Futurismic fiction submissions form closed! (But not for long.)

Paul Raven @ 01-04-2010

The title says it all, folks – as of April 1st (no joke) we’re shutting down the fiction submissions webform here at Futurismic so that hard-workin’ Chris East can catch up on the slush mountain and get some well-deserved time away.

So if you’ve been working on something to send to us, you’ve got a chance to rest your manuscript a little before doing another edit or rewrite, to familiarise yourself with our guidelines (a huge percentage of the stories we reject are rejected simply because they ignored the guidelines, so the five minutes it’ll take to read ’em will be well spent) and perhaps researching some of the other fine paying venues for genre fiction that are open to new material, be they online or off.

(Do bear in mind that the good people at Apex Magazine are closing to subs for a while, too… which if nothing else suggests that fiction editors approach burnout at similar speeds. 😉 )

But fear not – we’ve got a whole bunch of super new stories waiting in inventory, and we’ll be reopening for submissions again real soon. In the meantime, we hope you’ll keep reading along… there’ll be a brand new story later today!


Tales from the slush

Paul Raven @ 04-02-2010

Mmmm, tasty slush...Short fiction writers would be well advised to follow the Apex Book Company blog, as I think I’ve mentioned before; they have lots of guest posts from writers, editors and other niches in the fiction food-chain, containing plenty of sound advice. Like this post from submissions editor Maggie Jamison, for example, which offers a little hope and solace for those of you who fear the anonymity of the slush pile:

Believe it or not, a submissions editor can remember your name, particularly if you wrote something she liked, even if she passed on it. If you pay attention to rejection comments (if she gives any), and keep working to hone your understanding of her market, chances are your next attempt will be closer to what she wants.

And here’s the funny thing (though maybe it’s just me): we want you to succeed. Of all the other submissions editors I’ve spoken to, the vast majority would much rather send an acceptance letter than the typical form rejection. Heck, even a personal “This was so, so, SO close!” rejection is more fun than the form. I think most magazines want to be the one that nabs the first few publications of a great up-and-comer, and I’ve always enjoyed the vicarious excitement when a manuscript from my slush pile is accepted and bought.

I know that’s the attitude Futurismic‘s very own hard-workin’ Chris East takes to the slush pile… if we didn’t want to publish good stories, we wouldn’t offer $200 per story and throw submissions open to all and sundry! [image by misscrabette]

Maggie makes some sound points about rewrites and re-submissions, too:

Unless I’ve specifically asked you to tweak the story and send it back, DO NOT resubmit the same story. The only other way it might be acceptable is if you rewrite the story so completely that I can’t tell I’ve read it before. But then, it wouldn’t be the same story, would it?

As a submissions editor, I do try (when I have time) to give suggestions for what might make a rejected story just a little bit better. I do this so the author knows and can utilize this information to avoid the same issue in her next story submission, not so the author can tweak her story and send it right back to me. If I want to see a rewrite or a reworking, I will be very, very clear.

Of course, all this advice follows on from the basic rule of making sure you read the submission guidelines carefully for the venue you’re sending your story to. As Chris has pointed out here before, a great many of the stories we reject aren’t bad per se, they’re just not the sort of stories we publish. Researching your market is a great way to lessen the chance of the dreaded “thanks, but no thanks” response. 🙂


Futurismic re-opens to fiction submissions

Paul Raven @ 01-06-2009

The title says it all, folks; we’ve given Chris a bit of breathing space, but now it’s time to re-open the floodgates for new fiction submissions here at Futurismic. If you’ve got something you think is ready to send to us, go give the submission guidelines another read-through, then click on through to the submissions webform and send us your masterpiece!

If you want to know what sort of standards you’re up against, keep your eyes peeled – there’ll be a brand new story on the site later today. In the meantime, why not dig through our previous publications?


Five lies writers believe about editors

Paul Raven @ 09-05-2009

Hey, fiction writers – ever wonder what really makes editors tick? Sure you do; you’d love to know what really happens to your story when you wing it off for consideration at a favourite magazine or website.

Well, you’re in luck – Jeremiah Tolbert, himself a writer but also currently submissions editor at Escape Pod, explodes five myths about the editorial process. Here’s the first:

  • LIE #1: Editors give every story fair consideration. OR: Editors reject stories without reading them at all.

The truth is, the slush is deep, and it’s rarely an editor’s favorite part of the job. Why do you think so many places have slush readers?

Every story doesn’t get fair consideration. Not every story deserves it. If you can’t be bothered to read the submission guidelines and follow them, it’s an easy rejection. If you have five grammar and spelling mistakes in the first two paragraphs, it’s an easy rejection. If it’s a story about vampires, and I hate vampire stories, it’s mostly an easy rejection.

Most stories get at least a page out of me. Then I skip to the last 3 paragraphs, if I’m feeling generous. Some get less. Some work is so obviously bad that it’s startlingly easy to know it’s not going to work. But every story gets looked at. Nothing ever gets rejected without being partially read. Honest.

All five are honest, pertinent, and pretty funny. Go read.


Futurismic closing to fiction submissions until 1st June

Paul Raven @ 02-05-2009

You’d probably be amazed just how many fiction submissions we get here at Futurismic – it’s more than I ever imagined we’d get, and the number grows by the month.

And that means our fearless fiction editor Chris East has a lot of work to do, none of which makes him a red cent, and it’s high time the poor guy had a holiday. So as of today, Futurismic is closed to fiction submissions until June 1st 2009; we’re in the fortunate position of having a decent inventory of contracted pieces for the next few months, so we want to give Chris a chance to hit Inbox Zero on the submissions and take a week or so off.

So, if you’ve got a piece you’re almost ready to send in, put it in a drawer for a few weeks, and then whip it out for a final polish (ahem) before sending it in when we reopen at the beginning of June. Sound like a plan? Lovely!

Enjoy your weekend, folks. 🙂


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