• Keeping Interest, Rolling Releases

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments 4 comments

    Anomalous Press was a kind of spur-of-the-moment endeavor. My first attempt at online (and multi-modal) publishing, and therefore something of a constant challenge. Or at least something that I think of as evolving issue to issue, changing as we learn how best to get our phenomenal authors out in the interwebs and world. So after we looked at the site traffic and downloads for #1 we realized that despite my best efforts at publicity, there was a drop in the interest we were able to generate after the initial excitement of the launch. And since we have three months between issues, it seemed like we could try something different.

    After discussing different approaches with the editors, luckily some of whom have online journal publishing experience, we decided to try what we’re calling “rolling releases.” Issue #2 was shaping up to be a monster issue (and it is; the pdf is over 100 pages long!!) and so we decided to sort of parse the writing out over the “life” of the issue. I’m using “life” in quotes because since it’s digital, it’s never out of print, and therefore always alive. Immortal. Or a zombie…

    Zombie issues aside, it seemed like by highlighting a few pieces every couple of weeks not only could we maintain interest over the life of the issue, but actually spotlight each of the pieces we loved in the issue. It seemed like a win-win: authors would get individual publicity and attention, and we’d maintain an active website.

    Of course, any solution raises problems. The problem being what to do about the other formats, the pdf, ebook and audiobook formats that we make available for download. The website was going to be parsed out, but we still thought of the issue as a coherent whole–that’s how we designed it–so we decided to make the downloadable formats available in whole from launch. Solved!

    Or was it. When we announced our intentions with the issue, I was a little nervous about the response from the authors. Would they mind that they weren’t immediately available online? Edward Gauvin, who translated the Borgesian Marcel Bealu stories which were launched on July 13th, wrote on his blog that he thought it was a great idea, especially because of the enormity of the issue. And conveniently, he won the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Award for his translations A Life on Paper by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud the week before we ‘launched’ his work on Anomalous.

    But Merritt Tierce, whose brutal, intimate short story “Citizens and Nationals” is being launched in the last release-week, sent out the direct link to her work on Facebook. Which was totally fine, the authors were all given a direct link to publicize their work and we encouraged that. I just wonder if that doesn’t undermine the rolling-releases idea.

    So thinking about that, I decided to make all the web navigation through the issue (the side-bar table of contents, the next and previous buttons) live. We’re still “rolling” the releases in terms of publicity, but it’s all available online now.

    So we’re sending out bi-weekly emails, Twitter-length quotes and comments on each piece on both Twitter and Facebook, and updating our RSS feed. But the whole issue is available to read through online already.

    The question for me is, is that a good plan? Does it make sense to launch the issue as a whole, and then highlight individual pieces in sections over the course of the issue’s life? As a reader, would you sign up for those emails/tweets? Would it be annoying to get a brief commentary on a few pieces every other week from one of our editors? What about as an author?

    And what about other editors out there in the digital world? How do you keep interest in your site in the “dead” space between issues? Or is that an issue at all?

    I think we’re going to do #3 along the same lines, and try to get a sense of how it’s working. But I’m interested in evolving the project, always.


    Erica Mena is Founding Editor of Anomalous Press. She writes poetry, and translates, and makes hand-made books, and sometimes wishes she were braver. She moves more often than once a year, but never without her growing collection of mythical animals. She has been called Alluringly Short.

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    David Duhr

    This might not fit what you’re envisioning, but what we do at Fringe is publish one new piece every Monday. We have quarterly “issues,” so for each issue we’ll have ~13 slots to fill. Each new issue will launch with one new piece, and every Monday after that will bring another new piece. So for each issue I’ll publish 3-4 short stories, but they’ll be staggered. Writer A’s story will be pubbed a month before Writer B’s, and then in another month Writer C’s will go up. It works well for us. Fringe readers know that every Monday they’ll have… Read more »

    Erica Mena


    A great system – thanks for sharing it! I think these are the questions, and I like the idea of one piece a week (though for poetry, sometimes we take more than one…). But one writer a week seems like a lovely way to do it…

    Do you compile the “issue” into a single piece at the end?


    David Duhr

    Not really. I guess you could say that we’re always compiling the issue, one piece at a time. But you can click on the issue number and see all the pieces we’ve pubbed so far for that issue, as well as the issue’s “cover” art.

    Check it out here: http://www.fringemagazine.org/issues/

    So you’ll see that for 28, we’ve only run two pieces so far. And each subsequent piece gets added to that list.

    […] out pieces for Anomalous #2, which we decided to parse out over the three months of the issue as I mentioned in the last post. Also in the middle of production for Anomalous #3, which of course takes a while (all the formats) […]

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