Welcome back for Issue 11. AE continues to grow and we are doing our best to manage without too many visible growing pains or too much premature aging for our editorial staff. Without dwelling too much on statistics, our readership (as estimated by monthly unique non-automated visitors) is more than three times what it was one year ago. And in April 2012, our readership was nearly three times what it was in April 2011.
We have had substantially more traffic during Issue #10 than we had during the entire year of 2011. And, because our entire archives remain permanently available, this growth in readership means greater visibility for the authors from our early issues as well. In fact, some of our earliest stories (such as Matt Moore’s “Ascension”) continue to draw new readers in numbers rivalling our freshest content.
Two important things should be taken away from those figures. Firstly, if you’re one of the rarefied 11% or so who have been with us from the start, thank you. Of all the new magazines that make it to the point of putting out a first issue (which is quite a feat in an of itself), only about a quarter are still around six months later. The reason that we’re in the minority of survivors is because you had the faith, the hope, to see us through.
The second lesson, however, is one of caution. There are so many great stories and so many eager readers. That there is an audience for AE is no longer something we could even momentarily doubt. But a magazine, print or digital, is a business. And for any business, rapid growth presents dangers just as real those presented by stagnation. The cautionary tale of Night Shade Books is not lost on us.
And so, while we are looking to expand, to roll out exciting new plans, our first priority remains what it has been from the start: original stories, reviews and essays, week in and week out, for the international audience of science fiction fans. Our submission and query reply time has slipped lately, and to our authors and prospective authors I personally apologize. Please bear with us as we adjust to this continued and unforeseeable growth in both readers and submissions.
In the spirit of focusing on our strengths and not messing with a successful formula, Issue 11 launches with the fourth iteration of one of our most successful endeavours: AE Micro.
The stories in this year’s AE Micro are densely packed explosive charges, like grains of metallic sodium. Your mind is the pool of water in this metaphor. Enjoy.
and the AE Editorial Staff