Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creative Brother's Sci Fi Magazine Closed Until Further Notice

I got this email today from Cecil Washington, publisher of Creative Brother's Sci Fi Magazine:


Guys,


I have some bad news. I am not going to be able to put out this issue or any other issues of Creative Brother Sci-Fi Magazine until further notice. That means I will not be mailing any payments for this issue.


Please take your submissions and send them to publications where they stand a good chance of actually being read by more than 5 people. As fans, please be aware that all previous issues of the magazine are available online at Lulu. You can go to www.lulu.com/creativebrother and see them all. The Yahoo Group will still be there.


My desire to write will still be there. I will probably still self-publish. But, I do not have the time and energy to devote to something as simple as this magazine right now. You have my apologies.


Cecil

I have mixed emotions about this. First, I'm a bit disappointed, but not with Cecil. I know he put a lot of time, energy and his own money into publishing Creative Brother, and I'm proud of him for it.

But based on the amount of units he moved an issue (only five?!), I'm sure publishing the magazine eventually became a difficult and thankless endeavor that wasn't very satisfying. And that's why I'm disappointed.

It's not as if there shouldn't have been more content and readership; the subject-related online group Cecil also created as a companion to the magazine, the Black Sci Fi Horror Fantasy yahoo group, has 376 members.

From what I can tell (based on the acceptance emails Cecil sent out for the upcoming issue), only two writers were accepted. Now, I know all of these members are not active, but I think it's safe to say that scores of these members--who are also sci-fi/spec-fic writers-- are active.

And yet, only two writers were accepted to the lastest issue that's no longer an issue. That disappoints me.

I suppose one could argue that Creative Brother is a difficult market to sell a story, but then I can see others arguing the opposite once they see his guidelines (taken from Spicy Green Iguana):


Genres: Weird, Vampire, Urban Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Suspense, Splatterpunk, Speculative Fiction, Occult, Magic Realism, Humor, Horror, Hard Science Fiction, Fantasy Word Range: 1,000 to 5,000 words for fiction. 100 lines max for poetry.


You will not be paid more for longer works.  Payment: $5 US per piece. Frequency: Quarterly 1st Published: 10/1/2003 Brief Guidelines: This is for "black science fiction", "afrocentric fantasy and horror", "afrofuturistic" material, as in speculative fiction about people of African, African-American, Carribean descent. At a bare minimum, your protagonist should be a black character.


I know Delany didn't always do that in his writing, but hey, that's life. Please write it in such a way that I know that your protag is black. Multi-cultural/multiracial stories are fine as well, and I'll even consider a Slim Shady protagonist.


This is for "black science fiction", "afrocentric fantasy and horror", "afrofuturistic" material, as in speculative fiction about people of African, African-American, Carribean descent. At a bare minimum, your protagonist should be a black character. I know Delany didn't always do that in his writing, but hey, that's life. Please write it in such a way that I know that your protag is black. Multi-cultural/multiracial stories are fine as well, and I'll even consider a Slim Shady protagonist.

Difficult or not, what I can honestly say about Creative Brother is that Cecil didn't accept any and everything submitted. I know from experience.

About a year ago, he rejected a story of mine, and rightly so. He had standards and wanted the stories in his magazine to achieve a certain quality. But I'm sure as long as writers adhered to the guidelines and had entertaining, well-written stories, they'd be published. If they submitted.

It sounds like many, especially in the yahoo group, did not. Cecil and I exchanged a few other emails about this, and I won't get into the details, but it's disappointing that we as black people complain about the lack of sci fi writers (or actors or magazines or publishers or directors), but yet, when there's an opportunity to get our stories out there, be heard, make an impact, and be noticed, few stepped up and took that opportunity.

7 comments:

Kahnee said...

I am disappointed too. I was all set to submit a story by the end of the year. I loved the fact that it was available as a hard copy. Maybe someone should pick up where Cecil left off. hint, hint.

six blocks east of mars said...

You know, for a quick second I thought about it, but I couldn't do it. Not enough time. But, you never know...

Kahnee said...

A couple of years ago, an editor of a similar magazine sent out an email asking for help...or more preciesly, asking for subscribers. People responded and I don't think that particualar mag will ever have a problem again. I was one of the people who subscribed because of the email and it was money well spent. Creative Bro. is a great magazine and I think it could have been saved. I almost sent this post to the Carl Brandon Society yahoo group, i'm sure atleast 10 t 20 people would have subscribed from that list and then a little promotion at Wiscon would have helped also. But then again who knows. if you do decide to pick up where he left off... let a sista know. i'll be glad to help.

six blocks east of mars said...

What magazine was that, if I may ask?

I would very much like to pick up where Creative Brother left off, but right now it's too large a commitment I can make right now. I'd rather be realistic about how much energy and time I could put into this, rather than overextend myself. If that changes, I'll definitely let you know.

Kahnee said...

I think it was Apex. i'll have to look it up to be sure.

PurpleZoe said...

Wish I had known about this when it was out. We put out a Modern Myth issue for fantasy and sci-fi of underrepresented culture at Purple Magazine, every Fall/Winter. The magazine's purpose is to provide a place for the underrepresented to shine their light in a quality venue.

Story submissions have not come swiftly, but we're exercising patience. It takes time for word to catch, and of course there are plenty of shy scribes that haven't overcome the procrastination bug.

It's true that there should be more action when there are opportunities for us to come together and take charge of how our images are written and presented.

If you're interested in appearing in next year's issue you can email: purplemag at gmail.com

The website is here for past downloads:
purplemag.com

Shine on
-PZ

six blocks east of mars said...

Thanks for the info, Purple Zoe. I'll definitely submit to Purple Mag.