Weird Tales & Da Hugo, Memphis, and SF/F Markets

Jeff VanderMeer • March 20th, 2009 @ 3:47 pm • Culture

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(Ann couldn’t pick up this huge billiard ball, but I’m sure she could pick up a Hugo…)

First up, thrilled for Ann (and Stephen Segal) that Weird Tales is up for a Hugo for the first time in its history. I hope it wins. I also think Ann should’ve been up for best editor given not just WT but also the anthos she co-edited last year, but so it goes. Let’s not be greedy, shall we? (Congrats to all the nominees–limited internets here in Memphis, so no link, but I’m sure you can find it.)

Second up, Memphis photos, including metal lizard shell thingee and much more.

Third up, Sean Wallace has a break down of the percentage of new writers in several prominent genre magazines in 2008, which is worth reproducing here:

F&SF: 5%
Analog: 5%
Asimov’s: 20%
Baen’s Universe: 21%
Intergalactic Medicine Show: 32%
Interzone: 40%
Realms of Fantasy: 51%
Clarkesworld: 61%
Strange Horizons: 68%
Weird Tales: 72%
Chizine: 78%
Fantasy Magazine: 88%

If I were a new writer, this would probably make me consider focusing my efforts on Asimov’s and Weird Tales in addition to mostly online sources. Consider also that the main reason to get into Asimov’s or F&SF beyond trad prestige factors would be their virtual stranglehold on the Hugos and Nebulas. But the Hugos in particular tend not reward new writers. (Am I wrong? Tell me if so.)

Dear readers: The world is shifting. Are you shifting with it?

Which of these subjects do you want to discuss? I don’t care. Surprise me.

11 Responses to “Weird Tales & Da Hugo, Memphis, and SF/F Markets”

  1. Jonathan Wood says:

    I was really surprised that the only e-pub mentioned on the list in any way (stories nominated, etc.) was Clarkesworld. The list was dominated by the printed medium. Which, given the way the short story market seems to be moving, surprised me. There again, I don’t have time to read that many publications, either printed or online, so… Maybe all the good stuff is in the printed world. It just seems a little unlikely to me, that’s all…

    As for the new author thing, I was talking about this with Mr. Jessup. It’s interesting that the general trend (and Ann’s own efforts clearly make this a generalization) is for online markets to feature more new authors, and for print ones to feature the same old faces. More new voices definitely seems like a way for a magazine to avoid stagnation (which I suspect may be a large part of the problem for the big 3), but on the other hand, it makes it harder for newcomers to build an audience (on the other hand I’m still not sure if it’s the point of short story writing to attract reader’s eyes or editor’s…).

    I tend to identify on-line markets with the future of the short story market in general, so I suspect seeing more of the new is likely the way things are going to go, especially as we move towards a long-tail market with a broader range of magazines. It also seems reflective of the increased demand for the new that the internet has inspired in our culture (no value judgment on that, just an observation).

    This is turning into something of a list of random thoughts, rather than anything cohesive. I don’t really have anything conclusive to say, except perhaps congrats to Ann, and that in an increasingly electronic age she has helped to create a print magazine well worthy of a Hugo.

  2. brendan connell says:

    Is it my imagination or are the magazines that have the most new writers also the ones that allow on-line submissions?

  3. Marty Stephenson says:

    Thanks for the list. About the pictures: the ‘Pig’ restaurant; I love the sign in the window that says “Big Ass Beer To Go”. Sweet. And by all means please expound on the best markets for ‘new’ writers.

  4. James says:

    Way to go, Ann! Weird Tales is a semiprozine, though? That sounds . . . well, weird. It must be, according to whatever technical rules they use at Hugo House, but it still sounds a little backhanded.

    I notice that there’s a nominated story called “Evil Robot Monkey”–I’m not sure whether to root for or against it on your alter ego’s behalf, Jeff.

  5. Grant Stone says:

    As a newbie writer, that list is certainly interesting. Since I’m on the faraway part of the blue ball, I’ve stopped sending to any market that only accepts postal submissions. My only exception to that is F&SF, but they’re so fast at responding I’m happy to take my chances.

    Another factor that’s important to me is automated submission response and tracking. That is, if I email a submission, I want to receive an email that just says “yep, we got it”. There’s no excuse for any submission to go missing with online submissions, but it happened to me a few times last year. Once a story is out I try and forget about it, but it’s still pretty cool when a magazine lets you see where your story is in the queue. Andromeda Spaceways, Clarkesworld and Fantasy all do this. I’m hoping that automated response + queue tracking become a de facto standard before too long.

  6. Ennis Drake says:

    You should have bought the hat, Jeff. You totally should have bought the hat. Passing on a hat like that comes with a lot of regret. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow. But soon. You’re going to wake up in the middle of the night — shadows crawling the walls, your skin crawling on your bones — stinking of sour sweat and regret, and you know what you’re going to be thinking? Yeah, you know what you’re going to be thinking.

  7. Kevin Standlee says:

    James:

    The rules for semiprozine are in the WSFS Constitution, section 3.3.11, and are also published on the ballot.

    And while you probably meant it metaphorically, I wince at the usage of “Hugo House,” because there is a [Richard] Hugo House that is related to literature and has had SF/F participation, and there’s already been confusion between them and WSFS’s Hugo Award, so we try and avoid saying or doing anything that would create any more such confusion. I would never want to imply that the Richard Hugo House had anything to do with the administration of the Hugo Award.

  8. J M McDermott says:

    I’m interested in seeing a list of subscribers/original-pagehits-per-story alongside that list.

    I know page hits and subscriptions are not equivalent, but it is the best judge we can get to see how many readers each magazine acquires for their stories.

    My un-scholarly truthiness gut feeling is that Baen’s Universe, Asimov’s, and Strange Horizons get the most readers, but as I did absolutely no research whatsoever, I could easily be wrong.

  9. James says:

    I dropped the Hugo House reference intentionally, Kevin. I’m from Seattle, in the same neighborhood as Richard Hugo house in fact, so I guess I was making a non-funny pun, which qualifies as some sort of metaphor, I suppose. I never thought of our local Hugo House as being terribly well known, so I’m surprised to hear there’s been confusion with the Hugo awards. No muddying of the waters intended.

  10. Kevin Standlee says:

    James: Yep, there has been some minor confusion, and the WSFS Mark Protection Committee has had to have some correspondence with them over steps to avoid such confusion. (Specifically, it causes confusion for them to give out prizes that include the text “Hugo Award” in their name — it trips up search engines if nothing else — which is why they have, as I recall, a “Richard Hugo Prize” instead, for which we’re grateful.

    Sorry if I sounded touchy, but when you chair the committee that guards WSFS’s intellectual property, you sometimes end up starting at shadows.

  11. film says:

    At first I thought you told Google to call the library, and it did, and that blew my mind.
    Then I realized that you actually called the library, and my mind became unblown.
    I’ll get back to work…

    If you ask my opinion about this topic I really like. Thank you for sharing your friends. Hope to see you another day.

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