Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Quarterly Magazine

The idea for a free webzine-type publication was brought up in the shoutbox today. As I’m not really into digital everything, my mind immediately went to this, and I figure I’ll share my thoughts to see if anyone else has some other ideas.

What I’m proposing:

It would be cool for the guild to produce a quarterly magazine to be handed out at cons (potentially by some of the publishers) for free. I’m talking about a booklet, maybe twenty pages total (ten 11x17 pages folded and saddle-stitched), with short fiction from guild members and some small advertisements. The stories would be no more than 2,500 words. This could be great for some of the guild members to get their work more known (this falls into the editor discussion currently going on that several authors have their free work more known than their published worked, simply because it’s free).

Some pros:

  • It would be free, so a lot more exposure for authors
  • Booklets of this nature can be picked up and read, and are fairly low cost to produce
  • It could also be done in an e-format without much difficulty
  • Ads could help promote new books/projects or, well, anything else
  • I, personally, could make all of this
  • Looking for guild member perks? This could be HUGE

Some cons:

  • The ad space would not be free, because hopefully the amount made from the ads would offset the cost of printing
  • Physical books would have to be sent out. Still fairly low cost if done in decent-sized batches
  • Possibly more cons that others will, I’m sure, bring up

Let me know your thoughts.

Alternatively, you know how PlayBill works with the Broadway Shows?
We make the conbooks and they insert and publish the schedules and con notes… the Guild could do that and get advertising based on national exposure across the cons… (and the con would get to sell local advertising, too),

The main problem with this would be that I’d have to print separate books for every single con, which would significantly increase the costs.

There’s also the idea of doing a Patreon for this. There wouldn’t be a ton of prize tiers, but simple things, such as getting a mailed copy of the magazine and getting a mention as being a supporter, would be easily doable.

Interesting idea. First con that comes to mind is that you’d probably have more potential stories than space, so whoever heads it up has to become an editor (plus wrangle the ads and do the layout and everything else). Or there wouldn’t be enough material, and you’d have to go asking for it – and from personal experience, each quarter rolls around a lot faster than you think it’s going to. It’d be a pretty big project.

Agreed. To reduce some of the work and streamline things, here are some other thoughts:

  • (This one is weird to say) Other than a basic copyedit, there would be no editing on accepted stories. Again, the thing is free.
  • With the submission emails, I’d ask if the author would be comfortable putting the story in a future magazine, if spots fill up too quickly. If it looks like we have the problem of too many stories (which I would LOVE that problem), then I’d drop this.
  • Layout isn’t too difficult. I have some experience with this and could do a base layout in a night. I’d also keep most of the issues on a template, so not too much would change issue to issue. Again again, free.
  • I’d also like to not be the ONLY one doing this. I’d want at least one other person to help sort through stories and do copyedits. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as I do know of several people who want some editing experience/more editing practice.

I’d be much better off with a quarter than a month. The monthly guild items tended to hit me by surprise, but quarters weren’t all that bad. PT, since this one would be for you in particular. What are your thoughts on the Patreon idea?

I think a Patreon (or Kickstarter, which might be more in line with a single project) might be complicating matters a little too much, for something that would already be a lot of work. Better to just solicit donations and use money from the general fund.

Honestly… sigh I don’t want to sound like a killjoy, and it really is an interesting idea (I’m not using “interesting” as a cop-out) :slight_smile: but if you can find people who are willing and able to help with doing edits and distributing it and all that, I have to admit that given the choice, I’d really rather see that time and energy going toward 1) working on the next volume of the anthology, which is something we’ve already established and need to continue, and 2) more efforts/success at distributing the promo materials that we already have (that are much cheaper to print and mail) at various cons.

At any rate, though, let’s see what everybody else has to say. :slight_smile:

I agree we need more thoughts (if you could post this thread on this guild Twitter, that would be grand). I’m going to save my comments on the guild anthology, as that’s a whole other thread’s worth of comments. Concerning your second point, however, my thoughts with this project are less to promote the guild itself and more to promote the actual writers within the guild. It would still have the guild name on it, but it would be more about the writers that we have and aren’t doing much of anything for at the moment rather than recruitment.

One concern – there’s already free fiction in the conbook at most cons. And my understanding is that people don’t read it. Would they really be more likely to read this?

Out of the four conbooks in my possession, only one contains fiction. Two stories buried amongst con programming and ads. This would be at a table in which one goes in order to (usually) purchase fiction. I feel like there’s a much better chance of it being read.

What kind of credentials do you need to help out with the editing/sorting?

I would hope that the FWG is helping us get toward professional standards for writers in the genre… and I’m not sure how ‘you have to give away fiction, but you’d get publicity!’ is doing that. ‘You’ll get noticed, but do work for free’ is not a message I want propagated to writers. Particularly by other writers!

Our work is worth something. I’d like more visibility for furry writers within furry fandom, but I don’t know that this is the way to do it.

Agreed, but I’m assuming the fiction included would be reprints, at least once over.

Or samples? But then, a freebie containing samples might be crossing over into publishers’ territory.

MCA makes a valid point… maybe we can find a way to “sponsor” a writer track, especially at the smaller cons and help direct them to FWG members that are willing to panelize?

So you’re saying that anyone that has posted their work to FurAffinity or SoFurry doesn’t value their work? Interesting.

There’s a difference between posting your work for free yourself and letting someone else post your work for free.

I can kind of see MCA’s point.

spreads hands

I’m saying that writers already undervalue their work. Do we want to abet that by telling them their only hope of being read is to labor for free? That they don’t deserve remuneration? We’re supposed to be an organization that ‘supports, informs, elevates, and promotes quality fiction and its creators.’ I’m pretty sure we were aiming for was to get our writers the kind of recognition that other writers get: i.e. the baseline understanding that they deserve to be paid.

The point of this is that we would print things already posted online, and if publishers allowed, we could to teasers of novels and could advertise for the novel.

sigh not sure why I bother to suggest things. The guild isn’t know for taking action other than advertising it’s own existance.

I would consider a contribution to something like this to be along the same lines as donating work to a charity anthology, since it would be benefiting an organization.

Obviously I have some reservations about this kind of project, but I disagree that it’s sending a terrible message for members to volunteer already-published work in order to benefit the guild and their fellow members, for something that nobody’s going to make any money with. There are rare times and places where working for free isn’t a horrible thing, and I think this could potentially be one of them.

(I should add, we’ve never paid anything in the past year for the blog posts that members volunteer to us, and so far I haven’t heard anyone make the point of how bad it is that we’re asking people to write for free there. Of course, I may have just invited those complaints now.) :slight_smile: