For today’s interview, we return to the world of science fiction and fantasy magazines. I’ll be talking with Jason Sizemore, the owner of Apex Publications and editor-in-chief of the Hugo Award-nominated Apex Magazine.
SCy-Fy: Jason, tell me about a typical day working on the magazine.
JS: I read three or four submissions a day. That might not sound like much, but by the end of the month, I’ve tallied 75 to 100 shorts that I’ve considered.
I run the magazine’s Twitter feed (@apexmag) and Facebook page. I write all the checks and make all the PayPal payments. Sometimes I help copy edit. I prepare each issue for our Amazon subscribers. I select the content for each issue.
There’s a lot more going on, but that should give readers an idea of all that goes on. These things don’t happen all day every day, as they’re spread out over a month.
SCy-Fy: Sounds very busy. What are your future initiatives?
JS: Right now we’re focusing on two major goals: increasing the size of our subscriber base and increasing author pay. The first needs to happen before we can do the second.
SCy-Fy: Good luck with both of those. What do you think are the major challenge for SFF magazines?
JS: A digital magazine has to be agile. Technology and the way readers consume content changes at a rapid pace. If you don’t keep up, you’ll be run underfoot.
Readers these days are smart and plugged-in. Your content has to be fresh and original, or your readers will grow impatient and seek their entertainment elsewhere.
SCy-Fy: Any advice for writers?
JS: In order to be a good writer, you need to be a great reader. Stay abreast of current publishing trends. Understand the type of content that editors are buying.
SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?
JS: The support of friends and the genre community has powered me through some tough times.
There is a lot of discontent and unhappiness floating around the internet ether these days. Conversely, people are quick to help and lend a hand when you need it.
SCy-Fy: Which piece has generated the most impact and controversy?
JS: Our Nebula Award-winning story “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky continues to receive a lot of attention by fans of amazing and powerful speculative fiction. It also generates a fair share of discontent and disagreement from a segment of readers who approach the story via a political mind set.
SCy-Fy: Your personal favourites among what you have published so far?
JS: This is akin to asking a parent who is his favourite child!
I’ll list three:
“The Performance Artist” by Lettie Prell;
“Pocosin” by Ursula Vernon;
“Frank” by Betsy Phillips.
SCy-Fy: I appreciate that that was a tough question for an editor! Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to reading or watching?
JS: I’m a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie so any new book by him is on my list. Kelly Link’s new collection has me excited. And the movie “Chappie” by the director of District 9. I’m a sucker for robot stories!
SCy-Fy: Many of us reading this are, I’m sure. Thank you for your time, Jason.
I was really pleased to get that glimpse into the editor’s laboratory. I hope you’ll join me next time.
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