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September 26, 2005

Yet Another Subterranean Magazine Submissions Reminder

All you short story writers, here's yet another reminder that as of Saturday, I begin accepting submissions for Subterranean Magazine's Spring '06 issue, with the theme "Big Honkin' Science Fiction Cliches." The details are here, and once again I remind you to learn and love the submission requirements, as they do apply to all.

Allow me to note also that while the reading period for submissions begins October 1 (and ends November 1), I am probably not actually going to begin actually reading submissions until October 3, on account that I will be in Chicago this weekend at a bookseller's convention, promoting the heck out of my own work. Let me also note that getting stuff to me the very first day will not make any sort of difference in terms of acceptance/rejection; you'll have just as much chance selling me a story if it arrives a week in, or two weeks in, or on the last day of the reading period, as you will the very first day. So please, don't rush your story just to have it be the first piece in my mailbox. Take an extra day or two for revisions and such.

In case you're wondering what the schedule here is going to be for production, it'll be something like this:

October: Reading submissions, making first cuts, (possibly) asking for revisions.

November: Final selections based on revisions and another sweep through submissions to find anything I missed the first time around.

December: E-mailing of rejections; mailing payments. Initial layout and production.

That's the plan, anyway.  

Remember also to read this, regarding the mechanics of submission rejection. And if it's any consolation, I've already written a short story for the magazine that I then rejected (it seemed amusing enough when I started it, but when I was done with it? Eh, not so much). Since I've already rejected a submission from myself, this should be an indication I'll not be playing favorites.

Of course, you should be happy I've already rejected myself: More space for the rest of you. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have.

Posted by john at September 26, 2005 07:37 AM

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Steve Eley | September 26, 2005 09:04 AM

Ah, but you didn't wait until the October 1 submissions opening before you sent it to yourself to reject! Favoritism! >8->

John Scalzi | September 26, 2005 09:32 AM

Well, I couldn't very well not see what I was writing, now, could I. Not without that whole multiple personality thing. But I don't want to go down that road. Again.

chelsea | September 26, 2005 10:36 AM

argh, 5000 word limit, argh, argh, argh.

*pats novelettes consolingly* I know you have a space station with windows, baby, but next pageant, okay?

Dean | September 26, 2005 11:51 AM

I haven't forgotten.

I'm just curious. How many submissions do you think you're going to get? I'm guessing 438 or thereabouts.

John Scalzi | September 26, 2005 12:00 PM

That number seems oddly precise, Dean. Do you know something I don't?

I have no idea how many submissions I'll get, although I suspect that requiring electronic submissions will bump up the number a bit (no stamps to pay for, after all). When I was doing my editor gig at AOL and I was running a humor area, I would get something on the order of 1,000 submissions a month. My brain is using that as a baseline, although of course it could be more or less.

RooK | September 26, 2005 12:03 PM

All right, I've got some last minute stupid questions.

1) Do the terms of First World Serial Rights accommodate stories that I've stuck up on my personal nobody-important-sees-it web site?

2) Are you accepting multiple separate submissions from the same person? Your "How to Submit" item #5 seems to suggest that you might not, which doesn't sound quite right.

3) If my chosen cliché doesn't quite honk, is there still a chance that it might squeak in?

John Scalzi | September 26, 2005 12:09 PM


1. I'd prefer not to see work that's been put up anywhere at any time for any purpose. Although since I'm not going to check every single piece to see if it's been previously published, that's between you and your conscience to interpret that.

2. People may submit ONE fiction piece and ONE non-fiction query. Additional submissions will be rejected without me even opening them. So make sure you are sending the piece you want considered as the first thing you send.

3. I have no idea what this means. If you're asking if you can submit a story that doesn't have a science fiction cliche in it, the answer is no. That's the theme of the issue.

Dean | September 26, 2005 01:59 PM

That number seems oddly precise, Dean. Do you know something I don't?

Maybe it's a premonition.

On the other hand, it could be gas.

RooK | September 26, 2005 02:11 PM

Thanks John, I think the answers for 1 & 2 can be accommodated with the same non-submission.

I apologize for the hong/squeak joke, and any confusion it may have caused.

RooK | September 26, 2005 02:12 PM

Er, ah, that should have been "honk", not "hong". The confusion continues.

Steve Thorn | September 26, 2005 04:11 PM

Ah, throwing caution to wind on that old maxim: A cliche a day keeps the publisher away..

RooK | September 26, 2005 04:24 PM

Ooh ooh! I've thought of another question that has occurred to me.

4) Considering Subterranean's typical genre as being horror-oriented, is that facet being carried over to the issue that you are editing? I don't recall seeing that explicitly addressed.

Gawd, I'm starting to feel like one of those guys I used to thow erasers at in class. After this I promise to just shut up, finish the damn story, and submit for my limited-edition Scalzi rejection.

John Scalzi | September 26, 2005 04:42 PM


Unless the horror element explicitly ties into SF, it's not a facet we'll be exploring, no.

Mark Siegal | September 27, 2005 01:14 PM

Is there a de facto lower limit on word count? How do you feel about short-shorts below 1,000 words?

More people are probably struggling with the upper limit of 5,000 words, but what can I say, I'm pithy.

Monkey | September 30, 2005 07:55 PM

Your timeframe seems to suggest that you'll be rejecting some stuff as you read, rather than wait for the end of the reading period. Is that correct?

John Scalzi | October 1, 2005 05:18 PM

Yes -- I'll be rejecting as I go. However, I will be making notifications all at once; seems easier that way.

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