FAQ

Q) What is POLAR BOREALIS Magazine?

A semi-pro SF fiction zine devoted to inspiring and promoting beginning Canadian SF writers. It will pay all contributors, albeit at rates lower than SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) standards, hence semi-pro status.

Polar Borealis will be free to anyone who wishes to download it or receive it via E-mail subscription. At no time will any reader be charged in any way. Polar Borealis is 100% free, and in that sense is of amateur status. The only reason it can also be classified as semi-pro is the fact that all contributors will be paid.

Q) How often will it be published?

Three times a year is the goal.

For 2016: two or three “Proof of Concept” issues. Issue #1 already published. Issue #2 projected for July/August. Issue #3 toward the end of the year.

Beginning in 2017: It is intended to publish every four months or so. Thinking in terms of Spring, Summer, & Fall issues.

Q) Who can submit?

Any Canadian (must be Canadian – because aimed at helping Canadians seeking first sale) short story writer, poet, or artist. (Or “foreign” writer resident in Canada living and working in Canada.)

Q) Will you consider stories by authors not yet published?

ABSOLUTELY! I want to publish at least one or two per issue, maybe more. But it would also be nice to publish stories from experienced professionals to serve as inspirational examples of what to aspire to. People submitting MS. should indicate whether they’ve never been published or mention a couple of things already published so that I will know what’s what.

Q) Do you have open/closed submission periods or deadlines?

I had intended to always be open to submissions, but the build-up of a backlog of stories I’ve accepted means I have to close down submissions for the time being.

Q) Are you currently accepting submissions??

No. Sorry.

First and second issues are published.

A third issue and a Horror-themed fourth issue are now full, and a proposed fifth issue half-full.

I won’t re-open submissions till sometime shortly before publication of the fourth issue.

However, I am still open to poetry and art submissions.

Q) How do I submit?

Send word document (not a PDF) to < R. Graeme Cameron > and be sure to include “PB Sub” in the E-mail heading. Be sure to include the following information: Are you still waiting for your first sale? Or have you already been published? Also include your mailing address and a brief (couple of paragraphs) bio.

Q) How long do you take to respond to submissions?

So far, usually within 24 hours. Inevitably the number of submissions will increase. Nevertheless, no matter how big “the slush pile” becomes, it is my intention to respond within a week at worst, and sooner if at all possible.

Q) Do you ask for changes or rewrites?

Sometimes, if I think it will improve the story and make it more fun to read. It is up to the author to decide whether or not to follow my suggestions. Any changes or rewrites will be conducted in a spirit of collaboration and consultation. Nothing will be published till both Publisher and the Author agree it is mutually acceptable to do so.

Q) What is the difference between “Tentative acceptance” and “Final acceptance”?

“Tentative acceptance” means I want to publish it depending on an impending rewrite and/or finding space in an upcoming issue. The author is free to sell it as a “First Publication” elsewhere if the opportunity arises.

Note that if you are offering me a reprint you are free to sell it elsewhere at any time, even before publication in Polar Borealis.

“Final acceptance”, once I have notified you of this status,  (for a “First Publication”), means you will not attempt to sell it anywhere else till one week after publication in Polar Borealis. Then you are free to sell it as a “Reprint” anywhere you like.

Q) What are the pay rates?

Short stories: $10 for one thousand words or less. One cent a word for stories 1,000 words to 3,000 words in length. Not interested in any story over three thousand words. Can fudge a bit, say 3,126 words for example, but the maximum I will pay is $30.

Poem (regardless of length): $10

Cover art (black & white or colour). Science Fiction theme preferred: $40.

Interior art (B&W line illustration) to illustrate a given story: $20.

Interior art (B&W line illustration) fillo: $5.

Q) When do people get paid?

Once a regular publication schedule is established, on acceptance. (No point in waiting till publication. Not as if that will result in any income to cover costs.)

Q) How do people get paid?

PayPal or cheque.

Q) What kind of rights involved?

I buy either “First Publication English Language World Serial Online (PDF) Internet Rights” for a work not previously published, or “Reprint English Language World Serial Online (PDF) Internet Rights” for a work previously published.

When it is your work’s first publication, the contract asks you not to resell it until one week after it is published in POLAR BOREALIS. Then you are free to resell it as a reprint anywhere, anytime, to anyone.

When you have sold me a reprint, the contract guarantees you the right to sell it again anywhere, anytime, to anyone—even BEFORE it is published in POLAR BOREALIS.

Q) What will a typical issue consist of?

Cover art, info page, editorial page, 8 to 10 stories depending on their length, 6 or more poems, some interior art, and a letter of comment column. Approximately 60-80 pages of stuff.

Q) How will it be distributed?

As simply as possible. Given that I know absolutely nothing whatever about formatting manuscripts for e-reading purposes and I’m too old and cranky to bother to learn, I’ll do what I’ve always done, host PDF versions for people to open and save in their computer if they wish.

Q) Won’t that limit distribution?

Sure, but I won’t be denying myself income. There isn’t any. I figure word of mouth will eventually attract a decent number of readers despite my primitive method of publication.

Q) What do you get out of this?

Not a deluge of kudos or praise, that’s for sure. Not counting on it, anyway. Doing it for the sheer fun of it. I know some people may find that hard to comprehend. All I can say is wait till you are retired. Then you’ll better be able to understand.

Q) Why did you choose the title “POLAR BOREALIS” for your fiction magazine?

A fresh, invigorating wind sweeping down from the North Pole. I figure that’s a good analogy for our collective state of mind and being.