Great news my pretties! I have long bemoaned the fact that the three titans of pro level science fiction publishing, Analog, Asimov’s and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, did not enable their erstwhile submitters the convenience of the electronic submission. Well as of some time in the past twelve months (I haven’t tried to submit to them in a year) Asimov’s Science Fiction is now accepting electronic submission through the same submission engine used by Clarkesworld and Electric Velocipede. For those of you thinking I am making a big deal over a few stamps you might wish to consider the following:
1. There are only about 20 pro-paying venues out there for science fiction and of those only about a dozen are either consistently published. About eight I consider “prestige” publications. Of those eight, the most widely circulated and read three did not accept electronic submissions and their mail sub turnaround time is legendarily slow (I’ve had four months for a form rejection once at MFSF)
2. Electronic Submissions are easier to track.
3. Printer ink, postage, envelopes and Hello Kitty™ stickers cost money. E-subs don’t.
4. Snail mail submissions take time to get out, and they force me to walk to the mailbox under the laser like gaze of my baleful neighbors that watch me from darkened windows with eyes full of judgement and loathing that hits me like a fist when I realize that one of them was probably responsible for that dead squirrel in my gutter or maybe ALL of them were in on it and I think that I could get them to leave me in peace if I threatened to hurt one of their kids but do it all subtle-like and maybe sort of under my breath in the course of normal conversation. Electronic subs don’t.
5. Science fiction publications that don’t accept electronic submissions are likely to choke to death on the irony.
So there are some reasons. You can see the Science Fiction Writers of America list of Pro venues here. Note that Apex Magazine is on there and that it went pro with the issue containing a story by yours truly! Not saying that I had anything to do with it, but it seems like an interesting coincidence.
What does it mean to be a ‘Pro’ venue? Well according to the folks at SFWA, it is a function of payment only. I believe it is a minimum payment of .5 c a word. If you sell a story to one of these venues you are able to apply for membership to the SFWA, the premier guild of sci-fi writers and the organization responsible for the Nebula Prize. You also get to call yourself a “professional writer” without it being a fib. Personally I think you get to call yourself a pro the day you identify yourself a writer and tell someone that you are a writer when they ask what you do. So long as you hyphenate (oh, I’m a carpenter/writer, bartender/writer, I write and work at toys’r’us) you are just semi-pro.
So get out there and go pro. Asimov’s is going to be a tough sell. They are old and established and pro pay rates mean that they are going to be less forgiving of unpolished submissions. Pro sales are hard to make, but they are worth the effort because pro venues pay well because they have big readerships and those readers often include publishers and agents. Establish yourself as a regular among the pro zines and you will be taking very strong steps toward building a reputation.
That is the Science of Fiction. I would love to hear from you my babies. I want to hear some of your stories on rejection and acceptance.
Next up: whatever comes to mind!
Andrew Clark Porter.