Disabling Contributors

1 Dec

I’ve tweaked Atlantean’s guidelines numerous times, trying to make them as clear and simple as possible. Ultimately, I’m not too fussy about how submissions appear as long as I can read them, but if people format their submissions properly it not only makes life easier for me, but allows me to review and use the submissions more quickly, meaning I can reply to more people and get more work published (and, putting the correct information in the subject line means I’m less likely to miss your email).

The Other Extreme

Some editors, however, take a far stricter approach to submissions. Make a mistake and your work will be rejected out of hand. Strangely, I have found that the editors who take this approach usually have terrible guidelines – far more complicated than necessary and completely different to standard formats, requiring that eixsting documents be reformatted. Then there are those where all the information is there, but presented in  a way that requires a lot of effort to ensure you’ve covered every step; or, they actually miss out important information, or present contradictory details for important points.

For a lot of people, this may not be too much of a problem. If you only make the occasional submission and can afford to devote a lot of time to getting it right, you’re probably okay (unless the contradictions and omissions drive you to distraction). Even if you’re pushed for time, you can probably untangle it all with a little effort.

But, for some of us, it’s not that easy. If you have a learning or other disability that affects the way you process information, complicated and poorly laid-out guidelines can be a nightmare to deal with. My main problem is that I have trouble with my short-term memory. Swapping between guidelines in one tab and my email in another, I frequently forget what I’m doing. With guidelines that follow the Shunn format and just ask you to attach a document, I can proceed without error. But, the more complicated the guidelines, the more likely I am to miss a step – and, when guidelines are poorly laid out, necessitating going backwards and forwards in search of details, it’s almost guaranteed I’ll make a mess of my submission.

In fact, I frequenly give up and don’t bother submitting to magazines or anthologies with difficult to unravel guidelines. With others, I struggle on and hope for the best…

An Impractical Example

I encountered one such set of guidelines recently and fell foul of missing one step.

Unlike some guidelines, the content of these was fine – it was all there and there was nothing contradictory. But, and this was a big but, it was badly laid out: It was practically a wall of text, with no subdivisions to make it easier to find information, whilst related steps weren’t grouped together (the email address to submit your work to was separated from what to put in the subject line by a paragraphy about attaching artwork, for example), and there were some odd formatting choices (putting one line – the one that I missed – all in bold so that the key information didn’t stand out, at least to me).

In short, the presentation was terrible. I think that even people without any problems would have some trouble getting all the information they needed from it. For someone like me it was a nightmare.

So, I did something I don’t usually do. I decided to email the editor and (politely) point this out. After all, he had all the information, it was just the presentation was that was an impediment and nobody is going to know it’s a problem unless someone tells them.

Response

I got a response. The editor’s main point was that (apparently) everyone else has told him the guidelines are wonderful. Now, I suspect that, if he was being honest, they were only happy it had all the information, because I caannot believe anyone would say the layout was great. So, unless a load more people raised an issue, he wasn’t going to change a thing.

(I can only imagine he’s surprised when people in wheelchairs complain they can’t use stairs because all the people with working legs said they’re fine with stairs.)

It also seems the problem wasn’t with my difficulty in processing the information, something that he could’ve helped with through a few basic tweaks, but merely that I was too stupid to understand his ‘simple guidelines’.

Of course, it turns out the editor is also a medical doctor. Somebody whom you might hope understood people being affected by disabilities and medical condirions…

The sad thing is that he could have made a couple of adjustments (such as taking that one line out of all bold) that, whilst not making it an easy read, would have made the guidelines a lot easier to use for someone like me. Five minutes work, tops.

Even completely reworking the guidelines – making sure information was properly grouped and adding a few section headers – would have taken less than half an hour as there was no need to actually rewrite anything. But, he just wasn’t interested.

What You Can Do

Although I do hope that other people with disabilities will raise concerns about poorly-presented guidelines (and, indeed, that people who don’t have disabilities but find them problematic nonetheless, will do so, too), I suspect such an attitude won’t encourage them. I can’t say it has encouraged me to bother with other sites.

But, if you are an editor, or contemplating becoming one, please try and make your guidelines as simple and user friendly as possible. And, if you’ve found problems with this site, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so I can take your comments on board and try to improve it.

Closing to Submissions

30 Nov

As usual, Atlantean Publishing will be closed to submissions during December and January, reopening in February 2021.

Only news and letters of comment may be submitted when the press is closed. I use this time to try and clear the backlog of submissions.

This doesn’t affect View For Atlantis which has its own open calls – see the site’s guidelines. Please only submit to the webzine when it is open to submissions.

View From Atlantis 20 is here

30 Nov

The twentieth issue of View From Atlantis is now online with poetry on the theme of Empty Planet by Harris Coverley, Aeronwy Dafies, DS Davidson, David Edwards, Mark Hudson, and DJ Tyrer. The previous nineteen issues are all still online and free to read.

The next issue is also open for submissions.

Awen 110 is here!

25 Nov

It hardly seems believable, but having reached the 70th issue of Monomyth, the 110th issue of Awen is here, too! (Bard 200 should have been out, as well, but that will have to be next year’s milestone…)

Awen 110 is now available for download. It features prose fiction from David M. Smith and Angelo Letizia, and poetry from Dave Austin, Gary Beck, Aeronwy Dafies, Colin Ian Jeffery, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Angelo Letizia, Celine Rose Mariotti, Donna McCabe, Margaret Saine, SchiZ, DJ Tyrer, and Matthew Wilson.

Also available is the print-only Monomyth 71 with fiction by David M. Hoenig, Joseph Reed, and DJ Tyrer, plus poetry from Cardinal Cox, DS Davidson, and DJ Tyrer.

Something zombified this way comes…!

21 Oct

Every year, Atlantean Publishing celebrates Hallowe’en with a horror-themed poetry booklet and this year is no different as we pay a visit to the Zombie Zoo

Zombie Zoo features a total of twelve poems, both scary and scarily funny, within its covers from Aeronwy Dafies, DS Davidson, Gary W. Davis, Mark Hudson, Donna McCabe, David Norris-Kay (Dave Austin), Tina Rath, and DJ Tyrer. It is a £1.50 booklet and the 3-for-2 booklet offer applies, as usual.

Also coming for Hallowe’en is a trick-or-treat issue of View From Atlantis. Look out for that around when the veil between the living and the dead thins on the 31st of October!

Monomyth returns!

25 Sep

It may have been delayed, but Monomyth returns with its seventieth issue! Issue 20.1 is now available to order and, assuming no further disruptions to the schedule, two further issues should appear before the year ends.

Issue 20.1

This issue is something of a reprint issue, featuring cover art by David Leverton that appeared in Grail, and three reprinted stories: The Moss Garden by Dave Austin (originally published in issue 5.1), The 666 to Hell by DS Davidson (originally published in issue 2.8 and reprinted in Haunting Tales), and Ye Tale of Ye Grale (originally published in Grail). However, if you’ve been around Atlantean publications long enough to have read those, there is also a bumper instalment of The Legend of Hengist and Horsa from Joseph Reed and a couple of poems by Aeronwy Dafies.

The Supplement 95

A new issue of The Supplement is also available and can be downloaded now. As ever, it features news, reviews, and articles, plus adverts and letters of comment, as well as some poetry.

Awen 109 is here!

24 Aug

The new issue of Awen is now available to download. The issue features a story from Diane Duff and poetry from Seth Allcorn, Ed Blundell, Bruce-Grove, Marc Carver, Aeronwy Dafies, Arthur C. Ford, Sr., Colin Ian Jeffery, David Kopaska-Merkel, Howard F. Stein,  DJ Tyrer, and Matthew Wilson.

Closed to Submissions

3 Jul

Atlantean Publishing is closed to submissions during July and August.

You may still send news, adverts, letters of comment, and review copies, but no submissions.

This doesn‘t apply to View From Atlantis – to see if the webzine is open to submissions and what the theme is, click here.

Fantasy Review: There Will Be One

8 Jun

There Will Be One
The Windshine Chronicles
Book 2

By Todd Sullivan
ISBN 9780999852293, 135pp, pb, Mocha Memoir Press
Available from Amazon in paperback and on the Kindle

There Will Be One

Woo Jin had been trained to kill opponents in honorable combat, so the government official’s assignment made his stomach clench.

Assassination.

So begins the excellent sequel to Hollow Men. Indeed, I could probably end the review right there – if you enjoyed the first book, you’ll want to read this, and if you haven’t read it yet, whilst you don’t need to in order to follow the plot of There Will Be One, I’d recommend starting at the beginning regardless. But, for those who would like to know a little more before buying a copy, here we go…

Although one mustn’t judge a book by its cover, There Will Be One has an advantage over the first volume of The Windshine Chronicles, in that its cover hints that this is no run-of-the-mill, quasi-European fantasy, but one set in a fantastic version of Korea. The characters of Windshine the Dark Elf and elven-sword-wielding hero Ha Jun return, but the focus is upon the youthful archer Woo Jin, facing the dilemma of whether to follow his orders and carry out an act of murderous betrayal.

Woo Jin joins a special quest, observed by the Dark Elf, to rescue the women and children of a village on the border between North and South Hanguk before the soldiers of the God-Child, ruler of North Hanguk, can seize them as breeding stock for a new generation of warriors.

It’s an interesting and unusual quest and one complicated from the outset by the honourable youth’s dilemma of whether or not to follow orders and assassinate the Dark Elf, removing her taint of foreignness from the land. The question of if and when he will make the attempt – and whether he can pull it off – adds an additional layer of tension to the story and things are further complicated when the villagers they are supposed to be rescuing turn out to have converted to  a strange, foreign faith – one that has kept them safe from the God-Child’s forces, but which threatens to strip away the heroes’ magical ace in the hole, necessary to rescue them… as well as threatening further foreign contamination, forcing Woo Jin and his companions to decide just how far they will go to protect the purity of their homeland.

I found the unusual quest and the dilemmas and jealousies facing Woo Jin made for a good story that avoided cleaving too closely to the plot of the first book. Windshine’s magic towards the end also had a somewhat different feel to a lot of fantasy.

I did find a reference to speaking Korean, at one point, odd (Hanguk is a real Korean term for Korea and the placenames are real places, but actually putting ‘Korean’ seems too real-world, pulling me out of the fantasy ever so slightly. It would be like saying Tolkien’s Hobbits, in book, were speaking English rather than Common.) This combined with the way North and South Hanguk parallel the present division of Korea and the fact that the foreign religion is a form of Christianity did make me wonder for a while if there was going to be a twist that this was a futuristic fantasy, but nothing came of this (and, Christianity is well-entrenched in South Korea, making the introduction from the West here unlikely in such a scenario). Instead, it seems the setting is a much-closer, magical alternative reality than I first imagined – although how the Dark Elves fit into this remains to be seen!

Those niggling thoughts are about as close to a flaw as I can find with the tale, quite minor and a sign that I was engaged with the story and setting and wanted to learn more. I hope that more will be revealed in future instalments in The Windshine Chronicles!

There Will Be One manages that rare feat of being a good sequel and a good standalone story at the same time. Another solid fantasy story for those seeking something a little bit different. Recommended.

Awen 108

25 May

The May 2020 issue of Awen is now available to download from the site and features fiction by Harris Coverley, David M. Smith, and DJ Tyrer, and poetry from Bruce-Grove, Marc Carver, Aeronwy Dafies, DS Davidson, Diane R. Duff, David Edwards, Colin Ian Jeffery, Alan Lacock, Donna McCabe, SchiZ, Howard F. Stein, and DJ Tyrer.