Editor Interview: Cirsova Magazine

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Thrilling Adventure

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: We appreciate Storyhack, as Bryce Beattie has similar sensibilities and tastes, doing what he can to bring the best adventure fiction in the pulp tradition. Broadswords & Blasters also does a lot to try to foster a sense of community among the smaller pulp indies.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Leigh Brackett, C.L. Moore, Ross Rocklynne, Jack Vance, Otis Adelbert Kline, and Thomas Burnett Swann.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: We don't approach pulp in a "retro" fashion, but instead look at the best of the 30s and 40s as sort of starting point, moving the ball forward from there. We publish a broad range of fiction, from heroic fantasy to weird science fiction, but we focus on strong storytelling rather than mere themes and trappings.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Read the pulps. Pick up an issue of Planet Stories from the 40s, or an issue of Weird Tales or even Astounding from 30s. They're full of great examples of well-told, concise, thrilling stories that deliver an excellent payoff to the readers.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Something that's a bit strange and weird, a touch of the uncanny but with a whiff of the welcoming and familiar. A little bit of action, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance. Authors like C.L. Moore and Leigh Brackett were able to deliver that sort of thing in spades--there's nothing we'd love more than for something along the lines of The Bright Illusion or The Moon that Vanished to come across our desk.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: For some reason, we get a lot of elf stories. Unless you're doing something Dunsanian, no elves!
Look, we can fix formatting, we can add page numbers to the footer of your manuscript, but we can't fix a story that has generic D&D elves in it.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Nothing. We don't care at all. We don't care about your identity, we don't care about your past publications, awards, successes. We just care about the story that you've sent us.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: If a piece just isn't working for us, we can usually tell right away--that said, we do try to read everything to the end. Also, a strong ending is a must--we've read pieces where we've thought "yes, we absolutely want to buy this story!" and a weak cop-out ending torpedoes the whole thing.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: It's usually a minor consideration, but sometimes length does come into play. If we can fit two really good 4k word stories into an issue, we might opt for that over a good 8K word story.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: People send us a bunch of stories.
I print them out and read through a stack of them.
They are sorted into Yes, No, and Maybe.
Nos are pitched (nothing personal, I just can't have that much paper lying around), Maybes are prioritize and culled, and Yeses and the best Maybes are arranged into potential issues.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: You do what the market needs and what the publication needs. I don't think anyone is putting together their zines on mimeographs anymore. POD is a blessing, and it lets us do what we need to do for our magazine, which is put out an affordable, high quality and professional product on a shoestring budget.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: It really depends on how much work needs to be done on a story. We love stories that only need light clean-up the best, but sometimes if we feel strongly enough about a piece's potential, we'll do a bit more line-editing. In a few cases, we've worked with authors on extensive edits, but don't have time for them generally, given the surfeit of stories and necessary turn-around times. We do give authors final approval of edits.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes.