Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Never-ending FAQ • re simul subs

It seems our Submission Guidelines are insufficient, as people keep writing to ask me questions about our guidelines, practices, policies, etc., etc. Therefore, as of today I’m introducing a new feature: The Never-ending FAQ, so named because the questions never stop coming in, but calling it Ask Me Anything would just seem to be begging for trouble.

This column is intended to be a brief and chatty conversation about things related to the business of writing and publishing fiction, not a recitation of The Law. If you have a question you’d like to ask about Stupefying Stories or Rampant Loon Press, feel free to post it as a comment here or to email it to our submissions address. I can’t guarantee we’ll post a public answer, but can promise that every question posted will be read and considered.

Today’s question comes from Mike, who asks about simultaneous submissions:

“Do you consider them for SHOWCASE? Also, may I assume that any stories rejected by STUPEFYING STORIES should not be submitted to SHOWCASE?”

First off, thanks for asking. Seriously. If you have a question, I’d much prefer that you ask rather than see you jump to an assumption and possibly injure yourself.

The answer to the first question is a qualified yes. We do consider simul subs and reprints for SHOWCASE. We do NOT consider them for Stupefying Stories magazine.

We do this because SHOWCASE is online-only and restricted to stories of 1K-word length or less. Depending on how busy we are with other things, we can usually make the accept/reject decision on a SHOWCASE story within a few days of receiving it.

On this point: if you do simul sub something to SHOWCASE, please do us the twin courtesies of telling us up-front that it’s a simul sub and of withdrawing it if it’s accepted elsewhere. 

We do NOT consider simul subs for the magazine because we put a lot more time and effort into selecting the stories for the magazine, and have been burned too many times by going through the whole process of reading, reviewing, discussing, marking-up, and deciding to accept a story, only to have the author answer our acceptance letter with, “Thanks, but this was a simul sub and [other magazine] accepted it. Sorry I forgot to tell you.”

Nota bene: To be blunt and clear, we do NOT do bidding wars. On a few occasions authors have answered our acceptance letter with, “Thanks, but this was a simul sub and [other magazine] accepted it — but if you’re willing to pay me more than they’re offering…”

Pulling this stunt not only does NOT get you a higher offer from us, it earns you a place on our submissions blacklist. Don’t do it.

As for the second question: at one time Stupefying Stories magazine and SHOWCASE had separate submission queues and different first readers, but we’ve consolidated since then. There is but one submission queue to rule them all. We have taken stories that were submitted for the magazine and decided they would work better in SHOWCASE, and vice versa, and accepted and published them accordingly. 

Another nota bene: We always ask first. We have on rare occasions had an author submit a story for the magazine, and when told we think it would work better in SHOWCASE, had them refuse the acceptance on the grounds that they don’t do online publications. In these cases we shrug, honor the author’s wishes, and reject the story.

We ask that authors submit stories for one or the other—

  • to better control what’s coming into our inbox

  • to try to make certain authors understand that SHOWCASE is online-only, and when they’re submitting for SHOWCASE, in all likelihood there will never be an e-book or print edition

  • to make best use of our first readers’ time. For example, right now we have in-hand all the longer stories we need for the next four issues of the magazine, so it would be a waste of everyone’s time for an author to send us a 10K-word novelette.

So the answer to the second question is yes: any story submitted to and rejected by Stupefying Stories should not be resubmitted to SHOWCASE, and vice versa. We’ve already considered the story. Please do not resubmit a previously rejected story unless we have asked you to send us a rewrite, or have asked you to resubmit it at a later date. (We don’t do this often, but will sometimes do so if a story has a strong seasonal element.)

And once again, thanks for asking. Any more questions?

Kind regards,
Bruce Bethke
Editor, Stupefying Stories


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Robert said...

Ask me anything, HAHAHAHA. I said that to my wife in 1997, and I still get questions, still.