This is a tough article to write. Ancient World Magazine was launched in November 2017. More than four years later, it’s clear that growth has reached a ceiling that cannot be breached without considerable more effort. Effort that, at this point in time, cannot be expended without receiving a lot more funding than we’ve been able to get so far.
To be sure, I am incredibly thankful to our supporters on Patreon who so generously helped us over the past few years. But growth on Patreon has been sluggish. I don’t know what the reason for that is. Perhaps our content is too academic. Or too niche? If only we wrote more about Roman stuff? Perhaps we needed to do more videos or up the tempo at which we released new episodes of our podcast, but all of that stuff requires an increase in effort, time, and money that may ultimately lead to nothing.
That’s the long and the short of it. As time goes on, it becomes an increasingly dicey proposition to keep pumping more time and effort into this project without there being some clear-cut financial benefits to it all. I’m not speaking of earning enough to buy everyone a fancy car, but some kind of decent remuneration for our efforts would be nice. That hasn’t happened yet and, honestly, I don’t want to work on Ancient World Magazine for another 4+ years only to find out by the end of that period that we’re still just treading water.
Perhaps we should have done more or done things differently. Perhaps we should have reached out to corporate sponsors of some kind, but that kind of legwork has never been my strong suit. I would feel uncomfortable contacting someone to ask if they could please fund us for a year. That’s not what I want to do.
I firmly believed – wrongly, as it has turned out – that if we produced quality articles, a good podcast, and the odd video, people would appreciate what we do and would want to support us. And, hey, some of you do, and you’re amazing people! But sadly, not enough of our readers support the website, and as it stands, I don’t think Ancient World Magazine is a project that should continue to rely mostly on volunteer contributions.
Personally, I have been demoralised for a while about Ancient World Magazine and, as I hinted at in an earlier editorial, something had to change. I’ve been working on a new version of the website that emphasised easier navigation and so on (because maybe that was the problem?), but I have come to realize that all of my efforts, my time, and – not unimportant – my money are better spent doing something else.
So yes, I was right in that earlier editorial that something had to change, but the thing that needed change wasn’t Ancient World Magazine but rather myself. I need to do something else. And as much as I love Ancient World Magazine, I need to move on so that I can re-energize and refocus my life. Fortunately, I have had some good luck recently, and will be working on more academic stuff, including two (!) new books that I am rather excited about.
But as far as Ancient World Magazine is concerned, the website will not receive any further updates. The website will remain online until 30 June 2022. On the 1st of July, the website will be taken offline. The podcast will also be taken offline by that date. I have already merged the YouTube channel with my personal one, and I hope to do some videos of my own. Much of the content that I wrote, as well as much of the material contributed by others, will be moved to my personal website, which is forthcoming.
It’s been a good run. I’m proud of what we have achieved with Ancient World Magazine. But right now, I am looking forward to doing other things. Perhaps you’ll join me on that journey. My thanks to you, our readers and followers, our Patreon supporters, and everyone who has contributed to the website over the past 4+ years.
Onwards and upwards!