Submission deadline looms

Hi friends of On Spec. With just a few days left before our March 31 deadline for submissions, we are up to 444 submissions of short fiction and poetry and a few links to artist websites that we’ll investigate for possible cover art images. Some authors have experienced a few hiccups with getting registered and uploading their work, so I have been helping them out.  We do try to respond promptly to email inquiries and messages from the Contact page. For most people, the process has been pretty effortless, and I’m happy about that.

The prospect of reading upwards of 500 stories and poems is rather daunting, but it is nothing we haven’t done before. And it is also exciting to see so many names of authors we’ve never encountered before. New voices are more than welcome. We are all busy reading submissions even as I write this post, and we are also being very cautious about physical (not social)  distancing and flattening the curve of this COVID-19 menace. In fact I just had a Zoom meeting  with one of our editors. Welcome to the new normal.

Humans are very social animals, and we are learning how anxious we can become when told that we cannot get together with friends and family. Some of us have friends with loved ones in hospital or in seniors’ care facilities, whom they cannot visit under the current circumstances. My husband’s uncle recently turned 100 and the best celebration available was for him to see people standing on the lawn outside his room, carrying signs and gifts, so he could watch them through the window.

We are very proud of our Prime Minister’s calm approach to what is going on, and his daily press conferences to keep people informed. The Canadian government is doing well at responding to the needs of Canadians during this unprecedented time in our history. And we are happy to see the number of entertainers who have invited us into their homes for impromptu concerts while we are all housebound.

Remember to support local small businesses as much as possible, and to keep yourselves and your families safe.


3 thoughts on “Submission deadline looms”

  1. No, no, no! You’re not supposed to tell us how MANY submissions you have BEFORE the deadline. It’s intimidating to know we’d be competing against so many other stories! It’s pure hubris to submit up against 500 other stories. People think, there’s no use, I shouldn’t even try. I have no chance. No! Telling us this is very discouraging!
    BEFORE the deadline you have to say how FEW submissions you’ve gotten this time, pretend that your almost desperate. That you’ve only had 18 submissions and you need 20 stories for the issue. Or you need 18 and you’ve only gotten 25 to choose from. Then people will think, oh well, if only 25 others so far, I might as well try this one I suppose…
    THEN, AFTER the deadline has passed and you’re starting to send out rejections, that’s when you tell us how MANY submissions there were. “We’re sorry you’re not good enough, but you were up against 20,000 others this time, and well, that’s every other SF&F author ever, so sorry you couldn’t compete against that, but then who could?
    After all the years On Spec has been publishing, you’d think you folks would have worked out the psychology of soliciting stories by now.

    1. Dear Robert. Thank you so much for your kind remarks. Only advice I can pass along to writers was something Barry Hammond said so many years ago that he probably cannot even remember (but it stuck with me). You (the writer) need to have a horse in every race. Anyhow, my editors are doing a stellar job of making useful comments on every story they read, and so we hope even the unsuccessful stories will provide each writer with a learning experience. Anyhow, I’m glad we are friends! Cheers! Diane

      1. Ah, yes! The feedback. I must say that has often proved very useful indeed. I am always amazed at how even just a couple of lines can allow one to see the story in a whole new light (i.e., as an editor sees it). The feedback I have received from On Spec editors has been among the best. Most other magazines don’t provide any feedback at all, so the insightful comments from On Spec are indeed to be valued.

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