Thursday, May 15, 2014


THOSE OF YOU WHO READ THE I READ ON SPEC FACEBOOK PAGE, have already seen the following post by Diane Walton, Managing Editor of our magazine. It looks as if the Canada Council has once again cut our funding, so she is appealing to folks to support On Spec through additional subscriptions and/or donations. Diane writes:

THERE'S A NUMBER OF ON SPEC FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS IN THIS GROUP, and I am really hoping they all have like-minded friends. This will be the first of probably many posts on the same topic. Most of you know that On Spec is a small, non-profit journal. It depends heavily on support from granting bodies like Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Multi-Media Fund. That's a reality in Canada. Magazines, especially the arts and cultural journals, need help to reach their audience.

There was a time when we could depend on the annual grants increasing as our related costs of production and distribution increased, so we could remain afloat and plan for each year. Ending the year with a small surplus was always a blessing. Recently, the opposite is true. Grants have decreased as much as $5,000 from one year to the next, and there is always the threat of being cut off from funding completely, as we were when they unexpectedly changed the eligibility rules for the Canadian Magazine Fund grant. And believe me, it hurt. We've made spending cuts in as many places as we could, without sacrificing the quality of the magazine. The time has come when we've tightened our belts as much as we can.

We are basically treading water right now, trying to promote On Spec with next to no budget, often with the editors paying their own way to conventions outside Edmonton. Making sure we can pay our bills is an ongoing challenge. We need to ask for your support. A gift of cash is certainly appreciated, but what helps us more is sustainable income, such as that obtained from a strong subscriber base, or revenue from repeat advertising. So now, more than ever, we ask you to tell as many people you know about our little magazine. Encourage them to subscribe. Buy gift subscriptions for your friends and family. Spread the word about our e-reader versions. We need your help to get through the lean times. And we need more readers!

Our new website will be up and running soon, and there will be a page for making donations, and buying subscriptions. Please visit there, and encourage anyone with a taste for engaging, intelligent literature to drop by for a visit. We'd love to meet them.

- Diane Walton.

Susan, again: And just so all of you know, we editors used to be paid an honorarium for our work with the magazine. Nearly two years ago, when we were faced with dwindling resources, we all chose to stay on with the magazine without expecting any recompense for the work we do. For us On Spec has been, and continues to be, a labour of love - something we do for free. As readers and subscribers, any support you give the magazine goes solely to the writers and artists who help make On Spec the exceptional magazine it is.

Brent Jans, one of our new editors and also webmaster, is currently working behind the scenes to re-vamp On Spec's web page. Included on it will be a link for a free trial e-issue. I'll post about the e-issue once it's available. In the meantime, if you'd like to subscribe to On Spec, please go to the On Spec website here.

On behalf of all of us at On Spec, thank you for your support.

- Susan.

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