Response to Weird Tales — Shimmer is now paying pro rates

There are two magazines that I’ve been art director for, Shimmer and Weird Tales. I was so honored when Stephen Segal tapped me to be his successor on the Weird Tales staff. I mean, he’s the art director who was responsible from revamping and updating the Weird Tales look in conjunction with editor Ann Vandermeer’s groundbreaking editorial vision. They won a Hugo for their work and with good reason.

I was proud of working for Weird Tales. But when I saw Marvin Kaye’s decision to republish a racist novel in the next issue, and his defence it as “A Thoroughly Non-Racist Book” I was appalled. It used to be a gold-standard in unconventional spec fiction. I saw authors pulling their stories and wanted to cheer and weep at the same time. Cheer, because people are taking a stand against racism. Weep, because there were good stories without a home.

Now… since this morning, the publisher has overruled Mr. Kaye and they will not be reprinting the novel.   I am very, very glad to see that. But in the span between those two posts, I got pissed and decided to try doing something productive.

So… I contacted Beth Wodzinski, the editor-in-chief, at Shimmer.

Shimmer is a small press magazine.  Our tagline was “Speculative fiction for a miscreant world.” It is a beautiful digest sized magazine and is currently art directed by the talented Sandro Castelli. It publishes stories that are dark, strange, funny or all three. I remain proud of Shimmer and still subscribe although it’s been years since I was directly involved.

When we started the magazine, we paid $5 per story with the goal that someday, someday we would pay pro rates.

That day is today.

As Beth says, “Even without publishing the overtly racist chapter of Victoria Foyt’s novel Save the Pearls, it’s pretty clear that Weird Tales is no longer interested in publishing the kind of beautiful, dark, and original fiction that I adore — and the vocal outrage from the entire speculative fiction community shows that we are not alone in loving these stories.”

Shimmer already paid .03 per word. Starting with the next issue, I am under-writing a rate increase to .05 per word — SFWA minimum pro rates. I don’t have time to edit, or art direct, but by God, I can make certain that there is a good home for all those weird tales in a magazine that has always, always made me proud.

The Shimmer submission guidelines are here or you can subscribe, here.

 

22 Responses

  1. Annie Neugebauer

    This is incredible news! It’s so strange; I almost suggested
    this today on Twitter (but decided it wasn’t my place). I saw a tweet that said
    Shimmer is welcoming all of the pulled submissions from Weird Tales, so I
    checked them out, loved what I saw, but was disappointed to see that their
    .03/word rate, while better than most, still wouldn’t help me toward my active
    member status in the HWA, which like the SFWA requires .05/word. So truly, it’s
    like you’ve read my mind. I will definitely be submitting to Shimmer in the
    near future. Thanks very much for your effort and contribution, and for letting
    us know!

  2. Todd Thorne

    Sheer awesomeness!

    Would be nice if the circumstances that brought it about were different, but one should never get in the way of a universe that is trying to right itself. Good on Shimmer!

  3. Sandra Odell

    Thank you for your support of a great magazine, and great stories.
    And as a very humorous aside, this means I will now have to work that much harder to break into Shimmer. I think I have 4 “so damn close, please send us something else” rejections. :D

  4. Bogi Takács

    Thank you! I was really upset about the Weird Tales debacle (it was kind of the last straw for me in the past couple of days, I was all “OK, I give up, I need a break from the internet”) and I’m so happy there’s something good to come out of it. Unfortunately I don’t have anything I could submit to Shimmer right now, but this is very encouraging. I’ve already recommended you to my friends and shared the news about the rate increase.

  5. M.E. Garber

    Thanks both for the news, and the support. I have loved Shimmer for awhile; now I love it for yet another reason.

  6. Brad Roberts

    Super generous of you Mary. I just subscribed and will grab the back issue catalog assuming the material matches my taste (I suspect it will).

  7. Alex Dally MacFarlane

    This is fantastic news. I’m delighted to see some good come out of this mess.

  8. Carla J

    Thank you Ms. Kowal. As a Black writer of Speculative Fiction, I am heartened by the stand you and the staff of Shimmer magazine have taken. I look forward to reading stories that won’t fall into the Save the Pearls’ category.