Hey Brian,

I’ve got your emails sitting in my inbox.  The ones asking for my support.  The ones saying that Fireside has been sliding backwards, that people drop off the Patreon from month to month, that without another funding drive you’re not going to make it another year.

And I’m torn.

I believe in what you’re doing. I think writers should be able to make a living wage selling their work. I think the current market rate of 6 cents a word is crap. I think short stories are as valid an art form as novels, and that writers shouldn’t have to be forced to write long form if they want to eat.

I also believe that the only way this experiment can be a success – the only way you can move the needle on the “pro” rate – is if Fireside is self-sustaining. If you have enough of a subscriber base who believe in what you’re doing, who like the work you’re putting out, and who keep paying you every month to cover your expenses.

***

I’m giving you $5 a month.  That’s more than I pay for any other magazine subscription, and I pay it happily, gladly, because I believe in you. But you keep coming back and asking for more, and at the end of the day I’m not sure what that means.

Is writing a losing proposition? Do we simply not value stories enough to pay authors for the time it takes to create them?

Is the market saturated with similar magazines, such that people are finding similar reading material for less? Or is it the “Amazon effect” – we’ve been conditioned that magazines should be 2.99 an issue and we’re not willing to pay more?

Are you doing something wrong? Picking stories people don’t want to read, publishing authors whose voices are tired and stale? Do readers feel they’re not getting their money’s worth?

You’ve probably thought about these questions, and a dozen more besides. You’d probably tell me there aren’t any easy answers. Which, at the end of the day, is why I’m torn.

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Do I look at this like an investment? Like a stock purchased in hopes of greater returns down the line?

Do I look at this like an act of love? Like a gift, freely given, with no expectations or strings attached?

Do I look at this like an act of defiance? Like a voice raised in protest saying loudly and for all to hear, this, this is what I believe?

Do I look at this like a leap of faith? Like a single spark dropping onto a log, waiting for the right moment to burst into flame?

***

You’ve proven that there are enough people out there who believe in what you’re doing to keep you going for another year. As I’m typing this, the subscription drive is sitting right at $13,500 – the bare minimum to keep the doors open.

You’ve said Fireside is your dream. Let’s dream big.  $19,000 is your ultimate stretch goal. 10,000 words a month, longer submission limits, and a submissions period guest-edited by Daniel José Older.

You get the drive to $18,000 by Feb 5, and I’ll take it the rest of the way. No strings, no expectations, just love, and defiance, and faith that we’re doing the right thing.

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Interested in seeing what Fireside is all about?  Check out Brian’s response to my letter, subscribe to Fireside, or join the Patreon.