1) Moderate response times. IGMS is not fast when compared with say, Lightspeed or the Magazine of Fantasy and Science fiction. But according to Duotrope.com, 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