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Thoughts on Slush Reading

I read slush for two magazines and for the anthologies I edit. I've discovered that I read each publication in a very different light. For the Edge of Propinquity, I read it in the vein of "do I like this enough to spend money on it and does it fit what TEoP is all about (as well as the theme)?" This is the easiest publication to read for. It is my publication. I know what I like and what I want and what I am willing to spend money on. I only answer to me.

For every other publication, it is different. For Apex Digest, I read slush looking for stories that fit the theme and genre of the magazine and then, knowing what I know of the guy, Jason Sizemore, who owns the publication, I have to think, "Do I like this story enough to ask him to spend money on it?" There is a real difference between me spending my money on a story and asking him spending his money on a story. Will the story make him smile or cringe (in a good way) or will he roll his eyes at me and wonder why he has me on staff?

When it comes to anthologies, I read those slush piles much more in the vein of Apex Digest with the added complication of "Will this story fit in with every other story I have decided is worth me asking someone else to pay for it?" Anthologies are a huge bundle of complications when it comes to looking at them because you also look at them with the mind that you can have them rewritten just a bit to suit your anthology's needs. Underneath the story cuts, you also have to look at how easy or hard it will be to work with the author for the rewrite requests and what you know of their ability to get a story done on time.

Reading slush, for me, often means I'm willing to put my reputation as a professional editor on the line for the story in question. Yes, it is about the story but it is also about who is buying the story and what you have to do to that story after it is sold.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
kmarkhoover
Nov. 11th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
I like hearing about process. Thanks for posting your thoughts about this, I found it interesting.
flameshadow
Nov. 15th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
"or will he roll his eyes at me and wonder why he has me on staff?"

Oh, good! I'm glad someone with more experience than me still worries about this from time to time. ^_^ You're awesome, Jennifer! I can't ever imagine Jason ever rolling his eyes at a story you recommend to him! ^_^

See you at Orycon!!! *waves*
~MJ
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )