Anyone who’s followed the goings on over at Science Fiction Trails knows we’ve done a western sci fi magazine for quite some time and that we’ve also put out some western horror anthologies. As sales and submissions come in, I’ve noticed one amazing fact. The two product lines exist in two almost parallel universes. Not only does the magazine have an entirely different group of readers, for the most part the writers who submit to it are different as well.
While I don’t view the two lines as all that different, it is getting obvious that others seem to. Science Fiction Trails actually sells a little better than the books. Since it costs less to produce, it’s more profitable than the book line. In fact, we have serious doubts that there will be any more horror anthologies. They simply are not selling well enough to justify the time and expense of publishing them. I never say never, but the current plan is to focus solely on Science Fiction Trails.
Even though I’ve been fairly happy with the performance of the magazine, we’ve never had a steady enough submission of stories for me to feel good about putting out more than one issue a year. I don’t want to go to, say, quarterly, then have to pull back in frequency later. Since we pay more than a lot of small press products, it can’t entirely be a money thing. There are quite a few magazines and web based sites that have smaller circulations and lower pay rates who get significantly more stories than we do. We’re not entirely sure why that is. That’s not to say we can’t get stories. We’ve actually developed a very reliable stable of fairly regular contributors. Still, it’s that new blood that is essential to give our readers the entertaining stories they expect.
So, moving forward, we’ll continue to try to expand our distribution. And we’ll continue to be an outlet for western themed science fiction. We still believe we are the only continuously publishing product focusing exclusively in this genre.