When I launched the first Fireside Kickstarter 10 years ago, it was an experiment in online publishing and crowdfunding, and an attempt to hike the standard of pay for writers up much higher than was considered the norm at the time. I wasn’t sure that first campaign would succeed, and back then I would never have guessed that we’d be where we are today, 100 issues into a run of amazing fiction, poetry, essays, art, editing, and more.
But nothing lasts forever, and sadly it’s time to draw things to a close. When I stepped back in as owner last year, I had big hopes of taking Fireside forward for years to come. But unfortunately life had other ideas, between major increases last fall to my responsibilities at my day job and a series of difficult life events that have made it impossible for me to continue Fireside while maintaining any semblance of mental and physical health. Compounding that, even though we made progress in adding subscribers, Fireside is still losing a lot of money each month, and the circumstances described above also got in the way of implementing additional plans to bring in more funds.
This was a really difficult decision to make, but between the time and financial considerations, I can’t find a path forward. Fireside has an incredible legacy, and I don’t want that to be marred by a slow, struggling death. The best thing for the magazine is to allow it to close with grace and dignity once we’ve published all the stories and poems we currently have under contract, as well as two books that have been in the works for a long time. (More on those soon in a future post!)
So what does this mean practically?
Our publisher, L. D. Lewis, and managing editor, Chelle Parker, are both staying on through June to help wrap up our publishing commitments. They’ve both done incredible work for Fireside, and I wouldn’t have even been able to consider taking over again without their help. I will be forever grateful to them.
As mentioned, we have two more books coming out this year, but our current books will only be available from Fireside until April; if you’ve been waiting to snag one, don’t wait much longer!
While Fireside Magazine will no longer be accepting submissions, we have enough content under contract to continue publishing into September, both through our usual ebooks and weekly stories released online. Those ebooks, however, will switch from monthly to quarterly, so subscribers will be receiving guest editor Hal Y. Zhang’s entire run in April and guest editor L. M. Davis’s entire run in July. (We had already made the decision to shift from monthly ebooks to quarterly before it became clear we’d be closing, and from a production standpoint it made sense to stick to that plan, even if only for two issues.) Everything we’ve published in the magazine will remain available online.
If you’re a paid monthly subscriber, either through Patreon or directly, for simplicity we’re not making any changes to billing; if you’re a subscriber in March, you’ll get the April quarterly ebook, and if you’re a subscriber in June, you’ll get the issue in July. It’s the same amount of content as there would have been in three monthly ebooks and will still be billed monthly, just delivered all at once instead of over three months. (If you’re an annual subscriber and your subscription runs past our final issues, you’ll be getting a refund for the difference.)
Thank you to all of our subscribers. Your support has helped keep us going and will help us go out on a high note. It has always and will always mean the world that there are people out there who believed in what we were doing enough to share their hard-earned money with us.
(If you’re interested in another way to help us pay our bills as we wind down, we’ve made all 10 volumes of Fireside Quarterly available for individual purchase. These are stunning print-only books, and back issues have never been available for sale previously. If you ever felt like you missed out on being able to grab a copy, now’s your chance!)
I also want to reiterate my tremendous thanks to Mikki Kendall, Sarah Gailey, and DongWon Song for the financial backing they so generously provided last year. Staying afloat this long wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Thanks to every writer, artist, editor, designer, narrator, and everyone else who has ever contributed to Fireside. Thank you to everyone who cheered us on, on Twitter and elsewhere, who shared the stories they loved and the Kickstarters and subscription drives and all the rest. You’re an amazing community, and we have been so lucky to be part of it. We really did something special here.
Finally, thank you to my friends, my family, and most of all my wife, Lauren, for your support, encouragement, and love. We wouldn’t have made it half as far without you.
Brian J. White
Executive Editor and Owner