Today, in an exclusive interview over at SF Signal, Sheila Williams talks about her reasons for moving Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine to an online submission system. This is the same system (designed by Neil Clarke) used by Clarkesworld Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, and Electric Velocipede. Williams main thought behind using the online system is:
[T]o be more organized and to process work more quickly. I’m happy that authors will now get a response indicating that their story has been received. I’m very glad that I will now have an easily accessible record of when stories were submitted and when and what the response was. I don’t know if this organization will actually decrease our response time because I expect that the number of submissions will go up, but I expect it to simplify some aspects of my work.
This is the first of the big three science fiction magazines (the other two being The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction & Fact) to accept electronic submissions. I’ll be interested to see what impact it has on the magazine’s table of contents as I suspect Williams will see a lot more submissions from non-US writers and from newer writers. As Williams notes, the volume of submissions will go up, but I know that having everything in a self-contained system sped up our response time despite an increase in volume.
Neil Clarke initially designed the system for use with Clarkesworld Magazine, and it’s taken off from there. In his own words:
I never expected it to take on a life of its own. If you told me that it would eventually be used by Asimov’s, I would have laughed at you.
I know that I had concerns about Asimov’s when Gardner Dozois left, but Williams has more than ably taken the reins. It helps that she’s been at the magazine for almost thirty years. Earlier this month, Sean Wallace from Prime Books pointed that in the past five years, stories from Asimov’s have received 27 nominations for Hugo Awards with a total of nine wins (out of 15 maximum). Impressive to say the least. This year, Williams is on the ballot for Best Editor, Short Form, and like Wallace, I certainly think she’s worth your vote.
John Klima is the editor of the Hugo Award winning Electric Velocipede.