31 July 2018

behind-the-scenes rankings

We are working hard behind-the-scenes on the awesome August 2018 issue of Electric Spec. I believe at this point every story that made it in before the issue deadline has been read and all authors have been sent a first email. For many this is a Thanks, but no thanks.. For a select few it's a Thanks, we're going to hold this for voting. In general, we end up with twenty-ish stories each quarter in hold-for-voting. Keep in mind we get hundreds of submissions! And I'm not quite sure why, but we don't seem to get any bad subs. <--This is a bit of mystery to me.

Please note the submission period for this issue was April 16 through July 15, 2018. If you sent us a story before this and you didn't hear anything back--something went awry. Please resubmit. If you sent us a story after July 15, it is being considered for the notable November 2018 issue. Stay tuned for more info later in the year.

Which brings us to rankings. I'm not sure how other 'zines do it, but at Electric Spec all the editors read all the hold-for-voting stories and rank them from number one (best) to number whatever (depends on how many stories made it into hold-for-voting). I try to be very objective when picking stories to go into the hold-for-voting pile. However, when it comes to rankings, I tend to be very subjective. I look for that wow factor. This can be an amazing world, voice, plot, you-name-it. Interestingly, sometimes the other editors agree with these subjective rankings and sometimes they do not.

I compile all the individual rankings into one big ranking list. The smallest number of points possible is 3--from three number one picks. I don't think we've ever had that. The greatest number of points possible would be 3 times the number of stories in hold-for-voting, so, typically sixty-ish. Stories at the top of the rankings list are all discussed and often the top ranked stories are in. Stories in the middle may or may not get discussed. Stories at the bottom are generally rejected.

What would such a discussion entail? We do try to be objective. Does the story have a complete plot, with a good setup and resolution? Does the story have characters that change? Is the story original, or does in contain tropes or cliches we've seen before? You get the idea...

Next time: I'll give a report on our Production Meeting.

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