Episode Seven: In which I end several publishing ventures

Well after much Seal searching (very similar to soul searching but comprising less interior insight and involving more fighting over fish with small sea mammals) I have made some tough decisions and have announced that Moonlight Tuber and Paisley Stitchington’s Speculative Buggle are now closed markets.

The decisions were not easy but what it came down to, finally, was this: there simply wasn’t the depth of quality submissions or the public interest to sustain them.

I’m not bitter about that. No, really! I know that online, tone doesn’t always come across, but it’s true. The publishing industry is an unpredictable one at the moment, and it’s certainly changed a great deal since I started publishing ten years ago. Where a decade ago there were few options for a new writer looking to sell their work, I think maybe now we’ve reached the point where there are more markets out there than there are really good stories being written.

And I’m cool with that. I always saw publishing more as filling a gap that existed, rather than it being all about me. If we’ve reached the point where my fringe zines are rendered unnecessary or redundant, well, I can see an upside to that.

I suspect that over the next few years we’ll see a lot of markets closing for this reason, and eventually we’ll be able to see how many markets we’re capable of sustaining, not just in terms of quality submissions, but in terms of readers. I suspect that there are a lot more stories being published right now than are actually being read. Online magazines have made publishing easier, but they haven’t necessarily made it easier to find readers.

The publishing world is changing fast, too. Whereas a few years ago I predicted webzines would be the future of small press publishing, I am not so sure anymore. I suspect they are likely to be supplanted by cheap or free ebooks for kindle etc.

Anyhow, those are just my experiences. It may well be that if I had been better at self-promoting, these ventures would have been more successful. But I’m cool with that too. I’m not a salesman, and I never have been. And that’s not gonna change in a hurry. So if better self-promoters find greater success, good luck to them. I am happy with that choice.

On a personal level, I intend to take a break from publishing. When I last took stock of my goals in life, publishing was less a burning ambition (compared to five years ago when I was with Aurealis and then Twelfth Planet etc) and more something that added to the quality of my life in small doses; what kept me going was the thought that I was giving to the community and creating a market for pieces that would otherwise be lost.

I’m not saying it’s been totally unselfish (although from a certain angle I do look kinda like Jesus), because that’s not true. I’ve gotten a lot out of it. But I have felt for some time now that publishing is less something I need and more something I can use to contribute something back. And well, I don’t really feel that the community or the market needs that anymore.

I think the world at this point needs more good stories than more markets. Maybe I can help to provide some good stories with my own writing; or maybe not. Who knows?

Anyhow, I reserve the right to renounce my retirement in six months when my backlist appears mysteriously on amazon overnight 😉

Thanks to everybody who has supported or offered a kind word about my zines. You are “da bomb” as they say in the southern states.

Anyhow, I’ll append the individual press releases below, for anyone who hasn’t yet tired of my endless prattle.


Sunset Tuber

Well, after two and a half years I have made the tough decision to close the doors to Moonlight Tuber.

Although I have enjoyed it a lot, and have published stories I love and issues I am very proud of, Moonlight Tuber hasn’t quite managed to grab the kind of traction I hoped for, in terms of audience or in terms of the quality of submissions (which isn’t to say I haven’t received and even rejected some very good stories – there are plenty of exceptions).

The publishing world has changed a lot in the last few years and I think there is more change ahead. At the moment I suspect the market is over-saturated and there are more publications than there are readers or stories to justify. I guess time will tell if I am right or wrong.

Whatever the case, I am grateful to everybody who has supported the magazine for the last few years. Small press publishing is a gig without any obvious rewards, some days, and it is the generosity and kindness of readers and writers that keeps us going. Don’t ever be shy about telling a publisher or author when you read a story you have loved; it is little comments that sustain us.

Anyway, a big thank you to everybody who has written a story, read an issue, or taken an interest in an odd an confused venture like this. It’s been fun.

Keep the weirdness flowing


Stitchington Retires Abruptly 

Thanks to everybody who submitted to Paisley Stitchington’s venture.

Unfortunately, although we received some really good stories, we did not receive enough strong pieces for the webzine to be viable.

Thank you to everybody who contributed or supported us.

I spoke to Paisley Stitchington earlier this morning via the marimba. He informs me that he intends to pursue other ventures, such as his plan to replace the Ditmars with a cage match wrestling fixture. I wish him well.

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