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 Post subject: IRoSF on short fiction
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:16 am 
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Lois Tilton's round up of the month in SF shorts here:-

http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10566

She gives the monthly crown to F&SF this time, but no need to panic, as Interzone is not in contention :lol:

Interesting observations in her introduction, and not applicable just to SF I think.

Are the readers going elsewhere, leaving behind only reader/writers and reader/wannabe writers?

Magazine editors, when you run an eye down your subscriber list, how many names do you see that are not writers, or at least have never submitted to you?

Or is it perhaps that most readers have always wanted to write as well, have felt they have a book or story in them, and in the new world of the internet and PoD those dreams seem a lot more capable of realisation?

Opinions anyone?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:15 pm 
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I'd always assumed it's hard to be one without the other. I've been writing fiction ever since I could read it and enjoy both immensely (though only this year starting sending any of it out). I feel the imagination that makes reading so pleasurable doesn't recognise any boundary to stop it creating its own stories without another writer's guidance.

That said, it does seem a sad truth that many are incapable of imagining their own worlds and characters with which to populate them, explaining why such a great amount of only so-so books make sales of massive proportions.

Regarding the subscribers to magazines being the writers and wannabes, this is likely because they're the ones researching the market and hunting these things down. Until the magazines can make the mass market venues, I suppose. I'd love to see more story magazines in places like Smiths and Waterstones, and how good would it be to be sitting at the doctors or dentist and having some fiction to read instead of something about celebrity diets and fashions?

I have to add, though, that teaching teenagers I'm often sadly reminded that many just don't like reading, or don't have the habit of it. And I teach English, where they're supposed to like it! Shelves at home are for DVDs, not books, though you may find the occasional Harry Potter or Twilight. Hopefully, all this new technology stuff (stories on phones, downloadable thingies, etc) will go some way to remedying this.

I hope that makes sense, it's getting late and I've had a bottle or two of something with % symbols on them...


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:23 pm 
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The Guardian and The Observer book charts make depressing reading. The occasional blockbuster aside, the numbers that the top ten hardback and paperback fiction books are selling are dropping rapidly, and they now make the music charts look wholesome in comparison (when you can actually find out what their sales figures are, that is).

Non-stop giant-screen televisions, computer games & the internet are gobbling up all the passive consumers, leaving us with the active ones. Having said that, I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of the difference in numbers between the people who claim to be writers, and the ones who repeatedly finish and submit material.

Ach, they said the novel would kill off poetry, didn't they?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:30 pm 
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I will add, though, that such magazines must be in an unenviable position inasmuch as you can't keep everybody happy. I don't just mean because of the mix of stories; there will always be likes and dislikes, obviously. I mean on the one hand you showcase talent that many like, and so want to see more of, but then every time the magazine offers more of this popular writer, more new and unknown ones are denied space.

I have to say, the balance is pretty good with TTA; though there's certainly a particular 'stable' of writers, new ones are frequent too. From bitter experience, however, (only recent experience, as I've said earlier - I can't comment on the market beyond this last year) many magazines have purchased stories way into 2010. Unless they're just saying that to me as a gentle let down...

The important thing for me, writer or not (successful or not!) is I do get to read a lot of damn fine stories in trying to crack this market, dying or otherwise.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:03 am 
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Quote:
Ray wrote
a great amount of only so-so books make sales of massive proportions.


I think there's always been some of that though. A while back I was reading something about the Victorian penny dreadfuls, and one publisher wanted to raise the literary quality of his line and so hired Sir Walter Scott, who then got outsold by about five to one by the usual hack (who promptly demanded a pay rise) :lol:

In general, I think I agree that people who read tend to also want to write (which doesn't mean that they'll be any good at it, of course), and that the more obscure a magazine is, the more likely that only writers in search of markets will find it.

On the other hand, I do read magazines that I have absolutely no intention of ever submitting to (e.g. Crimewave and Interzone).

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:13 pm 
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Just out of curiosity, why not?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:09 am 
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While I enjoy reading crime fiction, it's not something I ever see myself writing. As far as SF goes, I submitted a thing or two back in the Pringle era, but nowadays what little I produce in that genre is very lightweight flash fiction stuff.

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