There are some fantastic semi-pro magazines out there. There is Shimmer. There is Ideomancer. There is Kaleidotrope. What is fantastic about these magazines? It is not, dear reader, their fiction - per se. It has been my general impression that even the tokenest of token-paying markets deliver good stories unto their clientele. The profusion of generally good writers, their profusion of stories, and their unremitting desire to see publication through whatever means possible produces this more or less universal result. There is, I find, essential parity between the quality of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the quality of Abyss & Apex. I even sometimes find that there is more willingness to publish with a certain derring-do among the semi-pros: I've always found that Canada's Neo-opsis produces less-polished but more interesting issues than Canada's higher-paying, better-polished On Spec. What really sets a semi-pro apart from the rest is their... how shall I put it... sex appeal.
...insofar as readers are having sex with their book design/cover art.
That is a really complex and perhaps crass way to say that there is no reason a publisher that can only afford to pay semi-professional rates ought not to try to look and feel every bit as good as a the pros. After all, the writers are doing the writing; how hard is editing, really? Can we please have some Frank Frazetta on the dance floor? CAN WE PLEASE.
|This image pre-approved by David Barron.|
And honestly I would say my content is pretty bitchin', so.
I won't name names only insofar as it would single out unfairly those whose names that I haven't in psychological trauma repressed; and, more importantly, because the reason I find them so disappointing is that, in general, they are promising. It is their failure to live up to expectations that depresses me; but I can still be bolstered by the possibility they might one day turn out alright, like ugly children who grow, one day, to be more beautiful than you, causing great sorrow and regret that you once teased them without mercy upon the playground blacktop.
This is really just to say that, if nothing else, one thing that the "Indie Publishing Revolution" has without any doubt shown me is that it is incredibly, incredibly easy to be a self-made professional in this world. All you need do is try. I mean, look at the Red Penny Papers: they're a token market, and they're hotter than hell! I mean I'm just saying...