Friday, November 16, 2012

"The Silver Dollar Saucer" flies again

Bryan Thomas Schmidt with Ray Gun Revival contacted me two days ago and said Ray Gun's publisher, Every Day Press, is planning a "Best of" anthology. He asked me to send him a copy of "The Silver Dollar Saucer", which RGR published in January 2009. I quickly did so, and I'm honored to be a part of the project.

Schmidt posted on Facebook today that "My space opera anthology, coming from Every Day Publishing next November, has the following headliners committed, with one more to come: Dean Wesley Smith, AC Ann Crispin, Mike Resnick, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robin Wayne Bailey, Brenda Cooper, and Allen Steele. With stories from Shaun Farrell, Author Lou Antonelli, Michael Merriam and more. Kickstarter and full expected TOC coming soon."

Sounds great.

I always liked RGR, but I write very little space opera, so I never really had a chance to send them much. I appreciated that  they published "The Silver Dollar Saucer". I thought it was a neat little story. A year or so earlier it was actually bought by Amazon singles, but I hadn't read the contract carefully and missed the part that said an author featured on Amazon Singles also had to have a book available on Amazon. I didn't at the time, so the deal fell through.

In 2009, when Fantastic Books published "Fantastic Texas",  I was able to include a reprint of "The Silver Dollar Saucer".

In the process of learning about the anthology, I learned that RGR is going on hiatus. I've cut and pasted a post from the web web site last month. It's a very lucid and explains a lot.



These is the message where We inform you that the economy is bad, readership (while strong for us) isn’t quite making the bills, and Decisions Have To Be Made. In short, with tomorrow morning’s story, the experiment known as RGR 2.0 will be complete. To quote Dave Grohl, “Without making a big deal out of it, we don’t have any (stories) after this. This is it, man. Honestly I don’t know when we’re gonna do it again…and this is the perfect place to do it.”

The Overlords started Ray Gun Revival magazine in 2006 in a wave of post-Firefly enthusiasm. We’re still in love with Space Opera and Golden Age Sci-Fi, and there’s still room for stories like these. We’re simply run out of resources to share more of them just right now.

So what’s the story? I wish it was something glamorous like juicy Overlord in-fighting or stepping aside to resume our recurring feud with that hack Ming the Merciless, but the truth is far more pedestrian: we’re losing money. Our gracious publisher, Every Day Publishing,  has been exceedingly supportive but has been taking a loss since we started a year ago February. Grand expansion plans never quite coalesced, and while we did publish some exciting content by some up-and-coming stars and some established heavyweights, the traffic never grew enough to put us in the black and we never quite achieved the critical success which might have changed enough of these components to stay closure. We had grand plans of selling merch and compiling books for Kindle and Nook, however, time and events conspired against us. Lee has been dealing with a life-threatening illness in her family (among other things), and Paul and I have both seen a marked increase in responsibility and required time / effort for our day jobs. Utterly pedestrian, but there it is.

In short, we’re running on empty, and despite bringing in some really solid support in the form of our first Overseer (Keanan Brand), phenomenal big-name interviews and serial novel publication from Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and the services of more slushpile editors (Slushmasters), we couldn’t get enough things going to increase our readership enough to keep paying authors at the rates to which we have become accustomed. While we could have returned to more modest token payments, I wouldn’t do that to our Slushmasters nor our readers.

That’s not for lack of trying. Slushmaster Anton Gully, in particular, really carried this publication for the longest time with the sort of truly devoted service which one wouldn’t normally expect from the wisecracking undead. And when Lee and I were frankly burned out, Paul Glenn and Keanan Brand stepped in to propel us forward.

However, it wasn’t enough, and that’s the bottom line.

So the final story for RGR 2.0 will run tomorrow morning. I’m very proud of Mike Roberts. We’ve had any number of friends who have threatened to ‘send us something,’ and as you may suspect, most of them never panned out. But Mike has chops and grit and this is, I believe, the second story of his which has won a sale. Well done.

We do have some ideas to do before we go radio silent. During this our last week, I thought it would be fun to get as many RGR staff and readers together over in a Google+ RGR hangout to field questions, tell stories, talk about space opera, and hatch new schemes for the future. I’m looking at Friday night as a possibility. Stay tuned here and to the usual social networking sources for further information.

This is where I’d like to thank Jordan Ellinger, Camille Gooderham Campbell, and Steven Smethurst from Every Day Fiction / Every Day Publishing. They believed in us when we were looking for a home, and put up real money and much time to fund and host and operate Ray Gun Revival 2.0. I mean, who can forget the masterful teaser trailer they wrote and produced? I still want to see what happens next!

Thanks to Anton Gully, Steven Wilson, James King, Walter Rosenfeld, and all our other Slushmasters. Steven has been with us since a year ago February serving faithfully as his busy schedule permitted, and Anton practically carried the slushpile for many months. I am convinced there is nothing Anton does not know (‘nothing he does not know? I feel there’s a double-negative there…).  Anton’s knowledge of the genre is encyclopedic, his love for story is evident, and his wry sense of humor is unmatched. If you ever need a reader – editor, you can’t do better than Steve or Anton.

Special thanks to Keanan Brand for stepping in and acting as a 4th voice of reason when we needed help corresponding with our authors, and to James King for 11th hour Slushmastering. It’s been a real delight to work with both of them.

So let’s talk about what’s happening. RGR won’t be publishing new stories for the foreseeable future, however, that doesn’t mean our stories are going away. Our publisher has expressed interest in keeping the site up and continue host the stories. This is good news and means readers will continue to be able to find and explore and enjoy the many great stories published during the RGR 2.0 tenure.

Technically, the Overlords and Ray Gun Revival are going on hiatus — we’re not going away forever, we’re just going to take a break and watch the digital publishing revolution take shape. For now, we are going to let Real Life™ develop a little. We’ll still be available via the usual social networking options. While we’re on hiatus, if you have any ideas for RGR 3.0, please hatch them up good and proper. At this time, we do intend to return in a year or three, and we want to take it up a notch when we do and take a run at the big time. Maybe we can form a kickstarter to fund the first year of pro-rate stories and come out of the gate with new content and paid cover art for Amazon / B&N sales. (I’m not actually allergic to making money for the publication, I’m just not very practiced at it.)

So that’s it for now. Again, many thanks to Jordan and Camille and EDF – they have been staunch supporters and great peers and I recommend them without reservation. If you have any questions we can answer, feel free to contact us on our Facebook page or get us at usual e-mail address, or privately at Johne Cook  / L. S. King / Paul Christian Glenn.

Finally, we’re hatching an idea to take RGR 2.0 out with a literal bang with a Google+ hangout later this week – more on that as plans coalesce. So for now, one last mwahahahaha!

Thanks seems so thin a sentiment to describe the deep and abiding appreciation we feel for you all and our readers, but there it is. Thanks, from the bottom of our dark and twisted genre-loving hearts.

The Ray Gun Revival Overlords,
Johne Cook / L. S. King / Paul Christian Glenn

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