Sheila Williams is the Editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine which just announced that they are accepting electronic submissions (for new submissions — no need to re-submit stories if you already have).
SF Signal recently had the opportunity to talk to Sheila about electronic submissions, the short and long term goals of this decision, Asimov’s availability on eBook readers, demographics, and upcoming projects.
Charles Tan: Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. The elephant in the room is what made you decide to finally accept electronic submissions?
Sheila Williams: E-ink is the simple answer. I spend much of my working day writing, editing, and doing production work on a laptop. Large-scale reading on a backlit computer screen has never appealed to me. I’ve appreciated many aspects of an electronic submission system for sometime, though. I purchased a large-sized reader last summer with the hope that it would offer me some of the advantages of reading a book or a magazine without giving me the added eyestrain of a computer. My electronic reader has been a complete joy. I can carry around my newspaper, back issue of Asimov’s, the New Yorker, Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, Thucydidies, and The Windup Girl, and read any one of them whenever I feel like it. I’ve already experimented with a few manuscripts and have found that they are easy to read and to take notes on.
I’ve also been concerned about international submissions for a while. In addition to the high costs and the difficulties authors encounter when they try to find international reply coupons or U.S. postage, the mail service isn’t completely reliable — I never received Gord Sellar’s first submission and Somtow Sucharitkul has had to express-mail material to me from Thailand. I’ve even found that parts of Canada can be difficult to reach by mail. I’ve already been beta testing the new system with a number of authors living outside the US and I’ve been delighted with the ease with which the system works.