On November 11, 2013, an anonymous commenter on an obscure fandom blog wrote:
I don’t think it’s entitlement to want to know that someone is reading and enjoying your [work]. Yes, no one “owes” it to the author. No seed is “owed” earth and water and sunshine, either, but getting those things can mean the difference between flourishing and withering. That’s just the way it works.
This has stuck with me.
There are a lot of good reasons not to get into the short genre fiction racket—there's less than no money in it, sometimes it feels like there are more writers of it than there are readers, "everybody" knows that "nobody" reads short fiction—etc., etc., on and on.
But I believe the capital-C Conversation of science fiction, fantasy, and their myriad and difficult-to-classify progeny is an important one. I want to both be a part of it, and to help other people be a part of it.
I love fiction. I've arranged the whole of my career to spend it engaging with fiction: editing it, translating it, writing it. Fiction—genre fiction, nerd fiction in particular—has shaped the course of my life. And every single work I've ever read or watched or listened to had to have someone to believe in it—a beta reader, an editor, a friend or spouse or workshop classmate—for it to reach both its potential and its audience.
I want to be that person. I want to be the first person to believe in a story that's going to change someone's life (or even just improve their day a little). I want to do it for readers and writers alike. For readers, because I'm just arrogant enough to think my taste is pretty good, and for writers, because I want to be the one to water the seed that nobody else is watering. I think there remain languishing unpublished great, important, and fun stories about nonsense like spaceships and wizards and dance clubs on Mars, and I want to be part of bringing them into the world.
I also happen to believe in the future of fiction and books, and I think the best version of that future is one with a vast plurality of independent voices. It's a future I want to be part of; a future I'd like, in some small way, to help shape. As a tiny, independant publication, we can change course with the impunity of an organization with nothing to lose. We can publish on any platform that helps us go where the readers are. Between my own priorities and those of my esteemed co-editor, Alison Wilgus, I'm excited to see what we can come up with, given the freedom to establish an editorial voice unconstrained by exigencies beyond our own tastes and ideals.
We can do it, so we will do it.