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Thread: [eZine] Bewildering Stories / Bewildering Press

  1. #1
    My heart's a battleground Mystic Blossom's Avatar
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    [eZine] Bewildering Stories / Bewildering Press

    I submitted to this e-zine less than an hour ago, and just got an acceptance, but a few things have made me wary of their editorial discrepancies, and I'm wondering if they're considered legit, or if I should withdraw it and wait to see if my poem gets accepted somewhere else? In the letter sent to me, they say, "I note that (poem) is a simultaneous submission. That's okay with us. Other publications may insist on first or exclusive electronic rights; Bewildering Stories does not. We mind our own business and pay no attention to what other publications do. If anybody else makes restrictions, that's between you and them. Meanwhile, we'll proceed normally unless told otherwise."

    What's weird to me is that most lit mags, even e-zines, want first rights, which would of course mean I can only give it to one mag, and if this particular market isn't very selective, it makes me wary about giving it to them. Can anyone give me some advice here?

    I'm also concerned about, if I do decide to withdraw it, how I should do that, since they want to publish it within a few weeks.
    Last edited by Mystic Blossom; 01-27-2010 at 05:09 AM.

  2. #2
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    That seems a little...odd, and possibly amateurish.
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  3. #3
    My heart's a battleground Mystic Blossom's Avatar
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    Well, here's there website: http://www.bewilderingstories.com/

    Not the most well-designed thing, but that doesn't count them out.

  4. #4
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Amateur is right. They USE 1st rights whether they require them or not. Once it's published, 1st rights are gone.

    I'd be wary.



  5. #5
    My heart's a battleground Mystic Blossom's Avatar
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    That's what I keep saying. I just have no idea what to do here. According to Duotrope, they usually take way longer to get back to people, but I dunno.

  6. #6
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Blossom View Post
    Well, here's there website: http://www.bewilderingstories.com/

    Not the most well-designed thing, but that doesn't count them out.
    It does to me. If you're going to be a professional, you must look like one. Taking a look at the site I don't see anyone with relevant experience especially since they're now running a press in conjunction with this. Inexperience isn't what you want handling your work.
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  7. #7
    My heart's a battleground Mystic Blossom's Avatar
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    Right, here's what I've decided. Since they don't want "first rights," but most magazines do, and they accept reprints, I'm going to ask to temporarily withdraw it until it gets published somewhere that won't accept it if it's been printed somewhere else. That way, I get to be more selective, and they (possibly) get the poem, if I want to give it to them later. Thanks guys!
    Last edited by Mystic Blossom; 01-27-2010 at 05:56 AM.

  8. #8
    My heart's a battleground Mystic Blossom's Avatar
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    Updating everyone on my correspondence. I got an e-mail back, kind of a weird one, saying it was fine but they felt it was odd that writers "sell" exclusive rights for no money, which of course I wouldn't do, since first rights are different from exclusive rights. Feel like I made the right call on this one.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hello, "Mystic,"

    I submitted to this e-zine less than an hour ago, and just got an acceptance, but a few things have made me wary of their editorial discrepancies, and I'm wondering if they're considered legit,
    Not sure what "discrepancies" you mean, Mystic. Basically I did what you asked.

    or if I should withdraw it and wait to see if my poem gets accepted somewhere else?
    That's up to you. As I said in our correspondence, we'll do what you want.

    In the letter sent to me, they say, "I note that (poem) is a simultaneous submission. That's okay with us. Other publications may insist on first or exclusive electronic rights; Bewildering Stories does not. We mind our own business and pay no attention to what other publications do. If anybody else makes restrictions, that's between you and them. Meanwhile, we'll proceed normally unless told otherwise."
    That's accurate...

    What's weird to me is that most lit mags, even e-zines, want first rights, which would of course mean I can only give it to one mag, and if this particular market isn't very selective, it makes me wary about giving it to them. Can anyone give me some advice here?
    Readers will have their own opinions, of course, but Bewildering Stories is one of the largest literary webzines on the Net. And you can judge for yourself by our eight-year track record; it's all on line all the time.

    Any weekly publication will be uneven, but Bewildering Stories is no more so than, for example, Analog or Asimov's magazines. I'm sure some people would prefer that we be more selective in our regular issues; that's why our Review Board has the Quarterly Reviews. Inclusion in our QR's is the result of a fair and rigorous process and is an important distinction. Our home page prominently features a link to our Editors' Choices.

    As for poetry, I'd say we're in a second Golden Age at Bewildering Stories. Such powerhouses as Rebecca Lu Kiernan and John Stocks to name only two are significant modern poets, and we're very glad to have them.

    I'm also concerned about, if I do decide to withdraw it, how I should do that, since they want to publish it within a few weeks.
    Just say "Please withdraw [title]." You've done that, and I've complied.

    For the public record, third parties have no standing with us. That policy is intended to protect our authors: if anyone writes me and says "I didn't like that [poem, story, whatever]; remove it," I doubt I'd even bother to reply.

    We take authors at their word that they retain full rights to anything published elsewhere. If another publisher writes me and says that something of ours violates a contract with the author, then there is a problem: but it's not ours; it's between the other publisher and the author. Bewildering Stories insists that each author retain all rights, and the copyright line on each page says as much.

    That's especially helpful with reprints such as novels, e.g. Ray Cummings' The Girl in the Golden Atom. On the other hand, Cyrano de Bergerac's The Other World (a.k.a. Voyage to the Moon) is strictly speaking not a reprint; our translation is original and is, to my knowledge, the only one on the Net that represents Cyrano's work as it stood at his death in 1655.

    We've also serialized the late Richard K. Lyon's The Long, Dark Road to Wizardry. Parts of it had appeared elsewhere in print many years ago, and it also appears elsewhere on the Net (we found out after the fact). But our presentation is by far superior, if I do say so myself. In any event, Dr. Lyon assured me that he retained full rights to the story when he sent it to us.

    All that is more than you wanted to know, I'm sure, but you've given me the chance to explain to the public what amounts to our open-door policy.

    Don Webb, managing editor
    Bewildering Stories
    http://www.bewilderingstories.com

  10. #10
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Sorry,I just came across this today.

    MysticBlossom, Hey, now...some of that website's my work. Let's see you try to redesign an 8 year old website, keeping the same basic template and layout, while retaining all the links and keeping everything else straight - for free I might add (actually, when the job started I was just supposed to be redoing their art gallery).

    I think Don's done a helluva' good job over the last few years and has a much better track record than some other dozen 'zines I could name.

    Somewhere around here I still have all the old records from BWS's website and it amounts to dozens of pages and megbytes of data. I did the job as a favor, not for any material or publishing benefit (even though I have had 2 stories previously published in BWS I would hope Don would not allow any personal bias to creep in and that he would judge my work solely based on merit alone (he has, in fact, rejected or at least asked for a substantial rewrite of a story since then)).

    Just don't think that redoing a website is easy. I might not be a pro, but I do darned good "basic" work with the tools I have available.
    Last edited by FOTSGreg; 09-05-2010 at 03:18 AM.

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  11. #11
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    MRJ LeBlanc, Sure, they're a little outfit, but that's fairly obvious by the fact they specialize in one or two particular authors, but don't discount the fact that they've had more than one beginner and mid-lister throw a story their way. Almost 400 issues, one every week, should count for something even if they don't pay anything.

    I've seen more than one person who's got a career going post a story to BWS.

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  12. #12
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    The thing that concerns me is Mystic Blossom's post was the first I knew about the market existing. I hadn't seen them being discussed anywhere. The writers I follow hadn't discussed submitting to them or being accepted by them. When I went through the bibliographies of other writers, to find places to submit, Bewildering Stories wasn't there (plenty of other small hobby markets were).

    I'd expect more buzz around a market after eight years. A lack of buzz doesn't mean anything is wrong, but it implies lack of promotion.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
    The thing that concerns me is Mystic Blossom's post was the first I knew about the market existing. I hadn't seen them being discussed anywhere.
    I've heard of them, but only because I've read the Asimov's and Analog forums, where they have their own threads.

    The questions you have to ask yourself: Do they offer good pay? Do their stories show up in Year's Best Anthologies? Or at least, do they get Honorable Mentions? And if you include the sale in your cover letter, will agents or editors care?

    ETA: I should add, these questions might not matter, depending on your own goals with your writing. Looking for a pro career? Maybe not. Looking for a friendly niche market? Then BW is probably a fine choice.
    Last edited by eqb; 09-04-2010 at 12:49 AM.

  14. #14
    Bemused Girl nkkingston's Avatar
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    Can i ask for a clarification on the 1st rights thing? Did they actually suggest that by publishing it they wouldn't be using 1st rights, or was it that they didn't mind if someone else had already used 1st rights? The former seems a bit weird for a zine that's been around for 400 issues; I mean, surely someone would have queries that before now!

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  15. #15
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Yeah, first off they pay only "exposure" so you're best off starting off with someone else who does pay something. Most editors I've talked to have stated that mentioning them in a query is an indication to the editor that you're not yet writing at a pro level so refrain from doing that.

    Thati said, they're a friendly market and are mentioned not only at Analog and Asimov's, but also over at F&SF, Duotrope, and Ralan's. If you're looking for exposure BWS is one of many places to start.

    As always, start with paying markets first.

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  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Bewildering Stories

    Thank you for the kind words, FOTSGreg, as well as for your assistance in the past. Some other postings seem to reflect conservative ideas about how websites ought to look. At Bewildering Stories we know what other websites look like, too. We've deliberately chosen a design that is readable and does not fit any cookie-cutter mold.

    We don't do design for its own sake. We have a lot of information but no clutter. I realize that's unconventional and may not appeal to some viewers especially those whose taste runs to the baroque or rococo but tastefully simple is the way we like it. We also follow good practice in the use of colors and layout, and we keep special cases in mind. For example, some readers need larger font sizes than others do, and some viewers have dial-up connections rather than broadband. We try to accommodate them.

    Perhaps Bewildering Stories needs more promotion, even a publicity manager. However, that might raise a problem; I don't know. Our short stories queue numbers exactly 100 at the moment. Of those titles, about half are from new contributors. And those newcomers heard of BwS somewhere, somehow. Our serials queues alone could easily fill the 14 regular issues between now and the end of the year if we allowed them to do so. But things go in cycles, and the serials will probably calm down some time next year.

    "Specializing in one or two particular authors" may be true of other websites. As for Bewildering Stories, I can only point to our Biographies & Bibliographies. I long ago lost count of the number of names on that page.

    As for "first rights," which started this whole thread, I must admit I don't see what the problem is. Perhaps it's that there is none. Our policy on simultaneous submissions and Terms and Conditions may help. If anyone has any questions, they can always ask.

    Don Webb, Managing Editor, Bewildering Stories

  17. #17
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    but then what "right" dose a publication have to publish a story/poem/work if the author isn't giving away any rights in exchange for having their story published?

    is it actually published? that's what happens when you get a story published (for pay or not), you give someone the right to display/print/distribute it under their umbrella.

    by accepting the story and publishing it, first rights have been voided (whether the publication accepts them or not), right? the story can no longer be sold as unpublished.

    And before we go any further, let's clear one thing up right now: rights are about how a publisher can use your work. It isn't the same thing as payment or purchase. Rights are not about copyright, either. The copyright to your writing always - always - remains yours.

    ...

    First Rights

    First Rights is a term that when you understand the definition, makes perfect common sense. The first time you publish your writing in any format (including blogs, e-zines, and tiny defunct journals), first rights have been used. Basically, first rights is the right to publish your writing for the first time.

    This definition goes into what you can sell as an unpublished story/article/poem. And it's causing some confusion in the publishing world. As more and more writers get their start online, writing for digital publishers or self-publishing their work to their own websites, the line between "published" and "unpublished" becomes ever more gray. Honesty being the best policy, if you have published your writing on a website and want to submit it for payment with someone else, don't claim it as an unpublished work. Instead, note how the writing was used, whether or not it's still viewable online, and (if possible) how many hits it actually received while online.

    Whether or not you are paid when someone publishes your work for the first time, you have given them First Rights to your work. This is huge - many writers feel that first rights to their work is much more valuable than any reprint rights (as do many publishers!) so you need to really consider what your writing is worth before submitting it to non-paying or low-paying markets.
    source

    (sorry, this was just very confusing/fascinating to me)

  18. #18
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    Terms and Conditions


    • We purchase (with no payment but our gratitude) one-time nonexclusive electronic rights for the works we accept. If your story is a reprint, we purchase (payment, again, consists of our thanks) nonexclusive electronic reprint rights. All works published in Bewildering Stories remain the property of the original author(s).
    source

    One-Time Rights and Perpetual Rights

    One Time Rights = the right to publish your writing once (usually in a magazine, newspaper, or e-zine). Perpetual Rights = the right to publish your writing over and over, indefinitely.

    There has been a lot of confusion where writing and the Internet meet over one-time and perpetual rights. Many websites that purchase work from writers claim to use "one time rights". By definition, this would mean that the website must remove the writing from their website, archives, and any other records after a set amount of time (usually 1 week or 1 month). Most websites keep displaying a writer's work for many months or years, eventually moving it to an archive where it can be accessed later on. When this is the case, regardless of their intentions, they are using Perpetual Rights.
    source

    If you are signing a contract for One Time Rights, make sure that there is a time-frame set out. After that time-frame, the publisher has no legal right to continue publishing your work. Otherwise, the contract needs to be redrawn for Perpetual Rights and your payment re-negotiated.

    Along these lines, find out whether or not a publisher maintains an archive and if you'll need to request removal from the archive before you attempt to publish your work elsewhere. If you will need to, note whom you need to contact and what procedure to follow.

    One Time Rights can be sold repeatedly, and simultaneously. Syndicated columnists use one-time rights to sell to multiple publishers at the same time. Perpetual rights last forever, and the work you publish this way essentially becomes the legal property of the publisher you've sold it to.
    very interesting indeed!
    (i just learned a bunch. thanks for asking question Mystic)

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by defyalllogic View Post
    but then what "right" dose a publication have to publish a story/poem/work if the author isn't giving away any rights in exchange for having their story published?
    Correct. Bewildering Stories claims "one-time, non-exclusive electronic rights." Anything further, esp. print rights at Bewildering Press, is a separate matter and is negotiated as such.

    by accepting the story and publishing it, first rights have been voided (whether the publication accepts them or not), right? the story can no longer be sold as unpublished.
    Again correct, by definition. There are two points of view in play here: the writer's and BwS'. Authors may attach great importance to "first rights." Well and good, and we encourage them to consider their own best interests first.

    However, BwS does not require first rights. We do accept reprints. Nor do we insist on exclusive rights; if anything is republished elsewhere, we say "congratulations" and that's it.

    As for "perpetual rights," yes, we do have a very large archive, all of which is fairly easily accessible. On occasion, authors have asked us to remove works in view of subsequent print publication. Again, no problem; we congratulate the authors on their success and willingly comply with their request.

    N.B. The request must come from the authors themselves; third parties have no standing. Thus, if someone writes us and says, "I hate Defyallogic's politics. I demand you remove his story about the Three Little Pigs," we'll stand by you and do nothing of the sort. Has that actually happened? Honestly, you'd be amazed...

    Don Webb
    Bewildering Stories

  20. #20
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    While I don't know anything about this particular magazine, their submissions page and their explanations of what rights they purchase, how they use them, and how archived stories can be removed seem very clear and standard.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thumbs up Experience with Bewildering Stories

    I've just had a short story appear in Bewildering Stories, and I am impressed by the intelligence, efficiency and responsiveness of the people there. I had a concern with another non-paying market wanting to publish the story, and the editors were completely and utterly cooperative.

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