The following market report on the magazine, Albedo One, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
Magazine: Albedo One
Editors: John Kenny, Robert Neilson, David Murphy, Frank Ludlow & Peter Loftus
Pay Rate: €3 per 1,000 words
Response Time: Up to 3 months
Reading Period: Ongoing
Description (from the editor): Award winning Irish magazine of SF, fantasy and horror
Complete Guidelines: Writer’s Guidelines
Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.
1. What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
My personal favourites include J.G. Ballard, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Brian Aldiss, Robert Silverberg, Paul Di Filippo, Howard Waldrop, Lucius Shepard and many, many others. I’m also a big fan of the work of Jonathan Lethem, Michael Chabon, Peter Carey, Kazuo Ishiguro, Paul Auster and others. As to why they captivate me, the styles, approaches and subject matter of the work of these authors is so varied and radically different from each other, it’s difficult to give any particulars. If they have anything in common it’s that they’ve all struck out in new directions, developing a unique voice for themselves and fearlessly examining issues that many authors wouldn’t touch, or at least deal with in half as interesting a way.
2. What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
We publish science fiction, fantasy and horror. My favourites are probably SF and horror. The fantasy we publish tends to be more in the vein of dark fantasy or just plain weird, which I also like. Within the SF and horror genre work, we do usually steer clear of the more traditionally executed material. So the quirkier, the better.
3. What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
All of the above. We’ve published stories set in ordinary locales but with an exotic flavour to the language and situation. We’ve published stories that were almost mainstream literary works with just the barest hint of the fantastic. Anything set in the past needs to have a convincing verisimilitude to give the piece real weight. Generally, once the characters, situation and setting really grab us, the author is home free.
4. Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
Again, all of the above. We do like stories that start a decent way into the story, but once a slow build up is done effectively, with the right amount of foreshadowing and interesting enough characters, we’re onboard.
5. What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
Difficult question. I can more easily tell you what we don’t like: drab, average type characters with no convincing inner life. That doesn’t mean we just want to see characters gyrating off the page with bizarre fixations and peculiar personality disorders. If the story features ordinary people, they have to have a convincing freight of emotion and inner complexity that will win the reader over to whatever difficulties they face in the story.
6. Is there a specific tone you’d like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
People tell us there is a specific personality to Albedo One, that there is an Albedo One type story, but we really don’t know what that is and don’t necessarily want to examine it too closely. If the stories we publish have anything in common, it’s that they are primarily character driven. That said, we have published short quirky pieces where character was very much in the background.
7. What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
No taboos. However, if the vulgarity, violence and sexual content is deemed to be gratuitous, i.e., not deployed fully in the service of the story, we’re not interested.
8. What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
We’re wide open as regards theme. We’ve published quite a few stories over the years that revolved around art or artists and there have been several that dealt with the cult of celebrity, but that’s a coincidence. When we accepted those stories, we didn’t think about the theme; we were just drawn to the story and the characters.
9. Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
Good question. I should do a review of everything we’ve published so far in the magazine to determine the ratio of upbeat to downbeat stories. I suspect, however, that I’d find the vast majority are downbeat. Dystopias are so much more entertaining than utopias, just as the villain in a movie or book can be more intriguing than the hero.
10. Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical do’s or do not’s?
Read the submission guidelines and read a copy of the magazine (there are cheap downloadable PDFs of most issues if you don’t want to shell out for a hard copy. There are even free stories posted on our website that you can check out). We get a vast number of submissions that are just not the kind of thing we go for and a quick review of the guidelines or a sampling of what we do publish would have saved you postage and us valuable time. Of course, the fact that we’re open to email submissions may have something to do with this; when we’re just a click away, some submitters (not all!) don’t take the time to do a little basic research.
For hard copy submissions, please, please, please include an e-mail address on your cover letter so we can respond to your submission. I know this sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of submissions we get that we can’t reply to. If you require or want a reply in writing, you have to include a stamped self-addressed envelope. And the stamp has to be Irish. Our postal system won’t post something from Ireland with a US stamp or UK stamp or whatever on it.
Also, don’t query before the stipulated three months response time. A query before this deadline just sends us all scrambling about looking for the story only to discover it’s still with a first or second reader. Don’t mean to harp on about our ‘valuable’ time; it’s just we get such a large amount of submissions that anything the submitter can do to make our life easier is much appreciated.
Other than that, send us brilliantly original stories.