Reviews

is this seat taken?

Today I’m guest reviewing for Peter Tennant on Black Static‘s Case Notes Blog.

Tales from Beyond the Pale

I discuss the new audio drama ‘Is This Seat Taken?’, written by award-winning horror writer Sarah Langan (Audrey’s Door, The Keeper), which is part of a new series of horror audio drama by Tales from Beyond the Pale.

I’d also like to highlight Peter’s article, published last week, called ‘To Be the Best‘, in which he does a bang-up job of analysing three horror Year’s Best anthologies, edited by Datlow, Jones and Guran.

The statistics prove that your chances are higher of appearing in a Year’s Best anthology if your story has appeared in a previous anthology (and that makes me wonder how many of them were open or invite-only). Print still dominates as the preferred source for material by these three editors, with very few stories being selected from online sources.

Ultimately, not a lot has changed as regards getting your work noticed for a Year’s Best anthology. It’s a competitive field with a lot of writers producing strong work every year, so you need to get your stories into the premier (print) markets.

Quality writing is what gets you noticed most of all, of course. There is no way around that. To be the best you have to write the best – and that’s the most difficult part.

4 Comments

  • Eleln Datlow

    Maura–saying the following is misleading–

    “The statistics prove that your chances are higher of appearing in a Year’s Best anthology if your story has appeared in a previous anthology (and that makes me wonder how many of them were open or invite-only). Print still dominates as the preferred source for material by these three editors, with very few stories being selected from online sources.”

    The above para to me–I can only speak for myself– implies 1) that I specifically go after material in anthologies –I don’t and 2) that whether anthos are invite or not makes a difference in what ends up in a year’s best (it doesn’t)

    The fact is I read all the magazines and webzines that I’m aware of (I do urge publishers of obscure magazines to send them to me and I prefer printouts of horror web stories than reading them on the site).

    Unfortunately, even after editing a Best horror of the year for going on 24 years I still don’t always receive publications from those who should be aware of my year’s best.

    The reason I choose more stories from anthologies than magazines is simple: I like those stories better.

    • Maura

      Ellen, I did note in summary at the end that the best writing will win out, which I know is what editors want more than anything.

      I was not attempting to imply that you didn’t read widely (which I know you do), or that you were ignoring other sources. I was stating that the highest percentage of work was coming from anthologies. I assumed that was because you preferred those stories.

      My curiosity about whether anthologies were open or invite-only has only to do with the chances for authors to get those gigs. I certainly was not trying to imply that invite-only anthologies were getting preferential treatment for Year’s Best anthologies.

      What I did not say, but I thought was a given, is that anthologies are often the best markets because the bar for quality is high. Getting into an anthology is already a stamp of approval.

      It’s interesting to me that the stories being selected are still coming primarily from print sources. I can guess many reasons for that, including that the editors for those anthologies, chapbooks and magazines are simply very good at what they do and have been working in the field for a long time.

      I’ve nothing but respect for the tough job yourself, Steve and Paula are doing, and I know you are all fair and professional. If you thought I implied otherwise then I offer my apologies.

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