20 July 2021

Welcome, Bonnie!

Starting with the awesome August 2021 issue of Electric Spec we have a new Associate Editor, Bonnie Ramthun!

Bonnie Ramthun is a Colorado mom, wife, and novelist. Her novels for adults include the detective Eileen Reed mystery series of Ground Zero, Earthquake Games, and The Thirteenth Skull. Her middle grade mystery series includes The White Gates, Roscoe, and Haunted Waters. The White Gates, published by Random House, was a Junior Library Guild Premiere selection and a finalist for the Missouri Truman Award. She is a former chapter president of Mystery Writers of America, a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and a former war gamer for the Department of Defense.

Welcome, Bonnie!

13 July 2021

misc feedback

The deadline for the awesome August 2021 issue of Electric Spec is July 15, 2021! Get those stories in!
We are very busy with all the hundreds of stories in slush. Thanks for sending us your story!

Here's some miscellaneous feedback for authors:

  • Do follow standard formatting conventions. Weird fonts, giant or tiny text sizes, extra spacing after paragraphs, and other odd stuff makes editors cranky.
  • If you email us to withdraw your story, please try to include the date you sent the original submission.
  • Don't bother summarizing your story in the cover letter. If I can't tell what the story is from reading it, a summary isn't going to help.
  • Don't list dozens or hundreds of credits in your cover letter. If you want to include credits, just pick the top three or so. If you aren't sure what the 'top' means, go ahead and include the most recent.
  • Don't tell us if you're unpublished in the cover letter. It's not an advertisement.
  • I like to see title, genre, word-count and author contact info in the cover letter. If you want to include a bio--keep it short. We will request an updated bio from authors upon acceptance.
  • We don't send email acknowledgements of story receipt (It caused too many problems.). But we won't keep you in suspense longer than four months. Every once in a while we get an email that an author has been waiting to hear from us for six months or more... No. Sorry, your story got lost in cyberspace.
  • Authors who submit at the beginning of the submission period may do better than authors who submit at the last minute. Most editors try to keep ahead of slush. But, somehow, the end of the period always ends up being hectic. Thus, the beginning of the submission period is more relaxed. A more relaxed editor is more likely to take more time with your story.
I better get back to it...
Good luck!

06 July 2021

Story Feedback 3

Only a few days left to submit for the awesome August 2021 issue. Get your stories in by midnight on July 15, 2021!
In our continuing discussion of feedback for authors...

Don't include gratuitious sex and/or violence. We especially don't like child rape or murder. Rape or murder of anyone is a tough sell, to be frank. Killing off characters in a short story and having the reader care is difficult. Often, there isn't enough page space to make the reader feel empathy for the victim.
That's why we prefer spooky or eerie macabre fiction rather than gory horror.

Don't offend the editors. This means, in your story, you shouldn't blatantly insult editors. Or authors. Or, anyone, for that matter. This idea holds for the cover letter as well.

Closely related to this is: don't include extreme politics or conspiracy theories in your story. I'm sorry to say, we had a story recently that included denial of the Holocaust as a major story element. Hard pass--exceptionally hard pass. In fact, we asked that author not to send us any more stories.

To end on a positive note: Do send us the story only you could write. We love personal, unique tales. What are you expert in? Passionate about? Who or what do you love? Write us a story about it!

Good luck!

30 June 2021

Story Feedback 2

It's only about 2 weeks until the July 15, 2021 deadline for the awesome August 2021 issue of Electric Spec. Get those stories in!
We are deep in the slush pile...
Here's some tips:
  • Your page one needs to be very good. We get hundreds of stories, so, sadly, if your story opening isn't good, we probably won't keep reading. This means:
    • formatting should be appropriate
    • minimize grammar and spelling errors
    • the content should be clear and interesting
    • I recommend having someone else read your opening. Ask him/her what the story is about, or what's intriguing. If they can't tell you--modify the opening.
  • Write about something we like (How do you know this? Read previous issues.)
    • one editor loves dragons
    • one editor enjoys unresolved/open endings
    • one editor enjoys time travel, alternate worlds, quantum ideas
    • consider steam-punk or genre mashups
  • Consider a first line hook
    • this probably isn't a long description
    • this probably isn't dialogue
    • the author telling the reader something can be effective here
Good luck!

22 June 2021

Story Feedback

Savvy writers know the submission deadline for the awesome August 2021 issue of Electric Spec is coming up on July 15, 2021! Get those stories in!

We have started working on the new issue, in particular, on stories in the slush pile. We periodically get requests for story feedback from editors. Sorry! We can't do that except... right here! So here you go:

  • Be wary of starting your story with the protagonist waking up. (We see this A LOT.)
  • Do submit your story as an attachment in the correct format.
  • Do include a cover letter with the word count. There is no need to summarize the story. If the editor can't figure it out...not good.
  • Do include some kind of speculative element in your story.
  • Do write something original and unique.
  • Do read earlier versions of the ezine so you know what we like. The good news is: they're free!

We'll probably include more tips right here next week.
Good luck with your writing!

15 June 2021

market resources

There are many on-line resources for authors seeking markets for their fiction.
My fave is: https://ralan.com/ .
Obviously, if you are reading this, you are familiar with the best spec fic market of all: Electric Spec! :)
I heard about an article on authorspublish.com recently: 28 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Markets That Pay.

They say: Electric Spec is a speculative fiction magazine that is published four times per year and they will consider any story between 250 and 7,000 words with speculative fiction elements. They prefer science fiction, fantasy and the macabre, and pay $20 for every story they publish. Although they don’t acknowledge story receipt, they aim to respond within 135 days by email, with a “reject”, “accept”, or “hold-for-voting” message. If you haven’t received any message by that time, please resubmit. Take a look at their submission guidelines here. Read the current and previous issues here.
I didn't include their links.

I must admit I don't know much about this site, but it's nice to be mentioned. If you do know about it, feel free to comment. ;)

Electric Spec is currently accepting submissions!

08 June 2021

56th Annual Nebula Awards

Perhaps it's a bit old-fashioned, but I've always been a big fan of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and their annual awards, the Nebulas. This past Saturday they announced the winners of the 56th annual awards. They include
  • BEST NOVEL Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
  • BEST NOVELLA Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • BEST NOVELETTE "Two Truths and a Lie", Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)
  • BEST SHORT STORY "Open House on Haunted Hill", John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots)
Congratulations to the winners and all the nominees!
I believe you can see the ceremony on sfwa_youtube.