Four years. If AE were a person it would have just started junior kindergarten. But magazines grow up far faster than that, especially today. We say a ten-year old dog is seventy in “dog years” because, like a seventy-year-old human, that dog is starting to get within spitting distance of its life expectancy. If we apply that logic to magazines, AE is ancient. Only 20% of new periodicals survive to celebrate a fourth birthday, making us about 90 in magazine years.
Of course, unlike people and dogs, the older a magazine gets, the hardier it tends to be (about half of all new magazines die in infancy, by this analogy). But it’s important to remember that even the oldest magazines remain vulnerable.
On Spec is Canada’s longest-running and most-respected English-language science fiction magazine. And yet, in August of this year, On Spec announced that their Canada Council for the Arts funding had been cut for 2015. This cancelled funding amounts to twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars per year and represents the majority of On Spec’s operational budget.
This follows on ChiZine Publications’ March announcement that they were discontinuing ChiZine, their professional genre magazine, in order to focus on their book publishing business. This leaves AE as the only remaining SFWA-accredited market in Canada. This is not an honour we were seeking.
I hope our readers will recognize this as a call to action. I encourage you to support On Spec (as well as other Canadian magazines like Neo-Opsis) by buying subscriptions, donating, or even just spreading the word about these great homegrown markets. Markets we can’t afford to lose.
In the meantime, AE will be stepping things up a notch or two, doing our part to ensure that the Canadian science fiction scene remains strong. First and foremost, we are increasing our pay rate for all fiction by 17%, to 7 cents Canadian per word, effective immediately.
Secondly, we are bringing on some more manpower to help us, slowly, expand our capabilities. Erika Kiessner has joined us in the role of Art Director, and she is accepting portfolio submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also looking to recruit several new publisher’s readers (slush readers) and feature writers (review and editorial contributors).
Click here for more information on how to apply for these positions. All positions with AE are unpaid as a rule (including mine), but feature writers will receive $20 for each piece they contribute to AE.
AE intends to celebrate many more birthdays, and my greatest hope is that you will help to ensure that we are not celebrating them alone.