Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In which it's always better on holiday

I saw this destroyer in Boston, on a precious day off following a business trip. I was impressed with how much depth it has below the waterline. You can only see this depth in drydock, or if you're a good diver.

On my return I discovered that two of the magazines to which I've submitted are undergoing editorial changes. Catherynne M. Valente is stepping down from Apex, and Ann VanderMeer will no longer be editing Weird Tales.

These situations aren't identical: as far as I can tell, Valente is stepping down to give herself more time to write, which is laudable, while VanderMeer has been let go by Marvin Kaye, who has bought the magazine with the intention of editing it himself.

I am not a prolific writer, and when I have something to sell, I want to place it with a market where it's a really good fit, both for the audience and for the editor. I chose to submit to Apex because I love Valente's writing, and to Weird Tales because I love VanderMeer's editorial taste. My good impression of VanderMeer was further borne out by a fantastic note she sent me on my first submission--she didn't buy it, but she not only encouraged me to submit again, she also gave me helpful suggestions on who else might buy the story in question, and even offered to give more if those didn't pan out. That is a rare and amazing level of consideration, and it made me all the more eager to sell her something great.

Similarly, I love selling to Strange Horizons: my stories are in humbling company there, but also my experiences with Jed Hartman and Karen Meisner have been wonderful.

With both Apex and Weird Tales, I've read the magazines only since the current editors took over. I don't know if I'll continue to read them or submit to them under new management--but I find Valente's vote of confidence in her successor a lot more reassuring than the strange takeover situation at Weird Tales.

I don't have very many stories to sell, and I want to sell them to people who I think have something to offer me in my development as a writer. I have little clout here--fiction is very much a buyer's market--but I will be considering over the next week or so whether I want to withdraw my story from consideration at Weird Tales. I hope Marvin Kaye has something confidence-inspiring to say about his editorial directions for the magazine... but whether he does or not, I know I'll be submitting to Ann VanderMeer again, wherever she lands.

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