Friday, September 14, 2012

Wodzinski on Shimmer's Slushing Process

Beth Wodzinski, Editor-in-Chief of the spec-fic magazine Shimmer, discusses exactly how a story makes its way into the periodical's pages. Excerpts:
That you may have more fodder for your rejectomancy, here's a behind-the-scenes view of how the submission and decision-making process works at Shimmer.

Submissions arrive in our submissions email: Currently, the volume is about 25 to 35 stories a day. At that rate, we'll handle over 10,000 stories in a year. ... At most, we'll publish around 30 stories a year, which means we need to be very good at rejections; otherwise, we would drown. ...

Every year or so, there's a story that we're positive we're going to accept from the first moment we read it. "Bullet Oracle Instinct," by K. M. Ferebee. "Seek Him i'th'Other Place Yourself" by Josh Storey. There are a few others, but not many. Even those stories rest; we don't accept them immediately. Why? Because sometimes a story that seems really shiny on the first reading doesn't hold up on a second reading. We give ourselves the gift of distance and perspective on a story before making a final decision. It's exactly the same dynamic as advising authors to take some time away from the story between drafts.
Read the whole thing. Not only does Wodzinski's breakdown give a fascinating glimpse into the sausage factory of magazine making, it also provides us with some tips we need to internalize if we want a harried slusher to give out stories a second glance. As anyone who's tried this game knows, you've gotta have a steel-lined stomach to survive. Ten-thousand stories crossing the desk of a single publication means that there's rejection enough to go around. Additionally, it helps to have an in of some kind, whether that means a stellar writing résumé or a simply stunning story. And we know the best way to develop both of those, don't we? Learning the craft, practicing it and working hard.

(Picture: CC 2010 by J. Paxon Reyes; Hat Tip: @JRVogt)

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