Calls for Slush Readers

by Bill Ward on September 16, 2009

in Writing,Zines

paperstackA couple of online magazines have recently posted calls for slush readers, Every Day Fiction and Fantasy, to be exact. A while back I wrote a three-piece article all about the benefits of taking a stint as a slush reader called Get Thee to a Slush Pile, and in it I share my personal experiences as slush reader, and go over what a good learning experience it is for a beginning writer.

Reading slush doesn’t just teach you about writing saleable stories, but it immerses you in the world on the other side of the writer-publisher equation. If you want to know everything I have to say about that go read my article, but in summary I’ll just admit that my experiences with slushing and editing were probably the best apprenticeship I could have hoped for when I was just starting out trying to sell short fiction.

The links above will take you to the particulars of applying — though the obvious first consideration on your part should be familiarity with the nature of the magazines you’d be working for. EDF has wisely conceived of their slush reading position as a three-month term, so if you only wanted a taste without being stuck in an open-ended commitment that looks like a great place to try on the slush reader hat.

So, if you are interested in writing or editing — or just think it would be fun to be involved in a magazine — here are two great opportunities that won’t be around forever.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Gay Degani September 17, 2009 at 12:50 am

Thanks Bill for writing this. Camille said you had something and I meant to give you a link, but needless to say it slipped my mind. Nice piece.

Gay Degani September 17, 2009 at 12:52 am

I just twittered you.

Jaym Gates September 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm

As someone who works with Fantasy and is one of the slush readers… Yeah, it’s kind of useful. Ok, really useful.

But beware. You may never stop the nightmares that some of those stories will bring. The depths… Oh gods the depths…

Bill Ward September 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm

But you will always have something to talk about with other editors, like the guy that responds to a call for fantasy novellas with his book-length autobiography, or the one that took pictures of each page of his printed manuscript and sent that in, or the one that tells you her fantasy stories depict real events in a world that she is in psychic contact with, or the guy who used babelfish to . . . .

Well, you get the idea.

Jaym Gates September 29, 2009 at 5:08 pm

See, those are horrifically funny.

Then again, bad writing may well have ruined sex for me forever. Mostly because fits of the giggles tend to be inappropriately timed. I gave up asking where my forum members find some of these pieces, and WHY they find them.

Then again, as you said, stories to tell the grandkids some day. “Back in my day, we had this dude who…!”

Bill Ward September 29, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I think that’s only really a risk if you have sex with the submitters, which is a bit outside the purview of the slush reader position for most magazines.

Jaym Gates September 30, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Dammit, you mean that’s not one of the perks that comes with this job? I WAS LIED TO!

Bill Ward September 30, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Some editors will promise anything to secure a slush shoveler or two.

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