Category Archives: Markets

Market Brief: Bikes in Space 5

I’ve been sitting on this one for about a week, but honestly, I’m not going to make the March 1st deadline for this call. But maybe you can.

Bikes in Space 5: Intersections

From the official call:

The theme is Intersections. Stories that are accepted will all have a feminist perspective and incorporate bicycling in some way, whether or not they are actually about feminism or about bicycles. We especially welcome submissions from writers of color and transgender and nonbinary writers, and seek stories that portray more diverse perspectives than are classically found in sci fi.

You know I love bikes and sci-fi, so even though I’m not submitting to this anthology, I’m keeping my eye on it.


Market Briefs: Uncanny

I write about Uncanny a lot. Probably because they’re one of my favorite markets for short fiction available today. So, for those of you whose twitter feeds are cluttered with retweeted jokes or maybe just forgot, Uncanny is currently open for submissions, and you should send them your favoritest story. If you’re unprepared and worried about how long you have to send in your story, the official* line is that they’ll remain open until the end of the month, so you’ve got about three weeks to get something out to them.

You can find their guidelines here.

 

*I tweeted at them to find out and this is what they told me.


Market News in Brief

Three quick ones for you while I marinate my Hugo post.

Tor.com will be closing to short fiction submissions on January 7th, so if you want to submit there, you’d better do it today or tomorrow. One of their readers has confirmed that all slush that hits the pile before closing will be read and considered as expected. (Guidelines)

Meanwhile, Apex has reopened for fiction (but not poetry) submissions. I’ve seen no word as to how long this submission period will last. (Guidelines)

Finally, you really ought to consider supporting Fireside Fiction, publishers of, among other stories, Sunil Patel’s delightful “Sally the Psychic Alligator.” It would be a real shame both for readers and writers to lose Fireside. Information on how to support Fireside can be found here.


On Cover Letters

Not every market I submit to asks for a cover letter, but they’re nice to include anyway, even if it’s only something as short as

Dear [editorial horde/slush pile heroes],

Thank you for taking the time to consider for publication my story, [title], which is about [length] words long.

Best,

Hilary

Some markets do ask for cover letters as a way to pre-screen those people who haven’t even bothered to read their submission guidelines, and I always think it’s nice to give thanks to the heroic slushers and editors who are at least looking at my first 13 lines. Other than crafting amusing ways for C. C. Finlay to reject my submissions, should he need to, though, I don’t usually put a whole lot into my cover letters. I’d guess that you don’t either?

So, a story about how a well-crafted cover letter can be a good thing.

In the 80’s, my dad worked as an editor at Amazing Science Fiction Stories. Working at a magazine means a lot of things, and not all of them are totally exciting. One day, it fell to him to separate cover letters from rejected manuscripts, put the cover letters in the round file, and put the manuscripts in their return envelopes (those being the days before widespread computer ownership, when a writer would want their manuscript back, rather than having to type it out again). As this was not a job that required much thought, he would scan the cover letters before tossing them.

It was in so doing that he ran across the cover letter of an as-yet-unpublished author named Lois McMaster Bujold.

He read the cover letter.

He re-read it.

He thought to himself, “This is the greatest cover letter I’ve ever read. It has got a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is an author who is going places.” And then, rather than tossing it, he date-stamped the cover letter, stuck it in a sleeve, and took it home with him.

Despite this, they did not end up publishing the story to which the cover letter was attached. It appeared in print some years later, after Lois had begun to make a name for herself.

Some years after taking home that cover letter, my father saw that Lois was going to be a guest at an upcoming convention, so he made sure to bring the cover letter with him, still carefully preserved, and sought her out.

He told her the story, showed her the cover letter. To this day, I believe that my dad can claim to be her first Fan. He still buys all of her books new.

This isn’t to say that you must labor over your cover letters, workshopping them with your writing groups, turning them into works of literature in their own rights. It’s only to say that maybe you should think twice before you totally phone it in on your next cover letter (or skip it entirely).


Great Market News

Hey, remember how you pretty much never submit to F&SF because they only take postal submissions?  That excuse isn’t relevant anymore.

Some of you probably remember that C. C. Finlay did a couple of spots guest-editing the magazine in the past year during which time he was taking electronic submissions (I might add that he sent me a fantastic rejection during his last reading period).  Well, it was just announced that Finlay has been named Editor of F&SF, so e-subs will stay open.

Fantastic.


Market Opening: Uncanny Magazine

Hey everybody, sorry for the recent drought of posts, but real life has been keeping me away from blogging.  I’m not here to whine about anything, though; I’m here to let you know about a new market opening.

Uncanny Magazine is opening for submissions in just two days (that’s September 11th, 2014).  I’m really excited to have this new market opening, not just because I like having new places to send my stories, but also because I like having new places to read great fiction.  (Though I think that I failed to post anything about it at the time, I did recently help fund their Kickstarter.)

So, go get your best manuscripts ready, and help make the launch of Uncanny great.

Submission information is here.


A Wild Submissions Tracker Appears!

I’ve mentioned Duotrope’s Digest here before, I’m sure.  It’s  a website/service that helps you keep track of your submissions and collects data on markets so that you can get some sense of how long you’ll be waiting on any particular submission, as well as how likely you might be to get your piece accepted.

When I started using Duotrope’s Digest, the service was free, though they were always accepting donations (and I would donate whenever I could), but last year they went paid because they were struggling under upkeep costs.  You can pay by the month, but the most economical way is to plunk down $50 for a year of the service, which I think is a good deal for all that the service offers: submissions tracking, detailed statistics, a searchable database of markets.  And so I’ve paid.  I’ve got a lot of submissions logged there over the years, and that alone has been enough to keep my business.

Now, though, there’s another option.  (Actually, they’ve been around since sometime after Duotrope went paid in 2012, but I only found it, via Cat Rambo’s Twitter, very recently.)  The (Submission) Grinder is, well, pretty much the same thing as Duotrope, though at the moment, they only track fiction markets (which is most of what I’m writing and trying to sell anyway, so that don’t make no nevermind to me right now).  They’re also free and aim to stay that way.

So, other than not needing to pay and only being able (at the moment) to track fiction markets, what’s the difference?

The first, and most noticeable difference to my eye is that the Grinder’s submission tracker includes fields for tracking if and when you’ve been paid and when your piece has actually seen publication.  Beyond that, they also keep track of which markets have been recognized by SFWA and which have been nominated for or have won Hugo or Nebula awards, which is pretty snazzy.

So which should you use?

If you only write fiction and currently don’t use either service, you really can’t beat free.  If you already use Duotrope (and/or you write more than just fiction), you may as well get your money’s worth.  However, if you’re a Duotroper and a fiction-writer, especially one who likes getting paid, it may be worth your while to contribute your data to the Grinder–it’s not much more work, and it helps them provide more accurate statistics.  And, hey; it’s free.


Market Opening News

Just in time for me to be entirely caught up in the idea that I might actually win my NaNoWriMo attempt, I just learned that publisher Angry Robot is having an open-door submission period from now (actually, it began on Friday) through the end of the year.  What that means for you and me is that they’re taking unagented SF/F novel submissions, which is not something they normally do.

Angry Robot’s authors include Pennsylvanian (or Pennsyltuckian) Chuck Wendig, who has lots of smart things to say over on Terrible Minds.

What this open-door period means for me is that, before I can begin my NaNo attempt, I need to finish the novel I already have and get it in submittable shape, hopefully in time for me to still make a NaNo attempt while it’s still November, but realistically, before Christmas, so that I can get it out the door before the holidays.

Rather than re-hashing the submission guidelines and possibly missing something important, I’ll just point you straight at them.  If you’re interested in submitting to Angry Robot during this year’s open-door period, find out how by clicking this sentence.


Clarkesworld and You

Image credit: Clarkesworld cover gallery

If you are a fan of science fiction and fantasy, which I hope many of you are, then you may well know of Clarkesworld already.  Some of you may even be citizens or subscribers.  To that group, I say, “Good on you; feel free to move along.”  If you’re not in that camp, here’s the skinny: Clarkesworld is an online magazine publishing science fiction and fantasy short stories, and it has won two Hugos and a Nebula for doing so.  That’s quite a feat.  It also pays its authors quite well–$0.10/word (double the minimum SFWA professional rate) for the first 4000 words, and $0.05/word thereafter.  And you can read all these stories for free.

Neil Clarke, the man behind the magazine, has not been having a particularly good year of it.  He is also, from what I understand, one of the nicer people in the genre.  John Scalzi will vouch for him, and I’m generally inclined to believe Scalzi.

So what can you do?  Well, you can subscribe to the magazine and have it delivered electronically to your device of choice for less than the smallest cup of coffee Starbucks will sell you each month.  You can also just straight-up donate to Clarkesworld and become a citizen.

FYI, while I have submitted many pieces to Clarkesworld, I have not been published there, nor am I getting any sort of monetary compensation for this.  I subscribe to the magazine because I believe it is one of the finest examples the genre has to offer, and because I want it to stick around long enough that I might someday get myself into its pages.


Save the Pearls, Weird Tales, and Racism

If you’re already in the loop–and with Twitter etc, who isn’t these days–then you already know something about the Save the Pearls debacle (and by debacle I mean racists trying disguise their bigotry by saying “look how progressive I’m being”).  If you’re not in the loop, here’s the short version.  Victoria Foyt is a white woman.  Thanks to the magic of self-publishing and companies who basically sell so-called literary awards, she put forth upon this earth a book called Save the Pearls: Revealing Eden.  To promote this book, she created a video of a young woman in blackface.

You read that right.

In the interest of presenting both sides of this, I will say that the author has written to defend her decisions, saying in part:

The titular character, Eden Newman, loathes her white skin because of this, and accepts the oppressive opinion that she is ugly, even worthless. Because her chances of survival are so low, she has little chance of finding a mate (her mate-rate is an embarrassing 15%). And if she doesn’t find a mate by the time she is 18, she will be killed.

She colors her skin with a special dark coating in order to protect it from “The Heat,” and because she is desperate to appear darker in order to be desirable. With the clock ticking, she will do anything to attract a mate.

The use of blackface presents a mockery or travesty of African Americans’ lives. Eden Newman wishes to “Great Earth” that she had dark skin, not because she wants to make fun of people with dark skin, but because she admires their status and is jealous of the genetic advantage they offer against “The Heat.”

You can read more about it here, or even preview the first (quite poorly-written–though I was disinclined to think well of the thing from the start) chapter on Amazon, and form your own opinions.  What I’m here to talk about is the part where the new editor of Weird Tales, a magazine which I always used to hold in high regard, decided to publish the first chapter in the next issue of the magazine.   The internet, as it is wont to do, made a big stink about it.

Since then, the publishers of WT have backtracked, but not before a lot of angry authors pulled their upcoming stories from the magazine and a lot of people who used to be involved with the magazine, including former editor Ann VanderMeer (who has now resigned as contributing editor) and Mary Robinette Kowal (vice-president of SFWA and former WT art director), have distanced themselves from the once-prestigious publication.

While I think that pulling support is a fine act of protest, I think that Mary Robinette Kowal took a more meaningful stepShimmer will now be paying pro rates, thanks in part to Robinette Kowal.  I used to revere WT, both under the editorial leadership of George Scithers and more recently Ann VanderMeer.  Both editors believed in strong, well-written stories.  If current editor Marvin Kaye manages his slush pile in such a way that the first few pages, let alone the first whole chapter (which I found horribly racist, even knowing the context of the protagonist’s world), then I wouldn’t want any of my work to appear within those once-hallowed pages.  I’m proud of the stand that Robinette Kowal and the team at Shimmer are taking in defense of weird, wonderful fiction.
Edit: another view, giving some insight to the inner workings of WT following its change of ownership courtesy of Jeff VanderMeer.


%d bloggers like this: