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