Magazines That Want (More) Diversity

Magazines That Want (More) Diversity

I often talk about the need for markets and their editors/publishers to do more to up the diversity in their slush pile and, consequently, in the publication itself. And one of the steps toward doing so is making sure that people know about your intentions in that direction. It does help to make the statement outright, but you still must back that statement up with results. Editors sometimes ask me how they get the word out, and, as I said in my Mind Meld contribution the other week, one of the ways is writer to writer to writer. Since I’m a writer whose blog is read by other writers, I guess I should do my part. :)

I recently sent this list of magazines looking for more POC authors and stories with POC characters and non-standard cultures/settings/etc to the Carl Brandon mailing list. I know that the editors of these markets want more because they told me so (which is as good an indication as any).

Fantasy — Any magazine I’m involved with definitely cares about this issue. One would hope it goes without saying, but not everyone is aware of who works for what and the goings on behind the scenes.

Sybil’s Garage — Before the last reading period, Matt Kressel and I had several discussions about how to draw in more diverse submissions. We edited the guidelines to make that desire clearer and I encouraged authors I knew to apply. I believe the next submission period is in early August, so keep an eye out and, yes, send your stuff in. Matt also says not to make any pre-judgments on what a Sybil’s Garage-type story is.

PodCastle — Rachel Swirsky is definitely on the look out for great stories by POC authors. I gave her some names and stories to check out, but you increase your own chances by submitting. PodCastle, like EscapePod, takes reprints. And it doesn’t matter how long ago the story was published, just so long as it’s good (and fantasy — for SF stuff, submit to EscapePod).

Asimov’s — Sheila Williams has mentioned to me a couple of times that she’d like to see more women in her slush (particularly with SF stories) and I suspect that she could use more submissions from POC and/or with POC characters and under-represented cultures.

As always, none of these markets is likely to publish a story just because it’s written by a POC or has POC characters. But in order to have a chance, you need to send the story in!

There are probably markets that I’m missing or editors who want more diversity but haven’t mentioned it to me. If so, mention it in the comments. I’ll add it to the main post as we go along.

Other markets looking to increase diversity (as indicated in the comments):

Comments

  1. says

    Despite the fact that I am currently closed to submissions at Electric Velocipede, I am seeking more diversity in my list. I have forthcoming publications from Tempest, Toiya Kristen Finley, Yoon Ha Lee, and Caroline M. Yoachim. When I re-open, I would love to see more work from POC.

  2. Jim Keller says

    Strange Horizons also explicitly states that they’re looking for diversity both in the cultures represented in the stories, but also it their authors.

  3. says

    In case anyone wasn’t aware, EV’s current issue is all women contributors in honor of WisCon. And it’s really awesome :)

  4. Nora says

    I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to hear markets SAY they want more diversity. So many editors think this should be understood/obvious, but it isn’t. Thanks to all who’ve spoken up!

  5. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Nora. There’s a sense of “if you print it, they will come” among the more established fiction venues, but that’s not necessarily true.

    While these places can only publish from among the submissions they receive, if people don’t feel comfortable/wanted/accepted in a market, they won’t submit.

    I think the days of “I send story to EVERY market that’s out there” are also on the wan. I think writers are taking more care in where they send their writing. Sending a story about robots and space ships to CEMETERY DANCE is most likely to fail, even if it IS scary.

    So if writers don’t hear that a publication seeks diversity, or don’t see diversity at a publication, they will rightly assume there is no diversity. Worse yet, the writer might decide that diversity is actively discouraged.

  6. Rachel Swirsky says

    “I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to hear markets SAY they want more diversity. ”

    We have it in our guidelines, but I just recently finally got off my butt to solicit submissions. (I can get shy about email.)

    I ran the numbers recently, and our magazine is doing okay in terms of specifically non-white main characters (about 20% of our stories), but much less well in terms of chromatic authors.

  7. Delia says

    Please add INTERFICTIONS II to your list. I should have said so before. Apologies.

  8. says

    :) It doesn’t always come up, which is probably why. I just happened to have a confluence lately of people asking me about this issue. Seemed like it called for a post!

  9. says

    Weird Tales is always open to more diversity as well as more unusual and more original stories. We don’t want any more of the same old same old.

    The next upcoming issue (after the one just about to hit newsstands) is our International issue with fiction from all over the world. But please keep in mind that for every submission I receive from a woman, I receive approximately 25-30 from men.

    And not just diversity in gender and race, but also in sexual orientation.

  10. Veronica Henry says

    You guys have made my day. It’s good to hear the call, and I’m happy to answer. Thanks for the post Tempest.

  11. says

    When you say POC does that include POC from other countries, non-US countries? I don’t think so. Writers who aren’t based in the US or aren’t visiting cons there and sucking up to editors at such events–a major qualification for SFF writers of all colours, it seems–just don’t feel welcome at virtually all US SFF publications.

    John Klima makes the same point when he says that if a publication hasn’t already been publishing diversity, why would that writer try that market? Vandermeer’s claim that a forthcoming issue focusses on ‘international’ writers itself confirms this unofficial ‘policy’. If ‘international writers’ were indeed welcome at WT, then why segregate them into a separate issue? Why not simply publish the best selection from all submissions without bothering about nationality?

    I no longer even bother to submit material, whether short-length or book-length to US publishers. What’s the point? Each time I read a blogpost like this it only serves to remind how tough it is for even POC within the US to get published. What chance to POC from other countries have?

    As one editor of a fantasy magazine (not one mentioned above) brightly put it to me: “The characters are memorable, the story is taut and interesting, the setting is original…This a good SF story. But why would I want to publish a story by you that could have been written by any American writer?” Why, indeed.

  12. Rachel Swirsky says

    “does that include POC from other countries, non-US countries? I don’t think so. ”

    Yes.

    “Writers who aren’t… visiting cons there and sucking up to editors at such events–a major qualification for SFF writers of all colours, it seems–”

    I think you are fundamentally incorrect about this.

  13. says

    “I think you are fundamentally incorrect about this.”

    Possibly in your case, and in the case of a handful of other editors but of the several dozen editors I’ve corresponded with on a couple of closed-groups and directly, almost all of them feel that meeting a writer face to face at a con, getting a sense of the person, the personality, even, yes, liking the person, make a considerable difference to their recalling that writer later when reading his or her work.

    Let me put it this way: In a perfect world, all stories and novels would be presented in identical format, author names removed (or replaced by number codes), and editors would judge those submissions solely on the basis of merit. In reality, I don’t think it’s ever that cut and dried. And the colour of a writer, or the colour of his or her flag, is one of many factors that do impact on an editor, especially when they’ve met that writer in person.

    Also, what I’m saying in that reference to cons is that SFF is a very closed circle in the US. I’m in touch with perhaps a hundred authors from around the world as well as the USA, as well as a couple dozen editors and publishing professionals, and at some point every single one has suggested very strongly that attending cons and schmoozing with editors is essential to building a career in American SFF publishing. Since I’m not an SFF writer, and not seeking to build a career there, I’ve never attended a con (I don’t have a passport) but I’ve never heard anyone tell me that attending cons and getting to know editors personally is NOT good for a writer’s career.

    As I said, I do give you personally the benefit of the doubt. I still wouldn’t go so far as to submit to your publication, no offense, but that’s because I don’t think my work matches the kind of work you appear to be seeking–or that any US publisher I’m aware of is seeking. I do have the very strong impression that in the US SFF field, if you’re not circulating at the cons, you’re not in the field at all.

  14. says

    Possibly in your case, and in the case of a handful of other editors but of the several dozen editors I’ve corresponded with on a couple of closed-groups and directly, almost all of them feel that meeting a writer face to face at a con, getting a sense of the person, the personality, even, yes, liking the person, make a considerable difference to their recalling that writer later when reading his or her work.

    There’s a considerable difference between what you’re saying here — that contact at cons makes a difference when remembering who a writer is when reading their work — and what you said in your first comment about it being impossible to get published without “sucking up to editors” at cons. Part of the reason I started going to cons at all was to meet people with whom I’d already worked and corresponded online.

    If you’ve felt alienated, I’m sorry to hear it, but I do want to point out that it isn’t everyone’s experience. I live in Canada most of the time, but have also lived in the UAE while selling stories and poems and was never made to feel that was a problem. As an editor I’ve published work from people in the US, Canada, the UK and the Philippines, and my co-editor and I are always delightedly surprised when we get submissions from somewhere new.

    Also, I’d point that at least one magazine I know of, Shimmer, uses a “submissions wrangler” to remove all identifying information from a manuscript before passing it along to their slush readers. I doubt they’re the only ones, but they too have published work from around the globe.

    I think the rejection you quoted was terrible, but I hope it wasn’t something you experienced more than once, and I hope you won’t take it as representative of the SF community as a whole.

  15. says

    Well, I’m more than happy to be corrected. And obviously, I’m no expert, far from it. I also do hope that future experience will be better, if not for me personally than for other PoC seeking to enter the SFF field. Based on the experience I’ve had thus far, and the fact that there are more pro markets not listed on this page than listed, I think we’re preaching to the choir here.

    The rejection I quoted was one of the better ones–that editor actually went on to publish two stories by me, stories set in my country and culture, of course. But other rejections over the years have been so explicitly racist or biased that I made a career choice not to submit any more. In fact, I’ve actually turned down requests from editors to include work by me in their anthologies as my way of protesting against Racism & Bias in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Don’t know how much good it does but I just don’t feel like being part of a field that is still so clearly imbalanced in its racial and cultural composition. I think Tobias Buckell has written very eloquently and passionately about the very blatant imbalance in the field and there are others I’ve corresponded with who have had similar experiences.

    I recently turned down an editor named Maxim Jakubowski, and have turned down other ‘name’ editors before. I have nothing personal against them, and Mr Jakubowski and the other editors who wished to reprint stories by me seemed very nice in their correspondence. But I no longer believe that the people at the top imprints and positions in American SFF publishing can accept quality international SF (and I obviously don’t mean by me) and recognize it on its own terms, which may not conform to American ideas of what makes good writing, good genre writing, or even SFF itself, but is nonetheless the future of the genre, whether they like it or not.

    Hopefully, editors like you will someday occupy the top positions in the genre, and will open the floodgates to a whole world of talent. I look forward to reading those magazines, anthologies and publishing lists in which American SF itself is a significant minority–but a minority–as compared to International SF.

  16. says

    May I also ask, and yes, I know this will be controversial but what the hey, may I also ask that someone lists SF markets that ARE racist or bigotted or sexist, etc. Why single out only one person at one online zine? Is he the only racist in America? Or in American SFF publishing? I don’t think so! Obviously I’m not saying one should slur anybody and everybody, but why not post experiences with editors and publishers and other professionals in the field (agents too) and ‘out’ such bias.

    I’m not talking only about racism, or about myself, please. I am sure there is greater bias against women in SF, and women of colour in SF, than is openly admitted. If the field is as squeaky clean as some people claim it is, then there’s nothing to be afraid of!

    Also I just thought I’d point out that Weird Tales whose present editor is a commentator on this page, accepted and published the only submission I made to them, and I’m glad it was published as part of a regular issue, rather than segregated. I’m sure Ms Vandermeer is a fine editor and probably picks excellent stories, but I thought that diversity is better served by integration than segregation.

    I’m also waiting for the SFF ‘Congress’ to issue that official and formal apology to all SFF Writers of Colour! :~)

  17. Rachel Swirsky says

    “May I also ask, and yes, I know this will be controversial but what the hey, may I also ask that someone lists SF markets that ARE racist or bigotted or sexist, etc. Why single out only one person at one online zine?”

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. A number of editors have come under fire for racist and sexist behaviors at various points in time, many of them people that Tempest has called out.

    Personally, I think the problems are systemic more than individual and that it’s more productive to concentrate on how the system can be changed rather than focusing on individuals.

    I think some of your ideas about anonymity and merit are naive — merit doesn’t exist as an objective measure, and in any case, I strongly syspect that a large amount of the racism and sexism one can find within SFF (or any other field) derives not from byline but from content. Erasing my name from a feminist short story won’t make it non-feminist.

    Likewise, why should Tempest leave SFF because it’s racist and sexist? Why does the field belong to those editors who are racist and sexist, and not to her? And if she’s required not to work with bigoted people ever, then what on earth could she do? Again, systemically, there are racists and sexists everywhere in the US, bigots everywhere. No area of publishing is clean. No area of anything is clean. The way to forward progress is not to shun every activity that has a taint of bigotry, but to fight that bigotry with our work.

Trackbacks