I spent much of the last week laying out the winter 2012/2013 issue of Tales of the Talisman Magazine. The issue is now at the printer and soon will be available at TalesOfTheTalisman.com and Amazon.com. You can already pick up a copy at the CreateSpace e-store. If all goes well, I’ll be shipping copies to subscribers and contributors during the next break from my “day” job operating telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Now that the winter issue is at the printer, I find myself at a point where I need to evaluate a few things. One of those things is the publishing schedule. We’ve fallen somewhat behind my ideal schedule for the magazine. I would have been happier if the winter issue had shipped in December. Another thing to evaluate is my task list for the remainder of the year. In addition to the magazine, I have story, anthology, and novel commitments I need to meet this year not to mention my commitments to the observatory. The question is how can I bring the magazine back on schedule and maintain all those other commitments?
With that question in mind, I have one last item to evaluate. Because we’re in the midst of the winter reading period, I need to look at our story inventory. When I look at that last item, I realize we’re actually in pretty good shape. We easily have enough short-listed stories to fill two more issues. In addition to that, I have a large stack of stories passed to me by first reader. I suspect I could fill another issue from that batch alone.
Back in December, I wrote a post that addressed one of the questions I’m most frequently asked: “How do you do everything?” One of the things I said was that I try not to bite off more than I can chew. I also noted that I should be forthright with people I’m working with about conflicts and deadlines.
If I work to get Tales of the Talisman back on schedule and also work to stay on track with my other commitments, I see a potential conflict this summer when the next reading period comes up and I suddenly get a new wave of stories to read. Fortunately, because the current reading period is going so well, I see a solution to this conflict. If I fill the remainder of the volume 9 issues this reading period, I could cancel the summer reading period and use that time to catch up the publishing schedule and keep up with the other commitments I’ve made.
I don’t take this decision lightly. I realize how much our wonderful contributors count on the reading periods as stated in the guidelines. However, I believe the only other viable alternatives are to let the production schedule slip further behind or put the magazine on hiatus—both of which run the risk of alienating readers. If readers are alienated and go elsewhere, the magazine will cease to serve a purpose.
I hope contributors will bear with me through the inconvenience of one canceled reading period with the hopes of improving the magazine’s schedule and helping me meet my commitments.