Monday, June 23, 2014

Competing Interests

As a reminder, I edit Science Fiction Trails, which is a fiction magazine featuring western sci fi. I'm also publisher, but not editor, of Steampunk Trails. Now and then, the editor of Steampunk Trails asks me for a second opinion on a story she's considering.  This happened yesterday.  I really liked the story and kind of wondered why there was any doubt about it. The tricky part is that I wouldn't have minded at all if I had the story for my magazine (the one I edit).  Alas, the question before me was whether she should accept the story for Steam. Well, I told her she should.  Either way I'm publishing it.  This doesn't come up often, so it's never amounted to much. But, in this situation, I was competing with myself.

I don't think writers have any idea of the dynamics of the editorial process.  Some larger magazines have editorial boards that seem to have no other purpose than second guess the selections an editor already made.  And some places seem to randomly pull stuff out of a hat at the last moment.  So, a writer was being simultaneously considered for two different projects and likely will never even know it.  It's like a cross between alchemy and voodoo, me thinks--how acquisitions editing really works.

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