February 3rd, 2007

Malibu headshot

First 2007 Raven purchase: Simon's "Skyman's Daughter" + how I slush

I received 17 submissions on Friday, to make the two-day subs tally 51, with 29 stories and 22 poems. That puts Raven Electrick ahead of last year's February submission period-pace by seven.

I've now read a whopping 15 submissions, with 11 rejections, three holds, and one acceptance.

The first purchase of 2007 is a lyrical and wistful poem, "Skyman's Daughter" by Marge Simon. Marge has also sent an accompanying illustration, so I'm in squee-mode on this one.

For the truly masochistic, here's a brief explanation of how I slush.

I read a submission once (sometimes more than once for poems), and if I think it's not for me, I send an immediate rejection. The "not for me" part is important--it doesn't necessarily mean the submission is bad, just not my taste.

In the unlikely event that I feel I MUST have something and nothing will change my mind, I send an immediate acceptance, or as immediate as I can, since the acceptances take a little longer to put together. This phenomenon happens for only a few submissions per reading period, and that's what happened with Marge's poem mentioned above.

If I read something and feel I MIGHT want to buy it, I put it in my "holds" folder. At that time, I also write one line of brief notes about the piece, indicating genre, theme, and anything else that might be important. I also assign a rating of "high," "medium," or "low" to indicate what level of possibility it has for purchase.  After I build up a good pile of holds, and I've also had a chance to get a sense of what's in the slush pile, I return to the holds folder, and try to do some weeding. If I'm still "high" on a submission after a second or third read, I'll send an acceptance. If it's still a low possibility, and it looks like I've got better material on hold, I'll release it. "Mediums" can go either way, and I've been known to change my mind after a second reading. When I'm buying, I like to make sure I've covered all Raven's genres of interest--sf, fantasy, horror, and mystery--in both fiction and poetry, so there's usually great drama in the holds folder. (Kind of like a virtual Survivor--who will stay on Raven Island?)

I usually perform that holds folder-ritual several times, while I'm still doing first readings of submissions in the slush pile.

So, if anyone's still with me here, that's how it works. :-)