About this project
Fireside is a monthly multigenre fiction magazine. We’ve been around for two years now. During Year One, we learned how to make a magazine, and put out three issues. In Year Two, we shifted to monthly publication and experimented with serial fiction. Now it’s time to get the business end sorted out. When Year 3 begins in August, we plan to continue publishing monthly issues, each including flash fiction, a short story, and a serial. We plan to shift to a sustainable, ongoing funding model so we don’t have to do these big campaigns, and we will spend Year 3 getting that together. The only big change to the magazine itself is that we plan on making our website free, while keeping ebooks as a subscriber-only benefit. (More on that below.)
We’ve invited six fantastic authors to write short stories for us in Year 3, and Lilith Saintcrow will write our serial. If we successfully fund, we’ll open quarterly to submissions for short stories and flash fiction, starting in June.
And we are really excited to have Hugo-winning artist Galen Dara back as our illustrator! She created the art for this campaign and has been doing a mind-blowing job for us during Year Two.
If you want to check out what we do, the first Year Two issue is available for free.
The magazine was born with two ideas: publishing great storytelling regardless of genre, and fair pay for writers.
We don’t think great stories are confined to any one genre, so we look for them everywhere. We’ve had terrific pieces seen through the lenses of sci-fi, romance, crime, Western, non-genre, and horror, among many others. Every issue has a different mix and feel, and that’s been a lot of fun. Our only criteria is that the stories, as Neil Gaiman put it in the introduction to the Stories anthology, keep readers saying “… and then what happened?”
We also think that writers deserve to be paid well for their work. Fireside pays 12.5 cents a word, which is well above rates that are considered professional. (For example, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America qualifying rate is 5 cents a word, with an increase to 6 later this year.) Our rate translates to $500 for a 4,000-word story, which we think is fair considering the amount of time storytellers put into writing and revising their work.
As we’ve been talking to people about how to keep Fireside going, one idea that kept coming up was making our website free. By doing this, we’ll be able to share our wonderful stories with new readers and build a much wider audience. In turn, the idea is that we’ll draw in new paying supporters who like our stories and our mission. This Kickstarter is the first step toward that, and will give us time to develop this into an ongoing thing, rather than a once-a-year blockbuster. Ebooks will continue to be a benefit only paying supporters will have access to.
We’re really pleased that Lilith Saintcrow will be writing our monthly serial, picking up from where her cyberpunk story Maternal Type in Issue 9 left off. (Maternal Type is available for free during this Kickstarter.)
We’ve invited six terrific short-story writers: Stephen Blackmoore, Kima Jones, Daniel Jose Older, Andrea Phillips, Sofia Samatar, and Chuck Wendig. Stephen is planning a story set in the world of his novel Dead Things, and Chuck is planning one featuring Miriam Black, of his novels Blackbirds, Mockingbird, and The Cormorant.
And, as we said, Galen Dara is back as our illustrator. This makes us smile and smile.
All reward levels include Year 3 ebooks. Anyone who backs at $24 or more will also get an ebook collecting Lilith Saintcrow's serial and a postcard featuring the gorgeous art Galen Dara did for the Kickstarter (you can see that below), and we’re offering rewards that include postcards featuring the art that she will create during Year 3. You can also get prints; postcards and books signed by our invited writers; or have your name written into one of their stories, or your likeness drawn into a Year 3 illustration. (Fair warning, if you are written into a story, you may very well be a villain, or die, or both!)
Also, if you watched the project video or are a longtime follower of editor Brian White on Twitter (@talkwordy), there is one pony-related reward. This makes him very sad.
80% of our goal is budgeted toward paying for stories and art. 10% goes to fulfilling Kickstarter rewards, marketing, and costs like web hosting. And 10% is for the fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon for processing the payments.
We did submissions in big lumps last year, as we were learning how to handle that. In Year 3 and beyond, we will have regular quarterly submission periods for both flash fiction and short stories. The first will be in June.
Stories come from everywhere, and we want Fireside to reflect that. We encourage submissions from writers of all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, and nationalities.
Starting off for Year 3, we will have 6 open short story slots and 24 flash fiction slots. We’re hoping to add more short-story slots, which takes us to:
We know we have an ambitious goal, but we are hoping to do even more.
If we reach $27,500, Lucas J.W. Johnson will write four stories in the world he created in his Issue 3 story Remaker Remaker.
If we reach $35,000, we will add another short story to each month, bringing the total for Year 3 to 24, most of which will be filled via submissions.
And we have more stretch goals that will be revealed as things progress!
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform, which means that people come together to fund projects that interest them. Think of it as a take on the NPR model: you make a pledge and you get a reward. But the big difference here is that it's not a gift to a nonprofit; it's funding for a business. You're not making a donation, you're buying a product.
If you become a backer and make a pledge to Fireside today, you won't be charged until the end of the Kickstarter campaign, and you won't be charged at all if we don't reach our fundraising goal. This ensures that the project has the money it needs to succeed and protects backers from giving money to projects that don't raise enough funding to fulfill their goals.
Year 3 is going to be amazing. Thanks for taking a look; we can’t conjure up another year of great fiction without you!
Risks and challenges
We've got a good handle on this. We've been publishing Fireside for over two years now, and this is our fifth Kickstarter. Since we're not planning any major changes to our website, the transition from Year 2 to Year 3 in August should be seamless.
If there are any unforseen delays, we always are sure to keep in touch with our backers so they know what is going on.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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