Non-Paying Markets & Paying It Forward

This is the fourth day in a row that I’m writing a blog. That means I’m keeping good on my New Year’s resolution. I also use this as a kind of “warm up” for the rest of my literary endeavors that take place throughout the day.

With that said, I have a few disclaimers before I go on to the day’s subject…

  • This is MY personal site. The opinions and views written here do not represent those of the people I work with in any way, shape, or form.
  • When I write here, it is a stream of consciousness thing — I’ll probably jump around from here to there and back.
  • I use vulgar language.
  • As a person who has dedicated the majority of their life to music, I am extremely music oriented. That said, I’ll be posting a music video or whatever at the end of every post. It’s usually what I’m listening to as I write these things. If you don’t want to listen/watch or you just don’t care, that is fine with me — I do it because I like it.

Free will. You can stop reading anytime you like. You don’t have to press play. You don’t have to do anything you’re not forced to do. And on that note, today’s subject:

Non-Paying Markets

As we are nearing the deadline for Aphotic Realm Magazine #3: CLASSIFIED, I like to go around to forums, Facebook groups, Reddit, et cetera, and post one last “Call For Submissions”.

For the most part, it’s all good and fine; we get some likes, some questions, a share here and there. But without fail, every time, I get a person who snobbishly comments, quotes our guidelines, and ridicules the fact that we are a non-paying market. We do, however, provide the accepted author with a digital copy of the publication (if it is a print publication) in return.

More times than not, I’ll look up that person and I won’t find a single piece of published work from them.



Here’s the deal: If you don’t like the fact that we cannot pay you for your submission, then don’t submit. It’s that simple. I don’t need to get private messaged, accused, and reprimanded because I own a publication in the non-paying market. I’m not stealing your story and posting it and then not paying you. The people that submit read the guidelines (most people at least) and understand the terms and agreements.

Truth be told, I’d pay if I could. We want to work our way to that point, but let me shed some light on the inner workings of Aphotic Realm.

Aphotic Realm consists of four guys and a few voluntary readers I will not name in order to keep their privacy. We all work shitty day jobs that we hate. Two of us are family men with children to support. The other two have a ton of bad habits to support.

I’ll let you figure out which two are which two…


 Any way, back to it…

We do this out of passion. We do this to contribute to a community. We have not made a single nickel of profit. We haven’t even broke even yet.

But, Adrian, why are the issues of Aphotic Realm like $12.99 and $14.99 on Amazon? That’s a bit much, isn’t it?

Yeah… It kind of is. BUT…

To give a little bit more insight our profit margins on each of those issues is less than a dollar. After print fees, distribution fees, the fee fee, the cost of a roughly 80-100 page 8×11, full-color book is a lot of money.

Sure we can cut cost by making the dimensions smaller and by making it black and white, but where is the fun in that?

Why don’t you buy product in bulk so you can charge less? Simply, no capital. Not yet, anyhoo.

When Dustin and I set out to create this thing, profit was always a welcomed idea but never the goal. The goal was to create an aesthetic, create a platform, to meet and support other authors, editors, and publishers.

And we have.

I’d say we still have a relationship with 75% of the authors we have published. We also popped a few “published cherries”, and we couldn’t be more proud to be someone’s first.

I design the interiors for the magazines. I put a ton of time and effort into it. I want it to stand out. I want each author to have a personalized “mood”, consisting of images and colors and whatever else, for their story. I want them to be proud to be in the thing, not bitter.

Dustin designs and maintains the website and makes it look beautiful and operate smooth. The amount of hours that man has spent huddled over his mouse and keyboard, constantly trying to expand and improve the thing is baffling.

Chris is buried in submissions, but he consistently reads, notes, and provides feedback for every single one of them.

Shit, Gunnar isn’t technically an editor and he reads and comments on submissions more often than not.

Unless the story is an absolute disaster of words, we will give detailed feedback and ask the author to revise and resubmit. A free session with an editor. A second chance. We want people to improve at their craft.

Time. Energy. Money.

We have two of the three. When we acquire the third, you can bet your ass we will share the wealth.

Every year, lit mags and sites start up and then crash and burn. When you read why they end up closing down, it’s almost always because they’re hemorrhaging money. It’s a noble thing to start as a paying publication right from the get-go and I give all my respect to those who have the resources to do so, but I can barely afford my fucking rent.

Until then, if you have a story and you read the guidelines and it says they don’t have a way to financially compensate you, but you’d rather get paid, then go to one of the other bazillion publications that do and try your luck. I hope you succeed. I really do. As a writer myself, I want to get paid. But, as a publisher, don’t message me your grievances or hassle me about it.

If I never “make it” as a writer or if Aphotic Realm comes crashing down around us (god forbid), I hope that everyone who has supported us makes a living doing what they love to do.  I just want people to be proud of the work they let us publish. For now, as a non-paying market, I have no qualms about Aphotic Realm being an amateur writer’s stepping stone to bigger and better things.

Paying It Forward

Our friends over at Horror-Writers.Com are having a t-shirt campaign to raise money for the America Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Go and pick one up! 100% of proceeds go to them. It’s a great cause! GO HERE


This a great idea and it has inspired us to do something like this. We (Aphotic Realm) are already discussing a few things we could do in the future to raise money for charity.

Song of the Day

Enjoy the Mad Max style music video. This young, Canadian lady’s vocals are soul-piercingly beautiful.

“We’ll find our destination, can’t tell us where to go…”

And with that… Blog of the day is done. I have more stuff to do.



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