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Strange Horizons needs you

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Strange Horizons is having its 2007 fund drive, and we need your help.

Partly that means financial help, of course, and I'll get to that in a minute. But partly we could also just use your help in raising awareness of the fund drive, and of the magazine itself.

So I'd like to ask y'all, if you haven't already done so this month, to do something nice for the magazine. We'd love to see you donate, but not everyone can afford that. But there are lots of other ways you can help.

The most obvious is to post in your blogs and journals that we're having a fund drive. But there's plenty more you can do.

For example: just say something nice about us. In your journal, in email to friends, on forums where you're a regular; at conventions; at your book group or local sf bookstore; on the phone with someone who likes sf; at your sf club's meetings; in your workshop or critique group; in your sf-friendly literature or writing classes; to your co-workers who like sf. Please don't be spammy--don't send out unsolicited mass mail asking for donations, don't post to forums where you're not known. And certainly don't be insincere; don't say anything you don't believe. And you don't even have to mention the fund drive if you don't want to. But I would love to see nice mentions of us appear more often, in more places.

Some things you could do if you're so inclined (and I know many of you do these things regularly, for which we're very grateful):

  • Link to a story or article or review or poem or artwork or column that we've published that you've particularly liked. (Almost all of the original material we've ever published is still available for free online in our archives.) If you're having a hard time thinking of specific pieces you've liked, or if you aren't a regular reader and don't know where to start, you might browse our awards pages to be reminded of some stories that others have liked.
  • Mention us in discussions of what you feel various publications are and aren't doing right. It often seems to me that we don't get mentioned in such discussions--I don't know whether it's just assumed that everyone knows about us, or whether nobody thinks to mention us, but it's a little disconcerting when (for example) I see people say things like "None of the sf magazines publish very many stories by women."
  • More generally, mention us in any discussion of sf publications. It's truly disheartening when I see or hear people say things like "Nothing published online ever gets nominated for awards" or, worse, "nothing online is worth reading." If you like us, help raise our visibility.
  • If you've ever submitted to us, even if you haven't sold to us, and if you've had a positive experience with our editors, mention that publicly. We strive to be friendly and polite to authors; my impression is that's paid off in community goodwill, but I think we're still below a lot of people's radar.
  • Just say nice things about us in general, if you feel positively toward us. You don't need to write a long screed about us; just mention us in passing now and then.
  • If we've published you, mention us in your credits when you're published elsewhere. I would love it if readers of other publications were to start thinking "I've read and liked three stories in the past month by authors who mentioned that they've also been published in something called Strange Horizons. Maybe I should go check that out."
  • And, of course, tell people some more about what the magazine does and how it works; see below.

All of the above is stuff you can do without spending any money. If you can afford to donate, of course, and haven't already done so, we would love it if you would do so.

To that end, here are the usual notes about us:

We've published new material every single week since September of 2000. (Except for one week of vacation at the end of each year.) There's been fiction every week during that time, and poetry, nonfiction, and/or art nearly every week. I emphasize this because in the sf world, it's traditional for smaller and lesser-known venues to have a hard time sticking to a schedule; allegedly quarterly magazines often come out once a year or less. We have never yet unintentionally missed a week, in almost seven years of publication.

Of course, that would be nothing to brag about if what we published was no good. But these days our fiction regularly appears in various Year's Best reprint volumes--11 of the 46 stories we published in 2006 are appearing in such volumes this year. (That means nearly a quarter of the stories we publish get reprinted in Year's Bests.) This year, we've seen two stories appear on the BSFA Award ballot, another on the final Nebula ballot, and another on the Hugo ballot as well as being a finalist for the Sturgeon Award. The Rhysling Awards regularly honor our poetry. For more about the accolades our work receives, see our aforementioned Awards page.

And we do all this with an amazing staff of about 30 volunteers, distributed all around the world. Nobody on staff receives any money for their work. Some of us have been around for seven years (we received our first fiction submission on June 27, 2000); others have joined the staff in the past couple months; all of the staff are talented and dedicated, and they do a tremendous amount of work to bring the magazine to readers each week.

The magazine is funded entirely by donations; fortunately, our costs are low. The fact that the staff are volunteers means that essentially our only costs are paying for material (and we're one of only a dozen or so magazines, print or online, that pay SFWA-qualifying professional rates for fiction) and server hosting. (Plus a small advertising/PR budget.) In the US, the magazine is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which means that donations to us are tax-deductible if you're paying taxes in the US. Each of the past few years, we've had two fund drives a year, more or less on the public radio model; this year, we decided to switch to just one fund drive, but it means that we need to bring in a lot more money than we usually do in a single fund drive.

As usual, donors will be entered into a drawing for one of our nifty prizes, some of which are unique in all the world. Also, anyone who donates $25 or more becomes a member, entitled to a cool membership card; higher membership levels result in other fabulous premiums. (But of course we're also happy to take donations in smaller amounts too. The minimum donation via Network For Good is $10US; I don't think there's a minimum if you donate via PayPal, but I could be wrong.)

I meant to make this a month of posting about the magazine--I was going to feature something new every week or so. Talking about the fund drive, talking about the Creative Commons licenses we recently added to various works (at the request of the authors), talking about specific pieces we publish--I want to get in the habit of posting a link to each new story as we publish it. But the month got away from me.

But it's not too late for you to help out. Please donate if you can; if you can't, or aren't comfortable doing so, then please consider helping us out in other ways.

1 Comment

If an artist has a Creative Commons license which would permit (or would otherwise permit it), I would cheerfully post one or more graphic images in my Flickr account to support Strange Horizons, for however much that helps.


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