I spent this past weekend in Niagara Falls, Ontario, participating in something called “New York Comes to Niagara” in the Algonkian series of conferences. If you’re an aspiring writer who takes your writing seriously as a profession, you’re probably hoping to get an agent and a publishing deal with one of the big New York-based publishers some day. The Algonkian conferences, led by author, editor and agent Michael Neff, are completely focused on making the perfect pitch to those powerful people, and how that pitch can also act as a diagnostic tool to make sure your novel has stayed on the track you meant for it. The approach worked for me: pitching the concept of a thriller novel of mine, I got interest from a major Canadian agent and two very high level New York editors. I still have to whip the manuscript into perfect shape and see how those leads pan out, but I could have spent years sending mail-out queries without getting that kind of response. You can find out more about Algonkian conferences here.

That’s the “old” part of my title: the publishing industry in its traditional form, focused on what a friend of mine calls “tree books” (as opposed to e-books). And I think that traditional industry still has a lot of life left in it, or I wouldn’t be pursuing it so hard.

But my most recently-published short story—my sixth—is my first that may never appear in print form. It’s called “Sand From A Broken Hourglass” and it’s included in the 2nd issue of a brand new horror/SF magazine called Penumbra, available for download in .pdf format as of yesterday. An issue of Penumbra costs just $3.99 US and it’s a great looking magazine, with quality writing and top-notch art, too, as you can see from the cover. But it’s electronic only—no print. Penumbra was launched at the beginning of October along with the launch of its parent company Musa Publishing. Because Musa publishes in e-form it’s able to bring out new books at a mind-boggling rate, all with good cover art and at very affordable prices. They say it’s all about the story and the author.

Is this the “new” model of publishing? Well so far it’s one of many new models, but it does look promising.

And I guess my point is, each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, but there’s room for all. Just as long as people still love to read.