Hi, Shimmer reader and writers.
My name is Sean, and my job at Shimmer is SLUSH WRANGLER. When you submit a story to Shimmer, it comes into our gmail account with all the other slush. It’s my job to go through every submission and make sure of such things as: is there a story attached? Is the attachment in an acceptable format? Is the story under 5,000 words (as stated in the guidelines)?
If the stories are good to go, then I assign them to our associate editors. Another name for an associate editor is a slush reader, except at Shimmer, the associate editors have a voice in regards to buying or passing on a story.
Does every magazine work this way?
Nope. Every magazine is a special snowflake, and while some may have similar organizational structures to that of Shimmer, others are run in completely different ways. As such, you should do your research, and check out the submission guidelines before submitting to any magazine.
If you follow the submission guidelines, a slush wrangler gets his wings.
It’s easy when things work like they’re supposed to, and the writers submitting slush to Shimmer follow the guidelines.
So what happens to the stories that are incorrectly submitted? I’ll ask the author to try again.
Don’t feel bad; everyone makes mistakes. But if you continually abuse the guidelines, and make me intervene to remind you to check the guidelines, your name gets flagged, and I like you a lot less.
Does it actually impact your chances of getting your story read by an editor, if I need to constantly remind you to format your story correctly, or to query for stories over 5,000 words? Not really. I’ll still pass your story along when and if you submit it correctly.
But remember this: I’m married to the Editor in Chief. What do you think we talk about over dinner? 😉
I’m an author and I want to help you get your wings, WHAT DO I DO?
Send me a coupon for a free pizza. J/k. Bribes don’t really get you anywhere.
It’s true what beginning authors are told: the cream rises to the top… of the slush pile. A good story is all you need to break into a magazine. Easier said than done, I know from experience.
But here’s what you can do to help yourself.
First and foremost, read the guidelines. You’d be surprised how many people don’t bother with this step: enough that just the simple act of following the guidelines when you submit bumps your story into the top half of the slush pile. It’s so simple, yet is something I’ve seen many authors overlook.
Next, inform yourself. Become a part of the speculative fiction community, online and in person. Here are some things you can do:
- Go to conventions. There are hundreds. Check out this list for one in your neck of the woods. .
- Hang out at some of the internet speculative fiction sites, such as Orson Scott Card’s Hatrack writer message boards, Liberty Hall Writers, Critters Writers Workshop, Online Writing Workshop, Absolute Write, and dozens of others. Google around, try a few. Participate and learn and help others.
- Find or start a local writer’s group.
- Read author and magazine blogs, like this one.
- Read widely and often, especially the magazines you want to submit to. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the kinds of stories a particular magazine is looking for.
And finally? Why not start interacting now? Be part of the Shimmer community. Leave a comment here and tell me, are you a beginning writer? Was this post helpful? I hope that it was. When your little slush baby arrives in my pile, I’m the first person who sees it. I’m rooting for you: it’s so much fun to see a great story go from slush pile to publication.
Leave ‘em in the comments section. I’d love to answer them.