Tuesday, April 16, 2013
But, and there is a but, I haven't rattled on lately about the dark side of small press pblishing. I'm simply dumbfounded at the number of horror stories I keep getting. SFT has never been a horror magazine. I just don't know if the writers sending in these stories are delusional or they find out about it from some third party website and don't bother to read the complete guidelines, which are readily available on the SFT website. But more than half of the stories sent in do not have any science fiction content whatsoever. If I ever figure out the root source of these stories I may have to have someone killed. It's probably hopeless. I'm not the first editor to lament the slush pile. But what's different here is the high number of stories that don't comply with our guidelines. Most serial publications, be they online or print, have such vague guidelines it can be tough to figure out what they actually want. When a magazine says they don't want straight up horror stories and all stories must have some aspect of science fiction in them--so let's send in some modern horror story. Gee, why'd he reject me? I've rattled on about this before. It never seems to make any difference. I suppose the fact that I am an active member of the Horror Writers Association doesn't help in that regard--but that problem existed long before I joined the HWA.
And then there's art. Damn, the available art out there is pitiful. If you can even find an artist who wants to do a cover, good luck getting that person to actually submit something on time.
So, go back to the first paragraph. We've got an awesome issue coming out. And an incredible cover. If submissions are so bad, how can this be you ask? Well, it says issue ten. I have a very sizable stable of regular contributors who can deliver the goods. It's the new people (what is sometimes called slush) that drive me crazy. If I were starting out now I would probably just toss in the towel. In spite of my frustrations, I can still put out a nice issue.
Of course, I could use a few more readers. Who couldn't? We're the only western sci fi magazine in existence. Where else are you going to find dogs riding around in flying saucers?