It was about two months ago that I received an alarming E-mail, “Chaos Theory: Stories Askew” was shutting down. This was a good little magazine, always worth a perusal and a regular rejection point for stories I had submitted. It was 8:15 in the morning- not a good way to start my day. But start it I did, coffee, breakfast, the usual negotiations with my digestive system along with a frank discussion with my paranoia. Then, at 9:16, exactly 61 minutes after the first e-mail, I got the news that my favorite free fiction outlet, Absent Willow Review, was also calling it quits. My day was ruined. Nothing left to do but bust out the chocolate covered almonds and start deleting story files. What is the point of going on if gems like this were not to be? Good question, and one I asked Absent co-founder Rick DeCost (check out his interview under my “interviews” page). Here was his reply:
Hi Andrew – Thanks For the email. As I indicated in our message, it was an extremely hard decision for us to make. We love the genre and have been overwhelmed with the attention the AWR has received since its inception in 2008. Our goal was to provide a quality venue for new and established authors and we feel we accomplished that. The reality of the situation boils down to economics. Being a small press we found ourselves faced with the dilemma of being to commit the time that the publication deserved to the fact that the revenue stream was minimal. We are a free monthly publication, and while we analyzed various models (we even queried some of our top authors for feedback) we could not justify going to a paid model. Along the way we had to drop some of our more popular features (the monthly newsletter, the Editor’s Choice Award, etc.). The AWR was truly a labor of love and while we are writers and editors, we unfortunately lacked the marketing the skills that were needed to build a viable advertising model. Reaching the decision was a sad one for us, and the outpouring of support and condolences we’ve received since making the announcement has been truly heart-warming. Kindest Regards and best wishes, Rick
Well, I guess that is that. Nothing left to say. She be singing. Many of you, my loyal friends and readers, have read Absent Willow and share my fondness for it. I loved it long before they published my own story. It had great writing and fantastic art- often overlooked in online publications. I can only hope that Rick and company find that the success they are looking for in the future and that such a future includes publishing. For my non-writing readers, you happy few, I want you to appreciate what a blow this is. AWR published scores of stories and equal pieces of artwork- all for free. Thousands of readers will be affected and hundreds of writers. It is approaching Halloween. What better time to say goodbye to this guy.