I just ran across the sad news in Duotrope the other day that ROF is, again, going to cease publication. After a long and successful run under Shawna McCarthy the publication was closing its doors a year ago but was saved at the eleventh hour when a new editing team bought the magazine. The new owners are now announcing that the October 2011 issue will be their last due to financial difficulties.
It's a shame that economic conditions are closing book stores, changing the publishing world, and killing off good magazines. In the past two months, I've heard of three magazines that I liked which are going under: Realms of Fantasy, The Absent Willow Review and Enchanted Conversation. The Absent Willow Review was the first magazine to publish one of my stories, and about two months ago they also announced, with great regret, that they were no longer able to continue. Sad, as they were such a great venue for new talent. Enchanted Conversation tried to revive the fairy tale tradition, which I thought was wonderful, but they only lasted a year.
Economic hard times have hit many of us and I can be as bad as the next person about not contributing money just for the sake of donating, but these magazines being forced to shut down is a strong reminder that the result of withholding financial support may be that we lose some things we enjoy. Duotrope is an amazing and free resource for writers, one I use constantly, but this past October they reached their greatest shortfall in operating costs in more than two years. This month to date they are reporting 68% short and a year to date shortfall of 51%. Critters Workshop is another free service to writers that runs entirely on donations and the dedication of 'the captain' of that organization, Andrew Burt. I'm sure there are many more publishers and organizations out there that need the help of their readers and users to survive this downturn. For the things out there that have given us entertainment or support in the past, it's good to remember that they need our support now in return.