SF magazine circulation figures

Warren Ellis reviews the circulation figures of SF magazines every now and then, and recently published this. I responded at Whitechapel (Warren’s forum site) and thought it might be worth repeating here.

Murky Depths has been trying ever since its inception to acquire a distributor but without success. Deals have been offered but the costs have far outweighed the gain. Gardners isn’t a true distributor so I don’t include them and their cut means we make a loss on every issue they supply to shops. We had steered clear of publishing reviews, concentrating on good prose and comic stories, but our readers wanted more so we have included very brief reviews which has received good feedback (not that we ever get much) although receiving Best Magazine/Periodical in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards
seems to indicate we’re doing something right. We’re not everything that people have suggested sf mags should be but we’re prepared to experiment with content.

Our growth has been through stealth, having tables at as many conventions as possible (just the UK so far). Several successful authors who appreciate what we are trying to do have supported us with stories and cultivating relationships with these writers is crucial in going forward for us. Ask the likes of Mike Carey, Robert Rankin, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Stan Nicholls and Juliet E McKenna what they think of Murky Depths and you’ll receive a positive response.

As yet we don’t pay professional rates, but Murky Depths is a quality product, and it’s that quality rather than remuneration that contributors find appealing and readers are prepared to pay for.
Our technical expertise has meant that only PDFs are available (not all the back issues as yet) and, with limited staff, redesigning Murky Depths for an app is unfortunately out of the question at the moment, although we realise how important it is to have branded apps.

Our circulation figures don’t put us in the league of even Interzone’s plucked sales (by the way, we were up against Interzone in the awards) but we’re slowly gaining new subscribers and our other publications are showing a profit, so Murky Depths will be around for a while yet – and in print.


3 Responses to “SF magazine circulation figures”

  1. I’m not sure apps for individual publications are going to be all that big. Some seem to be little more than convenient ways of reading a pdf anyway (the Maxim one, for example). I’d rather read my comics via Comixology, books via Kindle.

    Have you got the link to the Warren Ellis piece? The link you’ve given tricked me into once again watching my defeat at the BFAs…

  2. Sorry about that, Stephen. Link now corrected.
    I did have a good comic app on my iphone but it’s become corrupted. You could look at the full page or it would jump from panel to panel.

  3. That’ll probably be Comixology’s Comix app. It’s very good – I bought and read Bryan Talbot’s Grandville on the iPad version. Just needs to be a bit more up-to-date with current issues, and to get more graphic novels and trade paperbacks on there.

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