markets, great. If you really want to break into the pro markets, you can with enough persistence and patience. Maybe there aren't a lot, and maybe you have to time things, but it's not impossible. Pro writers aren't hatched from eggs, after all.

  18. #18
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Kenyon has nothing to offer authors.

    He doesn't have money. A fifth of a cent per word is a bad joke.

    He doesn't have a distribution deal, so Black Matrix's publications are dead in the water before they come off the press.

    He doesn't have a creditable history. He published two whole issues of Encounters back in 1989, then suspended publication for twenty years. He hasn't spent the intervening years covering himself with literary glory. Why should anyone entrust their work to him?

    He doesn't have a realistic business plan. He's starting multiple magazines when he doesn't have the resources to start one. On top of that, he's soliciting novels.

    As far as I can tell, he doesn't have friends, backers, valuable contacts, or the good will of the community.

    Therefore, he can offer his authors neither decent pay, nor career-improving exposure, nor prestige, nor cameraderie. Why else would anyone submit to him? I suppose one could do so as an act of penance; but if that's your reason, please don't tell me about it. TMI, and all that.

    Hmmmm.

    Actually, I can think of one way Kenyon might make money off his proposed magazine startups. The SF/fantasy/horror genre is relatively rich in venues that publish short stories, but there are still a lot more people trying to sell short stories than there are getting their short stories published. Naturally, they buy and read the genre magazines that publish short stories so they can stay abreast of the field.

    Here's the question: if you set the rate of payment low enough, and the cover price of the magazines high enough, can you make a profit just by selling copies to writers who hope to sell stories to you?
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 12-04-2009 at 08:32 AM.
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  19. #19
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    I've been following the Black Matrix/Whatever row with interest as Black Matrix requsted one of my books based on a partial sub a few months ago. If anything comes of it, I have no idea what money will be involved, but I figure at the moment, it's one more request than I've ever had from any of the big publishers or agents.

  20. #20
    New year, new avatar. hester's Avatar
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    Bumping thread.

    Just wondering if anyone's submitted a novel-length work to these folks (Seun? Any news?) Just curious. Thanks!
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    No, but I don't understand why someone might have the mentality of 'well it's better than nothing' when it comes to a press that evidentally can't do anything for you (based on the info provided). I've seen enough bad and inexperienced presses go down and take their writers with them to know that it IS better to be unpublished then published badly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hester View Post
    Bumping thread.

    Just wondering if anyone's submitted a novel-length work to these folks (Seun? Any news?) Just curious. Thanks!
    Nothing appears to have changed. They still have no distribution. Their Twitter account and blog have very few followers, so they're not building an online community of readers. That means your book won't be read (other than through your own promotional efforts... but you could do that with a self-published book and keep more of the profits).
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  23. #23
    New year, new avatar. hester's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    Given what I'd read in the thread, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to submit-I also read the John Scalzi thread, which was informative, to say the least
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  24. #24
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    According to their site, Black Matrix now pay authors 50% royalties.

  25. #25
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seun View Post
    According to their site, Black Matrix now pay authors 50% royalties.
    I can't see any evidence that they've gotten a distribution deal, and they've still got that high cover price, so their sales prospects haven't improved. Fifty percent of nothing is no improvement on five or ten or twenty-five percent of nothing. Meanwhile, their up-front word rate, which is how much you get paid regardless of sales, is still a fifth of a cent per word.

    See my previous opinion up at #18? It hasn't changed.

    I also note with disapprobation that Black Matrix is offering $50.00 for full-color book or magazine cover art, and $10.00 for black-and-white interior illustrations. That's pathetically low. As a rule of thumb, art you can get that cheaply is art you don't want.

    No distribution plus bad covers plus high cover prices means the audience for Black Matrix publications is going to consist of the authors, the author' friends and relatives, and writers who are trying to sell their own work to Black Matrix.

    Don't do it.
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