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Thread: eFiction Magazine / eFiction Publishing

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Anarchic Q's Avatar
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    eFiction Magazine / eFiction Publishing

    There are several threads about eFiction Magazine, to which I applied to one of their magazines on Feb 12th, 2013.
    My Submittable account says my submission is "In Progress"

    Today I received an email from eFiction Magazine:

    Hey there!

    There is a witch hunt for me trying to destroy the magazines that we've built. I haven't really asked for your help before, but now I really need it. If these people succeed, they would destroy my livelihood and everything I've worked so hard to build for these past three years.

    If you would, please email me a letter of support about your experience publishing with eFiction.

    Or if you have some time, drop it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/writing/comm...r_of_efantasy/


    It would really mean a lot to me. Thanks so much.

    -Doug
    and then another

    Hey,

    Sorry about the double emails. I should've included this in the first email.

    People have been asking about my side of the story so here it is: http://www.reddit.com/r/writing/comm...bout_efiction/


    I would appreciate your support there as well if you have the time.

    Thanks so much guys.

    -Doug
    Never mind the fact that in those two links there are many testimonials from unhappy contributors, or that Doug himself is a fly-by poster here on AW, having only 2 posts to his account, I believe it is unprofessional to go crying to your address book, asking them to white knight for you.

    I have never spoken with Doug, all I have ever done was submit a story to him, I am a virtual stranger but he shoves internet drama at me and says "Sic-em!"

    I just thought people eyeing to submit to eFiction Mag should know.

    As an aside, I am not part of the reddit crowd, I don't even have an account there and as such am not part of this 'Witch-Hunt'. I just found his behaviour extremely unprofessional and wanted to warn my fellow writers.
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  2. #2
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DougLance's Avatar
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    I'm sorry if you felt it unprofessional.

    eFiction is more than just a publication. It is a community of writers and readers. Many contributors embrace the community aspects of the company and are happy to lend support when it is needed. I woke up this morning with an inbox overflowing with support. And I really needed it.

    For context, this is after more than a week of constant harassment from anonymous parties inquiring into very personal aspects of my life and business; as well as vicious personal attacks.

    There was an unsubscribe link included in the email, and we won't hold it against you should you choose to use it.

    Let me know if there's anything I can do to remedy your negative feelings toward this situation.

    -Doug
    Editor-in-Chief
    FictionMagazines.com

  3. #3
    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    Whoa there Anarchic. I think that's a bit hasty.

    Yes, there was an article on Reddit slagging eFiction.

    The poster didn't seem to have a very good grasp of the way things work for small magazines, and thought it was a travesty that authors would go unpaid for their work. They were apparently unaware that there are dozens of similar operations. eFiction makes no bones about it. They told me up-front, "You won't be paid for this." They never charge a reading fee, or similar scam.

    As far as I can tell eFiction is entirely above board.

    Authors, there is an easy solution. If you want to be paid for your work, submit it to a paying market. If your work strikes out at the paying markets, well you can shelve it, or you can get some exposure by publishing with eFiction, or some place like it.

    Perhaps Doug overreacted with his e-mails, but he is young (sorry Doug, but you are) and I'm sure he was feeling rather panicked this morning when he saw the Reddit post. We've all done it.

    Tempest in a teapot, I say.

    Now, since this thread is here, I'd like to give eFiction a thumbs up. I've been publishing my serial with their imprint eSteampunk for a few issues now, and I've found the treatment very professional. The first three episodes were unpaid, and all they asked is that I mention them on my blog. They didn't even require first printing rights, or exclusive rights (which is more than most magazines!).

    Recently they've told me they'll begin paying contributors a percentage of sales. In return, they still don't demand first printing rights on my serial, they just asked that I remove it from my blog for a month after the issue is released.

    Honestly, I don't know what more people can expect from them.


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  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Circulating a mass email to a wide list doesn't strike me as a great response. c.f. sharing it with specific people you know or at least active community members. It seems more likely to add to the drama and fallout than help resolve it (as witness).
    Emily Veinglory

  5. #5
    Daydreaming Extraordinaire Fanatic_Dreamer's Avatar
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    For the record, I didn't find it unprofessional.

    When you agree to allow someone access to e-mail you, they can e-mail you whatever they like. Doug could have sent out a mass e-mail describing in detail the contents of his cat's litter box (if he had one) and it would be okay because it's his e-mail list. And people can unsubscribe if they wish.

    But, everyone has a different opinion. I could be wrong.
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  6. #6
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Of course he can do as he likes, assuming it is an opt in mailing list. And the consequences will be what they are. Including a whole lot more people reading those histrionic Reddits.
    Emily Veinglory

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DougLance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Of course he can do as he likes, assuming it is an opt in mailing list. And the consequences will be what they are. Including a whole lot more people reading those histrionic Reddits.
    I was hoping people would read the conversations and decide for themselves. If people read the discussions and decide that eFiction isn't for them, I'm OK with that. That leaves me with more attention for those who support our mission.
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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Anarchic Q's Avatar
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    To my knowledge it wasn't an opt-in mailing list, but I could be mistaken on that.

    To me it wasn't an issue of eFic Mag not being a paying market (despite the fact there has been promised to be a flat rate for some of their imprints) and Doug has all the right in the world to defend himself. Not all small publishers can be pay and one would ideally submit to them knowing it was for exposure or 'for the love of' only. That's fine.

    But to call people to rally around him is what I took issue with along with his tone in his own Reddit post.

    To me it was no different than AW discussing a publisher, they come and join the forum and then accuse us of being big meany-heads. It doesn't reflect well on them or their publishing company.

    But, that's my interpretation. Since people seem happy with eMag, more power to them.
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  9. #9
    For the record, I didn't find it unprofessional.

    When you agree to allow someone access to e-mail you, they can e-mail you whatever they like. Doug could have sent out a mass e-mail describing in detail the contents of his cat's litter box (if he had one) and it would be okay because it's his e-mail list. And people can unsubscribe if they wish.
    Just because someone can do something doesn't make it professional. I don't really want to know the contents of anyone's litter box, but particularly not those I have a fleeting professional online correspondence with.

    And if all Anarchic Q did was send a submission, he shouldn't end up on a mailing list. That's spam.

  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I read it and saw a lot of finger-pointing. Being in no position to separate fact from friction, I can't say I learned anything from it. But internet drama is like roadkill. It is hard to not look at as you go by, even when you know you'll probably regret it.
    Emily Veinglory

  11. #11
    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    Mistakes happen. Yes authors were put on the mailing lists without opting in. A faux pas, sure, but not the biggest crime in my books.

    I don't know what the deal is with the new profit-sharing Doug Lance promised. Frankly, since mine is an ongoing series, I never expected payment, because I signed on with the understanding that eSteampunk didn't pay. If they were willing to give me a token for work I was intending to give them for free, that's even better.

    I don't know what the fallout will be, but Mandy Brown, the editor for eSteampunk just e-mailed to let me know she's stepping down. The only concern of hers that I think has some traction is that Doug Lance agreed to start paying authors a portion of revenues for the issues they publish in. Only he intended to pay those royalties based only on the sales of that specific issue, whereas most of the sales generated by the eFiction family are subscriptions, which would not be split with authors. It seems to me that this was an unclear policy and it was poorly executed. I still tend to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who was giving nothing, and changes their policy to giving something, even if they don't behave in a transparent manner.


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  12. #12
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth I had a zine. I moved it from non-paying to token payment and got seriously savaged. It's weird, but these things happen.
    Last edited by veinglory; 03-16-2013 at 05:40 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DougLance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drachen Jager View Post
    Mistakes happen. Yes authors were put on the mailing lists without opting in. A faux pas, sure, but not the biggest crime in my books.

    I don't know what the deal is with the new profit-sharing Doug Lance promised. Frankly, since mine is an ongoing series, I never expected payment, because I signed on with the understanding that eSteampunk didn't pay. If they were willing to give me a token for work I was intending to give them for free, that's even better.

    I don't know what the fallout will be, but Mandy Brown, the editor for eSteampunk just e-mailed to let me know she's stepping down. The only concern of hers that I think has some traction is that Doug Lance agreed to start paying authors a portion of revenues for the issues they publish in. Only he intended to pay those royalties based only on the sales of that specific issue, whereas most of the sales generated by the eFiction family are subscriptions, which would not be split with authors. It seems to me that this was an unclear policy and it was poorly executed. I still tend to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who was giving nothing, and changes their policy to giving something, even if they don't behave in a transparent manner.

    99% of the money generated by the company comes from Amazon subscriptions for eFiction Magazine, which no one complaining had any hand in generating.
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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DougLance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Back when dinosaurs rules the earth I had a zine. I moved it from non-paying to token payment and got seriously savaged. It's weird, but these things happen.
    Thanks. It helps to know that I'm not the only one. I don't understand it.

    I am grateful for all the feedback though. I will adapt and improve my service for writers with everything I've learned.
    Editor-in-Chief
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  15. #15
    a work in progress
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    Gotta agree with the OP: Submitting a manuscript to a market ought not to be considered an opt-in for mass mailings; and mass mailing your contributors (would-be or otherwise) with a plea that everyone come participate in your internet drama is simply not professional.

    Thanks for the heads-up, Anarchic Q. Not going to touch this market with a ten-foot pole; certainly not going to give the editor my email address.
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  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dale hollin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth I had a zine. I moved it from non-paying to token payment and got seriously savaged. It's weird, but these things happen.
    but why? i mean, what would be the person's motive behind going after a publisher simply for moving up to a paying status?

  17. #17
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougLance View Post
    I was hoping people would read the conversations and decide for themselves. If people read the discussions and decide that eFiction isn't for them, I'm OK with that. That leaves me with more attention for those who support our mission.
    If I'd received the email, I'd have withdrawn my submission and removed the market from my submissions list. I also wouldn't have read the linked thread, because who is right or wrong isn't the point. The issue is that as a writer, I'm signing up to potentially sell rights to that one piece of work. I'm not signing up to get involved with a market's internal affairs or internet politics. Trying to involve me further is way beyond what I'm willing to sign up for, so I'd back out.

    Looking at this another way, you only see a writer's submissions to you, but they have a career outside of that. They submit to many markets, and hopefully will sell to many markets. It's not wrong for writers to want to keep to the minimum professional contact required. It's simply not practical (or emotionally healthy) for writers to get that involved with all the markets they submit to. Any writer who does will burn themselves out.

    When you're running a market, it's good to understand that writers have an existence outside of their interactions with your market, and that they have to balance their involvement.
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  18. #18
    Roofied by Rylan Bloo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
    If I'd received the email, I'd have withdrawn my submission and removed the market from my submissions list. I also wouldn't have read the linked thread, because who is right or wrong isn't the point. The issue is that as a writer, I'm signing up to potentially sell rights to that one piece of work. I'm not signing up to get involved with a market's internal affairs or internet politics. Trying to involve me further is way beyond what I'm willing to sign up for, so I'd back out.

    Looking at this another way, you only see a writer's submissions to you, but they have a career outside of that. They submit to many markets, and hopefully will sell to many markets. It's not wrong for writers to want to keep to the minimum professional contact required. It's simply not practical (or emotionally healthy) for writers to get that involved with all the markets they submit to. Any writer who does will burn themselves out.

    When you're running a market, it's good to understand that writers have an existence outside of their interactions with your market, and that they have to balance their involvement.
    somewhat agree with this (and not just because I got a rejection from efiction the other day LOL) I submit all the time to places and efiction is one of the few places that regularly sends me information about what's going i.e. like a newsletter. Most of the time it's regarding the magainze (including Kickstarter campagins) but this email struck a negative cord with me.

    Doug, I wouldn't use the emails your authors submit through as a "mailing list" but I would set up a seperate mailing list if I was in your shoes.
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  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DougLance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
    If I'd received the email, I'd have withdrawn my submission and removed the market from my submissions list. I also wouldn't have read the linked thread, because who is right or wrong isn't the point. The issue is that as a writer, I'm signing up to potentially sell rights to that one piece of work. I'm not signing up to get involved with a market's internal affairs or internet politics. Trying to involve me further is way beyond what I'm willing to sign up for, so I'd back out.

    Looking at this another way, you only see a writer's submissions to you, but they have a career outside of that. They submit to many markets, and hopefully will sell to many markets. It's not wrong for writers to want to keep to the minimum professional contact required. It's simply not practical (or emotionally healthy) for writers to get that involved with all the markets they submit to. Any writer who does will burn themselves out.

    When you're running a market, it's good to understand that writers have an existence outside of their interactions with your market, and that they have to balance their involvement.
    I think you're assuming that eFiction is like other markets. That is not true.

    eFiction is a community-powered magazine. It is not a traditional print journal.

    It's not for everyone.
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  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW Al Stevens's Avatar
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    When I got back into writing a few years back, I found some things had changed since when writing was my living. Back then, publishers and authors did not need this warm, fuzzy, we're-a-family kind of thing.

    Maybe it's because social networking and online gatherings had not taken hold. I had an editor (same one for many years) and we were friends as well as colleagues, but if I knew any of the other authors, it was coincidental based on our professional paths having crossed.

    There were advantages to this Lindberghian modus operandi. We didn't get into so many of the personality dynamics that sometimes heat up and boil over when folks disagree about things that matter to them.

    Based on that experience and its attendant successes, I would not respond well to a publisher reaching-out to me for moral support and an ally in some battle that means nothing to me. I would not align with a publisher who willingly engaged publicly in such scraps. I made that mistake myself a few times until I learned better. I hope. I don't condemn him for it. He's 23, after all. When I was 23, I was still getting in bar fights.

    Like the man said, it isn't for everyone.

    I was also in a band. Talk about dynamics...

    Good luck to you, Doug. I envy you your youth. You have the world by the ass. Let this episode blow over and illegitimi non carborundum.

  21. #21
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dale hollin View Post
    but why? i mean, what would be the person's motive behind going after a publisher simply for moving up to a paying status?
    For some reason paying "not enough" enrages a lot of people more than paying "nothing at all". I was surprised. But what can you do. As they say: there's nought so queer as folk.

    But at the end of the day you need people to explicitly opt in to receiving mass mailings (easy "opt out" is not sufficient). That's basic US spam law. If you do that, it avoids this sort of thing.
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  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Weirdmage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougLance View Post
    99% of the money generated by the company comes from Amazon subscriptions for eFiction Magazine, which no one complaining had any hand in generating.
    Without authors and editors, there would be no content, i.e. no magazine, to sell subscriptions to. So, the people complaining certainly had a hand in generating those subscriptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by DougLance View Post
    I think you're assuming that eFiction is like other markets. That is not true.

    eFiction is a community-powered magazine. It is not a traditional print journal.

    It's not for everyone.
    I did read everything on reddit. This magazine is "community-powered" only in the sense that everyone else works for free and you make a living off it.
    The complaints I read wasn't because you say you are going to start paying authors. (And you said you already were paying authors eight months ago. Something you seem to ignore now.) The payment model you have outlined on reddit, along with the limitations of it to not pay authors until they have made over $100 (, or even if it was $50,) in royalties still means authors won't get paid.
    What you are doing is expecting everyone else to work for free while you make a living off of their work, that is predatory and unethical. I wouldn't advise anyone to submit to any of the magazines you own, (I can't say run because it doesn't look like you are much involved in anything other than the subscription sales that benefit only you.) And if anyone asked me I'd advise them to not to submit to these magazines.

    But, you are still young so you have got a chance to learn and change. My advise to you would be to do both. -Quit moderating on reddit and use that time to learn about the business of publishing magazines. Or if you can't be bothered to do that, at least use that time to help making and selling the magazines. Since that is something you clearly give the impression of in the reddit thread that you expect your editors to do.
    As this stands now your own words make it clear you are far from a professional, and you still complain that you can't make a professional living. At the same time you use the excuse of this being an amateur publication to not pay people.
    I'll give you the benefit of doubt because of your age, inexperience, and obvious cluelessness about the publishing business. But on the surface this looks pretty indistinguishable from an operation designed to make one person a living by preying on others. -And a lot of change is needed before I'll get any other impression from what I've learned.

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin DougLance's Avatar
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    I don't want to get into another flame war, but please allow me to clarify a few things if I may. Please don't take my tone to be anything other than pleasant and informative. I just want to clarify that from the start. I hope the members here will show more restraint than the YouTube-like comments on reddit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    Without authors and editors, there would be no content, i.e. no magazine, to sell subscriptions to. So, the people complaining certainly had a hand in generating those subscriptions.
    Writers are not one entity. I am the editor of eFiction. The actual physical people who were published in the issues that grew my subscriber base were not complaining in that thread. Those writers are friends of mine who I still talk to today. You cannot lump all writers into one thing. Writers are just people. And the people who I published, are now my friends and biggest supporters.


    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    I did read everything on reddit. This magazine is "community-powered" only in the sense that everyone else works for free and you make a living off it.
    Writers are compensated with royalties, editors get paid, and the extra goes back into the company.


    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    The complaints I read wasn't because you say you are going to start paying authors. (And you said you already were paying authors eight months ago. Something you seem to ignore now.)
    I did a special royalty issue in April of last year to test it out. I figured that the accounting work required would be unmanageable for the size of the magazine at the time, so I discontinued it and worked to find an alternative method. Which I have now figured out and am implementing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    The payment model you have outlined on reddit, along with the limitations of it to not pay authors until they have made over $100 (, or even if it was $50,) in royalties still means authors won't get paid.
    $25 is the payout barrier. This is to alleviate processing fees. I will be releasing a monthly royalty alert that shows what royalties authors earned the month previous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    What you are doing is expecting everyone else to work for free while you make a living off of their work, that is predatory and unethical.
    So you're saying that I could just sit here and my business would run itself? Awesome! Jokes aside, I work really hard every single day to grow my company. I don't expect anyone to work for free. Neither does the local soup kitchen. Yet people do. Because they want to. Because it isn't about money to everyone. That said, I am working to pay writers more and will continue to do so until my company pays more than any other. I want to pay professional rate advances (5 cents / word) plus royalties. That is my goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    Quit moderating on reddit and use that time to learn about the business of publishing magazines. Or if you can't be bothered to do that, at least use that time to help making and selling the magazines. Since that is something you clearly give the impression of in the reddit thread that you expect your editors to do.
    I've deleted my account on reddit. I make and sell the magazines myself. I don't have any magic elves to do it for me. The editors I've hired select stories and edit them for grammar/spelling/minor stylistic issues. They also do some minor promotional stuff, but I'm the major force behind sales as of now. I'm hoping that the right kind of entrepreneurial minded writers get involved and help out with that. But we shall see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    As this stands now your own words make it clear you are far from a professional, and you still complain that you can't make a professional living. At the same time you use the excuse of this being an amateur publication to not pay people.
    I started the magazine as a Wordpress blog and grew it to where it is now. By no known standard of short story markets do my magazines qualify as professional. I'm getting closer, though. From the SFWA on requirements to be a professional market:

    Code:
    Payment for all works of fiction (other than reprints or serializations), either in advance of publication or on publication, at the rate of either (a) at least $2000 for a single work or (b) at least 5/word (3/word before 1/1/2004); and
    Must have published consistently for a period of at least one year before the market will be considered qualifying; and
    Must have a print run or circulation of at least 1000 copies, or the equivalent in other media (e.g., demonstrated downloads in electronic media); and
    Is not self-publication, vanity press, or other type of author-paid or fee-charging press, as demonstrated such as (1) by having published at least ten distinct works by different natural persons during the date range; and (2) by authors not having paid or been requested to pay fees or give consideration of any kind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdmage View Post
    I'll give you the benefit of doubt because of your age, inexperience, and obvious cluelessness about the publishing business. But on the surface this looks pretty indistinguishable from an operation designed to make one person a living by preying on others. -And a lot of change is needed before I'll get any other impression from what I've learned.
    This is what is really strange for me. I don't know if it is the emotionality of the people commenting in the thread or what. But every professional in the industry that I've spoken with about the magazines and royalty payments has been nothing but super supportive and encouraging. The only reservation they had was that the accounting would be a headache, and I've solved that.

    With this information in mind, trusting that you actually believe someone as vilified as myself (though all this information can be proven with documents that I could pass along at your request), how does that change your perception of the company?
    Editor-in-Chief
    FictionMagazines.com

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW Al Stevens's Avatar
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    My perception of the company is not based on whether you do, did, or will pay royalties and how much, how soon, or how often, but on the fact that the company engages in petty online battles that are unwinnable. If you ignore your critics, they'll go away and be forgotten. But every time you respond--no matter how politely and how accurately--you toss another log onto the fire and the internet commandos move in for the kill. It evinces poor judgement and a lack of understanding of the writing/publishing community.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW Weirdmage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougLance View Post
    With this information in mind, trusting that you actually believe someone as vilified as myself (though all this information can be proven with documents that I could pass along at your request), how does that change your perception of the company?
    From what you've said on reddit and in this post, your role in this company seems to be creator/sales, and you seem to be focusing on the subscription sales that earn you the most money.
    There's nothing wrong with you focusing on sales. But at the level this company is operating, a full time sales representative doesn't seem to be justified. So you shouldn't expect to make a living wage off that.

    Generally, a company publishing magazines at the level you say you are, shouldn't really be a full time job for anyone. And that is really where my problem lies.
    I'd expect you to be publisher/chief editor, and in a small operation such as this that would mean you basically do every small job that needs doing, while coordinating everything needed to run the magazines. That would include taking care of contracts, payments, and all accounting. But I wouldn't expect you to make your living off doing that.
    I'd expect the money to come in would make you a part-time job payment, while everyone else got paid like it was a small side-job.

    To be honest, it doesn't matter much what you say, I've already seen you being inconsistent. What matters to me when it comes to changing my mind on this company is how it operates over time.
    If you implement changes, and is consistent for a year or two, I'd most likely change my mind.

    And if I can make some suggestions, I would urge you to pay writers outright on acceptance. It doesn't need to be very much, $100 seems fair to me for the publications we are talking about for now, and you can scale that up as the company grows. It would make accounting much easier for you, and it also makes it very much easier for a writer to get a grip on what they can expect to get paid.
    The same really goes for editors, pay them a set sum for each magazine they edit. -Again that would make the accounting easier, and would make it easier to judge what you really pay.
    To be honest, I can't think of a single pro-magazine that pays royalties.
    I'd also suggest you scale down the sales commision from the 50% stated in the reddit thread to 10%.

    Finally, running a succesful magazine in this day an age is very difficult, long running magazines with name recognition have folded. I understand that being the publisher of these magazines is what you want to do, but if I were you I'd try to get a part-time job so I wasn't dependant on income from it to pay the bills. -At least for now. If you are succesful, you can always do it full time later.

    ETA: Forgot something important. -If you operate as owner of the magazines, I'd actually expect you to be paid last, after the authors and editors have been paid. It may not seem fair if you do a lot of work, but it just looks wrong if the owner is making money when others doing work for the company aren't paid.
    Last edited by Weirdmage; 03-19-2013 at 04:30 AM.

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