Submission Window Update: First Story Announcement and Schedule Info

written by David Steffen

Hello! I’m here to give an update on the general submission window where we were taking submissions from July 17-31. We received 1451 stories for the submission window. The first round is complete, so everyone should have received an initial response of either a rejection or a hold notice. If you haven’t received one, check your spam folder, you can check your status on the submission site if you have your confirmation name, otherwise you can query us immediately.

Normally I announce the story lineup all at once with all the months, but we are running a little later than I had hoped, and so I’m slipping in the first story announcement right here:

The November story will be:
In the Shelter of Ghosts
by Risa Wolf

We have a couple other acceptances in hand, and we are having discussions right now to finalize the rest of the list.

On a related note, because we are running a little later than we had originally planned, we are publishing one story a month for a couple months to connect the schedule up. But we’re planning to return to our usual cadence of two stories a month at that point.

Announcement: New Assistant Editor! (Part 2)

written by David Steffen

Hello!

I am here today to announce another new Diabolical Plots staff member: Hal Y Zhang!

Hal Y. Zhang is a lapsed physicist and international transplant who splits her time between the east coast of the United States and the Internet, where she can be found at halyzhang.com. In addition to being the guest editor for the Spring 2022 issue of Fireside Magazine, she was also on the editorial staff at Reckoning and sub-Q. Her speculative prose and poetry have appeared in places such as Uncanny MagazineStrange HorizonsEscape Pod, and Future Tense. She is a fan of mild tea and sharp words.

We are looking forward to working with Hal and Chelle in the upcoming submission window. Join ust in giving a warm welcome!

Announcement: New Assistant Editor!

written by David Steffen

Hello!

I am here today to announce a new Diabolical Plots staff member: Chelle Parker!

Chelle Parker is a disabled Canadian queerdo with over fifteen years of editing experience, including five at the recently-closed Fireside Magazine. Projects they’ve worked on have been finalists for the Hugo, Locus, Eisner, and Norma K. Hemming Awards, and winners of the Aurealis and Angoulême Awards. Chelle has lived all over the world, learned seven languages, and run through a number of careers, including librarian, teacher, and radio DJ. They thrive on kindness, sarcasm, and Camellia sinensis. When they’re not hoarding books and advocating for the serial comma (seriously, they WILL die on that hill), you’ll find them out camping with their dog, who never judges them for putting their foot in their mouth. You can read more about them at www.mparkerediting.com.

Join me in giving Chelle Parker a warm welcome! 🙂

DP Submission Window, and “AI” Writing Policy

written by David Steffen

Hello! I know it has been a long time since we were open for submissions, but we are now ready to announce the next submission window. This one will be an unthemed general submission window, and will run for 2 weeks, from July 17-31st, 2023. Rules and terms are generally the same as before. One submission per writer in the window. Simultaneous submissions are allowed.

Since we had our last two windows both in July 2022, AI software has made leaps and strides in what it is capable of. So, planning this window feels like an appropriate time to update our submisssion terms on the subject of AI writing.

We have updated our guidelines to state clearly that we are not interested in receiving submissions of AI written or AI assisted writing. I will quote the relevant section here as well.

CAN I SUBMIT AI-WRITTEN WORK?

No.  You cannot submit work that was written or assisted by AI writing programs.  This includes ChatGPT and SudoWrite.  There are many reasons we have made this decision, but a large part of it that these programs are based on pulling their data from publicly available including many copyrighted works without the authors’ consent, and then being used to take away publishing opportunities from those same authors.  If some new kind of AI program is produced that is built on some other kind of technology, then we may revisit the policy at that time with the information available.  But until we update our guidelines to say otherwise we are not interested.  We prefer to support artists. If you disagree, we wish you the best of luck at other publications.

To be clear: when we speak of AI writing programs, we are not referring to spell-check, grammar-check, thesaurus, or prompt generators which may be helpful to a writer but for which the writer is still doing the writing.

Also, if you have written a story using AI and are thinking of submitting it anyway: keep in mind that you will need to confirm at time of submission that it was not written using AI.  And if your story were accepted, to be published you would need to sign a contract confirming it as well.  You won’t be doing yourself any favors, if what the AI produced was appealing, to put yourself in a place where you would have to knowingly breach a contract to publish it.

“Diabolical Thoughts” Lineup Announcement

written by Ziv Wities

In July, we opened a special submission window, for Diabolical Thoughts — our upcoming telepathy-themed issue, edited by me, Ziv Wities.

We’re extremely pleased to announce the stories we selected! Here’s the complete lineup:

  • “Rattenkönig,” by Jenova Edenson, takes us on a road trip with three teens who, without anybody else to lean on, are drawn and bound to each other.
  • “The Hivemind’s Royal Jelly,” by Josh Pearce, offers a wondrously weird take on what a “hivemind” might be.
  • “The Desert’s Voice Is Sweet to Hear,” by Carolina Valentine, is full of desperate telepathic duels in the depths of a desert that wants you dead.
  • “A Girl with a Planet in Her Eye,” by Ruth Joffre, introduces a whole world full of voices, all whispering, we’re here. We exist.

In addition, we’ve also purchased “Shalom Aleichem,” by Y.M. Resnick, a queer Jewish story about the angels who visit every Friday night, which we’ll also be publishing in the magazine in 2023!

We got such a wonderful, exciting variety of stories in the submission window; thank you so much to every single author who sent in a story, and to all our wonderful readers! We cannot wait to share these stories with all of you.

Short Story Lineup Announcement!

written by David Steffen

Hello! I am here to announce the original stories that were chosen from the general submission window that ran in July 2022.

First, some stats:
Submissions received: 1126
Disqualified: 5
Withdrawn: 2
Rejected First Round: 1025
Rejected Final Round: 82
Accepted: 12

In addition to the 12 stories selected from the general submission window, we also added an original story acquired outside of the general submission window.

These stories will all be published in 2023; I look forward to sharing them with you!

And here is the list, in alphabetical order by author name:

Six Reasons Why Bots Make the Worst Asteroid Miners
by Matt Bliss

Interstate Mohinis
by M.L. Krishnan

Devil’s Lace
by Julie Le Blanc

The Monologue of a Moon Goddess in the Palace of Pervasive Cold
by Anja Hendrikse Liu

Requiem
by P.H. Low

Dog Song
by Avi Naftali

Glass Moon Water
by Linda Niehoff

On a Smoke-Blackened Wing
by Joanne Rixon

Bottled Words
by Carol Scheina

Tell Me the Meaning of Bees
by Amal Singh

Diamondback V. Tunnelrat
by Nick Thomas

Re: Your Stone
by Guan Un

They Were Wonderful, Once
by Lily Watson

Submission Grinder Won an Ignyte Award in the Community Category!

written by David Steffen

The Submission Grinder won an Ignyte Award in the category Community Award for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre. If you haven’t heard about the Ignyte Award, they are run by FIYAH magazine with the mission “The Ignytes seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre.”

The full Ignyte Award ceremony is posted on YouTube here, go check it out–the ceremony is very short and to the point, a little over an hour. I also wanted to share the acceptance speech, as follows:

When the first Ignyte Awards were announced they included this statement: “In the tradition of FIYAH, when we see a need going unfulfilled, we correct it. To that effect, we are thrilled to announce the creation of the Ignyte Awards series…”

Those words spoke to me because they felt familiar.  With The Submission Grinder, with The Long List Anthology, they both started with a similar idea.  People were saying “Someone should do something.” And I said “Maybe that someone could be me.”  I wrote an email to Anthony W. Sullivan and said “This might be something we could do together.” He replied and said “I’ve already started.”  It was only about 3 weeks later that we officially launched.

I am humbled to be here accepting this Community award from the fine folks that run the Ignyte Award and Fiyah who have made a huge impact in the field in just a few years.  I never expected to be nominated for any award, let alone to win one. 

I’m no one special.  There happened to be an ideal time for this kind of project to start, and I was available at that time.  I recognize that my availability was in part due to the level of my personal privilege, so I wanted to try to use that to help people if I could.  It could have failed.  From the beginning we stated that we would not require payment to use the site.  A required subscription would mean that writers with tight budgets would have to make hard choices. A writer needs to be able to easily find publishers to submit their work, or they are at a huge disadvantage to their peers. Their voices are no less important to the world because of their level of income. So, Maybe no one would donate to the site. Maybe we would get too busy.  Maybe Maybe Maybe. There are always so many Maybes.

We had early naysayers who said “it won’t last”. We didn’t waste our time arguing with them. What would the point be? Only longevity can prove longevity and now the site has been running for almost 10 years.

I do know that I wouldn’t have been able to do it by myself.  Thank you to my family.  Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the project.  Anthony W. Sullivan, who was on the same wavelength at the same time.  Andrew Rucker Jones, who had been volunteering as a Market Checker, now documenting and revising our policies and editing market listings directly.  Our volunteer Market Checkers and everyone who has sent in a market suggestion or other note.  All the cool people at Codex, and the Dire Turtles Writing Group, and on Twitter.  We do pretty much zero advertising, so word of mouth is everything.

And also to the amazing Diabolical Plots crew who help everything over there run smoothly. 

For anyone who looks out at the world and sees all the problems everywhere it is hard not to feel overwhelmed and say “I can’t make everything better”.  No you can’t.  But you can make something better. Maybe you think it’s too small to matter. But that helps build a community, one block at a time. And you might be surprised at how your efforts can snowball, as other people see what you’re doing, and volunteer to help.  Let them help!

I would encourage all of you out there, when you see an unfulfilled need to ask yourself “Is this something I could help with?”  Maybe it won’t work out.  But Maybe it will.

Thank you to everyone who runs the award, and everyone who voted. We are deeply grateful.

Issue #87: Special Issue: Diabolical Pots is Here!

Welcome to Diabolical Pots! We’re delighted you’ve chosen to dine with us today.

It is a little bright, isn’t it? Don’t worry, though, the glow is normal. How many? Oh, that’s an ideal number for– Well, I have just the table for you. If you’ll follow me?

||

||

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And here we go.

You have a taste for adventure, right? You’re prepared to be transported somewhere else for an hour or so? Not literally, of course…

Excellent! I’m going to grab you some water and let you have a moment with our prix fixe menu. No substitutions, I’m afraid, but we have a little something for everyone.

~DIABOLICAL POTS~
May 2022

Editorial
Kel Coleman, 447 words

A Strange and Muensterous Desire
Amanda Hollander, 2155 words

Vegetable Mommy
Patrick Barb, 585 words

The Many Taste Grooves of the Chang Family
Allison King, 3513 words

Mochi, With Teeth
Sara S. Messenger, 1546 words

Additional Note about Ignyte Award Nomination (for Submission Grinder)

writtten by David Steffen

Last week the Ignyte Award finalists were announced, including the exciting and unprecedented news that The Submission Grinder is a finalist for the Community Award: for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre.

On the official ballot, there is one name listed after the site name. Me, David Steffen. I am one of the co-founders of The Submission Grinder. I develop features for the site. I am the primary data administrator, as well as the primary contact person.

But I wanted to expand on that, because one name doesn’t paint the whole picture. There are many who have contributed in a variety of ways large and small. I wanted to call out a couple specific ones who I would like to call out as having made particularly large contributions to The Submission Grinder, who I would like to be considered with the award as well.

The first is Anthony W. Sullivan. Anthony is the other co-founder. We both saw the void in writer’s tools that are freely available to help writers find markets for their work. I thought “maybe I could do something here” and I emailed Anthony to suggest it, and he replied that he was already working on it, and we decided to team up. Anthony was the sole developer at the beginning, and spun everything up in only a few weeks for the launch, and continued to develop changes for quite some time after–I was a developer at the time as well, but did not have direct web development experience so would have had a much larger learning curve to get it built up. He also mentored me in the code development as we transitioned the development work over to me. He continued to help handle some hosting responsibilities and that sort of thing. He has not been involved in the day-to-day for a while, but the Submission Grinder would not be what it is if he had not been involved in those early days.

The second is Andrew Rucker Jones. Andrew started as one of our Market Checkers several years ago. We’ve had a team of Market Checkers for several years who systematically check listings periodically and submitting suggestions for changes through a direct contact form. Without them, listings that get less writer traffic could go years without being checked. The team of Market Checkers is a huge help, and Andrew in particular has been incredibly prolific and thorough in checking the listings. He has contributed a great deal to keeping listings up to date. Recently his role has been updated to Market Editor, able to edit market listings directly instead of sending them through the contact form.

These two I want to note in particular for the award.

As well as those two that I wanted to mention specifically at this time, there are many others who contribute, (whom I haven’t at this time asked for permission to name them specifically).

  • Our team of official Market Checker volunteers who all help to keep the listings up to date. Before we took volunteers for that team, some less-trafficked listings would go unchecked for years!
  • All the other users who send in suggestions for new market listings, corrections for existing market listings even if they’re not on the official volunteer team. This site has always depended on helpful notes from the users to help keep everything up to date!
  • The volunteer beta testers who are eager to help work some of the kinks out of new features that we’re considering rolling out.
  • The software developers who have helped me sort out the occasional technical challenge, such as finding that special CSS combination to do the behavior I’m trying to do, or helping me revamp the menus for screen reader accessibility.
  • Everyone who has donated to help keep The Submission Grinder and Diabolical Plots running, everyone who has bought copies of The Long List Anthology, or helped chip in in any other way. We would not be able to do this without your help! This all pays for hosting fees, and paying contributors.
  • Everyone who recommends the site to other writers who ask “how do I find publishers?” on Twitter and other social media, everyone who sends in a kind word when they send a note through the contact form, everyone who has invited me to speak about writing-related topics and everyone who has attended those talks, everyone who has warmly welcomed me on the rare occasions when I attend a convention–something which, before people knew me from The Submission Grinder, did not come easy to me.

Thank you all so much!