Bewildering Stories discusses...
with Johanna Miklós
The editorial “Simultaneous Submissions” appears in issue 643.
Johanna Miklós is an Associate Editor of Bewildering Stories.
[Johanna M.] I have no idea how many people actually read e-publications.
Writers obviously don’t, or there would be NO submissions with explicit sexual content to BwS, questionable colorful language, or pieces written with spell-check disabled. What you and the team give authors is a fabulous review process.
I think authors would profit from seeing the full exchanges. Well, maybe not the ones where editors take out their discomfort du jour on a submission. But it does help to see what people who are not related to the author think of a piece.
I am usually tipped off that something has appeared somewhere else when it looks polished. The author could let you know that it has already been edited. And you may still take it if you really like it and if it is part of an interesting body of work, and so on and so forth.
There are as many reasons to accept a piece as there are reasons for submitting to BwS.
[BwS] Thank you, Johanna! You make some very perceptive observations.
How many people actually read e-publications, especially in literature? I don’t know, either. I often wonder about the contributors themselves. They’re usually pretty good about proofreading once they’ve received the preview notice, but most seem quite complacent about the Challenge questions.
We have “hit counters,” but I never consult them. I did, when Jerry Wright first installed them, many years ago, but I soon realized I didn’t know what they meant. Besides, what numbers would be large enough?
Reader feedback tells me that some works, at least, are read. The most popular: Donald Schneider’s “Pride’s Prison” and my translation of Jean de La Fontaine’s La Cigale et la fourmi. The reasons for popularity are very different but should be fairly obvious.
I quite agree with you that writers need the opinion of readers who have the text in common but don’t know — or, really, care — who the author is. That’s why Bewildering Stories’ most important and effective work is done “on the ground,” by our Associate Editors’ feedback to contributors. We often receive expressions of appreciation for it, which is very gratifying. And I’ve sometimes been tempted to condense some of the Review Editors’ discussions for The Critics’ Corner, to show how works can be read. But time pressure is inexorable; we’d need some Review Board members to volunteer to do that.
Finally, what shall we do with submissions that are already accessible on the Net? I think you’re right; our first criterion ought to be: How much do we want the story or whatever it is? And would duplication be worth the effort? That is the way we’ve made decisions so far.