Subterranean Magazine Submissions Update

This is a general update re: submissions to the Subterranean Magazine "Big Honkin’ Cliche" Issue, so please feel free to spread it around to all the folks you know are interested.

I’ve had a month to through material a second (and in some cases third) time, so in general I have a pretty good idea of what I’m taking and what I’ll be passing on. As such 95% of the acceptance and rejection notices will be out to submitters by Monday 12/5 (I’m actually going to try to get to them today, but you know how that is). I will be sending those notices to the e-mail address from which the submissions came, so be aware of that if you used an alternate submission address.

As noted here, the rejection notices will be short and generally non-discriptive. However, I will say that I received several hundred submissions, and that the final magazine needs to clock in at no more than 65k words, so there was a lot of picking and choosing and horsetrading for the right mix of stories. This also means that some truly good stories that I wish to God I could have fit in I had to let go. This is particularly the case with time travel and intelligent computer stories, which were two very popular cliche topics. If you submitted a story with those topics, you should know the competition was extra fierce.

If you don’t get an acceptance/rejection by Monday, don’t panic. There is a small group of submissions I am still thinking about; consequently, some writers may get a note from me asking for some (quick) edits/revisions.

Without speaking too much about it, I have to say I’m immensely pleased with the stories that look to make the final cut; you’re going to see some names you know plus some new faces as well — I can think of one writer who I believe will be notching a first sale here, plus some other newer names as well. This pleases me immensely, of course. Among marquee names, we have a few, most of whom I can’t mention at the moment. Two I can: Elizabeth Bear (whose piece I have mentioned before) and Jo Walton, both of whom have turned in what I consider to be exceptional pieces that dive right into their respective cliches and come out the other side with something completely new. I’ll present a complete line-up of authors and story titles after the new year.

Questions? Leave them in the comment thread.  

23 Comments on “Subterranean Magazine Submissions Update”

  1. Let the nail-biting commence!


  2. I’m with Jennifer. I’ve been biting my nails since I first read this (Oh… about ten minutes after it was posted. Goes to show just how often I check the Whatever), as well as staring impatiently at my email.

  3. I don’t have access to my home email at work, so I bit my nails until five minutes ago when I got home and saw there was nothing (relevant) in my mailbox. Arrgh! Recommencing nail biting. Thanks, John. Thanks a lot. ;)

  4. Woo, that would be cool. John, did you perchance log the general cliché of each submission, to turn into a handy pie-chart for display?

    keeping a straight face

  5. I may address the subject after the issue is out in the wild, but will probably refrain from discussing it at length before then.

  6. May I say, while being very much the professional rejection slip promised, it also had a flash of the Scalzi style. You make rejection fun!

  7. I also came to praise Scalzi, not bury him.

    I was prepared for a professional and therefore efficiently abrupt rejection email, but found a nice friendly rejection email instead. I won’t go as far as RooK to say it was fun, but it definitely wasn’t too bad. Thanks for your thoughtfulness, John. I look forward to reading the submissions that were better than or more suitable than mine.

  8. You’re welcome!

    I am glad the rejection notes aren’t being seen as too harsh. I mean, I’ve been on the receiving end of a rejection slip as well, so I wanted to provide the sort of rejection note that — while not saying it would be something I would want to receive — would be one that would not be too terribly painful for me to get.

  9. Also, needless to say, I felt horribly guilty rejecting people.

    I’m sure that someone will reply to one of your rejections with a ridiculous rant that will burn the guilt right out of you.

    In all seriousness, rejection is the default expectation for many writers (well, for me it is and I like to assume that most people are like me). There’s nothing to feel guilty about.

  10. In all seriousness, rejection is the default expectation for many writers (well, for me it is and I like to assume that most people are like me). There’s nothing to feel guilty about.

    I’m the same. Writing can be so subjective that even if you write well, finding someone who likes your particular style of writing, likes the subject, has the space for it, and thinks it is marketable is a little like winning the lottery. All we need to do is persist in “buying tickets” by submitting work. I would hope that the appalling behavior that was featured in TNH’s article on rejection (referenced originally by John) is a rare exception, but I’m afraid to find out.

  11. Only found this now, so luckily a few days of nail biting and hair tearing and all that other stuff were spared me. But I’m still in terrible suspense, and I pray to the e-mail gods that this mail won’t get lost to the internet void, as often happens to me with acceptances/rejections (trying to be positive here; they’re mostly rejections :), for some unfathomable reason.

  12. ET: Well, as noted in the message above, there is a small number of submissions (about half a dozen) that are in limbo for various reasons, so if you have not gotten news one way or another it’s possible yours in one that’s on the bubble. I hope not to string those folks out for too much longer.

  13. Thanks for the quick reply, John. (I saw it before I went to sleep. It was 3:30AM, my time. :)

    Actually, that’s kind of what I’m worried about — thinking I’m one of the half dozen, while not being one. That’s what happened to me once with Writers of the Future. The quarter finalist mail got lost, so I mistakenly thought my story was being considered for the next steps in the judgement process.

    I guess I learned my lesson from that one and won’t put my hopes up too soon this time.

  14. Ok, I really like the looks of Subterranean, and once I come into some extra cash, I am going to subscribe, but how do you submit a story?

  15. Dear Subterranean Magazine:

    I think you have a terribly interesting web-site, and I could not resist but to approach you.
    My preferred suit is science-fiction/horror, and I currently have three books dealing with such available at online venues around the world. It would be an honor, as well as a pleasure, to send you one of my novels, saved on Adobe and at no cost to you, for possible mention, if not excerpt placement in your magazine.
    Please let me know, at your earliest convenience, if you’d like to review one of my books, and I will respond post-haste. Three of my four works are listed on the web-site below.
    Thank you for your time and consideration, Subterranean Press.

    D.A. Dickens.

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