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Hello Everyone,

So I guess silence can indeed be deafening.  It's been interesting reading the Internet the past few days as it has wondered what will become of Realms of Fantasy's future under new ownership, what's the deal with the editors, the staff, etc.  Of course, none of what I have read--be it positive, negative, or just plain curious--has been terribly surprising.  In fact, I sort of expected it, so a tip of the cap to the Internet for not failing to disappoint.  I know a number of you have emailed me about Realms of Fantasy, some wondering if I was coming back, others operating under the assumption I was coming back and asking me questions about the magazine.  I'm sorry for not returning your emails, or for being mysterious if I did.  A lot of things needed to be figured out/determined.  Until they were, I thought it was best not to say anything about RoF in any sort of official capacity.  Things are much clearer now, so I'll be returning your emails at my earliest convenience.  Thanks for your patience.

Anyway, let's cut to the heart of it.  Shawna and I are both coming back to our old positions with the same division of labor and the same creative control.  Shawna is currently out of town, but she's given me permission to blog on her behalf about this.  As of today, we're both back.  Our publishers also want to bring back our nonfiction columnists and copy editors.  I've been in touch with them throughout this process.  A number of them have already committed to coming back.  I'm still waiting to hear back from a few.  When  I have a clearer picture about who's coming back (hopefully everyone), I'll share this information. 

I'm sorry it took so long for us to announce this.  Warren Lapine was very honest with us throughout RoF's run under Tir Na Nog Press.  When Realms folded, it was hardly a surprise to us.  What was a surprise was everything that followed.  Warren had offered to sell the magazine when he announced its closure, but Shawna and I had pretty much closed the book on RoF.  So when a serious buyer showed up with interest in bringing us back, we had to reevaluate our situations.  We had to make sure we wanted to go through the work of another relaunch, which I know from experience is quite a lot of work.  We had to talk to these new publishers and get an idea of what it would be like working with and for them.  We also had some questions about their previous work in the field.  So we asked them questions.  A lot of questions.  Then we spoke to each other.  Then we asked them more questions.  Then we spoke to each other again.  And so on.

We wanted to make sure about everything before we committed to coming back.  And after asking Kim & William Gilchrist (these would be the new publishers) everything we could think of, we've decided that we're comfortable working with these folks, that as the community comes to know them better they'll be comfortable working with them too, and that they want nothing more than to help RoF become the best magazine it can possibly be.  In perusing the Internet, I've come across a number of concerns that were raised about our new publishers.  Shawna and I made certain to ask about these things, and we found the answers we were given to be satisfactory.  I could share those answers, but being as I wasn't part of Damnation Books/Eternal Press when these incidents (for lack of a better word) took place, I really don't think it's wise to pass along information secondhand en mass to the great and all-powerful being that is the Internet.  That is a recipe for potential disaster.  That said, if you have questions or concerns, Kim and William are more than happy to answer them, just as they did for me and Shawna.  Before they bought the magazine, they understood that people would point out certain tidbits on the Internet and very naturally start to wonder about this.  So they're approaching this with eyes wide open.  You can contact them directly at kim@damnationbooks.com.

Our new publishers have already have found some ways to cut costs for the magazine without hurting the product.  They also have a wide distribution in the digital realm thanks to their book publishing business.  This could help lead to additional electronic sales for the magazine while it continues being sold on newsstands and through subscriptions.  They're very excited to be taking over as publishers for this magazine, as they've been fans of it for years.  It's comforting knowing they're familiar with the product, because it means they already have an understanding of what the readers want.  I think they're going to bring a lot of energy to the magazine, and I do believe they're going to do everything in their power to help it flourish and be around for years to come.

This post is getting somewhat long and I can't possibly cover everything now (nor am I going to try), but with all of this out of the way, let me try to cover a few additional things right now:

1) As has been noted, we're open for submissions effective immediately.  Guidelines for fiction and art can be found on the website.  They're the same guidelines as before with the same pay rates as before.  I've also been informed that the publishers want to use the same contracts that Warren was using with Tir Na Nog Press.  I can't recall hearing complaints about these contracts in the past, so I imagine this should make most folks happy.

2a) I know a number of you had stories with us in various states of consideration at the time of the magazine's closure.  When Tir Na Nog folded, Shawna and I did the only fair thing by releasing the manuscripts.  Some authors had been waiting for a long time for a response.  We had no wish to make these authors wait indefinitely while Warren put the magazine up for sale.  If you have a story that was passed along to Shawna, it's my understanding she still has it in her possession.  I'm assuming she'd still like to read these and consider them, although we understand that some of you may have already sent your stories elsewhere.  We're going to have to figure out how we'd like to handle this.  Shawna and I will talk about this once she's back in town, which should be in another couple of days.  I also had some manuscripts I was supposed to pass along to Shawna.  When the magazine folded, I'm afraid those manuscripts were discarded. However, if you'd like to resubmit your manuscript to me via email, I will be happy to print it up and pass it along to Shawna the next time I see her.  I know there are also a few you who had queried at one point about your stories and learned that Shawna intended to buy them the next time she did a buying run.  RoF ceased publication before that could happen and before contracts went out, but if Shawna liked your story before she's not about to stop liking it now.  I'm not going to speak on her behalf about buying it if you're still interested in selling it to us, but you should feel free to send me an email if you're so inclined to get the wheels in motion.  I know I'm not covering everything here, but again, when Shawna's back in town and we can discuss this a little more at length, we'll sort this out.
    
2b) A reminder that the old editorial staff is still intact, meaning if Shawna or I rejected your story in the past, please don't send it along again.

3) I know some people are wondering what will become of the Realms of Fantasy website.  My understanding is that when the new publishers take over with the February 2011 issue, the current website will remain in place for the magazine.  The Facebook account should also remain intact.

4) With the nonfiction, while I'm still waiting to hear back from a few columnists (just heard from another one who is coming back--yay!), all the old columns will be back either way.

5) It sounds like the December 2010 issue (the one that is currently a free PDF) should be going to press soon.  I heard an exact date, but I want to confirm this before announcing it.

6) It's been announced several times already, but again: all existing subscriptions are going to be honored by the new publishers.

And I think that's enough for now.  Again, I know I haven't covered everything.  Try and stay patient with us.  More information will be coming. As when we relaunched with Tir Na Nog Press, I'll be blogging about our progress regularly.  You may expect a series of updates in the coming days and weeks, but if you have questions now, go ahead.  I'll answer as time allows assuming.

And off to work I go ...

Comments

wikdsushi wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Yay! =)
Awesome news! Man, RoF is a phoenix, isn't it? Keeps getting burned down, keeps coming straight back. Looking forward to more stories!

Hey, if you get a chance, could you check to see if a story I submitted in January is still floating around? I haven't heard anything on it in months. The title is, "The Necromancer's Bride and Her Animated Lover." Thanks!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay! =)
Yes, I'm already seeing good-natured jokes floating around that RoF is replacing Weird Tales and Amazing as the Magazine That Would not Die.

Shawna should still have your story (thank goodness I kept all my files). We're going to have do buy more fiction in the very near future, and your story is in the oldest batch she has. If you'd still like her to consider it, she'd be happy to.
Re: Yay! =) - wikdsushi - Nov. 11th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC) Expand
jimhines wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this update! The fact that you and Shawna are both coming back is very encouraging news.
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jim. I saw your blog post yesterday. I hope this post has helped lay to rest as least some of your concerns.
(no subject) - jimhines - Nov. 11th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - douglascohen - Nov. 11th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - coppervale - Nov. 11th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC) Expand
spencimusprime wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
Out of all the speculation, this is the best news possible. Good work, fellas!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Spence.
temporus wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Doug, this is great news. I am very much heartened to hear this. There's a lot of great facts right here, that tell me the intentions are to continue producing the same great product, with the same great staff. To me this is the best news yet.
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
ckastens wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
Well hey, good luck getting back to work! :)
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Chris. Already at it!
mabfan wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
tlmorganfield wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Great to hear both you and Shawna are coming back; everything above makes me feel better where I had reservations before, so thank you for the information.
tlmorganfield wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Also, I was wondering if there's going to be a special submission call for the dark fantasy issue, and if so when would that window be (if and when you have that information, of course. No rush.)
(no subject) - douglascohen - Nov. 11th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC) Expand
Bryan Thomas Schmidt wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Changes
Have you given any thought to changes which might address the circulation losses and other issues? Do you feel it's a sign of dissatisfaction with the magazine? I, for one, subscribed for a long time and stopped because, frankly, the stories didn't excite me like those in other forums. In fact, I was often frustrated that the exciting covers didn't match the content. I also, frankly, didn't would have liked to see more fiction and less nonfiction, and thought the change to glossy pages was money better spent on stories. It did nothing to change my willingness to read/buy the magazine. On the other hand, although I spoke thusly with my dollars, I don't want to see ROF discontinue. It's an important magazine, even if my tastes don't match yours. But I wondered if there was any sort of consideration of changing the approach somewhat which might bring people back.

Sorry to be negative, but I imagine others will have similar questions. I hope I stated them kindly, as I tried to do so. I truly wish you well and hope this is a long term home for ROF and you both.
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Changes
First of all, no apologies necessary about the content of your post or the tone. It's fine.

Re: circulation issues, as mentioned in the post, these publishers have a wide reach in the digital domain. So hopefully they'll be able to bolster our circulation with e-sales. I know they're also planning on having a booth at World Horror Con and from the sound of it, they're interested in promoting RoF at other cons. Cons are a great way to get the word out about your product.

Regarding declining circulation, I think there are all sorts of factors involved here. For starters, the economy doesn't help. Also, while I don't for one moment blame free content online, well, it is FREE. So we have to compete with that, and make people say our product is worth their time, even though ours must be paid for. We've been trying to do that all along and I do believe we've made some strides in this direction, such as bringing in gifted columnists like Elizabeth Bear and Theodora Goss. Matt London too; his name isn't as well known, but he's been fantastic so far as our new gaming columnist. Now that ROF is coming back, I view this as an opportunity to continue improving our product and make it that much harder to resist.

Re: the covers: how long ago did you stop subscribing? Under Tir Na Nog Press we really started taking the covers in a different direction. We have a cover gallery on the website. Three of the covers we published under Tir Na Nog (Dec. 09, Feb. 11, and June 11) are certainly reflective of the content as these were interior illustrations for stories inside.

Regarding potential changes, while many things will remain the same (such as the publishers' desire to retain the editorial staff and columnists and keeping the website intact), I think some changes are inevitable. No two publishers are exactly the same. Just as Warren was different from Sovereign Media, Damnation Books will be different from Warren. So yes, some changes will result. What changes? Well, I'm still getting caught up and I'm still getting to know the new bosses ...
babarnett wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Yay! This is great news to hear.
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Agreed!
barbarienne wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear you and Shawna will be remaining. That was my biggest question. If the folks at DP had to re-launch with all new editors, I couldn't see how it could work without a lot of bankroll to support it until people felt it would truly continue. By keeping you and Shawna, we can all at least be confident the editorial side (and what part of the business side you administer) will continue to run as well as ever.
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
I think it's a good start. Now we all have to build on it.
will_couvillier wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
I find this amazing and awesome, and really, how I feel from this is hard to put into words. I haven't sold to Realms, heck, never even received the reject of "promise" from a submission. But that there are those out there that love the magazine that it continues to be reborn when a company cannot afford to maintain it, that there is such a great fan base for it that it cannot seem to die, well, I'm proud. I have no ownership, no familarship interest, but the larger picture sure does make me have that feel-good proud feeling.

Totally neat.
samhenderson wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
That you and Shawna will remain is a great re
samhenderson wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Oi, what happened there?

Anyway, that you and Shawn will remain is a great relief, and could make all the difference, as others have noted. Thanks for the update, and I think waiting and discussing and considering was very wise.

I do hope Theodora Goss is able to stay on as folkroots editor, since that did influence my decision to subscribe.
(no subject) - douglascohen - Nov. 11th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC) Expand
melissajm wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Congratulations, and thanks for the great news!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Melissa. And I'm happy for you too--I know how much you've always loved the magazine.
(no subject) - melissajm - Nov. 12th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC) Expand
graygirl wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
Glad that you two will be staying on. :)
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks. We're glad to be back. :)
pingback_bot wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
November 12, 2010 Links and Plugs
User charlesatan referenced to your post from November 12, 2010 Links and Plugs saying: [...] las Cohen on So Who Wants to Talk About Realms of Fantasy? [...]
aliettedb wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Ooh, very glad to hear that!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Aliette! I know we had a story from you that Shawna needed to consider. May as well take this chance to ask what's up with it? Feel free to contact me privately if you prefer ...
(no subject) - aliettedb - Nov. 11th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC) Expand
alexagrave wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Great news! And a quick question.
I'm glad to hear that Realms will be continuing on and happy to hear you and Shawna will still be there. =)

I submitted a story 5 days before the folding of Realms was announced (yea, I have horrible timing, I know). I presume that submission has been "recycled" and I should resubmit? In your post it mentioned stories already being considered, but I didn't see anything about ones that had just been sent right before the announcement. Thanks!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Great news! And a quick question.
Thanks very much. Re: your question, I'm operating under the assumption that Shawna hasn't been throwing these manuscripts away, but I'm going to have to check with her about this when she gets back. Stay tuned ...
Re: Great news! And a quick question. - alexagrave - Nov. 11th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC) Expand
zaivala wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
I've been with Eternal Press since April 2008; in Spring of 2009, Kim left EP to start Damnation Books. In January of 2010, Kim turned around and purchased EP, which was suffering from lack of adequate advertising capital. I've been Senior Editor at EP since then, and was elevated to Senior Editor at DB sometime around May. While I have yet to learn what my duties regarding RoF will be (if any), I'm excited by this purchase. If our efforts can keep RoF from having to go through another phoenix routine (or worse, die the real death), they will also boost the awareness and prestige of our EP and DB brands. In my view, RoF would have to be a really big drain on Kim's resources for her to let go of it for just that reason. So keep your hopes high, for ours are there also.

Hugs,
Moss
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Moss, and thank you for making me feel welcome to the DB/EP family.
zaivala wrote:
Nov. 11th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
You're quite welcome. Now you, too, can say loudly, "I work for Eternal/Damnation, and I love my job!"
eilis_oneal wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
I'm so glad for you all--and all of us readers and writers! This is indeed awesome news all around!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
So far so good! :)
thezenpen wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
Well done
Glad to hear you guys are still pushing through. Makes me wish I could help again.

~ Carina Gonzalez (former slush editor)
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Re: Well done
Carina, wow! Long time no speak. I hope you're doing well, and here's hoping you're pleased with the work I've done in your place.

Best,

Doug
chellebelle74 wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
Rock on! That is way awesome. It's always been one of my personal writing goals to make it into RoF (Wierd Tales and F&SF are the other 2 on that wish list), and now I get to keep trying. :-)
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 06:26 am (UTC)
Happy to help in whatever small way I can.
anghara wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
Could you check up on where my story that was currently on submission is still floating around in the system...?
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 06:25 am (UTC)
Title?
psamphire wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)
Great news that you and Shawna are back on board. Whatever else happens, it means the content will be as strong as ever.

I must admit that, like many others, my initial reaction to this new relaunch to this was a nervous scepticism, but I am feeling better about it now. Congrats to all!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much!
loren_eaton wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
Hey, this is great news!
douglascohen wrote:
Nov. 12th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
So far so good!

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Douglas Cohen

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