This is the owner of Short Story Avenue, Joseph Reilly. Where do I begin?
Short Story Avenue was founded, by myself mid-2020 among a Pandemic like our generation has never seen before. It was strange times to say the least. But in that strangeness, as the Editor in Chief at the time, I found it quite humbling that so many writers in the writing community flocked to SSA, eager to post their work. From there, the digital publication grew and reached levels that I had hoped for, but was not too egocentric to feel entitled to. And for that, I am grateful.
I am grateful for the writers, the staff, the work that beautifully littered the pages of this site. It became almost like a community in itself. And the work that is up, the work that makes this site unique, will remain. It will be a part of SSA’s identity.
But in this great time of discovery and realizing success, as owner I’ve always been aware of the places that my own passions lay. As much as I enjoy running a digital publication and highlighting writer’s work, I need to be one hundred percent invested in the businesses I fund. And for quite some time, the direction of Short Story Avenue in being a digital publication for short stories, I’ve been dissatisfied with it.
I’ve learned that I have zero passion for running a publication. And for that reason, Short Short Avenue will be closed to submissions for good. The last submission will go live on June 8th, 2021.
Same Tired Model
For some, this may be a bitter pill to swallow. And I hope that is the case because it means you truly did enjoy what SSA has been for the past year. But I need to enjoy the work I do and the businesses I run. I need to be passionate about the projects I put my efforts into and SSA’s model just has not felt profound to me. And that is by no means a reflection of the work that lives on this site.
Let me really explain this. In today’s digital world, anyone can start a website. If they’re good enough, they can design it to a point where they can take submissions, grow the daily traffic, become profitable and then hire a staff. This model is so easy to duplicate that it is literally being duplicated every single day. Heck, this site was thought up after visiting a site called Ephemeral Elegies, which is so great. You should check it out for sure. And, at least I can admit, the idea behind Short Story Avenue was inspired from elsewhere.
What I’m getting at is that I hit a point where I realized SSA needs a new direction. It needs a better identity. It needs a content shift. If I’m going to own something, put my money into it, and my efforts, then I have to love it. Just ask my former day job (I quit the first day back from furlough). I also run a separate writing business and want to put my attention into that more. Scaling the site down to a different model just makes sense in the moment. And SSA to me, feels like nothing more than a stolen idea that became somewhat successful and attracted some great, awesome, gifted writers. Please know, you have been appreciated.
But, at the same time, there were a few assholes. A few pretentious assholes. And, I’d be completely lying if I said that those pretentious assholes did not help in guiding my decision in closing submissions. The fact of the matter is, if I don’t have to deal with crummy people I’m not going to deal with crummy people. That’s why I became a writer.
And look, you could argue that it’s all part of the job. That in writing there will always be a fan, an editor, a cover designer, an agent that pisses you off. You can’t avoid that. But there’s a difference. Running a digital publication is an entirely different beast; one that makes you, the owner, responsible for a whole lot of crap. And, hey, it’s been fun; it’s been humbling; it’s been rewarding. And I’ve met some really great writers. But at the end of the day, you have to be passionate about what you’re doing.
Same Site Different Content
So what does that mean for Short Story Avenue? Well, at the moment, it will definitely be content. What specific content? Not quite sure. Obviously it will be literary related.
The thing is, yes, this site was created to give writers a place to submit. It was created so that writers don’t just have to get rejected by five magazines over and over again. It was supposed to be a place where, if your work made the cut, you got published and could showcase it in your portfolio. It was a place where good work could thrive. But at the very same time, this is a website. It needs to make money. And to be honest, running the site the way it’s run now costs more than it’s making. And believe me we tried. We even did a little trial where we charged a submission fee like some publications do via Submittable. Not a single soul paid. We scrapped it. And you know, during this year I got into with someone over that ‘revelation’. They were utterly offended that we care about website traffic and being profitable. If you weren’t aware, Short Story Avenue has ads on it. And I don’t just do that because I love to see ads for Amazon Fresh next to well-written prose. This is a business, and whatever content goes up on this site, it has to be worth it in the future.
Just know, that whatever direction SSA takes it will only complement the work that came before it. We’re not just going to shift to articles about Pokemon.
In closing, I want to say thank you for all the continued support. There may come a day where I take Short Story Avenue into the submissions world once more. But at this time, I think that the year’s worth of work that’s on this site today is some of the best on the web. You should be proud of yourselves! I hope this post helped to clear things up for those of you who have been curious. Again, this past year, none of Short Story Avenue’s success could have been without you, so thanks!