Murky Depths’ demise
Starting a print magazine just months before a major recession and around the time e-books begin to gain a foothold doesn’t sound like a recipe for major success, but all good publishers have to be optimistic and I believed that Murky Depths was different enough – with it’s high production values and mix of prose and comics – to wow the reading public. Some people thought it was fantastic from the off, while others – some even who were small press publishers themselves, although I have to say most other publishers of genre magazines have been ultra helpful – didn’t want us to succeed, to the point of making derogatory remarks on genre forums. If great reviews, appreciation and words of encouragement were enough to keep a magazine going then Murky Depths would be around for years to come, but unfortunately goodwill doesn’t pay the bills – and neither does winning an award guarantee increased sales.
Optimism has, eventually, to be checked by common sense and a business model that, at the very least, gives a return that covers the full costs of production and distribution. We were never in a position to fling golden ingots into marketing and, in any case, I’m not so sure that the market for Murky Depths could ever be as big as was necessary to keep it viable.
So, to all those who whispered that Murky Depths wouldn’t succeed … you were right, but I bet you never quite expected it to be as influential as it has been.
The bottom line is, Issue #18 is the last one. No we’re not going the e-route, that’s far too easy, and no doubt someone else will pick up and run with a similar publication designed specifically for e-readers … but then maybe not.
While Murky Depths, the anthology magazine, may be no more, it’s far from dead and The House of Murky Depths is to continue publishing paperbacks and graphic novels using the experience it has gained over the last five years. Murky Depths is dead. Long live Murky Depths.