Thursday, November 08, 2007

Astonished at the workload

Posted by goatchurch at 1:59 AM
You may came to this blog because of the link in the Mundane-SF Interzone issue rejection notice. We're reaching that stage now. Here are some notes.

First, a note about karma. I am a writer too. By the end of this episode I calculate that I will have sent out about the same number of rejection notices as I have received for my efforts over the years. This means I will have achieved a balance. Geoff, who has read more than his fair share of submissions, will also be sending rejections. Since he has been selling fiction for years, one can only guess how bad his karma is becoming.

For some stories I've had time to leave comments in the rejection notice. Please don't take them seriously. If they help, use them; if they don't, ignore them. I have no idea who each of you are or what you respond to. Email is a very problematic medium, and the reactions are often unpredictable and sometimes undesired.

I should make clear that the slush pile for this Mundane-SF issue has never been seen by the Interzone. If you think your story is good and we've missed it, didn't like or get the point, or you've substantially reworked it having found my comments useful (God forbid), you might like to know that their Interzone.November2007 e-submission system is currently open.

I don't know how pleased this makes the reader Jetse de Vries for my bringing this to everyone's attention, but he doesn't know where I live. My admiration for what he's doing is immense -- even though he's rejected four stories of mine over the past couple of years. Now I can't send any more to Interzone because of conflicts of interest from working on this guest issue. Not that it'll make a blind bit of difference.

(If you're interested in a story I actually have sold (after it got recalled by the editor who had rejected it), look here. I am an Ideas person, rather than a Very Good At Writing person. This was one of those stunning ideas you get only once a decade which, in the hands of a real SF writer, would have got a Hugo and blah blah blah. It's not Mundane-SF because it revolves around some fictional science. It is licensed under the real creative commons license (derivative works and for profit allowed), unlike the work of certain internet inactivists I could mention.)

Anyways, moving swiftly on from that little not-necessarily-welcome editorial interlude, it's worth noting that there's another outlet for Mundane-SF (ie scientifically consistent and therefore more relevent to Life, the Universe, and Everything fiction than not) called Futurismic. They also run a far better blog than this one. Go support them.

It goes without saying that you can get more details from to build up your story rejection karma, and you can simulate the fun of being submissions editor by scoring by aiming for the Most Productive Critter award every week for six months.

Finally, here's an example of all the work I'm not doing. I'm self-employed so I can freely spend days and days and days at this game and still not keep up.

Ah, but think about the lessons learned. There's always, always going to be that, if it doesn't kill you.


Anonymous Chris Clarke said...

Honestly, if we're rejected we're rejected. If you're going to write and submit, you have to understand that a story is subject to the editor's tastes and agendas. You write the best story you can given a set of parameters in the timeframe available. Outside that, it's far from your control.

Good luck to all who submited.

11/08/2007 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Tomas L. Martin said...

As one of Futurismic's bloggers, thanks for the plug! Looking forward to seeing the issue.

11/08/2007 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jetse de Vries said...

No worries: do feel free to direct stories my way: I'm happy to read a hundred extra stories to unearth one single gem. And so far the majority of the submissions this months is fantasy (something is eating my SF stories...;-), so I certainly wouldn't mind to see more SF.

Professional curiosity: how many submissions did you get? In an open email reading period I get about 350 to 500 submissions. On the one hand you've been open longer, on the other hand remit is much more limited.

11/08/2007 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger goatchurch said...

I can see 117 that have been emailed out, and 206 (minus less than 6) which have yet to be processed.

One advantage that you have is you're one person. Geoff sometimes goes bonkers over a story, which I read and go "What the heck?".

This explains why everything has got so astonishingly backed up without my sending rejections as I went along -- I might have turned over the whole lot and left us at the end with nothing!

It remains to be proven by experiment if anyone's ability to pick out the gems is as reliable as we like to believe. Maybe Andy should slip in a classic or two into your pile under a fake name to see if you find them. I'm sure I'd fail that test. Perhaps some things are better left unknown.

11/08/2007 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi. if my story is accepted, can i still publish it on my website? i really hope so.
thanks for all your hard work

11/09/2007 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Denni said...

Thanks for your hard work. Your comments were really helpful (I'm used to soul-destroying form letters).

I'm going to rework that piece, after NaNoWriMo. It'll find a home yet ;)

11/09/2007 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Rachel Swirsky said...


Chris Clarke up top, is that Chris Clarke of Creak Running North? You write SF? I did not know.

I hope you'll consider sending to Escape Pod or PodCastle.

(I post as Mandolin in the feminist 'sphere.)

11/11/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I just wondered if there was an update on how the slush pile was progressing.

11/16/2007 11:43:00 PM  

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