The end of another year. I'm not unhappy to say farewell to 2004. It was a lousy year to say the least. A year of death and sadness; on the battlefields, in my family, and at the end (and the worst) in "paradise."
The publishing world had its losses too. Amazing Stories closed indefinitely again. Other "Pro Markets" like Adventures of Sword & Sorcery Magazine, Darkling Plain, Dark Seasons, Fangoria Frightful Fiction, Future Orbits, and Midnight Galleries gave up the editorial ghost.
Staple "Paying Markets" like Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Planet Relish E-zine (for the second time), S1ngularity, and Tales From the Asylum have stopped accepting submissions and printed their last issues (or will soon).
Small press publishers Artichoke Down Press, DarkMoon Press, Novel Books, Inc., and Yoni Books all closed their real or virtual doors. Medium Rare Books is changing to literary fiction and poetry.
And Gardner Dozois stepped down as editor of Asimov's SF. So much for solid ground.
But there were new publications, and editors, to take up the slack. Ćon Speculative Fiction, Cosmic SF, Cyber Age Adventures, Feral Fiction, Lenox Avenue, Shadowed Realms, Shadows of Saturn, Sinisteria, and Surreal Magazine were added to the "Pro Markets" page. Many promising new "Paying Markets" came aboard too. Several "4theLuv Markets" made the jump to the "Paying" page, and The Book of Dark Wisdom made the leapt from "Paying" to "Pro." And countless new book and/or eBook publishers hung out their shingles. Black October, Cemetery Dance, Flesh and Blood, Strange Horizons all heaved themselves up to the new five cents per word limit for SFWA and/or HWA recognition.
And Sheila Williams is fitting rather well into Gardner's gravity boots.
So a new year begins. We hope it will be a better one, but the prospects are somewhat bleak. Both in the world -- the battlefields are widening -- and in publishing where the number of readers gets smaller as the number of writers multiplies. We are, perhaps, headed for a time when writers will be writing only for other writers.
As always I urge all writers to read the full guidelines carefully, and read an issue or two if possible before submitting. Only submit your work to those publications who publish the kind of work you've written. All paying publications are swamped with inappropriate submissions. It hurts all of us, causing longer response times and even sometimes a disgruntled editor who simply breaks under the pressure of it all. A wrongly placed submission will not sell. Why waste your time and energy? Submit smart.