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What is the criteria to bypass JJA?

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Night Shade Message Boards » Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction » Submissions/Cover Letters » What is the criteria to bypass JJA? « Previous Next »

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TCO
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 02:26 pm:   

How much of a pro does one need to be? One FSF sale? One big 3 sale? Arthur C. Clarke?
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ET
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 04:09 pm:   

One F&SF sale is enough. Don't know how sales to other mags help bypass JJA.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 08:59 pm:   

You don't have to be a pro to get your story past me. Usually writing a great story does the trick.
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ET
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 11:46 pm:   

John, he means getting to Gordon without you looking at the story at all.
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JJA
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 03:57 am:   

I know what he meant.
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ET
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 05:23 am:   

:D
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Candy Tutt
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 12:08 pm:   

I think he's doing a term paper on breaking into the F/SF biz. I mean, this is the same persona who wrote in a month ago asking how to get started -- also mentioning that he had nothing to send out because basically he didn't like to write...
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Pat
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 12:27 pm:   

JJA - Does it offend you that so many writers don't want YOU to read their story? It seems to be a common thread on this board.

Just curious.
-Pat
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T Andrews
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 12:36 pm:   

Candy Tutt: I think TCO is a bit of a smart-ass.... He's one of those rarities: a troller who earns his keep by posting thought-provoking comments and questions that get people riled and thinking. I wouldn't say he's harmless~ that's too dismissive. He pleads ignorance regarding the writing world but I don't buy it for a minute. I suspect he's really Tom Clancy or someone. Maybe Margaret Atwood. Who knows...:0
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TCO
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 01:18 pm:   

damn it...TA. Pipe down. ;)

Candy: yeah, you got me nailed. That is kind of how my mind works. Like to take problems apart.
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Thomas R
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 01:22 pm:   

I've got a GVG rejection somewhere. It was before JJA came in though. It's neat, I showed it in a college class.

I'm a bit surprised TCO cares though He always laughed at "losers" who ooh and ahh about the reject having some special quality. Getting to GVG probably doesn't even now mean automatic acceptance and therefore doesn't mean automatic cash. So if no money exchanges hand it seems odd he cares who rejects him.
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TCO
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 01:24 pm:   

You dork. :-)
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TCO
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 01:24 pm:   

but to your point. I don't really care that much for myself. I just am interested in business processes.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 02:23 pm:   

Pat,

It doesn't offend me. I'm sure every writer would want the editor himself looking at his/her manuscripts. It's only natural. Plus, I can't buy, I can only reject, so I'm just a hurdle.

If you were running a hurdles race, you would avoid the hurdles if you were allowed to, wouldn't you?
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Grumblecakes
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 02:57 pm:   

"It's only natural" Great tune on new Robert Pollard disc "Fiction Man."
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Elizabeth
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 03:28 pm:   

TCO, I *want* JJA to read my story. I want my story to keep his interest. I want it to grab him. I want it to be so good that he reads the whole thing. And then passes it on to GVG. So I DO want JJA to read it! I don't want to bypass him until I've made my first sale. ;-) A girl can dream, no?

Now if only grovelling would help a writer get published...
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TCO
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 04:17 pm:   

There are so many evil things I could say with that opening...
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Pat
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 04:49 pm:   

JJA - I guess I just have a different perspective towards it. Once I send a 'great story' I really don't care what the decision making process is. If you and Gordon light the cover letter on fire and look for guidance in the smoke. More power to you.
If I had to ask how to avoid the slush reader then I probably don't deserve avoiding the slush reader. Right?

So, does it ever work the other way? Does Gordon ever say "hey, look at this one"

Do you ever look at what is published in F/SF and think "Damn, I wouldn't have published that."
or at least think that you wouldn't have passed it to Gordon had it come through you?


-Pat
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 05:53 pm:   

Pat,

Well, that's the right attitude to have and you make a good point. Some people might just not have the confidence in me that I'll recognize a great story and that I'll reject it before Gordon gets to see it (though if I do reject a story, and it *is* brilliant, it'll sell somewhere else).

Gordon solicits my opinion on stories all the time. I read and react to pretty much everything Gordon buys (but most of the stuff he rejects I never see). I don't know how much my opinion sways him either way; you'd have to ask him, but I'm sure it varies on story to story.

I don't know that I'd say "Damn, I wouldn't have published that," but there have been times we have disagreed (which should be no surprise, as I don't like every story Asimovs or Sci Fiction publishes either even though I do like a great majority of it). Though Gordon's tastes and mine are pretty much in tune, there are inevitable differences of opinion.

It's hard to say about seeing those same stories in the slush. Reading slush is different from reading for acquisition. When I read slush, I'm not only reading for my own editorial taste; I'm also reading for what I think Gordon will like. I also set aside stories that I think have potential (even though they might be flawed), because an encouraging rejection from Gordon (perhaps with helpful comments) can be of great use to a beginning writer trying to develop his/her craft.

So, I'd like to say that no, I would have rejected them were I to come across them in the slush; I'd like to think that I would at least see the potential that Gordon saw in them, even if I disagreed on their overall merit, but it's impossible to say for certain.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 06:00 pm:   

Er...

That should read:

"So, I'd like to say that no, I wouldn't have rejected them..."
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TCO
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 06:10 pm:   

I'm not concerned with avoiding the slush hurdle. Though if I were trying to break in, I would find much more merit in JJA's original hurdle analogy than in Pat's "write a great story". Instead my interest is in the business process. Just like to think about how things work.
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Pat
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 07:25 pm:   

JJA - "though if I do reject a story, and it *is* brilliant, it'll sell somewhere else" --- My thoughts exactly. That is why I don't understand the desire to go straight to Gordon. Even after having credits, I don't understand that need of a writer. If Gordon left the latest M. Rickert story in the pile, you'd probably treat it like it was something that Gordon might be interested in even if it didn't quite do it for you. Not that Gordon is likely to leave that without at least a plan to skim it himself. I suppose if M. Rickert received a rejection from you there would be a little "What? Gordon doesn't have time for me?" feeling but again, if it was a good story it will sell elsewhere. I'm pretty sure even published authors don't sell everything to the first place they send it to.

In regards to your suggestions elsewhere about more story discussions - I think that most vistors here are writers or aspiring writers less so than subscribers. Also, I think there isn't much room here for anything other than complementing the writer. Not that complementing the authors would be a bad thing, but anything else could be viewed as unprofessional...


-Pat
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Pat
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 07:26 pm:   

TCO - If you are writing a paper on this as was mentioned elsewhere. Be professional about it. I'm sure the professionals on this board or other boards that you post to would be happy to oblige you with an actual interview.

If you are an aspiring writer, be more concerned with submitting correctly rather than what happens afterwards. We still have no proof that they don't look to the smoke of the cover letter for true guidance.

Negotiating prices for short fiction: Think about it this way, how big of a name do you have to have to affect the circulation of F/SF? If you can do that, feel free to negotiate for above the published going rate --- probably BEFORE you submit it... Maybe Joe Haldeman get 9 cents per word... maybe he only gets the maximum 8...


-Pat
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ET
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 10:14 pm:   

Thomas R's comment brings up an obvious way to bypass JJA -- go back in time to before he worked for Gordon.
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Rob Darnell
Posted on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 10:20 pm:   

"Thomas R's comment brings up an obvious way to bypass JJA -- go back in time to before he worked for Gordon."

Ah, success. I done bypassed JJA before. :P
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TCO
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 03:34 am:   

Pat, I'm not an aspiring writer. And I'm not writing a paper (Candy was right in effect, not in detail). And I'll ask what I want until I get banned or the community puts me on a rail and rides me out.

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Buffalo
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 10:01 am:   

Actually, you were already banned here before you changed your name from GP to TCO. Short memory, I guess.
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TCO
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 11:26 am:   

I was banned for 6 months and left for much more than that. If JJA/Gordon/admin "bans" me, I will leave again. I don't think they have the ability to ban people here, so I would just honor their wishes. That is up to them. Not you. If some huge majority of the community cries too much about me (or looking at it from their ppoint of view, decides I am too much of a pain in the ass), I will leave. But let it be. Start another thread to say what a shithead I am. I was pretty reasonable in these threads. Until you pissed me off and awoke that primal desire to make a naked pyramid of my detractors.
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Pat
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 11:59 am:   

Is it your goal to be banned?

-Pat
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Elizabeth
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 12:16 pm:   

There's always one on every message board...
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 12:47 pm:   

TCO's been behaving himself. No need to antagonize him. Looks like he generated some discussion people were interested in participating in, at the very least. And there have been no personal attacks that I noticed, so I'm cool with that.
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Pat
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 01:46 pm:   

JJA - Sorry, I wasn't intentionally antagonizing him. I was unaware that he was a known commodity on the SFMag boards.

I'll return to my role as passive observer. Thanks for answering my questions earlier!

-Pat
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JJA
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 02:24 pm:   

No need to apologize, Pat. And you don't have to return to a passive role. I was just saying that TCO wasn't annoying me (or Gordon, at least, not that I know of), so there's no reason to chastise him. And my comment was more directed toward Buffalo's antagonistic comment. Like I said, at least TCO's posts were generating some intelligent discussion. I'm all for chastising him when he deserves it, but it doesn't seem like it's warranted at the moment.
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Pat
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 06:16 pm:   

" I was pretty reasonable in these threads. Until you pissed me off and awoke that primal desire to make a naked pyramid of my detractors."

I thought this might have been directed at me, making me the antagonist. I thought Buffalo's comment was a statement of fact I was unaware of.

-Pat
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Thomas R
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 06:28 pm:   

I didn't think he was exactly formally banned. He got in a fight with Ellen about Sci-Fiction, but at FSF's group, and he got a bit overly confrontational. He was warned by the moderator and a ban was threatened I think. So he viluntarily quit coming here, but apparently it was a ban as he indicates it was.

I think this was on one of the monstrously long threads here with like 300 posts. Maybe one about rejection speed.
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Buffalo
Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 11:19 am:   

TCO, I apologize. It was wrong for me to post an antagonistic posting.

from Buffalo
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TCO
Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 03:41 pm:   

Cool. Also, my ad hominem is partial self-parody.

Shake your manly hand.
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Iron James
Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 03:48 pm:   

Let's see. TCO is or was in the Navy. He seems intelligent. He's antagonized some editors, on forums, if not through the way he submits stories. He has libertraian tendencies.

I've got it. He is the reincarnation of Heinlein.

Sorry, TCO. But you two do sound like the same person.
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Candy Tutt
Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 04:41 pm:   

I'm just wondering what he does between postings: Fabricate new computer worms? Harass the Homeland Security personnel? Hang out in the subway at night wearing only a trenchcoat? Read/write the local Personals ads? Sit around his apartment wearing a tinfoil hat so the Martians can't read his mind? If he signs one of the posts 'From Hell Mr. Lusk' we're all in trouble...

=:0
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Thomas R
Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 04:42 pm:   

Military guys can retire young, but I think he makes his money at some corporate gig.
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TCO
Posted on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 05:47 pm:   

I dream about you, sweet Candy.
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E Thomas
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 10:48 am:   

He is the reincarnation of Heinlein.

HA!

In his dreams...:-)
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Tribeless
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 01:32 pm:   

Hannibal Heinlein
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The Prison PR Guy
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 03:40 pm:   

Actually I once addressed a cover letter to JJA rather than GVG because I knew JJA was going to see it.
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Sue
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 05:07 pm:   

It's been over a year since this thread was active but I found it after reading the thread on the percentage of stories that get published.

When I submit to F&SF I don't bother with a cover letter. Until I have a pro sale, I'll just send the manuscript (marked disposable of course) and take my chances.

On that note, JJA -- how many novice writers have you rescued from the slush pile since you started at F&SF? Do you have a list? You seem quite enthusiastic about them.

I could go through my collection of F&SF and check each story but I'm lazy... :-)

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