08 October 2013

notes from the slush pile

We are starting to work hard behind the scenes on the neat November issue of Electric Spec. Personally, I've been reading a lot of slush... Here are some thoughts in no particular order.
  • Re. the cover letter:
    • Don't tell us to go to your web page to learn more about you. In general, don't order us to do anything. It makes us grumpy.
    • Don't write a looong cover letter. We don't care what happened to you in the 1980s, or the 1990s, for that matter. If you have dozens of publications, just pick the top five or so and emphasize those. When we pick your story we will ask you for a bio for our Authors page.
    • Do give us your name, the title of your story, and its word count. The genre would also be nice. Although if you get the genre wrong...this is not a plus.
    • Do not give us a summary of the story. If we can't tell what it's about, a summary in the cover letter isn't going to help you.
  • Re. story length:
    • IMHO, it is really, really difficult to tell a story in less than 1000 words. Despite the current popularity of flash fiction, I've almost never seen it done well.
    • At the opposite extreme, while we do accept stories up to 7000 words... Does your story really need 7000 words? As an editor, I get pretty tired around about 5000 words. In the vast majority of cases, stories that contain 7000 words only need ~5000 words. Please carefully consider this.
  • Re. format:
    Do follow our formatting rules: here. The main points are:
    • rtf format
    • in an attachment
    • double-spaced
    • 12 pt font
    • not a weird font. We like Times New Roman or Courier.
That's it for now. Good luck with your writing. We look forward to reading your story! :)

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