In a burst of short story production last year, I wrote five tales in quick succession. At the back of my mind was the notion that when I had twelve stories I was satisfied with, I could publish a collection. At the same time, I had been musing on what I could produce in the form of a reader magnet. For those who haven’t come across this term before, a reader magnet is a giveaway of some kind that independent authors use to entice readers to sign up to their mailing list. It’s a fair exchange: I give you a freebie and you give me your email address. Anyway, I thought: why not use these stories as my reader magnet?
The usual advice on reader magnets is that they should relate to your main fiction series. Of course, this was advice I wasn’t going to follow. I had five unrelated stories on diverse subjects. If I was going to use them as a reader magnet, I had to package them up somehow. Then I remembered that one of my writing mentors (to be clear, he doesn’t know he’s my mentor), Dean Wesley Smith, produces a monthly magazine, comprised entirely of his own fiction (Smith’s Monthly). This would be my inspiration, though I cannot match Dean’s remarkable craft or productivity. But my idea was that producing a fiction magazine with a range of stories once or twice a year would be fun for me and attractive to readers. So here it is: the first issue of Microcosmos Fiction Magazine.
These are the five stories:
‘An LP Record’, in which a young man gets a job as a driver for a rock star but begins to wonder exactly who it is he’s working for.
‘A Pig For Mijnheer Descartes’, in which a seventeenth-century French philosopher living in Amsterdam learns a thing or two about animals.
‘The Prize’, in which a solitary amateur historian wins a prize draw but gets more than he bargained for.
‘Revenge’, in which the damage to a vintage watch leads to violence and, well, revenge.
‘The Assassins’, in which an obscure artist in early twentieth-century Vienna realises that there are people out to get him.
To get a free copy of this first issue of Microcosmos Fiction Magazine, use the sign-up form at the top-right of the page. And if you do read it, I hope you enjoy it.