I’m finally back in full steam on the interwebz. Before today, all I really had was email, which allowed me to receive a couple story sale contracts (HINT: Check my updated bibliography) and a few rejection letters. The email also allowed me to maintain my role as an associate editor for the UFO anthology, reading through the slush and providing acceptances and rejections of my own.
Now that I have a bit more access online and a little time has passed, I figure it’s time to relate my adventures in the editorial world, you know, confess how it feels to be on the other side of the slush pile.
It kinda rocks.
Your own mileage as editor probably wholly depends on what you’re into and what you’re reading. I doubt I’d have this much fun on a horror project. But it’s humor, it’s kinda my thing (and apparently the reason Alex Shvartsman asked me to join his editorial staff, or death panel as he’s dubbed it). Besides, the UFO process is a fairly sweet deal for associate editors, as Alex reads all the subs and only passes those he feels may be bankable up to round two for the associate editors to judge. And by the time we get them, the names have been stripped off.
I’m essentially enjoying Slushpile’s Greatest Hits, vol. 1. And since Alex had the foresight to strip the names off (he must’ve known I would instantly approve Cat Rambo and Minister Faust stories based solely on cool name appeal), all I have is story merit. So far, I’ve said yes to nobodies and no to Nebula award winning writers. And I’ve said “maybe” more times than I’d like, as I run across a story here and there and in between that’s missing small things that left me feeling remorseful… like having pecan waffles and no syrup or kissing a hot girl with chapped lips. Those extras… that storytime syrup, that narrative chapstick, you’d think would be easy to apply that first time around, right?
I think it’s the best possible process in terms of picking the best stories. If you’ve submitted or plan to submit to UFO, please note its nothing personal. By the time I get to your story, I don’t know you. You are story. The only question is are you funny? John Steinbeck was a great writer, but in terms of humor John Steinbeck ain’t no Jon Stewart.
I tell you something though, if any of you out there reading are fellow trench warriors, I suggest you try your hand at slush reader in some capacity. Your view changes when you get out of the trenches for awhile, when you’re able to look out over the landscape from the vantage point of top of the slushpile. It reminds you that your story isn’t the only one that’s a casualty in this war for publication props. Maybe it’ll remind you to arm your narratives with sticky sweet syrup and softening chapstick before you go sending them off to social functions.
Check out more on UFO here. I hope to see your stories in the slush… not that I’ll know it was you.