Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sideshow Datapoints—Gender and My Slush Pile

I specify *my* slush pile because I don’t track the numbers for Eric, Chris, or Sarah’s slush. 

As an assistant editor, it is not my job to ensure gender, racial, or ideological parity in science fiction, fantasy, or horror.  This is a point on which I am unwilling to bend.  It is my job instead to find good stories to recommend to the editor.  As a slush reader I am not concerned with equality, per se; Quality alone is king.

However, I recognize that my own biases may operate to alter my perception of what is Quality.  So I try to recognize my biases and not let them come into contact with my judgment.  It’s pretty much all any of us can do to be impartial—studied self-examination.  Like I said to someone once, I find value in placing my unicorns on the altar of self-examination and cutting them open to make sure they aren’t zombie robots.

Here are my percentages by gender and genre.  The period from which the numbers were obtained runs from February 2010 to last month (May 2011).  The chart only takes into account submissions where gender could be determined by name, and where the submission was identified as Science Fiction, Fantasty, or Horror.



Total Received

Percentage of Total

Recommendation Rate (Percentage)























Science Fiction





Science Fiction






Hopefully, my math is sound.

Looking at the rate that I recommend science fiction written by authors I identified as female versus the authors I identified as male gives me pause; a 12% difference is not insignificant to me.  However, considering that male authors submitted 3 times as many science fiction pieces, I’m cautiously optimistic that there’s more to the story than the idea that I’m a raging chauvanist demon hellboar.

As Edmund said on Magical Words, I cannot control what comes into my slush pile.  In order to determine if the percentages we’re seeing at IGMS are abnormal, I invite slush readers at other mags to lay their unicorns on the table and let us compare anatomies.

That said, I think the numbers support the notion that genders receive fair treatment at Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show.  The thing that we’re looking for—you know, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that what every editor in the field is looking for—are good stories.   

Send some now.

--Scott M. Roberts

Asst. Editor, InterGalactic Medicine Show

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Discriminating Monster’s Guide to the Perils of Princess Snatching—Scott M. Roberts

Discriminating Monster owes its existence to French Toast Casserole. I am not making this up.

Back in 2008, an editor had infuriated some in the speculative fiction community for publishing an anthology that claimed to be the-discriminating-monsters-guide_largesomething along the lines of 'Best of the BESTEST SF EVAR!!!!11' and had not included any female authors. I don't recall participating in the internet furor that ensued, but the arguments got me thinking about the great gender disparity present in fairy tales.

Are princesses really that much tastier than princes? Sugar and spice vs. puppy dog tails…really? What if it were true?

That wondering set me on the path to writing Vren. For a long time, I was hooked on trying to explain the reasons why monsters go after princesses' destinies (as opposed to princes' destinies), but I could imagenever get the exposition right. It was too heavy handed and political, especially coming from Vren—and I could hardly choose another POV to go at the topic, since I was determined to write this in first-person.

I shelved Discriminating Monster shortly after starting it.

Sometime in the fall of 2010, my wife introduced our family to a imagedelicious new breakfast dish called 'French Toast Casserole.' I include a link to Paula Deen's recipe for the dish, with the warning: like all things from Paula Deen's kitchen, this is not a dish for the faint of heart. Bake at your own risk. However, I promise that if it kills you, you will go to the Great Unknown happily. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg—and the cozy feeling of family gathered around the table for breakfast—stirred ideas for this story. French toast casserole makes an appearance in Discriminating Monster in acknowledgment of its inspirational powers.

That breakfast provided me with the characters of Zash and Sojet; it also helped me to see a way to keep Mercedes with Vren, rather than running away or trying to kill herself. When I came across the idea that Vren had a family with children of a similar age as Mercedes, I also stumbled on the idea that they were becoming more attached to this princess than Vren was; and of course that provided conflict, which is the best cure for writer's block that I know.

Another element that had been holding me back was that initially, I'd imageconsidered Discriminating Monster to be a light-hearted romp through a world that mirrored our own. But…Vren didn't work as Puck. The more I thought about the business that he was engaged in, especially after I added Zash and Sojet to the equation, the less I could see him zinging out one-liners and being flippant. The irony that took the place of flippancy felt much more natural and…justified.

I suppose by mentioning the fact that Discriminating Monster was inspired partly by an internet discussion about gender parity, I'm obligated to provide a statement about what the story ultimately means in that context. I'm hesitant to say what my stories mean, though. What I've written, I've written, and I hate to impose my viewpoint on anyone else's thoughts. Like explaining a joke: the exercise ruins it. I'm happy to discuss possibilities with you though—IGMS affords us a place to scream at one another over on I'll be honest, though, even there, I'm not likely to lay down hard declarations about whether or not Vren represents modern utilitarian chauvinism.

I don't want to spoil the novel version. Smile

--Scott M. Roberts

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Locus Reviewer Recommends ‘The Hanged Poet’

Congrats to Jeff Lyman; his short story in IGMS #23, The Hanged Poet, earned a recommendation from Locus Online’s Lois Tilton!

Link to the review


Layer after layer of revelation, the backstory becomes more interesting, fuller of significance. The author has done an audacious thing: making a poem the center of his work, declaring the power of the poem to alter human affairs, he is challenging himself to produce that poem. Some authors evade this challenge, but Lyman comes through.

--Scott M. Roberts

Asst. Editor, IGMS

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sexism in SF and F

(Note from Scott—this is a repost of an essay written by Edmund Schubert on

There are several topics that flare up with a certain amount of passion from time to time on the internet, sexism and racism being foremost among them. These are important topics that ought to be discussed, and while I think most start out as well-meaning exchanges, they often deteriorate into exercises in frustration. Someone will make a comment, to which someone else will reply, “That’s racist.” What the second person meant was, “That’s a racist comment,” but often times it’s not what was actually said. The person on the receiving end of that comment will then get indignant and reply, “I not a racist!” and off we go to the racist debate races.

Overall I think the science fiction and fantasy community is one of the most open-minded  communities I know of—we’ve all heard numerous times how the first interracial kiss on network television took place on Star Trek, between Kirk and Uhura—but at the same time, to say that there is no racism or sexism would be so ridiculous as to render the speaker of such  nonsense as a fool or a liar.

Last night I got an email from one of my assistant editors, who said that there’s another kerfuffle (his wonderful word) going on about sexism in SF and F, and out of curiosity, he went back into his records and crunched some numbers to see where he stood. He admitted he “was actually kind of worried that the exercise might reveal some sort of imbalance that might reflect unconscious bias on my part,” but he was interested enough to pursue the numbers, no matter where they led. I have to give him a lot of credit for looking the issue squarely in the eye despite his concerns.

This naturally led others on the team to do the same. It took a while to compile all the numbers, because no one on the team actually tracks them on an ongoing basis (with the one exception that I do track the gender of what we actual publish. However, with submissions, I would very much prefer the assistant editors focus first on the quality of the story and not the gender of its author). Having said all that, here’s the breakdown, by assistant editor:


“I just went through and did the numbers for all the manuscripts I pulled from the regular slush, which gives the following additional information:

Male authors: 135
Female authors: 69

Again, an almost 2:1 ratio of male to female submitters.  (Just to check, I looked at the names on the most recent 100 submissions through the regular slush, and for the clearly gendered names, the male to female ratio was 56:27, so 2:1 seems to be about what we get.)

With these, I just did straight rejection/non-rejection..

Rejection rate for males: 72.6%
Rejection rate for females: 76.8%

A difference of 4.2%, which isn’t all that significant: if I switched just 3 female manuscripts from rejection to non-rejection, the rejection rate for females would have been lower than for males.

Adding the earlier group in with this group:

Male authors: 328
Female authors: 176

Rejection rate for males: 53.7%
Rejection rate for females: 55.0%

For a total of 404 manuscripts, a difference of 1.3% between male and female rejection ratios.”



The next set of numbers ran thusly (with a third category added for people who submitted stories under names that are sexually ambiguous, i.e. R.T. Morganfeld, or Pat Frantella, so ‘O’ is for ‘other’):

“Total Count: 659

By Gender:
F      184        27%
M    411        62%
O    64        9%

Next Action
F    Recommend    26    14%
F    Reject        158    86%
M    Recommend    84    20%
M    Reject        327    80%
O    Recommend    9    14%
O    Reject        55    86%”



“In honor of the latest kerfuffle on the interwebs about sexism in SF, I went through all the submissions sent to me that I have responded to (excluding the ones that were sent in large batches at the very beginning of my tenure.)

Male author: 193
Female author: 102
Male/Female co-authors: 1
Undetermined: 5

So male author submissions outnumber female author submissions almost 2:1.

What about disposition?  I have 4 possible dispositions: Highly Recommended, Recommended, Borderline, Recommend Rejection.

Recommend Rejection rate for males: 40.4%
Recommend Rejection rate for females: 40.2%

Borderline rate for males: 28.0%
Borderline rate for females: 28.4%

Recommended rate for males: 29.5%
Recommended rate for females: 26.5%

Highly Recommended rate for males: 2.1%
Highly Recommended rate for females: 4.9%

Until I went through and counted up these figures today I wasn’t keeping track of my rejection rates at all, let alone by sex. I was actually kind of worried that the exercise might reveal some sort of imbalance that might reflect unconscious bias on my part, but the numbers are remarkably balanced.”


My own contribution to these numbers comes in the form of actual publication numbers. Going back to the beginning of 2008, IGMS has published (or bought and is waiting to publish) 93 stories total, 65 of which were written by men, 28 of which were written by women. Not a perfect 2:1 ratio, but close enough to satisfy me. And to be extremely clear on this subject, I am not in any way, shape, or form, suggesting that we ought to be publishing twice as many male authors as female authors. I can’t control the number of submissions I get from any group or gender; I’m just saying we publish them at about the same ratio that we receive them.

The funny thing (to me, anyway) is that I didn’t really need to see the numbers to know we had a good balance; I could tell by the reactions from readers. I’ve received angry emails from female readers who are convinced we are running a sexist magazine that discriminates against women (here’s a tip for you: getting into a ‘dialogue’ with these kinds of people, trying to convince them you don’t have secret sexist editorial policies, is a fool’s errand), and I’ve also received angry emails from male readers complaining about how I’m always publishing “feminist fiction that tells men women can do whatever they want and the men just have to shut up and take it.”

I figure that as long as I’m equally pissing off both sides, I must be fairly close to getting it right.

So that’s one editor’s experience, along with a peek at the behind-the-scenes numbers. Obviously I can’t speak for the genre as a whole, so I’m curious to hear what the rest of you think, and what experiences you’ve had in this area.


--Edmund Schubert,

Editor, InterGalactic Medicine Show

PS: The numbers presented above under #1 and #3 actually came form the same assistant editor, but were regarding his reading different slush piles. We have different avenues of submission for writers with different degrees of experience and this particular editor reads from both piles.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

IGMS Hydra Competition - In Brazilian

Follow the link for a fun look at the new contest in Brazilian (which is actually Portuguese).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hydra Competition for Brazilian Fantastic Literature

Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show (IGMS) and The Elephant and Macaw Banner have partnered up to create a contest that will bring the best of Brazilian speculative fiction to the English-speaking world via the Hydra Competition (Concurso Hydra in Brazil’s native language of Portuguese).

A panel of judges will select three finalists from short stories first published in Brazil in 2009 and 2010. Orson Scott Card, one of the world’s best-selling authors of speculative fiction, will select the winner.

Card says, "Ever since I lived in Brazil in the early 70s, the nation and people of Brazil have been important to me.  That's why in Speaker for the Dead, the colonists are Portuguese-speaking Brazilians!  When I returned to Brazil to take part in a science fiction convention twenty years ago, I made new friends and read the work of some exciting authors.  I've continued following the Brazilian science fiction scene ever since, and I am proud that IGMS will be a means of bringing the work of some of these writers to American readers.  Till now, American readers have had little idea of how much good work is being done in our genre in Brazil."

The winning story will be translated from Portuguese by author Christopher Kastensmidt, finalist in this year’s Nebula Awards and organizer of the Hydra Competition, and it will be published in InterGalactic Medicine Show.

IGMS editor Edmund R. Schubert says, “We’ve been publishing stories from around the globe for nearly as long as the magazine has been online, but it was always the English-language speaking parts of the world. This opportunity to reach into Brazil, to a whole new way of not just speaking, but of thinking and of viewing the world, is exciting. South America and Latin America have long been renowned for incorporating magical realism into their fiction and that’s a perfect avenue for IGMS to explore. I’m incredibly excited to see the stories that come to us out of this contest.”

Competition organizer Christopher Kastensmidt adds, “The Brazilian speculative fiction community has produced hundreds of excellent stories over the last two years, but almost none of them have made the passage to the English-speaking world. Orson Scott Card and the staff at InterGalactic Medicine Show recognize that speculative fiction is international, and their support will make this competition one of the biggest incentives ever for Brazilian writers.”

The name for the Hydra Competition comes from the Hydra constellation. Being a group of stars named after a mythical monster, the Hydra constellation is symbolic of both the fantasy and science fiction produced by the speculative community today. The constellation crosses the celestial equator, joining the northern and southern celestial hemispheres, just as the Hydra competition hopes to join the northern and southern hemispheres of speculative fiction. The Hydra is also one of the constellations on the Brazilian flag.

Submissions will be open from July 1st through August 15th and all eligible Brazilian authors are encouraged to participate. Rules will be published in Portuguese on the website Universo Insônia ( There is no entry fee to participate; however, the winner will receive a publication contract and be paid at IGMS’s full rate.

About Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

Founded by multiple-award winning author Orson Scott Card, and edited for the past five years by Edmund R. Schubert, IGMS is an award-winning bimonthly online magazine publishing illustrated science fiction and fantasy short stories, audio stories, interviews, reviews, and more. Authors range from established pros like Peter Beagle, Eugie Foster, Marie Brennan, and David Farland to first-time authors making their professional debut.

About The Elephant and Macaw Banner

The Elephant and Macaw Banner is a fantasy series set in sixteenth-century Brazil. The stories tell the adventures of Gerard van Oost and Oludara, an unlikely pair of heroes who meet in Salvador. News, artwork, and in-depth explanations of historical and cultural references from the series can be found at the website

Into the West—Eric James Stone

I'm a member of the Codex Writers group, and for the past several years we've had a contest called "Codexian Idol."  (The contest was into-the-west_largeinvented by James Maxey, who won the first contest with a story that was later published in IGMS: "To Know All Things That Are in the Earth.")  The contest involves submitting the first 500 words of a story based on prompts, and people vote on which stories they want to read more of.  About half the contestants are eliminated, and the rest submit 1000 more words.  The next round of voting cuts the field down to the finalists, who submit their finished stories for the final voting. 

One year, the contest prompts were sound clips, including one of a train. An additional prompt was "Someone or something lies or misleads, in a big or small way, on purpose or accidentally."  I had recently read The Elegant Universe, a non-fiction book about string theory, which talked about the concept of curled dimensions, and I wondered what would happen if our time dimension somehow got mixed up with a space dimension.  From all that I got the idea of west being the future, and a train that had to keep going west.  The "misleading" in the story is Varney's assertion that the darkness behind them is a black hole.

For the main character, I wanted someone who would have to face one of his fears in the course of the story.   For someone riding a train, a fear of flying might be a little too obvious a choice, but it allowed for the irony of an astronaut who's afraid to fly and gave root to his backstory of the plane crash.

--Eric James Stone

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leviathan Wakes—by James S.A. Corey

"a really kickass space opera; interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written." – George RR Martin

I’m not sure that I can put it any better. I agree on every point with Mr. Martin: James S.A. Corey’s debut novel Leviathan Wakes is as tremendous and affecting an adventure as I’ve ever read.

(Calling it a debut novel is…perhaps not wholly true. James S.A. Corey is the pen-name of writers Daniel Abraham (you may have heard of him) and Ty Franck.)

Here’s the hook from the publisher, Orbit Books:

Welcome to the future. Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice hauler making runs from the rings of Saturn to the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, The Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for. War is brewing in the system.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to The Scopuli and rebel sympathizer, Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between governments, revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Leviathan Wakes is a page-turner. You remember that feeling—maybe it was Dune, or Ender’s Game, or Something Wicked This Way Comes—when you’d spend a whole summer afternoon, entranced by a story, and then come night, you’d sneak a flashlight into your bed and keep reading? This is that kind of book. This is a book that grabs your imagination and does not release until the gratifying final pages.

And then promises you more. Leviathan Wakes is the first book in the Expanse series. The sequel, Caliban’s War, is reportedly already at the publisher’s.

I can’t wait.

POST-SCRIPT: Something's in the water-- John Scalzi reviewed this book today, too. Only he got Daniel and Ty's thoughts on writing space-opera. Highly recommended read.

(Thanks to Jamie Todd Rubin for the heads-up.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Four Wizards and a Funeral—Mike Rimar


Four Rewrites and a Sale

by Mike Rimar

I. An Idea

Not long after I learned my neighbor worked in a funeral home, a little voice in my head shouted, "There's a story here, dummy!"

Insulting little. . .

The idea percolated in my mind and while some plots bubbled up nothing really grabbed me. Time passed, other projects came up and the idea remained just that.

II. A Purpose

Months later I joined the Stopwatch Gang writing group. At one of Four Wizards - Color - smallthe meetings someone mentioned an upcoming wizard-themed anthology and writing a story turned into a group challenge.

"Hey dummy," said the little voice in my head. "Remember that idea?"

If I ever find that little--

Something clicked and while a wizard undertaker was probably nothing new, in all likelihood it hadn't been done to death, pardon the pun.

A plot took shape and, as I wrote, the story--and narrator, found a voice.

III. A Title

Originally, only three wizards plagued my protagonist. Thinking along those lines, I mulled over possible titles: Three Wizards; Three Little Wizards; Three Wizards and an Undertaker . . .


To think what might have been had I not heard of a certain movie starring Hugh Grant and Andie Macdowell.

Of course, that meant adding an extra wizard, but that's life--and death.

By the umpteenth draft I thought I had a pretty good story and took it to the Stopwatch Gang who showed me I was wrong.

IV. A Good Writing Group

I cannot stress the importance of having colleagues who are willing four-wizards-and-a-funeral_largeto give unbiased criticism of your work. If you are a beginning writer, and serious about getting published, join a writing group, or create one. You won't be sorry.

And just to prove my point, Tony Pi, who is also a member, was in the issue previous to this one. Tony convinced me to join the Codex Online Writers Group. A great place to connect with writers and editors.

Having incorporated the SWG's suggestions, I happily, and confidently, sent the story along to the anthology.

V. A Sale


Anthologies are curious beasts. Most, it seems to me, start off with a blanket theme of say, zombie stories, but as the the editor takes four-wizards-and-a-funeral_largesubmissions and makes a small acceptance pile, a secondary theme might emerge, say, lighthearted zombie romances. So, while your zombie story might be the best thing since Night of the Living Dead, it won't make the cut of what's slowly becoming Zombies in the City.

Yes, I was unhappy my story got rejected, but I didn't lock myself in the bathroom and cry like a schoolgirl. I stopped doing that about a year ago.

What I did do was continue submitting the story until a wise fellow by the name of Edmund R. Schubert saw something other editors had missed. But first, suggestions of his own. I made those fixes and ran them past the SWG in a flurry of emails. They in turn, patiently explained what Edmund really meant, and after making those edits I submitted the story a final time.

Four Wizards and a Funeral is in the June issue of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show.

I hope you enjoy it.

--Mike Rimar

Thursday, June 09, 2011

IGMS Issue #23 is Online!

Just so.  Smile

Discriminating Monster - smallx

--Scott M. Roberts

Asst. Editor, InterGalactic Medicine Show

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Issue 23 - June 2011

According to a recent press release, issue 23 has an unusual twist to it. Cue the news-magazine style TV music now…

Dateline: Greensboro, NC, June 8, 2011 — Six years after appearing in Writers of the Future XXI together, four of 2005's winners will have stories published in the same issue of Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show (IGMS), a leading webzine of science fiction and fantasy. []

Recent Nebula-winner Eric James Stone, Scott Roberts, Lon Prater, and Mike Rimar—each a 2005 winner of the ongoing Writers of the Future contest—were notified separately this year that the short stories they had submitted to IGMS would appear together in the June 8 issue of the award-winning webzine. "I noticed that we'd all mentioned stories coming out in the same issue and joked that we should call it a reunion," Scott Roberts said.

"It's not unusual for IGMS to publish winners of the Writers of the Future contest," fiction editor Edmund Schubert pointed out. "We regularly receive outstanding submissions from prior winners. What's really odd is publishing so many from the same year in one issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be some kind of record."

Turns out it is a record.

Cover-story author and WotF-winner Scott Roberts brings us, "A Discriminating Monster’s Guide to the Perils of Princess Snatching," a tale of… well, I think the title pretty much sums it up: a tale of the perils of princess snatching.

Next up from WotF gang is "Four Wizards and a Funeral” by Mike Rimar. In it four wizards manage to make a poor mortician’s life miserably complicated with conflicting demands regarding the treatment of their recently deceased comrade’s corpse. Of course, the corpse has plans of its own…

“This Is My Corporation, Eat,” from WotF-winner Lon Prater is a short story about the evolution of one Christian man in a world where faith has been capitalized and commercialized to the nth degree. This story also serves as this issue’s audio feature, performed by Tom Barker.

And in case you’re not tired of hearing me say “WotF-winner” yet, "Into The West” is by WotF-winner and recent Nebula winner Eric James Stone. “Into the West” is an unusual tale of a one-way ticket to the end of the world. You just want to make sure your ticket is for a trip in the other direction…

Lastly, but by no means least, "The Hanged Poet” by Jeffery Lyman is a powerful recounting of a conversation between an exiled general and a woman who was hung by the neck and left for dead many years earlier for her seditious poetry. She can’t completely die until her poetry does too, but the general is a collector of poetry and man in need of a mission.

Also, Darrell Schweitzer brings us an up-close-and-personal look into the latest goings on with Larry Niven.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to repeat an item from last issue’s letter in case you missed it, because it’s simply too good to miss: IGMS for the e-reader -- Kindle, Sony, Nook, Kobo, whatever – any e-reader that you can name.

Currently we have issue 1, and issues 11 through 22 available for free for subscribers, and if you're not a subscriber yet, those same issues are available for single-issue purchase and Kindle-download at Amazon.

Plus, as each new issue goes up, it will be added within a few days to both Amazon and on IGMS for subscribers.

If you're already a subscriber, all you have to do is click on "My Account" (in the upper left-hand corner of any page (except, of course, the home page)) and you'll be able to email yourself a mobipocket file for your e-reader. If you bought even just a single issue back when that was the IGMS subscription model, you can still get that single issue for your e-reader, too.

So a big thanks to our web designer, Scott Allen, for making those issues available for the e-reader, and a big you're welcome to IGMS readers everywhere.

Edmund R. Schubert
Editor, Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show

P.S. As usual, we've collected essays from the authors in this issue and will post them right here on our blog. Feel free to drop by and catch The Story Behind The Stories, where the authors talk about the creation of their tales.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Why I Submit to InterGalactic Medicine Show

1) Moderate response times.  IGMS is not fast when compared with say, Lightspeed or the Magazine of Fantasy and Science fiction.  But according to, IGMS’s median response time is about 30 days.  That’s fairly standard. 

I happen to like fast responses, even if they are mostly rejections.  I assume the editors know what works for their magazine; the sooner my story is out of the hands of an editor who doesn’t like it, the sooner I can put it into the hands of one who does.

2) Great editors.  Edmund Schubert (and Orson Scott Card before him) have improved both the stories that I sold to the magazine.  OSC made Eviction Notice less ambiguous and helped me see my way to dropping a useless epilogue; Edmund Schubert helped make the ending of The End of the World Pool powerful and affecting rather than maudlin and melodramatic.

3)Online distribution.  I love being able to post a link that goes directly to IGMS.  I love that IGMS is on Kindle and all the other e-readers.  It makes getting my story into the hands of readers much, much easier. 

4) The price is right.  $2.50 ($2.99 for a single e-reader issue) for an issue is the sweet spot for consumers.  While it ain’t free, it also doesn’t make my readers choose between buying lunch or buying an issue.  They can buy an issue of IGMS, stick it on their Kindle, and read it on their lunch break—and still have money left over to actually buy lunch.

5) Artwork.  Every story in IGMS gets an illustration.  That’s an enormous selling point for me, and is a GREAT marketing tool for gaining readership.  Most folks—be honest, even your best friends—are not exactly drooling to read even a synopsis of your SF-new-weird story about the boy who becomes an astronaut and saves the world from the capriciousness of magic.  But show ‘em this:


…and their eyes pop open, and their mouth drops, and they will be a LOT more willing to read your work. 

Artwork sells books—the publishing world has known it for a long time.  Artwork can work the same for short stories, too, if you’ve got it, and can show it off.  And publishing a story in IGMS means you do got it. 

For social media and electronic communication, a picture is invaluable for self-promotion. 

6) I like the stories.  The stories that IGMS publishes are the type of stories that I like to read.  This is a bit of an ambiguous element, I realize.  What it works out to is that IGMS is a market where I know my stories fit, generally speaking; they have a history of  publishing stories that are like the stories I write.

--Scott M. Roberts