Tag Archives: Canadian SF

What is On Spec Doing Right now?

Here it is, March, and we are close to releasing issue #113. It’s in the final stages of design, and proofing, before we send it to the printer. Then we begin the process of putting together issue #114. How do I do that? Basically, I have contracted for a cover already, and it’s an artist new to us, so we are pretty excited. (Issue #113 is a new to us artist as well). The stories and poetry have been purchased and edited, so I get to make a list of what I think will go in the issue, check the word count to keep it cost-effective as far as page count goes, write or assign the editorial, make a checklist to keep myself and our designer on target, and send everything off to Jerry for designing.

While all this is going on, the editors are behaving like ducks (calm and unruffled on the surface and paddling like crazy under the water). We are about half-way through the new submission period and have already received approximately 225 stories and poems for consideration. I’ll assign everything to be read and evaluated by the editors. We recently added two new slush readers to our little family–welcome Ethan and Alyssa– and I am grateful beyond measure. In the weeks following the close of our submission period, we’ll all be reading and making decisions concerning what we’d like to buy and what needs more work, and what is completely unsuitable for publication. Once the reading is done, I will send out the rejections and the acceptances. Sadly for the hopeful writers, we’ll probably buy maybe 25 of the hundreds of stories that we read.

The stories we buy will each be subjected to a closer edit, so that they can be groomed for publication. After that, they go into the queue for an upcoming issue. I’m keeping an erasable white board beside my computer, so I constantly have a visual reminder of what needs to be done. And after that, the whole process begins again. And along the way, we are working on processing new subscription and single copy orders, submitting a new grant application or two, and doing our best to engage with our readers and writers.

It bears repeating hat we are very grateful to our subscribers, and to the wonderful people who sustain us with their monthly Patreon donations. With shrinking grants each year and increasing costs of production, the income from donors and subscribers is what keeps us optimistic.

If you know someone who reads a lot of e-books, do let them know that Weightless Books now offers a special On Spec bundle of 25 back issues for only $19.99 USD. That is a lot of quality reading time!

We trust that all our friends are keeping themselves safe from possible exposure to COVID-19, and are paying close attention to what the doctors and scientists are saying. While it is sad that SF and comic conventions are being cancelled or postponed, and peoples’ travel plans are being scuttled, we all know that we must decrease the possibility of spreading this virus, before it gets completely out of hand. Stay aware that even if you are in a low-risk group for serious illness, you probably have friends or family who are vulnerable. And remember that your mom’s advice was right–wash your hands!

Stay well,