Books. Lots of Books. And a Magazine.

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 7 comments

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I often have to tell people this, and I will so now. Apex Publications is not my full-time job. Apex happens around a busy day job and two kids. It’s a minor miracle we release any books, let alone 7 titles in the past 9 months.

Despite our extensive back catalog and a rush of recent new books, Apex does not create enough revenue to pay anybody a regular wage. In fact, it never has (not since my run at larger distribution, at least). Most months (22 of the last 24), I have had to pump personal equity into the Apex bank account to pay the bills.

So…why do I keep pushing money into what looks like a lost cause? Because I enjoy the people I work with. Because I still get a thrill when I’ve published a new book (like authors, small press publishers feel a sense of pride at the creation of a beautiful, awesome book). Because, on a whole, it is a FUN business.

The last two years have been infinitely frustrating. Sales are down even as the press pulls in accolades for books like The Apex Book of World SF 2, Glitter & Mayhem, Plow the Bones, and Machine. The rise of self-publishing and the popularity of Kickstarter has made it difficult for a micro-press like Apex Publications to gain much notice. Our marketing efforts return less value. Our consumer base has shrank.

I Can Transform YouI used to think “Publish quality books and they will come.” Since last December, we’ve produced a series of outstanding books: Seasons of Insanity, What Makes You Die, Plow the Bones, Desper Hollow, Appalachian Undead, I Can Transform You, and Glitter & Mayhem. Some of these are by new authors and some of these are by established popular writers (Tom Piccirilli, Elizabeth Massie, Maurice Broaddus). It hasn’t mattered. The promise of future awesomeness like the third book in our Apex Voices, World SF 3, and novels by J.M. McDermott and Chris Bucholz hasn’t mattered, either.

Apex has reached a point where it needs to float on its own.

I need your help to promote Apex. Leave reviews of our books on Amazon/Goodreads. Suggest our books to friends. Buy a book. Or buy two. Share our Facebook updates. Retweet our Twitter content. Buy a subscription to the Hugo Award-nominated magazine. Posts photos of yourself wearing our shirts. Or taking a shot out of our shot glasses (ohhh, I like this idea).

If you have writer friends, then suggest Starve Better or To Each Their Darkness.

If your friends want to expand their minds and read science fiction from diverse points of view, try The Apex Book of World SF.

Want an intellectual, entertaining challenge regarding how you view faith and the world? Then suggest Dark Faith.

Glam-flavored science fiction? Glitter & Mayhem. Weird and literary? What Makes You Die. SF-noir? I Can Transform You. Gender issues? Machine. Zombies? Desper Hollow.

I can do this all day, people. I have a book for just about any picky genre reader.

Apex Magazine Issue 48Apex isn’t going anywhere. And this isn’t a “Save Us, Oh Internet!” post. What I hope to accomplish is draw in new readers to our catalog while stoking the enthusiasm of current readers. I want your help in reminding genre readers that Apex exists (and that, damn it, we publish good books).

If it doesn’t happen, then what will happen? I’ll be at peace with the fact that not enough readers are interested in Apex–we’ve had a good run.

Our production schedule will drop to 1 to 3 books a year, at most. Our blog will become less active. I’ll have to commit less time to Apex. The way the company is funded will need to change. Our footprint on the genre will grow much smaller. I’ll have to transform the company from a small business that runs in the red to a company that functions as an occasional hobby (I could get into why this has to happen for tax reasons and the IRS and its definition of hobby vs. small business but that shit is boring). We’ll still produce quality work, just a lot less of it.

Keep reading, and help spread the word of Apex.

PS: See you soon at Context on the weekend of the 28th along with many Apex editors and authors: Janet Harriett, Lesley Conner, Tim Waggoner, Maurice Broaddus, Jerry Gordon, Gary A. Braunbeck, Chesya Burke!

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7 Comments

  1. I run a “competitor” to you, FictionMagazines.com.

    It seems like you have great products, but your processes for creating those products are inefficient and your methods of promotion ineffectual.

    I don’t think blaming the market is the practical way to improve the bottom line. Rather, learning from the market and adjusting is best.

    You’re not getting new readers because you’re not effectively promoting yourself. If you’d like, I’d be happy to share my promotion plans with you and help out Apex in any way I can.

    All the best,

    Doug

    • Hi Doug,

      I don’t really blame the market (didn’t intend to come across that way, at least). I blame my inability to adjust and make ourselves heard above the noise.

      Thanks for the offer. I’ll shoot you an email.

      Jason

  2. I just tried to subscribe to Apex Magazine, but I don’t know whether it took.

    • Hi Jan,

      It did take. I am in the process of changing the notification to make this clearer. Sorry for the confusion.

      You should have received a download link to the latest issue.

      Jason

  3. Toss me an e-mail as well (I’m not sure which one you’re using ATM); I wanted to co-ordinate (or at least collaborate) Saturday night at CONTEXT and drive people back and forth between our events rather than be competing.

    • Hey Steven,

      Girard is mostly handling the party side…he things he is a party-stud or something. :P I’ll email ya, though.

      Jason

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