Issue #6
August 26, 2013

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by The Editors


Because so many people have been asking so many questions about it, we’ve put together this Q&A about Stupefying Stories SHOWCASE. If you have a question that is not on this list, send it in, and we’ll try to answer it in a future issue.

Q: Seriously, a weekly webzine??

A: Well, the “weekly” part of it is still something of a work in progress, prone to interruption. But yes, that’s the goal.

Q: Are the webzine and magazine intergrated, a la Clarkesworld or Lightspeed?

A: Not exactly. They’re related but cover slightly different domains. The big difference is that for SHOWCASE we’re favoring shorter stories and have the liberty to be a bit more adventurous. Stupefying Stories proper is in the process of evolving into a monthly straight-up SF/F magazine that sometimes crosses over into horror. SHOWCASE starts there, but can also venture into the “I don’t know exactly what to call this but it’s pretty damn cool!” domain, as well as run the occasional short-short mystery.

Q: Will the webzine stories periodically be compiled into anthologies, a la Daily Science Fiction?

A: Yes, exactly right. SHOWCASE stories will debut on the web, but every time we accumulate enough stories to make a book they’ll be rolled up into anthologies that will be available through Amazon, et al, for the remainder of our contract.

Q: How is that process going to work?

A: Like this:

  • The webzine goes up on our web site in html format and stays front and center for at least a week. After that it gets bumped for the next webzine, but remains readily available via a link from the front page.
  • When we accumulate enough stories to make a book—we expect that will take us about three months—we’ll convert the html to epub and mobi files for e-book publication and post the book on Amazon, the Apple iBookstore site, etc.
  • When that happens, the html copy comes down, unless the author gives us express written permission to leave it up longer.
  • The book remains available on Amazon et al for our standard three years.

Certainly, this is no less exposure than being published in our regular magazine.

Q: So what possessed you to launch a free webzine at this time?

A: In large share the webzine came about because we see far more stories that we want to publish than we have the space to publish within the structure of a monthly magazine. Forced to choose between either rejecting 99% of everything that comes in or finding another way to publish stories—short of launching a second magazine title, which we did try at first, but not only did it not work, it knocked Stupefying Stories off-track for months—we decided to find a another way.

Besides, we’re hoping that posting selected free stories on the web will increase our reader mindshare and spur sales of our other titles. The folks we’ve talked to at the Baen Free Library assure us this is the way it’s worked for them.

The final deciding factor in our decision was our aborted attempt to launch a print edition. The more we worked on it, and the closer we got to actually doing it, the clearer it became that adding a conventional print edition would be an enormous mistake. Given the limits on our resources, we felt our time, money, and energy would be far better spent focusing on what we really want to do—publish more stories by more authors—than on dealing with printers, binderies, and processed dead trees.

Q: Are the submission channels for Stupefying Stories magazine and SHOWCASE different? Do you have to submit to one or the other, or sell your story to one or the other?

A: No. Aside from a few very special cases (i.e., the special anthology that M. David Blake is working on now), there is just one common submission channel for Stupefying Stories magazine, the Stupefying Stories Presents line of theme anthologies, and Stupefying Stories SHOWCASE. Participation in SHOWCASE is on an opt-in basis. If we like your story and think it might be a good fit in SHOWCASE, we’ll ask if you’re okay with our using it that way. If not—no harm, no foul. We’ll tag it as being for e-book publication only and won’t use it in SHOWCASE.

Q: What do you see as the advantage for authors in having their stories appear in SHOWCASE instead of in Stupefying Stories magazine? Is there a difference in payment?

A: We pay the same word rate whichever way we use your story. The advantages we see for writers who opt-in to SHOWCASE are two-fold:

1. Because it’s a weekly, or at least intended to be a weekly, we’re more likely to make a fast decision to accept when we see a story that we think would be an especially good fit in SHOWCASE.

2. Once picked for SHOWCASE, we’re more likely to get your story out in front of readers sooner. Stories selected for SHOWCASE will most likely appear on the website within the month. Stories selected for the magazine—well, right now we’re buying stories for use no less than six months out, and some of our theme anthologies have had lead times of a year or more.

It’s the hit single vs. album issue. It’s a lot easier for us to find a few stories that go together well for the webzine than to put together a whole novel’s worth of stories that go together well for a magazine. This is in large part how we wound up with such a big backlog and such long publication lead times. We accepted too many stories that were great as individual pieces but didn’t fit well into the context of a larger publication, and then wound up sitting on too many of them for far longer than intended.

Of course, our original idea of doing monthly “theme” anthologies certainly didn’t help things any.

Q: If my story gets used in SHOWCASE, how do the publication credits differ?

A: Hmm. I suppose it would be:

For the monthly magazine: Stupefying Stories Magazine (date), i.e., Stupefying Stories Magazine (March 2014)

For the specials: Stupefying Stories Presents: (subtitle), i.e., Stupefying Stories Presents: Tales from the Wild Weird West

For the webzine: Stupefying Stories SHOWCASE (date)

In all cases, given what we currently pay it’d be a semi-pro credit, which doesn’t carry nearly the cachet on your c.v. as would getting a story into Asimov's or F&SF. But beyond that...

Any more questions?