Elliot J Harper
A Brief Chat with Apex Magazine
Updated: May 29, 2022
Apex Magazine is a genre zine that has been around since 2005 and focuses on dark and spectacular science fiction, fantasy and horror. New issues are released every two months and issue content is made available for free on www.apex-magazine.com. The magazine has hosted fiction which has won or been nominated for most major industry awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Stoker, Shirley Jackson, World Fantasy, and many more.
Jason Sizemore and Lesley Connor are the managing editors of this fantastic magazine and work tirelessly with their staff to produce a platform for speculative fiction writers. I’ve read many of their issues and they are always brilliant. The magazine is currently running a Kickstarter with a mind to continue creating and amplifying this platform, but they’ve taken some time away from their busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Who are some of your favourite writers? What are some of your favourite short stories of all time?
Jason: My favorite short fiction writer is Kelly Link. Link's "Stone Animals" is a masterpiece of tension and quiet horror. But my favorite short of all time is "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman.
Lesley: Oh, man! I was going to say "The Yellow Wallpaper" was my favorite short! Way to go, Jason, stealing my thought! (Honestly, it's a fantastic story! If you haven't read it, you should!)
As for favorite writers, I always get excited to read short fiction by Russell Nichols, Rich Larson, Sarah Pinsker, Dee Warrick, Damien Angelica Walters, Marie Vibbert, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor ... I could go on and on. There are so many amazing short fiction writers working right now! It's a great time to be a fan of short speculative fiction!
What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
Jason: It's rote but read an issue or two. We make everything available for free online (and publish a monthly fiction podcast). As a writer, you should be reading all the time, so why not research a market you're hoping to break into? :)
Lesley: I'll second reading an issue or two of the magazine, preferably recent issues to really get a sense of what sort of fiction we're looking for now. I'll also add that it is just as important to read the submission guidelines. Thoroughly. We have guidelines for a reason and there's no reason to hurt your chances of getting an acceptance by not reading them.
What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
Jason: Hm, let's see. There is a cat. Coffee... definitely can't forget the coffee. Social media. Lots of stories to edit. An endless parade of interruptions. Business meetings where I scheme with my team. Back to the cat again.
Life as an editor is rather chaotic. As someone who can barely remember his name sometimes due to the constant barrage of deadlines, edits, and events, you must come to accept a bit of structure in your life. I routinely fail at this, so stuff sometimes slips through the cracks. Like "Oops, that story was supposed to be posted on the site yesterday." Or "Uh oh, I think I forgot to mail a payment."
You also need to realize that you will make mistakes. That sometimes stuff has to be done YESTERDAY. If your mind isn't adaptable, then being an editor will be close to impossible.
Lesley: LOL Yeah, life as an editor can be chaotic - there is always so much to do! - but it can also be kinda boring. My days typically start with coffee and a book. I like to start my day reading because otherwise it can be hard to fit it in and reading is really important to me.
After that, my mornings are generally spent responding to emails and story submissions. I am habitually behind reading submissions. I don't mean to, but I read everything that our slush team recommends - which can be an overwhelming amount! I'd say that I spend at least 2 to 3 hours every day reading and responding to submissions.
After lunch, I switch off to whatever Apex tasks are waiting for me. That could be anything from copy editing, to looking for cover art, or working on sales reports. All of this is done while constantly chatting back and forth with Jason about everything Apex. I think good communication is one of the biggest reasons why things work so well for us. We are in constant contact about every aspect of the magazine.
Thank you, Lesley and Jason!
Click the below image for the link to the Kickstart page which offers a myriad of rewards including ebooks, merchandise, subscriptions and much more!
Thank you for reading.