Indy electronic publishing companies thrive in emerging markets; Steampunk Tales completes a successful first year.
With eBook readers finally taking hold as popular consumer electronics devices, independent publishing firms are finding themselves in a growth market.
Emulating the style of the pulp adventure magazines of the 1920s and '30s, Steampunk Tales is a bi-monthly electronic magazine of first-run, original fiction written by an A+ list of award-winning authors. Having now completed its first year in publication, Steampunk Tales has published 7 full issues containing first-run content by over 50 different authors and artists such as Catherynne M. Valente, Jay Lake, G. D. Falksen and David Wellington. After only one year in what is traditionally a tough marketplace, Steampulp Publishing, LLC is thriving and profitable.
"We initially published Steampunk Tales exclusively on iPhone, but we were quickly flooded with requests to publish in a wider variety of formats such as Adobe Acrobat, MobiPocket and Amazon Kindle. We were surprised not only by how many people were asking us for these additional formats, but by the number of formats we were being asked to support," says John Sondericker III, Steampulp Publishing's founder. "We responded by supporting all of them, and our readers appreciate that we publish our magazine without digital rights management (DRM) wherever possible. If you provide a great product at a great price, people prefer to purchase it rather than make bootlegged copies. Our customer base is made largely of tech-savvy internet users, and their general opposition to DRM means that instead of protecting our product, DRM would actually alienate our customers."
Additionally, electronic distribution has enabled small, independent publishers to control expenses. "As we provide a bi-monthly anthology of original short fiction, electronic publishing has allowed us to keep costs down when compared to print distribution," continued Sondericker. "We are able to reach readers on a large variety of platforms in millions of homes worldwide. This opportunity, on the scale in which it has emerged is a new and expanding opportunity for the independent publishing firm. The timing is perfect to re-introduce the world to the 'Penny Dreadfuls', and the iPhone and other modern eBook readers are platforms that can truly do them justice."
Issues of Steampunk Tales are released bi-monthly at a cost of $1.99 USD on most platforms.