Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Signs of Death in the Independent Press.

The first bit of news after the Easter break is that Shadowed Realms is shutting down. If you've never heard of the site, it was an ezine dedicated to flash fiction, and run by Angela Challis and Shane J Cummings, as editor and designer and sometimes editor, respectively. A while back I had a story in it, but in what can only be described as a difference of opinion, I stopped working with them (and their publishing company, Brimstone Press) in any capacity. Publishing is much like any other job, really, and an author can make choices about who she/he wishes to work with, just as an editor can. It's no big deal, but just so you're up on my relationship with them, which is that I don't have one. Still, that's neither here nor there: a market closing down has never been the sign for celebration, and a few people had their five minutes of fame with it, including me, so on that score, it's a shame to see it go.

I wouldn't, however, say that Shadowed Realms' death was surprising. Speaking broadly, there are a lot of signs in the independent press that you can watch for, and which speak of the slowly rising corpse of a project, or a publisher. There's a lack of critical success. A lack of popular success. A fall in issue regularity, or an inability to hit the deadlines proposed by huge amounts of time (most independents are behind a little). Then there's the long response times to contributors. Closing to submissions out of season. Editors not replying to email where they once did. The editor/publisher moving on to other projects. A switch in focus from print to media or online. Public conversations about money. The list goes on. Get enough of these coming out of an independent publisher, and I reckon you might as well start picking out a pretty plot, though the actual announcement of death can take a long time coming. I, personally, figured that Shadowed Realms had another year in it, but I guess my prophetic powers aren't always right--and to be honest, it's not that much of a death. Brimstone still exists. A lot of publishers have gone completely into the ground.

At any rate, I mentioned this at first on a comment on Martin Livings' (martinlivings) blog, but he has now locked the entry so that no one can leave comments, the comment has been deleted. Whatever. I have my own blog and can talk about it here, and deleted commentary always gets me thinking a bit more. I figure if people know of any other signs of Independent Death, they should drop a comment. Get enough and I'll do a funny checklist.
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