Regular readers of the Internet Review of Science Fiction probably understand that this is, in large part, an all-volunteer effort which manages to pay authors something just above a pittance for their efforts. (In genre publishing, $70 per article isn't actually as bad as it sounds, but personally, I consider it pretty shabby and wish we could do better.)
We try to keep the magazine as professional as possible, but things slip through the cracks: sometimes we lose submissions, sometimes we forget to pay authors, sometimes we pay them twice (that's you, Mr. Utley). Some of the bits of text around the place get a little out of date.
Every now and then I receive a query: "Are you still a going concern? I noticed something with an old date on it!"
Our publication schedule—theoretically the first Monday of each month—is of necessity rather fluid, and so far we're regularly one issue shy of the full twelve each year.
Nonetheless, here we are, well into our third year of publication, and I thought I would take a quick step back and review for those interested where we're going. If you're not an avid IROSF watcher, this is your cue to proceed to the really interesting part of the issue, which is a thick bundle of interesting articles.
There are a number of projects that we have wanted to do over the years, but which have not come to fruition due to the time constraints of the editors and the development team. A quick inventory:
- We want to introduce regularly updated news items;
- We want to offer IROSF in more formats: MobiPocket, PDF, Palm Doc, etc;
- We want to spice up the forums with better features and smoother functionality;
- We want to streamline the submission process for our authors and for ourselves;
- We want to introduce some subscription choices that will enable readers to contribute to the financial stability of the publication and our authors;
- We want to redesign the layout of the publication to be a little easier on the eye, without cluttering it up.
I think these are the big ones, but there are long lists of bug fixes, corrections, and wish-list items kicking around.
Much of this comes down to my time. All our editors are volunteers, and all our editors are doing great stuff, and IROSF would have folded long ago if it weren't for their energy, commitment, and enthusiasm. When some have needed time to regroup, or have moved on to other ventures, others have stepped up. IROSF has become a publication with a life of its own, able to weather the vicissitudes of personal crises. However, when it comes to these kinds of fundamental changes to the publication, there is no staff of programmers to fall back on. IROSF has no engineering department other than Yours Truly.
So, as ambitious as we all are, it's not really going to happen unless Yours Truly devotes some full-time labor to these improvements.
To that end, I will be taking October, November, and December to work full time on IROSF and our sister publication, Æon Speculative Fiction.
IROSF is as large and as popular as it has ever been, and continues to grow with each new issue. More authors, editors, and fans read this thing every month. It seems only respectful to all our readers to keep the actual magazine itself on par with the quality of its contents, and I can hardly express how excited I am about the prospect of getting to work.
Reminder: IROSF will be having a party at WorldCon, Thursday night. Keep an eye out for the location to be announced. If you miss the party, make sure to track me down and say hi somewhere else!