Industry News, July 2019

Video Games

Steam/Ubuntu

Steam plans to drop support for Ubuntu, according to Pierre-Loup Griffais, which may impact many PC gamers who prefer Linux.

Publishing News for July 2019 by Jason Sanford

Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly Magazine

The recent Origins Game Fair saw the announcement of the pending launch of Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly Magazine, a brand-new genre digest magazine. The magazine will publish its first issue in late 2019 and, as the name indicates, will be quarterly. 

Lackey will be the editor with Jennifer Brozek and John Helfers serving as associate editors. There will be a Kickstarter for the magazine next month, but the Kickstarter is planned as a one-time deal to launch the magazine (meaning no repeated fundraising requests). The magazine will be pro-paying and will accept all genres of fantasy from epic/traditional/low to UF/horror/apocalyptic to steampunk and science fantasy. 

Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first launch of a new digest-sized genre magazine since the original print edition of Apex Magazine was launched in 2005. And with Apex and InterGalactic Medicine Show closing this year, I’m sure authors will appreciate another market for their stories.

I aim to publish an interview with the editors of the magazine in the near future.

True Fan Fandom Fail

Last month heard the return of the plaintive whine of “We’re the only true genre fans!” It started when Ulrika O’Brien wrote a rambling and angry essay in the fanzine Beam about John Scalzi “breaking the Hugos” and allowed in all the not-true-fans (you can read the fanzine here, but be aware it’s a PDF download). 

Scalzi shrugged it off, but others in the genre responded with various riffs on WTF? Kameron Hurley wrote an excellent thread where she notes “this obsession with John Scalzi as this prime example of all that’s changing in SFF” is weird. She then makes a much-needed point that “I won’t lie, when they write about this period in SFF fifty years from now and only talk about John Scalzi and not, like, NK Jemisin, Ann Leckie, Mary Robinette Kowal and like Nnedi Okorafor I’m gonna be super pissed. And that’s not even touching on the next gen of superstars.”

For a deep dive into all this, check out File770’s coverage. And Jim Hines has a great summary of who is and isn’t a genre fan.

As an interesting side-note, Stephen M. Stirling tried saying Worldcon attendees are declining so who cares about the Hugos. But Rogers Cadenhead responded by pointing out that “There were 45,090 attendees over the last 10 years, an average of 4,509 that compares well to any other era of the past 50 years.”

More Financial Problems for Dreamspinner Press

As covered in an earlier column, Dreamspinner Press sent out a letter on May 8 which stated “Dreamspinner Press is not in overall financial crisis or in any danger of closing.” Obviously it’s never a good thing when a publisher says those words.

The press has now released a new letter which states “We acknowledge Dreamspinner Press’s cash-flow challenge in finishing payments for 1Q2019 royalties and pending contractor invoices is causing a great deal of concern in the community. We’re continuing to make payments every day, albeit at a slower rate than we’d estimated.”

The letter linked above provides more details. 

RJ Scott takes Dreamspinner to task for all this, adding that authors are being “asked to waive monies owed in exchange for rights back to their work” and much more. As Scott states, “Everyone’s experience of DSP will be different depending on 1) the income you generate for them 2) if you are staff 3) whether you got a lawyer/agent involved.”

Despite all these problems Dreamspinner Press is still holding an open submission call. Authors should consider the publisher’s current situation carefully before submitting.

Wattpad and Short Stories

One of my Patreon backers asked about posting short stories on Wattpad, which is an online community, platform and app for people to read and publish stories. I personally love Wattpad, and obviously I’m not the only one because Wattpad has billions of reads across countless stories and a number of authors who’ve used Wattpad to hit it big.

However, the authors who get the most readers on Wattpad tend me be writers of longer-form stories and novels. These works can be serialized on Wattpad, bringing readers back to these authors’ stories over and over. If I’m wrong please correct me, but I’ve yet to see any short stories gain major attention through Wattpad, as opposed to the success of a number of novels and longer serialized stories.

In some ways this is to be expected — after all, we see a similar dynamic in traditional publishing and self-publishing, where novel-length fiction is far more successful than short stories. 

This doesn’t mean it’s not worth publishing short stories on Wattpad. However, understand that publishing a short story there likely means you won’t reach as many readers as with novels and other types of longer-format stories. In addition, it means you can’t republish the story in short story markets where you might find more readers. This includes most genre magazines, almost all of which require first-publication rights. 

Other News and Info

TV & Movies

Disney and Georgia Legislation

Disney continues to express concerns about the new legislation enacted in Georgia, releasing a statement to Deadline that if Georgia’s heartbeat bill holds, the company may have to “reconsider” future productions in the state. What’s most interesting about this to me is that the company’s response, and the response of the other media giants, seem to stem from concerns and petitions by the “creatives” and “talent” that the companies work with. Aside from the possible political and economic ramifications, I have to wonder if this interactions may show a new way forward for those working in television/movies in terms of leveraging themselves to promote industry change.

Comics

Awards

The 2019 Eisner Award winners were announced at San Diego Comic-Con. The Eisner Awards, named for comics creator and graphic novelists Will Eisner, celebrate the works of artists and writers in a dozen categories. I know I’ll be checking out the web comics in particular. 

Jason Sanford

Jason Sanford is a two-time finalist for the Nebula Award and has published more than a dozen stories in the British SF magazine Interzone, which also devoted a special issue to his fiction. In addition he has published numerous stories in magazines such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and other places, along with appearances in multiple "year's best" anthologies and other collections. His fiction has been translated into nearly a dozen languages including Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, and Czech. Jason's website is www.jasonsanford.com and he publishes a weekly Genre Grapevine column on his Patreon at www.patreon.com/jasonsanford.

Langley Hyde
Content Co-Manager at Dream Foundry | Website

Langley Hyde’s short stories have appeared in If This Goes On, Unidentified Objects (vol. 6 &7), Podcastle, and Terraform. Her debut novel, Highfell Grimoires, was named a Best Book of 2014 in SF/Fantasy/Horror by Publishers Weekly. She also volunteers her time at sub-Q magazine. Currently, Langley Hyde lives in the Pacific Northwest along with her partner and two children.