Guest of Honor!

Capclave is one of my favorite science fiction conventions. It’s more literary in focus and has a special emphasis on the short form, which gives it something distinctive. It’s also home to the WSFA Small Press Award, which for nine years has recognized some of the best stories being published in the small press. (Full disclosure, Clarkesworld stories have been frequently nominated, but have never won.)

I had already made plans to attend this October, when Tim Powers and Sarah Beth Durst will be the Guests of Honor, but they’ve just made sure that I’ll be back again in 2017…

2017 Capclave Guests of Honor: Ken Liu and Neil Clarke

I’ve been a keynote speaker and participant at other conventions, but this will be my first Guest of Honor appearance. I am very pleased that it will be Capclave and with Ken. (By the way, that’s the big 10th anniversary year for the Small Press Award.) I’m going to be looking forward to this for a while.

A big thank you to WSFA and Capclave 2017 Chair Elizabeth Twitchell.

Nebula Award Weekend and Mass Signing

bulletin-208-250The Wednesday, I’ll be flying to Chicago for the 2016 Nebula Awards weekend. Copies of Clarkesworld #115 will be in some of the attendee book bags, the latest issue of The SFWA Bulletin (which I also edit) will be distributed, and early copies of The Best Science Fiction of the Year will be available (it won’t be in stores until June). If that wasn’t enough, I’ll be attending the Nebula Awards and cheering on our three nominees in the short story category:

bsfoty1If you weren’t planning on being there, but live in the Chicago, you might be interested in the mass signing that will happen on Friday. Just check out the list of participants!


I appear to have inspired a panel

A friend suggested I take a look at the program for Mancunicon (2016 Eastercon) and it appears as though I’m responsible for a panel:

Supporting the Short Stuff
Room 7, 1pm – 2pm
Val Nolan, Ruth EJ Booth, Matthew Hughes, Juliet Kemp, E.G. Cosh
In his editorial for the November 2015 issue of Clarkesworld, Neil Clarke warned that the current boom in SF short fiction may be coming to an end: new markets are appearing continuously, but very few have truly viable business models in the sense of being able to sustain themselves and pay their editors and contributors. At the same time, the growth in markets has been a key factor in the increasing diversity of SF short fiction. So is the current landscape healthy or not? Is it realistic to aspire to full sustainability for today’s magazines, or is limited crowdfunding enough (or even advantageous)? Is a crash coming, and if it is what should we do about it?

It’s a bit of a dramatic interpretation of my editorial, but hey, if it gets people talking about building a sustainable future for short fiction then I’m good with that. As I see it, we have two paths (more likely a combination of the two):

  1. The number of magazines self-corrects downward making the marketplace more sustainable
  2. We market better and bring more people into the community, giving the field a bit of a boost

I’ll add some counter-questions to their list:

  • Is it realistic to expect people to continue publishing when they lose money or go unpaid? Most people seem to agree that authors should be paid? Why is it such a stretch to think that editors/publishers also should be?
  • Why assume that loss of a few markets will decrease diversity? If anything, I’m fairly convinced that diversity leads to point #2 above. The field has to stop looking beyond what the traditional borders. We’re publishing globally and need to start thinking that way.
  • When you “save” a magazine via a campaign or some other initiative, have you corrected the problem or merely delayed the inevitable? Time does not solve a failing business and they seldom change.

In the end, I’m pulling for #2 and consider my editorial (and other things I’ve said on this subject) to be a warning flare. Something has to change.

My Boskone Schedule

I’m attending Boskone this weekend and here’s my schedule:

Small Presses & Magazines: Welcoming the Unexpected

Friday 17:00 – 17:50, Griffin (Westin)

Authors in the slipstream, weird, magical realism, or speculative literature categories can have a hard time finding the right home for their work. With stories that aren’t always a good fit for the larger genre markets, it’s still important to find quality publishers. Such homes exist in both the literary and SF/F/H publishing communities. This panel will take a “deep dive” into the world of small presses and magazines, presenting fantastic venues and discussing hard-learned lessons such as publishers that promised more than they could deliver. Whether you’re looking for good work a little off the beaten path or trying to find potential new markets for your writing, this panel is for you.

Julia Rios (M), Kate Baker, Neil Clarke Shahid Mahmud

Kaffeeklatsch 2: Neil Clarke

Friday 18:00 – 18:50, Harbor I-Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

How Story Works

Saturday 11:00 – 11:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Pixar filmmaker Andrew Stanton claims in his TedX talk that “the fundamental promise of a story is that this tale will lead somewhere that is worth your time.” Is there more to story than a well-told promise? What is story? How is it constructed? What compels us to consume story in all its forms?

Darrell Schweitzer (M), Neil Clarke, Chris Irvin, Paul G. Tremblay, Gary K. Wolf


Autographing: Neil Clarke, E.C. Myers, Charles Stross, E. Lily Yu

Saturday 15:00 – 15:50, Galleria-Autographing (Westin)

The Economics of Magazine Publishing

Sunday 12:00 – 12:50, Marina 4 (Westin)

Many publish for love, others for prestige. Some even manage to turn a profit. From circulation to ad revenue, staff turnover, and content acquisition, what factors are critical to the sustainability of magazines and e-zines? What’s the cold hard truth on the bottom line of your balance sheet?

Julia Rios (M), Neil Clarke, Shahid Mahmud, Steve Davidson

Inside the Editing Process

Sunday 13:00 – 13:50, Harbor III (Westin)

How does the editorial process work? Editors must deal with a variety of writers, each with his or her own style, preferences, and agenda — while keeping an eye on management, markets, and much more. How does the revision process proceed? What do editors really do?

John R. Douglas (M), Neil Clarke, Steve Davidson, Stacey Friedberg, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Philcon 2015

I’ll be attending Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ this weekend. Hope to see some of you there. I won’t have a table in the dealer’s room, but I will be participating on the following panels:

Sat 10:00 AM in Autograph Table—Autographs: Lawrence M. Schoen and Neil Clarke

Sat 3:00 PM in Plaza III (Three)—The Value of Editors
Having an outside view on your work is important, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what an editor can do for you — and protect the readers.
Sally Wiener Grotta (mod), Jon McGoran, Ian Randal Strock, Neil Clarke, Brian Koscienski, Peter Prellwitz

Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza III (Three)—Small Press Magazine Panel
Hear what the editors have to say.
Hildy Silverman (mod), Ty Drago, Neil Clarke, Brian Koscienski, Gordon Linzner, Julie Ann Dawson

Sat 9:00 PM in Plaza IV (Four)—The Significance of Science Fiction Awards
They’re intended to reward quality and ensure that outstanding writers of an overlooked genre received proper recognition, but are they still serving that purpose? Or have our awards become nothing more than a popularity contest?
David M. Axler (mod), Michael Swanwick, Neil Clarke

Sat 10:00 PM in Plaza II (Two)—Podcasts (and Broadcasts) You Should Know [Open Discussion]
Whether you’re an aspiring writer looking for advice or a fan who loves audio dramas, podcasts have a lot to offer. Will one of these turn out to be the “thing I didn’t know I needed!” in your life? Come talk about your favorite audio shows with fellow fans.
Deborah Stanish (mod), Neil Clarke

Sun 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three—How to Sell Your Fiction
So you have a finally finished a story. What are the main markets? Who do you want to avoid?
Hildy Silverman (mod), Alex Shvartsman, Barbara A. Barnett, Neil Clarke, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Robert E. Waters

2015 Capclave Schedule

The 2015 Capclave (October 9-11 in Gaithersburg, Maryland) programming schedule is now available and it looks like I’ve been assigned to the following panels:

Friday 5:00 pm: Crowdfunding & Alternative Funding for Writers 
Panelists:Bill Campbell, Neil Clarke, Barbara Krasnoff, Alex Shvartsman
Traditionally, publishers gave authors an advance on royalties in exchange for the completed manuscript. Today, some writers are receiving alternate revenue streams including crowdfunding of anthologies and novels in advance by the public, serialization in which the author releases a chapter (or story) as long as readers continue to fund it, and electronic self-publishing. What methods have you used and what works? What new methods do you see in the future? How will this change the creation of books?

Friday 7:00 pm: Translating Speculative Fiction
Panelists:Neil Clarke, Jim Freund, Shahid Mahmud, Alex Shvartsman
Many non-English countries get much of their science fiction in translation. And English readers are finally being given access to more Chinese, Japanese and other non-English works. Why is this happening now? What are some of the special challenges with translating genre works? How do translators cope with invented words and concepts? What about different storytelling methods and literary techniques?

Saturday 11:00 am: The Elements of Editing 
Panelists:Scott H. Andrews, Neil Clarke, Hildy Silverman
The art and science of editing. What do editors do and how much effect do they have on the final work? What are the differences between magazine and book editing?

Saturday 7:00 pm: Distinctions Between Online & Print Magazines 
Panelists:Scott H. Andrews, Neil Clarke, Hildy Silverman, Gordon Van Gelder
In addition to the big three print sf/fantasy publications there are many many online magazines. Is this just a savings of paper & mailing costs, or are online publications doing things differently from print ones? How do writers decide to submit a story to one or the other?

I’ll also have a table in the dealer’s room, so if you are looking for me there… that’s the best place to fine me.