A message to our subscribers, readers and friends.
I don’t spend a lot of time delving into behind the scenes web stuff here (too busy just getting the posts up, reading about our wonderful genres and trying to come up with things you all would be interested in – not to mention forging and maintaining relationships with the same), so I was a bit surprised to discover the other day that we’re just a few members shy of the 15,000 registered members mark.
Wow. The last time I looked we’d just passed 10,000, heading for 11,000.
Let that sink in for a minute.
There are nearly 15,000 of you who visit, get our feeds, read our excerpts on Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+.
If transporters were invented tomorrow and I scheduled a con for all of you to attend, it would be a pretty bitching con! It would dwarf Worldcon. If we invaded Dragoncon or SDCC en masse, we’d be a force to reckon with!
I can’t tell you all how tremendously satisfying this is. Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Fandom in particular, is all about COMMUNITY. I wanted Amazing Stories to become a vital, engaged part of that community and it sure looks like we’re doing it!
ON the other hand, this online publishing thing is very much like Woody Allen’s shark analogy (from Hannah & Her Three Sisters): in the film, Allen’s character explains that relationships are like sharks – they have to keep moving in order to stay alive. The same applies here. Amazing Stories has to keep moving forward, improving its product and offerings, enter the realm of paying for content, offering more.
In light of that, and in particular in light of seeing that astonishing number up above, I started thinking (a dangerous enterprise as always):
what if everyone sent Amazing Stories one dollar a month? One dollar. The sum you all could probably scare up from underneath the couch cushions (or under neath your car seats for an alternative). Hell, I myself once recovered over thirty bucks from the interior of a favorite recliner…
Of course making such an appeal would not result in 100% compliance and would probably be mitigated somewhat by those individuals who decided to give more than a dollar. But lets just stick with that number for the moment.
Right now, publishers like TOR (online) and a few others are paying upwards of 20 cents a word for new fiction. The upper limit for short story length is 7,500 words. Twenty cents a word for a story of that length comes to $1,500.00 to the author.
If Amazing Stories paid 20 cents per word, it could afford to purchase ten stories a month, at premium rates! Who among you would not like to see ten new pieces of fiction every month?
Or, if Amazing Stories merely paid the minimally acceptable SFWA pro rate (6 cents per word), it could afford to purchase 33 and a third stories per month – a new story every single day of the week!
Wouldn’t that be something? One new story every single day of the week – on top of our regular blog content!?
Oh, I suppose I’d have to shave off some of that income for our bloggers – it would only be fair to those who have been working so diligently for the past couple of years, so lets assume that half the budget goes for blog content and the other half for new fiction.
By the Odd Gods of the Galaxy, I simply can’t imagine what this site would be like if it were able to pay “something” to its bloggers AND was publishing a new piece of fiction every other day of the week.
All for a dollar a day from our readers. Would you buy that for a dollar?
In light of this wonderful discovery (that there are so many of you), I’m giving some very strong consideration to opening up a Patreon account. They’ll shave a bit off for their end, but they’ve already got in place the mechanisms for allowing folks to make regularly scheduled, incremental payments in support of various creative projects.
I’ve no doubt that some would contribute and I’d use such funding to do exactly what I detailed above: give something back to the folks who have supported this project and purchase new fiction (maybe some reprints as well) along with artwork to accompany the fiction.
Given Amazing Stories’ past history (I mean the past three years, not the near 86 years its working on as an institution within the science fiction world) it’s VERY clear to me that new fiction would cause an immediate and LARGE influx of new members. (We only need to double two and a half times to get to the magic 100,000 members – at which point major internet advertising would kick in – but that’s a different story for a different time.) I attribute our latest influx to our release of the David Gerrold comic – A Doctor for the Enterprise – and the attention that it grabbed. (Copies are still available, lol.)
Let me put that in perspective: we added close to four thousand new members over the course of a couple of months because we published ONE new piece of fiction. What would 15 new pieces of fiction every month do for us?
What would it do for you? You’d be helping to support some very hard-working, talented individuals. You’d be giving another paying outlet to authors. You’d be helping to maintain science fiction’s tradition as the home of the short story. You’d be helping to revive the magazine that started it all and that inspired so many of our science fictional heroes. You’d place a warm and fuzzy right in my heart. You’d be giving yourself new fiction every other day of the week for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.
I’d be very interested in hearing back from everyone (EVERYONE) about this. I think we’re on the verge of something big. I think we should do this.