There is so much joy to be found in creating the cover of Etherea Magazine (and indeed, also in choosing the story art for each submission)
You spend hours flicking between sites, examining all that they have on offer. An assortment of keywords are searched (it pays to be ridiculously specific), and images are added to a growing collection of “possibles”. Then comes time to whittle this list down to just a couple, and you study them intently.
You almost have to try them on for size, see how they are sitting on the shoulders, or whether they are uncomfortably tight across the belly (well this metaphor just became all too personal). Eyes squinting, you attempt to envision how “Etherea Magazine” would look splayed across the top.
One stands out in particular, and you want it.
In fact, a correction, you need it.
A fantastic piece of art, and it suits the tone of the Magazine perfectly. You pounce, pressing the download button, foot jiggling excitedly while you wait for it to be complete (oh that Australian bandwidth).
It takes but a moment to mock up a cover, and it is all you wanted and more. The second issue of the Magazine is beginning to feel real.
You do pause for a moment though.
It does look kind of familiar…
I would love to scream plagiarism, but there are two problems:
- It’s a stock image, available for anyone with a licence
- ’twas I doing the plagiarising!
I was concerned of this happening, there are only so many “Fantasy” or “Science Fiction” cover worthy pictures on stock image sites, and there is a glut of magazines wishing to use those images (hey, not a judgement, just a statement. We can’t throw any stones).
I would love in the future if we could start either commissioning artwork, or purchasing reprints directly for our magazine, however it isn’t in the budget just yet. We are first and foremost a literary magazine, so that is where the expenditure will be going at the moment.
A small update on the state of the Magazine.
Submissions keep on rolling in! People are still interested in the Magazine, which is wonderful.
The analytics make for interesting reading. The most popular page by far is “Submissions” (unsurprising), but a (surprisingly) close second are these blog posts. I am uncertain as to whether that is related to interest, or whether it is an attempt to gauge the inner workings of my mind in order to submit the most eligible story.
Realistically I would presume the latter, but my steel coated ego claims the former.
Financially, the first issue is operating at a loss, which is what I was anticipating. But, positively, it isn’t as large a loss as I had estimated! Again, going back to the analytics, there was a surge of purchases in the first three days after publication, and then a few dribs and drabs in the following week. I would have assumed that most would be from family and friends of contributors, but there were quite a lot of purchases from unrelated locations around the globe. Which is heartening.
I am actually considering doing a breakdown of our statistics so far, just for interest. Personally, I find it fascinating. You can see exact correlations between Twitter campaigns, Reddit conversations and site traffic. Let me know on Twitter if you would like you want to see an article regarding this.
The second issue is well underway. We have another fantastic author interview, which I am very excited to share. Also introducing two “Indie Author Spotlights”, which will hopefully give a bit more exposure to a couple of deserving writers. This will become a permanent fixture.
There will be a book review, written by yours truly (similar to this one, which means that if you dislike my “voice” – unlucky), as well as a non-fiction article.
Finally, most importantly, we have eight fantastic speculative fiction stories to share! There is a nice variety of stories, both in genre and tone. Some of the Main Characters even survive! But not all. Or do they? You will just have to buy the Magazine to find out.
If you have a submission that hasn’t had a response, and you are concerned that the second issue is being published, fret not! You have been rolled over into consideration for issue #3.
In other news, I will be introducing subscriptions, both directly through the site and Patreon. I didn’t particularly want to do this after just one issue, just because I think it appears a little too sketchy to ask for a commitment with only one issue out.
But then there were two!
Details will go up over the next few days, so visit the website or check us out on Twitter.
Thanks for sticking with me all this way!