Mon
Jul 15 2013 7:15am

Tor.com is Turning Five...And There Are a Lot of People to Thank

Stubby the Tor.com Rocket

At the end of the week, July 20th (not coincidentally the anniversary of mankind’s landing on the moon), Tor.com will turn five. We plan to celebrate with lots of fiction offerings (more on that in a bit), a special edition of our regular New York meet-up, and some private cheers amongst the staff. But I wanted to take a moment to thank all those that have worked so hard on our little rocketship. In over twenty years of publishing I have never been part of a project that people have been so personally invested and eager to be part of.

About seven years ago at the company Christmas party, Sr. VP of Macmillan, Fritz Foy, came up with a notion to create a “river of conversation, art, and fiction” within the science fiction and fantasy community. At the time it was (or at least I thought it was) to be a fun side project between him, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and myself, but as we fleshed it out and excitement grew it evolved into a full-on “Digital Initiative.”

In the years since we have published tens of thousands of articles, reviews, and news items. We have built a robust short fiction publishing program...including Hugo and Nebula winners. We’ve commissioned artwork for each of those stories, and more...also with award-winning results. We’ve posted funny articles and thought-provoking ones...ones that I agree with and others that I don’t (but am glad they are here). It’s been an amazing five years and it has passed in the blink of an eye. We have plans for the future, so many that it is hard to sit quietly while we work to get them out into the world. I cannot wait to see what will come of the next five years, and the five after that!

In the meantime, I want to thank a lot of people....

Those early rocketeers that helped us get off the ground: Pablo Defendini, Megan Messinger, Larry Hewitt, Faith Cheltenham, and Torie Atkinson.

I am truly honored to be part of our current Tor.com team. It is a privilege to work with such a smart, funny, and giving crew as this. If you enjoy anything about the site, you can thank these guys: Bridget McGovern, Chris Lough, Emily Asher-Perrin, Ryan Britt, Katharine Duckett, Leah Schnelbach, Sarah Tolf, and Jamie Stafford-Hill. (Guys, you make work a joy.)

On the fiction front, a huge thank you to our editorial dream-team: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liz Gorinksy, Ellen Datlow, Ann VanderMeer, and a host of guest editors. Plus managing editor Jonathan Roberts, editorial assistant Carl Engle-Laird, and MacKids liason Gina Gagliano.

And a gigantic thank-you to our extended family—the hundreds of bloggers, authors, and the artists that we have had the honor of publishing over the years. I love that publishing means there are literally hundreds of creative people that I can call co-workers (and often friends). We are just a vehicle for your thoughts and ideas. (Selfishly, you have made this a site I want to visit everyday.)

We owe a big debt of gratitude to the continued support of  senior Macmillan folks: Fritz Foy, Linda Quinton, John Sargent, Stefan Von Holtzbrinck, and Tom Doherty. We have excellent angels.

But most of all, we thank you guys, our readers. We are having way more fun than anyone should and we owe it all to you. With every story, post, and artwork we look forward to hearing your thoughts. We hope this has become something of your SFF home.

13 comments
Walker White
1. Walker
I am curious, but not sure if this can be answered. Is Tor.com seen as a self sustaining effort, or is it primarily a loss-leader to build up interest in Tor (or MacMillan in general) books? There is no advertising her outside of Tor book releases. But it feels more like a legitimate online community than, say, Suvudu.
Mary Decker
2. Ki
Tor.com is one of the five or so websites that I check daily--multiple times a day, in fact. Thank you for creating such an smart, fun, thought-provoking community. Congrats on 5 great years!
Irene Gallo
3. Irene
Ki: Thanks!

Walker:
Tor.com is part of our Digital Marketing department so it is seen as a loss-leader. That said, we are actually well on the way to being self sustaining. We do take on ads from other publishers and the stories, while free on the site, are also available for sale through all ebook retailers. We don’t expect most readers to buy them but it does seem that many see the .99 is worth the convenience of having it on their ereader. Which is nice since it helps us subsidize the fiction program and gives the authors royalties on top of the fee we have already paid them. (We do not consider the initial payment an advance — if the stories sell, authors start earning those royalties immediately.)
Tricia Irish
4. Tektonica
Thank you, indeed, for creating a strong sense of community. Your polite and inclusive site is my favorite internet stop, sometimes 3-4 times daily.
I call it my online bookclub.

For those of us living in places without an outlet/forum for discussion of genre books and philosophical ideas, you are a Godsend. And truly great new friends have been made here!

Thank you Tor/McMillan. Keep up the great work!
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
Second/third/fourth the comments above. This is an outstanding site, and I've visited it multiple times daily since I became aware of it in late 2008.

Love Jo's many and varied posts, the various re-reads, the short fiction, the excerpts from new works and the interesting/funny doings that take up the rest of the space.

Congrats to all.
Other Alias
6. ghostcrab311
i am more of a lurker than anything else, but i have had tor.com on my rss feed ever since your first year. other sites have come and gone, but this one is a keeper. it is a great touchstone on new and interesting speculative fiction, old and interesting speculative fiction and even the odd scientific discovery. y'all rock and i hope for many more years of awesomesauce!
Melissa Shumake
7. cherie_2137
i still don't really remember how i originally heard about tor, but i've been here (lurking, for a long time) for most of the five years. and you guys are awesome. keep up the great work, i look forward to seeing what other wonderful things you folks come up with!
Walker White
8. Walker
Irene:

Thanks. I have always been impressed by the fiction program, but worried about how long it would last if this was nothing more than marketing muscle. This sounds a lot more stable.
Francisco Guimaraes
10. franksands
I'm relatively new to Tor.com, but I have to say it's one of my favorite sites. I love the rereads (or watches) and the short stories. Some of my favorite moments here was the Sookie reread, the Sandman reread and the watch of Legend of Korra. Keep up the excelent work.
Liz Bourke
11. hawkwing-lb
For myself, I appreciate the news and reviews the site has on offer. Thank you.
Faith D Cheltenham
12. Faith D Cheltenham
Go Irene! Great job to all the tor.com team, it was an honor to participate with the launch 5 YEARS AGO! Hard to believe but its awesome to see. Kudos to the TOR editors, artists and staff for the support of such a vibrant community.
Now go read about me in the LA Times, I'm a stay-at-home mom with the cutest kid (named after a baby in Doctor Who of course). These days all my web slinging is done for social justice, but I learned bunches from you tor.com...and you too Ian, the greatest web dev alive!
Alan Brown
13. AlanBrown
I knew about Tor.com for some years before I finally visited it, but thought to myself, why bother visiting yet another publisher's website? After all, they are pretty much all the same, with upcoming books, shameless self promotion, etc, etc. But then, in doing some market research, I peeked in and said, hey, what's this? Not at all what I had expected. So I came back, and back, and back again. I love the stories, the articles, the art, the well-moderated discussions and the re-reads (and, oh, did I mention the wonderful artwork?).
Glad to hear that the website is doing so well, and wishing all of you many more years of success!!! Well done, and keep up the good work!

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