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SF Tidbits for 12/9/09

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2 Comments on SF Tidbits for 12/9/09

  1. [Editor: Meta tags removed]

    Brrr… did anyone else feel that chill. Well, I did. I haven’t been able to think about anything else since this whole Black Matrix flap started. I’ve been reading the blog posts from Scalzi and Rachel Swirsky’s guest blog post on Jeff Vandermeer’s site and I must say that I’m more than a little disturbed by the whole thing. The chill I feel is the people at the pro level pulling up the ladder saying “you stay down there boy.” These major editors and authors with large clout slamming on a small non-pro market feels just wrong. I plain don’t understand why Scalzi is insulted by the pay rate that has nothing to do with him. He clearly would never submit to Black Matrix, but other new writers might. Writers like myself.

    If it were left to editors like Rachel Swirsky there would be no new writers at all. Her market is a reprint, pro-rate market that—by her own admission—takes stories from only the pro-rate markets. She admits in her blog piece –

    I could tell you lots of things about slush. I could tell you, for instance, that if you are submitting an unsold story to a reprint market and your name isn’t Tim Pratt or Greg Van Eekhout, you are not going to sell that story to me. Why? Because you’re competing with stories printed in the best magazines, chosen by the best editors in the business. If your story was ready to compete with top-level stuff, some other editor would have seen that before your story made it down the market list to find me. Could there be an exception? Sure. There are exceptions to everything. But so far, I haven’t found one to this rule.

    So why does she have a slush pile??? It’s a waste of everyone’s time, including hers. I don’t get it.

    And the silence on this is just too much. I know that people are scared to say anything to these bigwigs in the field. I guess I’m just stupid enough to do it (I prefer gutsy, but I digress.) These smaller non-paying, or low-paying markets play a critical part in the development of the speculative genres. They encourage new writers and give them a place to be heard. Not everyone is friends with someone who will open a door and give them a shot. Some people have to work long and hard to get recognition. New writers are given a shot in these markets that they are often denied in the pro-rate markets. It’s the smaller, so called “crappy,” markets where the new voices are found.

    BTW, calling a market “crappy” because they cannot pay SFWA pro-rates is downright rude. There are plenty of really great markets that pay semi-pro rates, token rates, and even nothing. I’ve run a business and I know how hard it is to keep things afloat when all you get in return for your efforts is love. It seems like a shitty thing to say about someone’s efforts.

  2. Sorry for the style tags. I won’t cut and paste from Word again. :o)

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