Category Archives: On Spec Updates

Do not go gentle…

The editors and staff at On Spec are heartbroken to learn that Harlan Ellison passed away this morning. Our condolences go out to his family and to his many loyal friends. He will be missed and mourned by generations of readers and writers who have admired him, learned from him, and on occasion, even fought with him.

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RIP Kate Wilhelm

News has reached us of the death of Hugo  and Nebula Award-winning author, Kate Wilhelm on March 8, 2018. Our condolences go out to her friends and family.

She leaves behind a remarkable body of work, as well as many colleagues in the SF&F family who benefited from her teaching and mentorship over the years.  Kate was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame (2003) for her lifetime contribution to the genre. She will be missed.

We get submission queries

We were recently asked about our 6,000 word limit for stories. Yes, we have published longer stories over the years, but those were few and far between. Because we are limited to a certain number of print pages over the course of the year, we had to make an arbitrary decision concerning a story length cut-off. It also affects our pay rates, since we don’t pay per/word the way some magazines do.

That doesn’t mean we have closed the door on novellas, for example. After all, it’s our party and we can do what we want to. We’ll just be very selective.

And in the meantime, if you have a story that falls in the “about 6,000 words” category, please give it a long and hard look before you hit that submit button. If your first 3-5 pages is bogged down with back-story, for example, chances are good that the first reader won’t even make it to the end. Your job as a writer, first and foremost is to maintain the reader’s interest.

Make every word count!

Spreading the word

Here’s something our subscribers who are active on social media can do. When your subscription copy of On Spec arrives in the mail, please post a picture of yourself holding  the copy.

Then pour yourself a cup of something warm and comforting and sit down for a while and have another awesomely good On Spec reading experience. Once you’re done, post something about a story you liked. Tweet about the superb cover art. Look up one of the writers and send them a nice email to thank them for their work.

And tell all your followers about On Spec.

Maybe someone will share your  Facebook post. Maybe someone else will retweet. And maybe someone will stop looking at baby goat videos for just a few brief seconds and look up http://www.onspec.ca .

The baby goats won’t go anywhere, we promise.

And if we could get just one new subscriber because of something each of our current readers did to promote us, we’d be a very happy crew.

 

The Year Ahead

We at On Spec are, as always, grateful for the support of our loyal readers and supporters. 2017 has been a year of “getting better organized”, and 2018 will be a year of “really getting better organized”. We bought lots of excellent stories during our 2017 call for submissions, and the editors are busy working with the authors to groom the stories for publication. Once that task is complete, we will once again, open to new submissions, and this will be announced here as well as through our Twitter and Facebook pages.

As always, I am grateful for the super people who help get the issues into the hands of our readers, with no pay, I might add.

In 2018, we’ll be at Calgary’s When Words Collide, Edmonton’s Pure Speculation, and other conventions during the year. When we can’t make it because of geography and time and financial constraints, we will be happy to have On Spec represented by Pat Flewwelling and her wonderful Myth Hawker Travelling Bookstore.

People ask how they can help On Spec, and of course the very best thing you can do is to tell people about us. We depend on word of mouth as our best advertiser. Especially since the grapevine seems to be a tad slow in some regards, with people still being astonished that we a) have a digital version and b) continue to produce a print magazine! Get the message out that we are still here, and aren’t planning to go away any time soon.

Best wishes from us all for a peaceful and safe year ahead.

Diane and the entire On Spec Editorial and Production team.