I am sharing this special milestone with some trepidation: my double publication in the July-August issues of Asimov’s & Analog! *_*
I am still reeling from the shock of reading my name on the Asimov’s cover. I did not expect the simultaneous publications in both summer issues of Asimov’s et Analog. As I was born in July, I considers this double publication as a fine birthday gift. Especially as my name is featured on the Asimov’s cover for my third story there. My late father, who was an avid SF reader, would be proud.
In the SF short-story field, Asimov’s Science Fiction (founded by writer Isaac Asimov himself) and AnalogScience Fiction& Fact (formerly Astounding SF, counting John Campbell as a long-standing former editor) are the top mags that receive thousands of submissions per year. So this represent an important milestone (but not the end of the road!) in my writing career.
As some of you know by now, I write mostly hard and crunchy SF stories!
Far from an instant success, this milestone is the fruit of more than 15 years of submitting stories to SF&F mags. I got more rejection letters than I can count, so I am taking a few hours to bask, then, it’s back to publishing my indie collections and the graphic novel. And submitting new stories to anthologies and magazines…
I do love telling stories, and whatever the number of readers, I am putting out new work every month.
I do not neglect the Canadian genre mags, because I currently have stories out in OnSpec 119 in Alberta and NeoOpsis 33 in BC. I am also regularly featured in the French SF magazines Solaris in Québec and Galaxies in France.
So if you are a writer and love telling stories, do not let discouragement bear you down. Go, learn, persist!
After 16 years of besieging the English-language sci-fi magazines, a breach has been opened in Asimov’s wall. My sarcastic new “Shooting at Warner’s Bay” is out this month.
A promise kept
It is a special moment for me, because it was a promise I made to my father on his hospital bed, in November 2014. I had already started my cycles of submissions, but I had a lot less stories written at this time. Now with 120+ written texts, including 80 in the current submission cycle, I’m not short of ammo!
My dad Jacques E. Laframboise had a large library of science fiction and fantasy books (the Black Marabout collection). I read a lot of classic horror authors (Jean Ray, Claude Seignolle …), but science fiction was really more my thing. I had loved the Fin d’Ylla, a very, very old thing re-edited by Marabout. The Robots, by Isaac Asimov. A collection of translated short stories from Harlan Ellison.
Science fiction nourished my imagination, even if it had not made me popular with my French teachers, for whom there was one Literature with a capital L (generally written by long-dead, white Europeans guys) and the ‘paraliteratures’ like the detective, SF, fantastic novels that I read voraciously.
Of course, I would have preferred to get at this happy point earlier, so that my dad, and my grandma Edmée Laframboise (who loved to read detective stories) could rejoice with me. But, that’s life. And, at least, those stories will live on and find new readers.
Laying siege with perseverance
Looking at that table, you can guess some mags answered faster than others.
The American pro SF mags pay very well, and they sit at the top of my mailing list for submitting a manuscript. Then, if the text is refused, I go to less prestigious magazines, then to semi-pro (which pay, but a little less) and finally to the “token” markets. To understand all these categories, I recommand the page of Ralan, who has devoted himself for 25 years to disentangling the “markets” (as named from the point of view of the author who is paid by the magazine).
SF pro magazines like Asimov’s receive several thousand texts per year. The acceptance ratio of pro mags being very low, that publication means more pressurized air inflating my pride balloon !
Climbing quality raises the acceptance bar
And as editor Scot Noel of DreamForge magazine pointed out, the average quality of the submitted stories is climbing, which makes it more difficult for the first readers to sort through the slush pile. The same phenomenon occurs for all other magazines as the level of writing increases. It is rather good news for the readers, but a challenge for a would-be writer. It is no longer enough for a story to be good, it has to shine, to stand out.
And, for me, I had to stop telling myself “I must write like X or Y” and to dive into my favorite flavor without feeling guilty for not writing in the genres in demand, especially with lots of deaths like horror or thrillers.
And I have to write with my heart, too, otherwise it would sound like a niah-niah-look-at-me exercise. That story in Asimov’s sprouted from my sympathy for ignored Hollywood actresses, and was fun to write. It flowed smoothly and didn’t require too many revisions or line edits.
By the way, why do I specify “my first story”? Because I am currently revising another short story, which will be released in 2022 in this same magazine. And I don’t miss any “ammunition” for other SF magazines!
Asimov’s, September-October 2021, double issue. For electronic subscription. Otherwise, run and buy it at the newsstand!