Thursday, August 21, 2008

Publishing Is Murda

This is regrettable news, indeed. The justly praised, biannual crime-fiction magazine Murdaland is suspending publication after only two issues. Editor Michael Langnas and his staff have sent a note to their contributors explaining:
We tried very hard in 2008 to keep Murdaland going as a viable entity, but, sadly, it’s just no longer possible. We can’t rule out our return one day, but for now we’re going to have to accept facts and wrap things up.

As upset as we are by this turn of events, we are greatly consoled by the support and enthusiasm we witnessed--not just for one doomed magazine but for the very idea of literary crime and noir stories. Writers like yourself are embarked on a labor of both love and stringent craft.

Magazines pay very little and markets are few. You’re thus asked to make the sacrifices and meet the demands of love (for literature, for the short story form, for the genre) while confronting the imposing standards of an extremely difficult craft.

That so many of you continue to write and work on such stories is an inspiration.

We take solace in the knowledge that countless gifted writers are out there laboring to create just the kind of quality dark fiction we were fortunate enough to feature for a time.

We wish you the very best with your work. We’re just sorry that Murdaland won’t be around to provide a home for it.
When asked to provide more insight into this development, Langnas explains that financial woes finally drove Murdaland under. “We couldn’t support [the] twice-a-year costs of producing and shipping,” he tells me. “We never caught on to the extent that selling ads and making any money from that was viable.” He suggests that, in hindsight, it might have been wiser to produce Murdaland as an anthology, rather than a magazine. “Then we could’ve been in the book section, dealt with those distributors, had a big initial print run (print more at once at less cost), [and] only had to ship out from the printers to the warehouses once.”

Despite the costs involved, Murdaland might have survived had it been able to attract more buyers. But it’s damnably hard to build up circulation, and without access to deep pockets print publications can’t survive long enough to pass that threshold. Murdaland didn’t catch on fast enough with readers. “We have to be big boys and girls and accept that,” Langnas concludes.

5 comments:

JD Rhoades said...

Damn. Sad news. I loved that magazine.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Aside from the quality and care put into it, I never met a nicer guy. He deserved better.

Ali Karim said...

Bloody sad news -

Ali

Bookgasm said...

I tried several times to order the second issue, but they never would accept my PayPal payment. Guess them going under is all my fault.

Harry Hunsicker said...

What a loss. MURDALAND was a great publication.