Tag Archives: On Spec

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,


On Spec Can-Con Readings

If you were at Can-Con this year you might have attended a reading by four of our authors, as they read their On Spec pieces for an adoring crowd. If you didn’t make it to Can-Con or that reading, you’re in luck! Thanks to Rob and Geek TV over at Geek Inked Magazine you can watch each of the authors read their work. You could even grab your copy of On Spec and read along. (Don’t have a copy, you say? Let me help you…)

Thank-you to Agnes Cadieux, Kate Heartfield, Anita Dolman, and Mike Rimar for getting together on this reading and exposing On Spec to an appreciative audience. Thank-you as well to Can-Con for putting us on the program, the support is much appreciated.

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 1 with Agnes Cadieux

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 2 with Kate Heartfield

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 3 with Anita Dolman

Geek TV Episode 46 Part 4 with Mike Rimar

All Submissions Now Open!

After a slight delay caused by bad dilithium, all submissions are now open for On Spec. You have your choice of submitting to the ‘Punk’ Issue, making a regular short story submission, or submitting poetry. Deadline for all short story submissions is October 31, 2014; poetry submissions are open year round.

As always, read the Submission Guidelines and follow them wholly.

As a final note: we have a small staff of dedicated volunteers managing our various social media. We can’t be everywhere all the time, and we can easily miss stuff. I feel like we really shouldn’t have to say this, but please do not make business enquiries through the Comments section of this site, or through Twitter and Facebook. If you want to know something about On Spec and our practices, please direct your queries to onspec@onspec.ca. That is the fastest way to get a response, and ensures we don’t have any important questions going astray.

What are you waiting for, get those submissions in!

Calling All Contributors!

As you can see by looking around, we have a new website under construction. We’re in the midst of building frenzy at the moment, always looking for the next thing to add to the site. One of the features we’d love to add is a Contributor’s Gallery, a visual history of the many wonderfully talented writers, poets, and artists On Spec has had the honour to feature over the years.

So this is our call to all past contributors: Send a photo of yourself, holding a copy of On Spec Magazine (preferably the copy or copies you were in), along with about 50-75 words telling us what you’re up to these days (including a link to your current site), to onspec@onspec.ca. Please title the email ‘Contributor Gallery’. With your permission, we’ll post your picture and blurb in the Gallery, so everyone can marvel at the many people who have helped On Spec become one of Canada’s finest SF magazines.

To show you how easy it is, Cory Doctorow sent us this little beauty:



See how easy it is? No matter when you contributed or what you contributed, we want your photo! Please send it today.

An Anthology 25 Years in the Making

In cooperation with Tyche Books, On Spec Magazine has published Casserole Diplomacy and Other Stories: An On Spec 25th Anniversary Retrospective. You can read the official announcement on the Tyche Books site here, along with a commentary on our recent loss of Canada Council funding.

We are very proud of this anthology. We feel it represents some of the very best stories and authors showcased in On Spec over the last twenty-five years. If you’re a fan of On Spec, or just a fan of good science fiction, you should definitely find your way to a copy. Just click on the picture in this post, or in the sidebar, to go to the order page.

If you get a copy, please come back and tell us what you think! We’d love to hear from you.