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In the Midnight Hour we cry more, more, more.

The Australian Horror Writers Association have decided to postpone the publication of Issue 11 of their Midnight Echo publication in a more that has proved controversial if not downright confusion to some sectors of the Downunder Horror Community.
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On October 6th 2013 the Australian Horror Writers Association elected a new committee lead by new President Mark Smith-Briggs at their AGM. The new board had hardly sat down for business when they announced that the next issue of the AHWA’s flag ship publication Midnight Echo would be postponed while the Board reviewed the magazine’s future. While the magazine has had a few problems in the past, missed deadlines etc, this was the first time most of us learnt that advertising and circulation weren’t covering production costs. I assume this is the reason why the future of Midnight Echo is now not assured. An immediate problem is the postponement of the next issue, highly unprofessional, and what amounts to dithering over the future of the magazine. A firm commitment to the future of Midnight Echo is required or an immediate statement informing us the magazine has ceased publication. By airing issues in public with no decision on the future or not of the magazine the AHWA Board is simply ensuring the magazine is going down as potential advertisers and subscribers consider their options going forward.

So what went wrong? Greg Chapman had certainly been promoting the magazine giving it every chance of success, but it would appear the promotion wasn’t hitting the right channels, and this I believe has nothing to do with Greg’s approach. The market for horror in this part of the world remains depressing small in comparison to the Brit and North American situation, but no less diverse in terms of what the average horror fan wants in their dark genre diet.

For sure ScaryMinds had been out and about promoting Midnight Echo at various forums, both online and in the real world, with very limited success. Seems your average horror fan is not so concerned with reading short stories in a magazine format, and the word we got back on poetry isn’t publishable if we want to maintain the fallacy of this being a family friendly site. In simplistic terms Midnight Echo was viewed as a literary magazine with limited appeal in horror circles outside the AHWA membership, the contents were not selling themselves to the broader horror community.

Whether or not Midnight Echo continues in some form or other is a decision for the AHWA Board to make, we’ll keep you appraised of developments.

Published on 4 November 2013

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Jeff Ritchie