Neon is nine years old as of 2015, but without a solid group of subscribers to support the magazine it wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple of months. Subscribers provide the funding that not only enables the magazine exist, but also allows me to experiment with new projects like the chapbook series and free pamphlets.
With that in mind, I thought I’d gather together a few reasons why it’s such a good idea to subscribe. Some of the below are unique to Neon, but many apply to most literary magazines – and so even if Neon is not quite to your taste I hope that you’ll subscribe to something. If every writer read as avidly as they wrote the worlds of short fiction and poetry would be in much more robust health than they are at present.
1 – You’ll Be Supporting An Independent Literary Magazine
Throughout its relatively-long life Neon has never had any external source of funding. No grants, no Arts Council support, no sponsors or advertisers – the magazine is funded entirely by purchases, reader donations and subscriptions. This means that Neon is free to publish what it wants, and to take risks with short fiction and poetry that might not be a fit for a commercial or grant-funded publication. I strongly believe that it’s important to have a wide variety of literary magazines and small publications available – a diverse literary environment is a healthy one, which gives a platform to voices which might otherwise never be heard.
2 – Your Support Is Shared With The Writers I Publish
For as long as I’ve been able, I’ve made a point of paying contributors to the magazine. Each writer I publish receives a royalty derived from sales, subscriptions and donations. What this means is that – whenever you support Neon financially – you’ll be contributing directly to the writers you’ve enjoyed reading. The more widely-read Neon becomes, the more I’ll be able to pay; with enough support I hope that I’ll one day be able to offer professional rates.
3 – You Get A Bunch Of Free Stuff
Most issues of Neon come with a handful of freebies. Within the pages you might find a copy of Battery Pack, one of a range of free pamphlets, or perhaps a bookmark or broadside. Not only that, but if you subscribe now you’ll get a free copy of one of Neon‘s chapbooks with your first issue. This is in addition to the seventy pages of fiction, poetry and photography per issue that you get as standard – and all for a price that works out at less than a big sandwich per issue. I hope Neon represents good value for money.
4 – People Say Nice Things About It
Over the years, several people have been kind enough to say some pleasant things about the magazine. GUD Magazine wrote that “Neon offers variety, intrigue, and solid writing,” while a NewPages review said “As a collection, Neon packs a lot of punch for its minimal size. This thoughtfully-planned little book is a definite keeper.” Sussurus Magazine wrote that “In the pages of Neon, excellent contemporary poetry abounds.”
5 – Subscriptions Keep The Magazine Healthy
Each subscription increases Neon‘s readership, and – crucially – allows me to estimate how many copies of the next issue I might be able to print. A bigger print run allows for a lower price per copy, and creates a healthier margin, helping to free up more funds for projects like pamphlets, chapbooks and Battery Pack. These other projects, in turn, help bring new readers to the magazine.
Quite often there are also unexpected expenses that come with running a magazine. Postage prices increase each year. Computers break. Deliveries go missing. The income from subscriptions helps deal with these unforseen costs, and keep the magazine afloat through difficult times.
6 – You Get Your Name In The Magazine
As a thankyou for supporting the magazine with a subscription, I offer all subscribers the chance to have their name (or the name of a website of business) printed in the back of a forthcoming issue. I appreciate greatly anyone who supports the magazine, and I hope this is a way of showing it.
7 – You Get Feedback If You Submit Your Work
The volume of submissions received each day means that it’s simply not possible for me to provide feedback on each and every one. However, if you’ve supported the magazine with a subscription, purchase or donation (and mention so in your covering letter) I’ll do my best to put together a personalised response, and let you know my thoughts on your work – whether or not I can use it. Although your support won’t affect my decision one way or another, I’ve been told that the feedback is useful, and helps people craft and perfect their work.
8 – You Get Something Physical
The digital version of the magazine is, and always will be, free to read online. The physical version is a lot of work to produce, but I’ve always thought that it’s worth the energy, as there’s something particular about print that you don’t get from a digital file. In a world where publishing is tending towards the transient and impermanent, your subscription will bring you something physical to keep, fold, lend out, use as a doorstop, etc.
If You Can’t Afford A Subscription…
I try to keep the cost of a subscription as low as possible, but appreciate that not everyone has the disposable income available to support a literary magazine. If you can’t afford a subscription that’s not a problem – a comment on a recently-published piece, a like or follow is just as much appreciated, and can also help others discover the magazine. While I hope the benefits listed above will persuade you to subscribe, ultimately the greatest contribution you can make is to read, and I appreciate every single person who does that. I hope that – subscriber or not – you’ll keep on doing so for many years to come.