Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm Off To See The Wizard

Well, I'm packing and getting myself ready to leave for Atanta and DragonCon this afternoon.

I'm making headway on the pile of stories for IGMS, learning a lot in the process. I've winnowed the last year's worth of submissions down to a final 40 (not counting the 8 or 10 I've already accepted) and have to decide how many more I want to accept. I don't think I'll take more than about 15 or so, otherwise it would take me a year or more to get them all published. After waiting so long for some of these stories to be read, I don't want to ask authors to wait another year to be published. I don't think that's fair.

And although I'm nearly caught up on my pile, the asst. editor still has over 300 more stories sitting on her computer, so the work is far from over. In fact, maybe it's time to ask for a raise.

The artwork for issue three is starting to trickle in. We're now announcing that the issue will be ready by late September. I think we've got some great stories, stories that people will enjoy reading. And that had been my goal all along - bringing people stories that are a pleasure to read. Fun and funny; cool and thought-provoking; stories that are about something. I think that's what people want, and I think that's something that, to be blunt, has been missing from a lot of short fiction that's been published lately. Literary 'artistry' be damned, I just want someone to tell me a good story.

I'll be back from DragonCon on 9/5/06. See you then.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I got an e-mail from a writer recently who said something about submitting a story to IGMS "before the gates closed." When I e-mailed back and asked what he meant by that comment, he said he thought he had seen or heard something about IGMS closing to submissions. I'm not sure if this writer misconstrued something I said earlier, or if he simply got bad info from other sources, but let me be very clear: I don't ever intend to close IGMS to submissions. Period.

I think it's a bad editorial decision to close a publication to submissions, and here's why: if you close for submissions, eventually you have to reopen to them again. And when you do, you will - guaranteed - find yourself inundated with stories that have already been sent to - and rejected by - a host of other magazines. Sure, you'll get a few new stories, but you'll also get a pile of leftovers. I don't want leftovers. I want the best, and I want them first. That's how you produce a top-quality magazine. IGMS will never be anything less than a top-quality magazine. Not on my watch.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Dragon On

A week from today I'll be at DragonCon (look me up if you're in Atlanta). Issue three of IGMS won't be available before DragonCon, but with a little luck we'll be close enough to it that when I get there I can make a formal announcement as to when it will be. We are veeeery close...

Also, while I'm there I'll be doing an interview with Mur Lafferty for her podcast, I Should Be Writing. When I have details as to when it will be available, I'll let you know. Mur told me one of her listeners is an IGMS fan who knew I would be at DragonCon and suggested she do the interview. Many thanks to the mystery IGMS fan.

Since Kevin Anderson is a Guest of Honor a DragonCon, I'm reading (devouring is more like it) his (and Doug Beason's) novel, Ill Wind. How did I miss this one before? I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories and this is one of the best I've read in a long time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Something To Loook Forward To

As we get closer to the publication of the next issue of IGMS, I've asked all the current group of contributors to give me a write up about their thoughts, ideas, hopes - whatever they wanted to say - about the stories they wrote. Call it The Stories Behind The Stories. So when the next issue of IGMS goes up live, I'll start running those stories here on Side-Show Freaks, one every couple of days.

It'll be loads of fun - or at least pretty freaky...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hi Honey, I'm Home...

I told you I was going away on vacation; vacation means no computers. I went on a friend's computer once to check some baseball scores, but that was it. No blog, no web-site, no e-mails. The only "work" I did was a bit of reading - which I always do while we drive around - so that doesn't really count. (It's read, or talk to my wife and kids - you do the math.)

I read 26 stories while we were on the road, clearing out everything that has been passed on to me by the assistant editor, Sara Ellis. Last I heard she had read everything submitted through early May, so once I send out this last batch of rejection (or not) e-mails to these 26 authors, I will have done at least one reading of everything submitted through the web-site and passed on by the assistant editor. There's still a smaller pile submitted directly to OSC by people who have been invited to do so (mainly Boot Camp grads and a handful of other, established authors), but that is a smaller pile and shouldn't take more than another week or two at the most.

Issue three has been filled already (I'm pretty sure I mentioned that recently) and I've bought the first few for issue four, too. Right now I'm thinking that I will buy no more than enough stories to fill through issue five and then after that cut everything else loose. That will book IGMS through next spring's issue and frankly I don't want to hold anyone's story for any longer than that. I don't think it's fair to authors to make them wait a year or more to see their work published, so for better or for worse, that's the plan.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

That Darn Business Mag Again

Well, it's either that darn business mag again or I can rant about the organizers at DragonCon, who decided I was not important enough to merit guest status at their little soiree. And who wants to hear me rant...?

On the other hand, I did just get word from the publisher of North Carolina Career Network Magazine that between the new bookstore sales, subscriptions, and other mailings, we are increasing our production this issue to somewhere around 15,000 issues. It's nice to know we're making that kind of progress. I look forward to the day when IGMS has those kinds of numbers, too. Soon, soon. (Then those dogs at DragonCon will rue this day... )

P.S. Just got a pile of print-outs from IGMS's managing editor Kathleen Bellamy. It's the stories from issue two, which I'll be mailing out to the various Year's Best editors. Best of luck to authors Brad Beaulieu, David Farland, Ty Franck, William Saxton, Scott Danielson, Al Sarrantonio, Eric James Stone, and, of course, our own Orson Scott Card.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Years Best?

Just got an e-mail from Gavin Grant giving me his and Ellen Datlow's mailing addresses. He wants me to make sure I send him (and Ellen) copies of everything we publish each year to be considered for their Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology. It was nice to know IGMS is not only on their radar, but enough so that they sought us out.

Submissions Update

Just so you know, the reading progresses at a good rate and we're hoping to get as caught up as a magazine can be. Getting caught up on submissions is a little bit like getting caught up on the washing the dishes though: no matter how much you do, people are always making more. However, all the stories have been selected for issue three and are in the process of being sent out to the artists who will illustrate them. I won't put a specific date to it, but know that we are very close to having the next issue ready. If things go as planned, by time the end of September gets here you'll already have a new issue of IGMS in hand (your virtual, digital hands), and we'll be entirely caught up on the backlog of story submissions.

At this point I'm now about 65% of the way through the second round of readings, and still expect to be done within the next month. I'm going on vacation for a bit, but I'll take a pile of stories along to read while we drive (well, while my wife drives; slushing and driving can be hazardous to your health). I also told Sara (assistant editor and first-round reader) that once I get caught up on my own pile, I'll dive in and help her knock hers down, too.

My ultimate goal is to have one of the fastest turn-around times in the genre. I know what it's like to wait and wait and wait for a response, and I want people who submit to IGMS to know they'll hear something quickly; either that their story is going to be published or that they're free to move on to other markets. I want IGMS to be fast because I want a lot of submissions coming in. The more stories we have here to choose from, the better stories we're going to be able to publish. That's just the simple law of averages. And my bottom line is that I want the best stories for IGMS.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Issue Three Cover Story

The cover story for issue three of IGMS has been sent to the artist who is scheduled to provide a full-color painting to accompany it. The story, "Dream Engine," is by Tim Pratt (author of a multitude of popular short stories and novels), who said this about having his story appear in InterGalactic Medicine Show:

"I think it's one of the best stories I've ever written, and I'm very pleased to have it appearing in your (and Scott's!) magazine. Scott was one of my earliest teachers (I did a workshop with him way back in 1996 -- a decade ago!) and it means a lot to have something of mine appearing in the magazine that bears his name."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


The next issue of NC Career Network Magazine gets uploaded to the printing company today - finally. What a change this was from the last issue. Last time we put the whole thing together in a 4-day blitz that nearly killed me, and I swore it would never be that way again. This time the process managed to string out over 5 weeks and you know what? I'll take the 4-day blitz over this Chinese water-torture every time. But it's done. It has to be; it's off the printers. Thank God.

That means now I can focus a lot more of my time and attention on the IGMS pile of stories. I've been chipping away at them all along, and I'm about 40% of the way through the pile. Of those stories I've read so far (for those of you keeping score at home), I've rejected about 2/3 of them, and contacted the authors of the other 1/3 letting them know I liked their story enough to put it in my "read again" pile. I've bought 5 stories, had Scott buy 1 more, and am working with one author on rewrites of a story I think is very close to being ready. I've got enough stories to fill one issue of IGMS and am working on filling the next one. We are still waiting on some of the art for issue #3, as well as Scott's new Ender story, but hopefully that will all be done soon.

P.S. For the record, Yes, the "read again" people are being notified.

In unrelated news, here's a link to my monthly non-fiction column for the Horror Library:

It's an interview with author Steven Savile about the HWA Mentoring Program.