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Fantasy Scroll Magazine on Hiatus

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

fantasy-scroll-13-smallFantasy Scroll Magazine has not published an issue since June of this year. Normally that wouldn’t concern me (Black Gate chugged along merrily for years publishing roughly one issue per year), but Fantasy Scroll has had a nearly flawless bi-monthly schedule since it first appeared in April 2014.

So I reached out to publisher Iulian Ionescu this week to find our what’s up. Here’s what he told me.

As months went by and life got more and more complex (new jobs, kids in new school, etc.) it seemed unfair to put out the magazine without 100% energy put into it. I’d rather not go on if I can’t produce the level of quality I set my mind to. So, I put the magazine on temporary hiatus hoping that I can turn it back up at some point.

I can’t guarantee when this will be and in the meantime I am releasing first rights back to all authors that have been accepted and not yet published. I sure hope that sometime in the future I will be able to produce the Year 2 anthology because that was a year packed with great stories!

I’m bummed to hear that. Fantasy Scroll is a fine magazine; in the last two years it published original fantasy from Sarah Avery, Ken Liu, Robert Reed, James Van Pelt, Piers Anthony, Laurie Tom, Charles Payseur, and many others. They were especially friendly to new and emerging authors, and the magazine was an excellent place to discover intriguing new writers. Their non-fiction was also enjoyable, and the TOC for each issue was typically packed with interviews, book reviews, science articles, artist spotlights, and film reviews. Their Year One anthology, Dragons, Droids and Doom, was published in November 2015.

Fantasy Scroll Magazine appeared exclusively online and was edited by Iulian Ionescu, Frederick Doot, and Alexandra Zamorski. The last issue was #13; see the complete contents of the final issue here. We last covered the magazine with issue 12.

6 Comments »

  1. John: You know as well as I do that small publishing is typically a labor of love and a hobby. If people make money at it (more than a few cents an hour after all the time they invest, assuming they are just taking loss after loss) it is surprising to me. Still, 13 issues is is a big deal, but they didn’t get to 15 like Black Gate, and even my Folio is only at 11, although still going. I guess I absolutely can’t quite until I hit 16, just so I can have bragging rights over you :) The only success I know of is Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and I think that has a benefactor of some kind that pays the bills, so it isn’t a typical small publisher.

    Comment by Scott Taylor - December 31, 2016 6:45 pm

  2. And in gaming, Kobold Quarterly made it to #23, while Gygax Magazine only got to #6… If there is a current gaming magazine out there right now (in print), I’ve not heard of it, but WotC takes a loss on Dragon online so to keep players engaged.

    Comment by Scott Taylor - December 31, 2016 6:49 pm

  3. > small publishing is typically a labor of love and a hobby. If people make money at it
    > (more than a few cents an hour after all the time they invest…) it is surprising to me.

    Scott,

    Oh, absolutely. Even break even is a miracle for most small presses. The print version of Black Gate was hemorrhaging badly by the end.

    > Still, 13 issues is is a big deal

    I consider 13 issues an amazing accomplishment. Though I don’t count them out entirely! Iulian Ionescu and his team have proven to be a remarkably resourceful bunch.

    > even my Folio is only at 11, although still going. I guess I absolutely can’t quite
    > until I hit 16, just so I can have bragging rights over you :)

    I expect your Folio series to make it well past 16! :)

    > The only success I know of is Beneath Ceaseless Skies…

    Scott Andrews and team have really done miracles with BCS. But they’re not the only ones out there. Clarkesworld keeps hitting new heights, without any corporate backing whatsoever, and John Joseph Adams has made a real success with Lightspeed and Nightamre, also while remaining independent. Then there’s Strange Horizons, Apex, Uncanny, and others. So I don’t think the business of small press magazines is nearly as gloomy as all that.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 1, 2017 4:45 pm

  4. @John—I’ve had a slew of computer problems. The long and short is GdM said they haven’t looked far out about a second omnibus. Their concern now is an anthology that they have a kickstarter for.

    Sorry for starting off the new year with puppy politics but someone blogged that these markets compete for entertainment dollars from movies, games, television, etc. It made me wonder what kind of subscription population one would need to make things work for an epub magazine. It is a shame to see Beneath Ceaseless Skies stop and distressing to hear about the market.

    Comment by Wild Ape - January 2, 2017 8:15 am

  5. > The long and short is GdM said they haven’t looked far out about a second omnibus. Their
    > concern now is an anthology that they have a kickstarter for.

    Hi Ape!

    Thanks for the update. Sorry to hear there won’t be a second GrimDark magazine omnibus, but their Kickstarter look very intriguing.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/155719766/evil-is-a-matter-of-perspective-an-anthology-of-an

    It’s already blown past the initial goal, so that’s promising.

    > Sorry for starting off the new year with puppy politics but someone blogged that these markets compete
    > for entertainment dollars from movies, games, television, etc. It made me wonder what kind
    > of subscription population one would need to make things work for an epub magazine.

    Um… what? What has that got to do with Puppy politics?

    > It is a shame to see Beneath Ceaseless Skies stop and distressing to hear about the market.

    I think you mean Fantasy Scroll, right? You scared me for a second. :) But BCS is still going strong.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 2, 2017 12:21 pm

  6. Well…..It didn’t take me long to babble like an idiot this year. And I was off to such a good start too.
    1. Yes, I meant Fantasy Scroll, not BCS.
    2. Correia has a premise that the market is saturated with stories that appeal primarily to left leaning publishers and readers whereas a chunk of the market is not being addressed and has opted for alternate choices of entertainment like movies, games, etc. I’m not trying to argue his point but he made me think about what it would take to have a viable, break even or a profitable emagazine. I figured if I said Correia that it would spin the conversation into a political rabbit hole. I didn’t want to do that but I did want to get your insight. A lot of these epubs sell at a reasonable price (3-4 bucks). I can figure out what it would cost to pay the writers and cover artists but I don’t know what it would take to outfit the cadre of people. I’m hoping you might have a ballpark idea.
    3. My last post was on three hours of sleep. I was not drunk or stoned even though I probably sounded that way. I promised Sarah not to be combative. For your sake I’m fighting all my Sophmoric urges to avoid any Torling jokes and such. I think print mags are untenable at this point but emags seem to be viable.

    And John, I like these articles on games. Page and Jones I think will spark interest and I hope you folks at Black Gate open the flood gates wider on these topics. You have done marvels covering the magazines.

    Comment by Wild Ape - January 2, 2017 7:37 pm


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