Author's Manual

Eric Flint's Words of Wisdom

October 14, 2003

Tips for 1632 Stories

As Eric posts replies on the Bar, he sometimes goes into detail, defining what he's looking for in a story. For those who might want a story published in the Grantville Gazette or one of the anthologies, it's valuable information.


About Grantville Gazette Deadlines:

We get a lot of anxious enquiries about "deadlines." Folks, with an online magazine schedule there really isn't such a thing as a "deadline" the way there is with paper publication.

Ursus

So relax, willya? If you can write a story that we like, it will most likely sooner or later get published. If not in the next issue, a later one. Furthermore, the size of each issue and therefore the number of stories we can incorporate in each one is a lot more flexible in an electronic magazine than in a paper one. Ultimately, it simply depends on sales. (To a degree, that's also true with paper, but only to a degree — and the cost factor becomes prohibitive much sooner.)

Add something else into the equation: The decision we make as to which stories to include in any given issue is not simply based on abstract considerations of "how good" it is. There is also the important consideration of the balance of stories in a given issue. A story might be eminently publishable but just too close in content and tone to too many other stories. So we might just decide to sit on it for a while and see if it would fit better in a later issue. Etc etc.

It is also possible, I admit, that a solid story which we keep postponing for that reason might eventually "age off" in the sense that the stories in the magazine will tend to keep pace with the developments in the series. And it's possible that at a certain point that might be a problem.

But that's not very likely, and... oh, hell, I shall be blunt. If you can write well enough to write one publishable story, you should be able to do it again. I do not know any real author (including me) who doesn't have some potentially publishable stories gathering dust on their hard drive or in a filing cabinet. It happens. Just chalk it up to learning the trade. Some of them will never get published. So it goes. The main thing is just not to get fixated on any one story you write.

Eric