Another magazine of speculative fiction has closed its doors only a few issues after it launched. In explaining why, the people behind it complained that there had been little take-up from advertisers and readers, and that people seemed more interested in writing stories than reading them. This may be correct. However, they went on to say that writers and would-be writers should spend $10 a week (around £6) on subscriptions to magazines.
    Ideally, writers should always read at least one issue of any magazine they want to submit to. If you are registered as a writer with the tax office, you can probably claim the money you spend on such publications as expenses. If not, $10 a week adds up to $520 a year (around £312). That isn't peanuts. Add to that the cost of equipment and sundries such as paper, ink cartridges and broadband, and the chances of making a profit, let alone making a living, from writing recede into the realms of dreamland, especially as so many magazines hold on to your story for months, and have been known to fail to pay you as promised if they do eventually publish it. You could enter quite a few writing competitions for the same amount with the prospect of receiving a bigger reward for winning.
    Yet if writers aren't prepared to buy the magazines they're interested in appearing in, who will be? Is the answer to limit submissions to subscribers? This would probably simply result in the magazine receiving fewer submissions rather than more subscriptions. I don't really have an ideal solution, but with writers expected not only to provide the content for publications, but to market them and provide financial backing in this way as well, it's hardly surprising that so many writers are choosing to self-publish.
    Incidentally, in addition to paid print subscriptions, the publication concerned was also available free online. No possibility that this had anything to do with its lack of sales, of course.