Open Letter RE: Print

Dear Potential NEEDLE Reader,

So here’s how it happened. I’m reading a Scott Wolven story in the recent edition of Crimespree magazine. Ink on paper. Usually I’ll head to Plots with Guns or CrimeFactory or Beat to a Pulp or a handful of other top sites to read crime fiction. But sitting in a chair, reading pages of greatness while the light leaned in through the window, well that was kinda nice.

So the next day online I mention I want an ink-on-paper crime fiction magazine. Turns out many other folks do, too. As Keith Rawson points out on his site, he and Anthony Schiavino of PulptoneAnthony Neil SmithJohn Hornor Jacobs and Dan O’Shea, as well as Ray Banks and others, offered their support for that idea.

The big support and manhandling came from John Hornor Jacobs, who volunteered for the art work. So I started kicking around some ideas and John started putting his design genius to work. He’s been working on the cover and the inside pages and, honestly, it’s just so clean and pure and perfect for the “just fiction” vibe of this mag.

So where are we? Well, we’ve got some great talent lined up. Really fantastic stuff. Jedidiah Ayres has a long story about a messed-up funeral director. Patti Abbott has a story about a messed-up bodyguard. Kieran Shea has a great Charlie Byrne story about a messed-up family. And what’s great is that these stories – and work by Sandrea Seamans, Hilary Davidson, Kent Gowran and some surprises I want to leave for later – are so tight and clean and active. The characters are messed-up and each story is put together so well. Someone clever could probably say something about what a beautiful contrast that is.

Basically, John and I want the magazine to get out of the way of the stories. And that’s the way he’s designing the layout. And that’s the way we’re putting the stories together.

The ink-on-paper part. We’re making with the digital file and will have a POD outfit print it for online ordering. I’m estimating the costs (Yeah. I know. But ya gotta take all the info and give it your best guess.) to be about five or six bucks a copy. I think shipping is gonna set ya back a buck or two. The thing oughta get into your hands for under 10 bucks is what I’m saying. And I think that’s a good price for something like this. At the grocery store, you get one of those magazines about how to throw a blanket over your couch for a new look and it costs you eight bucks. Reading about Jon and Kate is around six or seven, isn’t it?

So under 10 bucks including shipping. That’s what I’m thinking at this point. And here’s where I’d like to kinda open things up for some thoughts.

Should there be a digital download available? I’m thinking not. The whole point is ink-on-paper. Still, some folks have asked me why I’d want to shut that down as an option. My answer is because the whole frickin point was so you had physical copy to read on the deck or in the can. You gotta hold this in your hands for it to work, I’m thinking. But we’re a crime fiction community, so I thought you might help me think about it.

I love CrimeFactory and Plots with Guns and Beat to a Pulp and so many other places – check the blogroll. But, as they say, this ain’t that.

You with me or have I got it wrong?




9 responses to “Open Letter RE: Print

  1. I’m with you.

  2. Kent Gowran

    I’d say no to a digital edition of NEEDLE.

    Or, perhaps, a later availability for a digital edition. Say something like, when the second issue is in print, the first is available in a digital format.

    The whole idea, as I watched it unfold last week, was a new print mag. Go with your gut.

  3. steveweddle

    Thanks, Chris.

    Kent, I like the idea of moving the previous edition to digital option when new print comes out. That’s good thinkin right there. Thanks

  4. Me, I’m a whiny futurist, and would really like a digital edition for like, $1.99 or something.

    Shit, I won’t cry about it, but I end up with a iPad (teehee tampons), then I want to take that to the terlet and read it there.

    My zwei pfennig.

    — c.

  5. I’m all about the print. I wanna hold it in my hands.

  6. Ink on paper works for me. It doesn’t need a battery or an ISP. So when are you taking subscribers?

  7. Well, I subscribed to MURDALAND and OUT OF THE GUTTER, so what the hell!

  8. Patti Abbott

    Here’s to five years of print issues.

  9. I’m going to be the kid on the playground who tries to agree with both sides.

    Once the iPad has been out for awhile and quirks are sorted out, i think it would be a shame not to jump onto the apple book store and pushing onward to the future.

    But it will be nice to have some ink on paper again.

    So, like mr Gowran said, how about to begin with the previous issue becomes available digitally whenever the next one comes out. Or just before, to help promote the one that’s about to be released.