2017 Readercon Schedule

I’ve just received my programming schedule for Readercon (next week!):

Friday, July 14

11:00 AM    C    How to Make a Small Fortune in Specialty Publishing.
Neil Clarke, Sandra Kasturi, Bart Leib, E.J. Stevens, Michael Damian Thomas.
Publishing is a challenging business that’s become even more challenging as retail space has declined and Amazon’s recommendation algorithms have taken over. It’s doubly difficult for small presses, which aren’t blessed with massive capital to hedge against returns. What is it really like to run a small press and what does it take to survive your early years? How do you get authors and reach important markets such as libraries, especially if you primarily publish in digital? Our experienced panelists will discuss these topics and more.

1:00 PM    6    A Golden Age of Asian Speculative Literature in English.

John Chu, Neil Clarke, Liz Gorinsky, Caroline M. Yoachim.
There’s a growing body of English-language speculative works by writers from Asian and South Asian cultures—works in translation from writers working in Asian languages, and works written in English by writers in both Asian countries and the Asian diaspora. This panel will discuss trends in translation and publication, examine different Western expectations of translated and non-translated fiction (for example, the notion that Asian diaspora writers will necessarily write on Asian themes or diasporic experiences), highlight recent works of interest, and explore how Asian and Western speculative fiction influence one another.

SATURDAY, July 15

12:00 PM    CL    Kaffeeklatsch.
Neil Clarke, Paul Tremblay.
I’ll also have a table in the dealer’s room, where I’ll be selling Clarkesworld, my anthologies, and very-low-priced books from my old bookstore’s inventory. Stop by and say hi!

June 2017 Clarkesworld Submissions by Country

I recently blogged about the countries represented by Clarkesworld‘s podcast audience. This time around, I’d like to look at the submissions by country for June 2017. I should note that these statistics do not include the translated stories from China. They go through an entirely separate selection process as part of our partnership with Storycom.

1 – United States (68.08%)
2 – United Kingdom (9.61%)
3 – Canada (6.17%)
4 – Australia (3.09%)
5 – India (1.15%)
6 – Ireland (0.71%)
6 – New Zealand (0.71%)
8 – South Africa (0.62%)
9 – China (0.53%)
10 – Brazil (0.44%)
10 – Finland (0.44%)
10 – France (0.44%)
10 – Italy (0.44%)
10 – Nigeria (0.44%)
15 – Germany (0.35%)
15 – Israel (0.35%)
15 – Mexico (0.35%)
15 – Poland (0.35%)
19 – Croatia (0.26%)
19 – Greece (0.26%)
19 – Hungary (0.26%)
19 – Korea (0.26%)
19 – Netherlands (0.26%)
19 – Philippines (0.26%)
19 – Sweden (0.26%)
19 – Thailand (0.26%)

3.51% are from the combined efforts of these countries: Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan/China, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.

Normally, the US represents 70% or more, but it looks like some of my recent efforts to encourage more international submissions were somewhat effective. A small improvement over previous months, but definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll have a better sense of whether or not this is real progress or just a glitch after a few more months of submissions. Congratulations to India on cracking the top five! I think this is the first time that’s happened.

NOTE: By encouraging international submissions, I am in no way frowning on authors from the US. I’m still encouraging them to submit too. Good stories aren’t restricted to one’s own backyard, so I’m trying to make sure I cast the widest possible net. Let’s see what the rest of the world can bring to the table. Each story is considered on its own merits regardless of where it came from. (Yeah, I actually have to say this. Some people…) Many foreign authors assume we won’t consider stories from outside the US, so it requires a bit of effort on my part to help set that straight.

 

Poking around the podcast stats

I’ve been poking around the stats for the Clarkesworld Magazine Podcast and noticed that the numbers have been climbing again. (Yay!) The overwhelming majority (89.7%) of our listeners are in US/UK/Canada/Australia, but it’s always fun seeing where else our listeners come from. The others on this top 20 list make up 7.2% of our audience. The US alone accounts for 70.8%.

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Australia
  5. Germany
  6. China
  7. New Zealand
  8. France
  9. Sweden
  10. Netherlands
  11. Ireland
  12. Finland
  13. Japan
  14. South Africa
  15. Spain
  16. India
  17. Denmark
  18. Iran, Islamic Republic of
  19. Israel
  20. Mexico

2017 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award Finalists

The 2017 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalists were announced this week and I’m very pleased to say that two stories from Clarkesworld are on the list:

The other finalists are:

  • Nina Allan, “The Art of Space Travel,” Tor.com
  • Amal El-Mohtar, “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales
  • Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom, Tor.com
  • Ian R. MacLeod, “The Visitor From Taured,” Asimov’s
  • Dominica Phetteplace, “Project Empathy,” Asimov’s
  • Catherynne M. Valente, “The Future is Blue,” Drowned Worlds
  • Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey, Tor.com

The winner will be announced next month at the Campbell Conference at the University of Kansas.

 

 

April/May Catching Up

I’ve been meaning to post more here, but it’s been tough recently. Being sick in April completely undermined my schedule. New issues to prep, ebooks to design for other publishers, slush to catch up on, an anthology to wrap contracts and deliver to the publisher, a trip to Chicago to talk with the Myth-Ink writers group, a family get-away, and prepping for the SFWA Nebula Awards Weekend… so a quick catch-up post feels necessary.

I’m a Hugo Nominee Finalist for Best Editor Short Form for the fifth time. The award ceremony will be held at Worldcon in Finland. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend. My travel budget is significantly restricted now that I’m self-employed and that trip turns out to be considerably more expensive than I was told it would be. Will miss attending in person, but Ann VanderMeer has agreed to accept on my behalf should I win, so I will be well-represented. 🙂 A big thank you to everyone that saw fit to nominate me again this year.

Story selections for my next anthology, More Human Than Human, are now complete. I will be announcing the table of contents and revealing the cover (an original by Donato Giancola) sometime in the next week or two. This was the one project most disrupted by that illness as it collided with previously scheduled travel and events.

I went to Chicago last month to talk with the Myth-Ink student writer’s group at Columbia College in Chicago. I enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with students and hope I was able to share some useful knowledge with them. Have to find a way to do more of this sort of thing. It was one of the things I enjoyed most about my old career and a nice way to keep that part of my life. Weather was perfect, so I had some time to wander around Chicago with some of the students beforehand. (There’s a story there about our collective sense of direction.)

Obviously, the May issues of Clarkesworld and Forever came out. I’ve been trying to do some marketing work on this side of things. I’m currently trying to make a push for the Patreon page so I can cover my healthcare expenses. It’s a considerable cost and like many others, I’m seriously concerned about what happens to me if the various healthcare changes go through. I have more than a couple of pre-existing conditions and need to maintain the level of plan I have.

Most recently, the Locus Awards announced their finalists. Clarkesworld is once again a finalist for Best Magazine, “Afrofuturist 419” is up for Best Short Story, and for the first time, I’m on the list for Best Editor. Normally, I’d be thrilled by this, but they also increased the list of finalists from five to ten and if that’s why, it’s bittersweet. It’s silly, but it wouldn’t feel earned.

Amusingly, I’ll be a short distance away from the Locus Awards this year. I’ve agreed to be a workshop leader for the Cascade Writers June workshop in Tacoma.

Before that, however, I have the Nebula Awards Weekend (the mass signing there is always something else and I’ll be participating this time), wrapping up work on Clarkesworld: Year Nine, and the June issues of Clarkesworld and Forever. Before you know it, Readercon will be upon us and the fifth anniversary of my heart attack there. Time is flying by!

Two and a half months in

I’m now just a bit over two and a half months into my new life as a full-time editor. Aside from a couple of knock-down colds, things have been moving along rather nicely. One of the big worries I had in going full-time was healthcare. Nearly five years ago, I suffered a major heart attack and the fallout from that continues to require a bunch of prescriptions and regular visits. In short, I require a better-than-average healthcare plan.

I had been on the upgraded plan my former employer offered as an option, but when I resigned, COBRA, financially, was not an option. (Seriously, who can afford those insane rates?) I did a lot of research and ended up with a decent silver plan via the ACA, but the costs are still significant and all on me. (My wife’s employer does offer a plan, but it’s the worst one I’ve ever seen.)

To cover these new expenses, I’ve been taking on short-term projects–ebook design, consulting–but that’s not stable income and it makes me nervous. Having a reliable source of income for this has been on my to-do list, but now it’s moved to the top.

Over the last ten years, I’ve directed money from new Clarkesworld or Forever subscriptions or Patreon pledges towards different projects that have ranged from adding more stories to creating an equipment budget for the podcast. Now I’m targeting healthcare.

As a funding goal, healthcare is anything but sexy. It’s not something I expect to see people rally around or get excited about. Adding new content? Sure, that gives a pretty tangible and easy-to-sell consequence. Insurance, well, you know… Still, it has to be done if I want to continue down this path.

At present, I’m sending a target of reaching this goal of July 12, 2017–the fifth anniversary of my heart attack. It’s an ambitious deadline, but one worth going for.

If you aren’t already a subscriber or Patreon supporter, here are the links I hope you’ll be interested in:

If you’re already a subscriber or supporter, thank you! You’ve made it possible to get this far. If you want to help further, share the above links or leave a review on our Amazon subscription page–good reviews there help encourage new subscribers. You’d be surprised by how much of an impact it has.

Take care,

-Neil