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Our Third Year

Deep Outside SFFH is well into its third year of publication and going strong. We are now part of a vibrant and growing organization that boasts over a dozen editors and several dozen reviewers under the overall aegis of C & C Publishers, whose primary imprint currently is Clocktower Books.

So what? Well, the bottom line as always is that we continue to serve exciting speculative fiction to thousands of avid readers every month. That's our bread and butter. We read over 100 stories a month and pick the best one for your reading enjoyment. As you can imagine, it's often a tough choice. Many fine writers submit their work to us, and sometimes we wish we could publish more.

So what is our vision? Well, first of all, we're a magazine of speculative fiction science fiction, fantasy (generally dark), and horror. Each month, we pick the best story regardless of genre. It's hard to pin down just what a great story is fodder for a future editorial, I'll wot but I personally continue to be excited by the kind of atmosphere surrounding the classic genre publications and shows, from Hitchcock's to Twilight Zone, from One Step Beyond to Outer Limits. The defining flavor is that quality identified especially with science fiction, known as "Sense of Wonder." You'll notice, too, if you have been a longstanding fan of The Twilight Zone, that it was not identified with any particular genre of speculative fiction. Some stories were SF, others dark fantasy, others just plain exercises in cosmic irony, but the show worked and is still in rerun syndication today. We don't have a formula at Deep Outside SFFH -- we just like a great story when we find one!

Some readers may have noticed that the June edition was, well, at best, what can be described as late. This is partly because of my mother's recent passing, and also because we are in the midst of building a major publishing house. Our plan is to publish an issue of Deep Outside SFFH in the middle of each month...look for our newsletter around the third week of the month (if you're not already subscribed, sign up today).

We will soon begin publishing a monthly bulletin in the first week of each month to inform readers of new Clocktower Books. You will be able to sign up for the bulletin if you wish we'll tell you about exciting new titles and authors, and we'll make free sample chapters available for your reading enjoyment. Our titles will appear in Rocket eBook format, PDF, and Print on Demand (POD). The POD versions will be available from all the major online catalogs, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powells, and others.

Most magazines fail in their first year of publication, for any number of reasons including lack of funds, lack of vision, or who knows what else. From the beginning, we have been very clear about our scope and vision. We are keeping it small one story a month and we're keeping the quality as high as possible. With the demise of Omni online, and Event Horizon, we are the world's oldest professional web-only magazine. We make this claim very carefully, noting the excellent quality of such publications as Andy McCann's Planet Magazine, which has been around since the early 90's but does not pay. We pay our authors the professional minimum of three cents a word as defined by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of American (SFWA).

I believe that the traditional print industry is going to die in the next five years. By traditional print industry, I mean the practice of publishing large print runs out of pocket, guessing what number of books to publish to take advantage of lower unit costs while avoiding returns that result from over-printing. In the old model, publishers ship their wares to retail stores and hope for the best. Sales are on consignment, meaning nobody gets paid until the customer plunks down the money. Then the payments flow backwards, with the retailer taking about 55 percent and the wholesaler another 10 to 15 percent. Not much left by the time it gets to the author and publisher.

At least two revolutions are simultaneously taking place in publishing. One is Print on Demand (POD) (not to be confused with short run printing). The modern, true POD is a radical new approach in which the book is not manufactured until the customer has paid for it. Currently, to buy a POD book, you'd go on line, to Amazon or some other catalog, and pay for a book by credit card just as you would a traditional book. The difference is that, unlike the traditional way, your book is not sitting in inventory somewhere it is manufactured, one copy, directly for you, and shipped to you by mail. The POD industry wants to make this capability available in airports and large bookstores in coming years. You walk into the bookstore, don't find the book you want, and go to the kiosk. You run your credit card through, pick your book, and wait 3 minutes while the book is manufactured in the machine and pops out the side indistinguishable from a book manufactured in a large press run.

The other big revolution is the e-book a book that consists of pixels and ASCII characters, which you can download into your PC or Rocket eBook or other Personal Data Assistant (PDA). The ebook bypasses the paper and ink process altogether. Great advances are coming in the form of "electronic ink" or "electronic paper" that will allow you to own an inexpensive, dedicated reading PDA and cheaply and instantly download books, magazine articles, and other content.

We're embracing both the POD and ebook revolutions at the moment, but we believe POD will fade away in the next 10 years. After all, it's still a print format, and several times as expensive to deliver a text to you rather than in pixels and ASCII. Then too, consider the logistics of putting a $35,000 kiosk into a store...and then maintaining it! Think of the parts, the labor, the benefits for the technicians, the schools required to train them...It doesn't take much to see that POD is really a bandaid, a temporary sling bridge to the real future, which is in ebooks.

Thank you for reading our magazine and returning month after month for more great fiction. As the future continues to roll in, we intend to be here for many years! Here's a toast to Deep Outside SFFH in our third year of publication!


Website Copyright John T. Cullen as indicated on this label. Editorial content copyright John Kenneth Muir as indicated above