I am moved my blog over to my website. All the old posts and the new ones will be over at www.floresfactor.com.
I hope if you are subscriber here, you’ll join me there. Thank you!
I am moved my blog over to my website. All the old posts and the new ones will be over at www.floresfactor.com.
I hope if you are subscriber here, you’ll join me there. Thank you!
Sometimes you just don’t want to make an announcement and so you put it off hoping to find a solution that will prevent you from needing to do so. Unfortunately, I can stall no longer. Through teary eyes as I type this, I have to announce that Factor Four Magazine is closed now. There is no plan to publish future issues of the magazine.
Publishing a magazine is a lot of work, but I really enjoy publishing other author’s stories. But financially, the short story publishing world isn’t self sustaining. And over all, I could no longer take roughly $10,000 a year from my family’s income to continue to buy the content we’ve become known for. This is truly heart-breaking for me. Not only did I love publishing stories, but Factor Four Magazine was starting to gain traction at an accelerated pace.
We spent most of the last four months attempting to negotiate funding from other private sources. Unfortunately, traditional funding wouldn’t support the idea of another magazine because they couldn’t see a return on investment. We couldn’t demonstrate a subscription base, the advertisement sales, and issue sales needed to be “a good investment”.
I’ve had very poor success with crowd funding, largely because everyone is asking for funding on their projects. It is difficult to stand out. And over all I didn’t think I wanted to put myself through the emotional roller coaster of thinking I could do it, only to fail (as I have done in the past). And while we may gain one year’s worth of investment, what would we do in 2021? I couldn’t see a long term future in continually asking for crowd funding.
It hurts to make this choice. I apologize to all of our readers and writers who invested time with us for ultimately letting everyone down. I am passionate about flash fiction in our genre and still believe is should be recognized for the art form that it is, separate from the traditional short story. I am already exploring options to continue publishing but perhaps on a less frequent basis, such as anthologies or other methods. I hope to see Factor Four return in another form, but I can’t promise anything.
I want to thank everyone who supported us, submitted to us, and ultimately believed we were doing something great.
Richard Flores IV
Over the last few months, maybe even years, I’ve been saying I’d get back into blogging more regularly. There was a time where I was really good at doing this and for some reason or the other, I’ve let it slip away. I’ve intentionally kept my life busy and the result is that sometimes there isn’t the time. And sometime there isn’t the desire either. I blame depression for that.
Factor Four Magazine is a passion of mine and I’ve put my creative time into that. Two issues are under our belt now and I’m really feeling positive that I have good systems in place to handle it. I am still the only one on the magazine staff, so I do it all. Social Media posts, readings, editing, layout, advertisement, subscription management, and more. But you know what, despite all that I’m thinking of putting together another publishing project: An anthology for 2019 release. No details yet. But I figured you all could have the early “scoop” since you still come by and read my blog.
The moral here is that time goes by a lot faster than it used to. Publishing has become my focus when I am not at my day job or being with my family, and some of my writing has slipped by the wayside. I’ve not abandoned it by any means. I still have four short stories looking for a home. Plus I still have so many novel ideas to get out. The final book (maybe) of The Serenity Saga, a new novel, and possibly a sequel to Volition Agent (I was asked about a prequel too). I just don’t think it will be in 2018. I mean, fuck it is August already!
Speaking of August, it will be a busy one for me. 2018 has been the year of Conventions, both in my day job and writing. I don’t think I will have traveled so much in one year. I went to Norwescon this year, that was amazing and I hope they will invite me to be a panelist in 2019. Also, later this year is OryCon. I haven’t heard if they’ll invite me as a Panelist, so ask about me! But August brings two more writing conventions that I am excited to attend.
I am really excited about this one because I will be a panelist, and moderator, on several panels. You can see my whole schedule below, or you can click here. I’d really like to see you if you’re there, so please come say hello. I’d like to do a signing, but I’ve not committed to that yet, but both issues of the magazine, as well as my books will be on sale there. Space is still available, and you can register at the website.
Title: Should Kids Self-Publish?
Date/Time: Friday August 10th @ 4PM:
Official Description: What should young writers, artists and musicians (and their parents) be aware of before they distribute their work to the public?
Other Panelist(s): Kaye Thornbrugh
My thoughts: I am excited about discussing this. My regular followers know of my son’s children’s book, Daddy is Tired. But as a Self-Pub author, I am also planning to provide insight on that avenue of publishing.
Title: Flash Fiction: the Genre
Date/Time: Saturday August 11th @ 11am
Official Description: How do you define flash fiction — strictly by word count, or is there more to it? Our panelists reveal the ins and outs of this relatively new literary form.
My thoughts: Oh, boy. I love flash fiction. I love writing it, and I love reading it. Of course, you know I took that passion into publishing it. I’d debate the concept of “new literary form”, but certainly under recognized for the true art form that it is. As moderator, I plan to focus on not just what is flash fiction, but why is it unique compared to other short fiction. We will also touch on common pitfalls and how to address them.
Title: The Iron Writer Competition
Date/Time: Saturday August 11th @ 1pm
Official Description: The pen is mightier than the sword! Our contestants will take on the challenge of improvisational writing through several rounds of battle, each with a secret writing prompt. Watch writers test their story skills under time and pressure, for a chance at the title of Iron Writer!
I had wanted desperately to be a panelist at WorldCon, but I got to that party a little late. Though, I haven’t has very good communication from the folks there to know why. I won’t get into the controversy here. I will say that to redo programming of a WoldCon this late in the game is not easy and I appreciate that effort for sure.
But, I am very excited to attend. I haven’t attended at WorldCon since my first one in San Antonio. San Jose is well know place for me. I am originally from the Bay Area, and I visited San Jose very regularly when I lived there. Of course you all know my fan status of the San Jose Sharks. You also likely know that I am big fan of John Picacio, the Art Guest of Honor. He also created the Mexicanx Initiative. I, along with so many others, donated a membership to this cause. In total 50 memberships were sponsored so that we can ensure that the “World” part of WorldCon is represented.
All things aside, I am excited to attend WorldCon again. I likely won’t get to Dublin next year, but I hope to attend the year after that as well.
I started off this blog with the idea that I’d do a post on how to improve your odds of getting accepted to Factor Four Magazine. But then I got to thinking, that’s no way to start of 2018. Instead I thought I’d get a short post going about things to expect in 2018. The positives this year is going to bring. And hopefully not curse myself along way.
First off is the elephant in the room. Today I finished selecting the stories for Issue 1 of Factor Four Magazine. I read nearly 600 stories to get to the point of accepting just 16. There was a lot of good fiction in that reading queue. I must admit I was overwhelmed by the task at first. It took only 6 weeks to hit 600 submissions and the speed only seems to be picking up. To top that off, I really had trouble getting down to just a few stories to select. Even the short list was hard to whittle down to these final 16. Once contracts are signed, the Factor Four Magazine Twitter account will be announcing the authors selected. April 2018 is the release of Issue 1. The next task in contracts, and cover art selection.
I have two short fiction stories of my own coming out this year. I haven’t got a date yet on either. The first will be released in Mind Candy Vol. 1, this was my first pro-rate sale. The other will be read on The Centropic Oracle. I can’t wait to hear a story of mine read aloud. I have a couple other short fiction pieces that I haven’t sold yet. I’ll be looking for a home for those this year also.
The urge to write is strong, the time to write is not there. Work has be crazy. But I am also the only reader for Factor Four Magazine. All that being said, I am making a goal to get Book 3 of The Serenity Saga out this year. I am also still toying around with another Volition Agent novel and possible sequel to Broken Trust. I have a fourth novel idea that will likely work on a stand alone basis. But the first priority is to continue Christina Serenity’s story.
2018 is the year of conventions for me. I am looking to speak at a few again. My longtime followers know that I loved speaking at DetCon1. I’ve applied to speak at SpoCon and plan to apply at OryCon. I may even apply to talk at VCon in Vancouver. I plan to attend WorldCon in San Jose and Norwescon in Seattle as well, but I was too late to apply to talk at either of those. I’ve created an “appearances” page on my website. If you are going to any of these conventions, I’d love to say hello. I’d also like to say how great it is to have so many Science Fiction Conventions locally.
Many of you may know that I really love the Washington State Parks system. Unfortunately I didn’t get to many of the state parks in 2017. This year I hope to spend some weekends out exploring nature again. The exercise is great, but the calm and peacefulness of nature is a great clearing of the mind.
I’d also like to take a vacation of some type again this year. I took my family to Disneyland last year, it was the first time for my kids. My wife and I hadn’t been since 2004. I love that place. I didn’t want to leave. I don’t think I’ll get to Disneyland in 2018, but I’d like to take the kids on another memorable vacation. Life is worth more to me than just working. That’s why I made it a point to start publishing again, and I also want to make it a priority to enjoy the time with my family while the kids are young.
The last one is that I’ve made it a point to get back to being financially stable. It did pretty well until the end of the year. So this year I am making more of a point of creating a savings account. It seems counterproductive to launch a magazine and plan a lot of trips. But I have a financial road-map that I’ve made and it seems to be working out well.
So that is my plan for 2018. We shall see how it all plays out. But it sounds like I have a busy year ahead of me.
I always tend to find myself so busy in the month of November that I never get to participate in Novel Writing Month. 2017 is still the same, but for good reason.
The main thing that is taking up my time is the planning of Factor Four Magazine. Authors will be pleased to know that the submissions are expected to open on time on December 1. Readers will be excited to hear that subscriptions are coming along great.
In fact, we opened for subscriptions today. We are going to publish our stories on our website, in an eBook, and in print form. I’m excited to say we have a subscription option for all of these, including one that is only $4 per year (stay tuned, you may be able to get it cheaper).
First, all our subscription options come with free online access to all past issues. Now, I know we don’t have past issues right now. But in the future we will. And how nice will it be to pay just $4 and not only get the next four issues but all our past ones too.
We also have the option for auto renew and one time, so the preference and option choices are totally up to you.
Now our print issue is available to both US/Canada residents and International. You can get 25 % off if you subscribe before the year ends.
Now for the hook up. I have this handy little discount code that will get you an online or eReader subscription for just $1. Yep, just $1 for the year. Just use: RF4FFMSOCIAL as the discount code.
Now only the first 50 people to use that will get it and, of course, I’ll be sharing it on Twitter and Facebook. But don’t worry, if you follow Factor Four Magazine of Twitter or Facebook, they each have a code valid for 50 uses as well.
Advertising options are up as well as most of the other pages. I was hoping to get volunteers up by Thanksgiving, but that may not happen. I am currently looking for people to join me on my editorial staff. I just have to get that together.
Now to figure out the Submissions engine. Happy reading!
I’ve spent a lot of time hinting and implying that I just might want to start publishing fiction again. Most of you know that I really miss putting our Plasma Frequency. Well, I’ve made the choice to return to publishing with an all new publication, Factor Four Magazine.
The website is still being built, but I couldn’t wait to share the plans for this great magazine. Some of this information could change, but this is the idea for the magazine.
We will publish mostly flash fiction. We will have a 2,000 word count per story maximum, but all of the budgeting for the issue is based on 1,000 words or less. So that basically means we will focus our acceptances on true flash fiction. We will publish Speculative Fiction with a focus on Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural, Super Hero, or the blend of any of those genres.
We will be a magazine published to an adult audience so some foul language and sexual content would be accepted provided it fits with a well rounded story. Erotica will not be published.
Theme issues will play some part in our publication, but I am not sure at what level. I’ll definitely want to do holiday themes when the time of year comes around.
We will be a quarterly publication featuring 16 stories per issue. The first issue will be released in April 2018. We will publish in print, eReader, and online format with subscriptions and single issue options for these. The cost per issue and subscription has not yet been decided.
Since much of my readership are authors, I am sure most of you are wondering what we will be paying authors. We will pay 8 US cents per word or US $60 which ever is more. We also plan to do some other compensation with regard to a free issue, but that isn’t a guarantee.
Artists will be paid $200 per issue for cover art.
Submissions are planned to open December 1 this year.
While I have said “we” a lot currently the staff on this magazine consists of just myself. I’d like to be bring back some of the editorial practices used at Plasma Frequency, but I’ll need an editorial staff. While I haven’t officially started asking anyone to join the team, if you are interested you can always reach out to me. Eventually I will have more explanations of opportunities on the website.
I can’t wait to get this magazine started and return to publishing great fiction!
The day after I announced that I would be working with the folks at SciFan Magazine, they announced they were shutting down. It was a shock to me, they didn’t warn me it was coming. It just sort of happened. But, when a magazine shuts down, that seems to be the case. One day they’re there, the next day they can be gone.
Magazine publishing is very much a sink or swim business and, as my headline states, you are swept out to sea. Not only are you trying to swim, you are getting hit by wave after wave. Money problems, competitive market, unexpected expenses, standing out in the crowd, being discovered; wave after wave hits. To get above the waves you need a boat. And building a boat while you are trying to keep your head above water just doesn’t work out often.
Plasma Frequency was very successful as a semi-pro publication. We were on the low end of that “semi-pro” pay rate, but we attracted great authors and put out great stories. We tried to be innovative in the way we communicated with authors, and we attracted good people to our editorial staff. And then a huge wave of financial woes hit us. We’d just patched the raft we’d created when the next one hit. And we sunk.
I spiraled down into a depression and there was no recovery for me until very recently. But even through my worst times, I missed doing it. And now I find myself strongly considering publishing again. But this time, I’m trying to build the boat before shoving off into the sea. I am taking the things I’ve learned from Plasma Frequency, and I am going to apply them to the design.
Plasma Frequency is not returning, I’ll make that clear. That boat sank and it is time to move forward. I also must be clear that I could very well decide this boat isn’t seaworthy and not pursue this any further. But, I can say that I am getting very close to testing the waters and I am eager to see if it is possible to happen again.
I still really haven’t got back into the regular swing of writing since my nearly three year hiatus. Even regular blogging still eludes me. I don’t like to do several self promoting posts in a row, but at the same time I believe writing anything is better than nothing. So I thought I’d touch on a few updates since I last blogged.
But first, today in International Podcast Day, so what better time to announce that I have sold another short story. My story, “Compassionate Death” was sold to the Canadian Podcast, The Centropic Oracle. This marks another first for me. I’ve never sold a story to a podcast before. I also had to explain to my Dad what a Podcast was.
No information on when this story will be published, but given that today was International Podcast day, I thought I’d share the news now. Besides, the folks at The Centropic Oracle deserve a name drop.
You may also remember that I sold a short story to SciFan Magazine, which was my first print sale. I also blogged a little bit about my thoughts on the publishing side and may have mentioned that I missed doing it. This prompted SciFan Magazine Co-Producer, Dayne Edmondson, to contact me. They asked if I’d join their review team and I accepted.
Now I will preface this with the fact that SciFan Magazine is doing amazing things and I am happy to be a part of their review team. However, it has only made me miss publishing magazines that much more. I will say that I am glad to see a magazine like SciFan. This magazine has huge potential and could go somewhere big in the near future. I am so glad to be a part of it. Still, I hope someday to publish a magazine of my own again. Someday.
But, on the topic of SciFan Magazine, I am giving away a signed copy of Issue 9 as well as some other great prizes. Enter through Rafflecopter today!
There are several great prizes and you can earn more point each day by simply tweeting.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go send a few more short stories off to other great publications. Wish me luck!
Issue 9 was released to day and features my short story “The Last Visit”. It is a first for me, in that this is the first short story I’ve sold to a print publication. So while I have sold several shorts, I have never had a short story printed on a sheet of paper. That is really exciting to me. Most of you that follow me know that I love the print medium for reading far more than digital, so this is a huge step for me. I should also mention it is my first, first person short story.
“The Last Visit” explores several ideas. The more obvious is the one that SciFan calls out in their promo:
If technology allowed the dead to visit their loved ones, even just once a year, how would it change the way we mourn? Would it be as pleasant of an experience as we think it should be?
But there is a few more subtle messages in there. Can we really change the way we respond to situations, even after a devastating situation? Can an angry person ever really change? And at the end, without too many spoilers, where does that second thought about a situation come from? What makes us stop and think about the actions we are about to take?
I originally wrote this short story in May of 2015. It was another one, as many of my short stories are, inspired by a dream (or rather a nightmare) that I had. It was very emotional for me to write, and I was very literally sobbing as I finished it. Tears falling onto the keyboard, I managed to get it on ‘paper’ and immediately walked away from the computer. I had to. From there, I didn’t really touch it. I didn’t even shop it with any markets that I can recall.
I shopped it around when I made a decision to dust off some old stuff and get it out there. And there is where SciFan comes in!
You may be noticing a trend here. A lot of my short stories revolve around death. My first sale, “Death Watch” started that. But, I have a bit of a preoccupied thought of death and if it can stopped, scheduled, or even the idea of a return from death.
So what else am I shopping right now? Well, I have three more short stories, flash fiction that focus on death. One is more of a tongue-in-cheek on how Death is hired and hints at a future novel project.
I also have a fantasy piece out that put humor on how worlds are created and a Science Fiction story about what the future workforce may look line.
As always I have my novel projects upcoming too, but that is another post.
I encourage you to check out Issue 9 of SciFan Magazine! Let them know what you think to “The Last Visit.”
I recently had a story accepted by SciFan Magazine and though they have yet to release my story in one of their issues, I did start reading their magazine. One of the things I came across this post of theirs.
It got me thinking about my time publishing Plasma Frequency and the struggle it was to come up with funding from time to time. Magazine publishing is a hard market to stand out in, and I’d like to think that Plasma Frequency stood out in a positive way.
I said it all the time, but I really did have a great team of volunteers behind the magazine and, though I funded it, I was only a small part of the process.
The point of all this: I miss publishing.
I miss reading awesome stories from talented authors. I miss losing sleep over whose story I’d have to reject. I miss the awesome editors I worked with to put out the magazine. I miss the way we tackled author feedback. I miss post shares of the favorites and the author shares of their work. And I miss collecting each issue.
It is hard to publish a magazine. It is not easy.
First, there are a shitload of magazines out there. And for each shitload there is a fuckton of good ones. So many of them already have established reader bases and your only hope to find readers is to advertise to them.
Marketing a magazine isn’t easy at all. First, most magazines don’t make a whole lot of money if any. They rely on either the editor’s income, donations, or in magazine advertising. Selling issues is hard enough as it is because so many good magazine publish their content 100% free online. Then you have to find target an audience and get readers.
Now before anyone gets excited, I am not bringing back Plasma Frequency. Even if I do return to publishing, it will be a different magazine all together. Or maybe anthologies?? I’m not hinting at anything… honestly.
I think the point I am trying to make is to take time for your genre’s magazines too. Read them, share them, donate if you want, but take the time to read magazines too. We need new markets to join and we need them to mature.