13 April 2021

Your First Page

The deadline for the marvelous May 2021 issue of Electric Spec is fast approaching: April 15, 2021. Get those stories in!
We get hundreds of submissions for each issue. (Yay!) This means we do not read every story in the slush pile from start to finish. Sorry.

This means your first page needs to be very good, and your first paragraph needs to be very good. Grab the attention of the editors with something unique. This could be beautiful prose, a dramatic problem, a personable voice, or a fascinating world. This could be a speculative fiction genre we don't get often such as steampunk, or humorous horror. This could also be a fun mash-up of speculative genres.

Often authors waste precious real-estate on the first page with backstory, setting descriptions or world-building info-dumps. Another way of putting this: often authors start the story too early. Start your story when the story starts.
If you must include backstory, descriptions, info-dumps, etc. put them a little later. (Notice this is market-dependent; some markets like front-loaded description.)

I hate to be negative, but ... If you have weird formatting, grammar issues or other similar problems on your first page, it will count against you.

Good luck making your first page awesome!

06 April 2021

don't annoy the editors

The deadline for the marvelous May 2021 issue of Electric Spec is a little over a week away. Get those stories in! Thank you for submitting! :)

Today, I thought I'd pass along some tips regarding not annoying your editors.

  • Don't ask for an update on your story. Unfortunately, we just don't have the resources for this.
  • Don't ask for exceptions to various submission rules. Please do attach your story as an rtf file. Please do use standard formatting.
  • Don't send your submission to the wrong email address. It likely will get lost even if you send it to editors at you-know-where. Again, we just get too much email to deal with this.
  • Don't submit a story outside the word count limits. We won't bend the rules for your story.
  • Don't critique instructions on the submisisons page or elsewhere on the website.
  • Don't tell us the wrong things in your cover letter. I don't want to know you've never published a story before. I don't want to know your political or religious or other very subjective opinions. If you've published dozens of stories before I don't want to know the names of all the markets; pick the top few. Don't summarize your story.
  • Do tell us your name (and pen name, if relevant), your story name, your story genre, your story word count. Do tell us a short writing-related bio.
  • Don't open your story with a lot of racism, misogyny, brutal murder-of-editors (!), or other offensive stuff.
  • Good luck!