This message is in regards to Prompted Hell and, for that matter, WMP Dark Fiction Magazine.
The open fiction/poetry call for this issue brought in a total of SEVEN submissions. That is surprisingly low and unfortunate in the grand scheme of things. Rise Above was more than 50 and Blackberry Blood (the anthology I did in 2021) was a little over 200. Couple this disheartening number for Prompted Hell with the sales of Rise Above–48 total, 14 of which were printed editions and not part of our free ebook promotion (and I think I bought 6 of those 14 to give to writers and family)–and you can see why I’ve come to this decision: Prompted Hell will not be completed for release. There is not nearly enough demand for me to make this magazine a priority during what little time I have in my office each week (seeing as Rise Above easily took more than 30 hours to write, edit, and format), nor is there enough demand to pay for original fiction and poetry that will take months and months to pay back to me in the form of royalties. My family relies on me fully for finances and we currently live damn close to paycheck to paycheck. Since the release of Rise Above at the start of April, I’ve brought in maybe 25% of what I actually put into that magazine (if I were to really devalue my time beneath minimum wage, that is; otherwise the percentage is far lower). And sales have essentially stopped already (nothing PURCHASED in several weeks). So, I think it’s safe to assume a year could pass before I break even; maybe even longer than that. As such, I can’t justify moving forward with the cost and time of Prompted Hell if it’s not going to at least break even within a couple months. And since very few people seem to want to read this magazine, I doubt Prompted Hell will pay back to us anytime soon.
Originally, this statement was much longer but I decided to cut out a lot of the personal stuff. What’s important to know is that to continue forward with this magazine the way I have since the start of the year would not be fair to my wife or kids if it’s not going to help pay a single bill. I’m not going to risk losing them like I did last year. My wife was supportive of this project when it started because I had high hopes it would succeed and there would be a demand. But months have passed (I started Rise Above in January) and we’re not even close to there being a demand to continue. Sadly, this decision to cancel Prompted Hell and no longer offer paid opportunities is what makes sense at this point for us.
Of those seven submissions I received for Prompted Hell, all of them were good. Several of them were awesome. I’m tempted to name the writers that blew me away, but I feel like I shouldn’t in case they have any privacy concerns. In other words, a lack of good talent in my submission pool did NOT factor into this decision–I had content I wanted to publish.
I’m sorry to those of you that were interested in seeing Prompted Hell release but I hope you understand why it seems best for me to cancel it. The features I’ve already written for it will go to the newsletter (please subscribe to our Substack!) and website instead. I MIGHT make the occasional (not scheduled) digital issue, but they will probably just collect what I’ve already posted online and (if I can find a way) be offered for free. Paid opportunities will no longer be offered. Anything written will probably just be done by myself and a couple friends looking for an outlet.
Maybe one day the website and newsletter will develop enough of a fandom to return to the printed issues (like Rise Above) that include paid writing opportunities (i.e. original fiction and poetry, or even articles), but that remains to be seen. One can hope. But until the demand is there, I’ll just continue WMP Dark Fiction Magazine as a website and newsletter I think (maybe with free digital issues of editorial content from time to time).
To those of you that understand, thank you. To anyone thinking about complaining online about this decision, please don’t–I’m just doing what’s best for my partner and kids, and I hope you would do the same.
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