Monday, June 07, 2010

Purely Hypothetical

Let's assume that I have a large amount of money, which I'll tell you up front that I absolutely, without a doubt, do not have.

And then let's assume that I decided that I really wanted to do something fun with that money. Something not-boring. Something that I might actually enjoy.

And let's say, in this entirely hypothetical situation (because remember, I REALLY don't have the money this would require), that I wanted to start an online magazine. An online zine for short fiction.

What type of magazine and stories would you want to read?


Anonymous said...

Reprising my LJ comment in case you don't see those:

Not useful but true answer: Good ones.

By which I mean stories that do not depend on surprise, that hold up to repeated readings. That manage to be complete in themselves, with a beginning, middle and resolution, yet still feel like a tiny part of a world complex and intriguing enough to be real. Stories that put cool new twists on archetypes and give points of familiar, empathic entry to the new and strange. Stories that are beautiful, that are creepy, that are bittersweet and jagged and make me stare into space when I finish them because I am not ready to come back to this world, let alone the next story.

Now potentially more market-research-useful answers:

I think the time is ripe to rediscover the serial story format -- installments of a single world, more complete in themselves than chapters of a novel, but still offering the chance to become fiercely attached to the characters. At least, this format is well-beloved in fanfiction, and I think an audience trained on serial TV with long character arcs may be more receptive to it.

Going to the other extreme, I think a one-short-short-a-day service intended for reading on mobile devices might be both cool and popular -- especially if posted to Twitter and Facebook as well as email, and maybe Kindleable as well.

I would be into a Hidden Gems magazine which did either out of print treasures or stories not previously available in English or both.

The wild popularity of steampunk probably begs its own dedicated title, though I'm not sure how long it will last.

I personally am not much of a fan of "side stories" in a mostly-novels universe, but they have a built in audience and might be a useful model for you given the existing client base.

Jess said...

I like a balance of fiction pieces and nonfiction essays in my magazine could call your nonexistent ezine True Lies, and have it encompass every important part of my life and pretend life(travel, humor, culture, drama, music, action, food, literature, escapist-trash reading, family, outdoor recreation, and a little more food), because, of course, it would be for me!

aviashnanama said...

Romance, of course. Maybe some erotica!

Kalika said...

Why would you need money? Plenty of writers will take a token amount.

I'd like to see fun and quirky fiction. Not enough of it around.

Deb Salisbury said...

I like to read old-fashioned fantasy. Sword and sorcery, epic quests, that type of thing.

Check out He started up an eZine last year, and as far as I know, didn't spend much money on it. Payment for stories is token ($5, I believe) but he gets lots of takers.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

Wow, wonderful answers, please keep them coming!

In regards to money, if I did this properly, I'd rather offer more than a token payment--ideally, I'd pay SFWA rates. It doesn't seem fair, otherwise, which is why I don't think it will necessarily happen.

Sarah N Fisk said...

I would like to see some kind of "weird stories" in the vein of Twilight Zone. That's really the only thing I like to read in a shorter format.

I also agree with stakebait on the point of mobile apps. Or even just a way to subscribe - somehow - on a phone.

ryan field said...

Modern Romance that doesn't always fit into the traditional romance genre.