FAQ

Q) What is POLAR BOREALIS Magazine?

A four-time Aurora Award-winning 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.

It is published and edited by R. Graeme Cameron.

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 to four times a year is the goal.

In 2016: Three Issues (#1 to #3) published.

In 2017: Only one issue (#4) published.

In 2018: Four issues (#5 to #8) published.

In 2019: Four issues (#9 to #12) published.

In 2020: Four issues (#13 to #16) published.

In 2021: Four issues (#17 to #20) published.

In 2022: Three issues (#21 to #23)  published.

In 2023: Four issues (#24 to #27) published.

In 2024: Three issues (#28 to #30) published. One more is planned.

Q) What is POLAR STARLIGHT Magazine?

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

It is published by R. Graeme Cameron and edited by Rhea E. Rose.

Polar Starlight 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 to four times a year is the goal.

In 2021: Four Issues (#1 to #4) published.

In 2022: Three issues (#5 to #7) published.

In 2023: Five issues (#8 to #12) published.

In 2024: Three issues (#13 to #15) published. One more is planned.

Q) Who can submit to these two magazines?

Must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, living and working in Canada, or a foreign citizen resident in Canada, or a Canadian citizen currently living outside 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 both magazines publish short stories?

No. Only Polar Borealis publishes short stories. Usually 8 per issue.

Q) Do both Magazines publish poems?

Yes. Polar Borealis usually publishes 8 poems per issue. Polar Starlight publishes 16 poems per issue.

Note: All poems received will be considered submissions to both magazines. Doubles your chances of being accepted!

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

Stories: The tendency to build-up a backlog of stories I’ve accepted means I am only open to story submissions for a month once a year. The next submission window will be open October 01, 2024.

Poems: The next submission window for poems will be open September 01, 2024.

Q) Are you currently accepting submissions?

Stories: Currently closed.

Poems: Currently closed.

Cover art: Always open.

CURRENTLY OPEN FOR POTENTIAL COVER ART for Polar Borealis issue #36 and beyond, and for Polar Starlight issue #21 and beyond.

First 30 issues of Polar Borealis are published.

Issue #31 is scheduled for publication in July of 2024.

First 15 issues of Polar Starlight are published.

Issue #16 is slated for publication in August of 2024.

Q) How do I submit during the next submissions window?

Send word document (not a PDF) to < polar.borealis.magazine@gmail.com > and be sure to include “Poem Sub” or “Story Sub” (depending which submission window) in the E-mail heading.

Also be sure to include the following information:

Are you still waiting for your first sale?

Or have you already been published?

Your full mailing address(needed for the contract).

A brief biography (one or two paragraphs).

Word count (if story).

Line count (if poem).

Q) What format do you require?

A word doc. in either Courier or Times Roman font size 12, black print on white page, double spaced, beginning of paragraphs indented, ragged justification, your name and title on each page in the header, each page numbered, and your name, address and contact info on the title page. In other words, the standard, traditional, classic format.

Note: prefer single space between the end of one sentence and the start of the next sentence.

Note: it is customary in poetry that the indentation and justification (left, centred, or right) is according to the visual pattern the poet has laid out. So, if your pattern is anything other than repeated left hand justification, to ensure the layout is printed as intended, it would be best to submit the poem with Bookman Old Style font, point size 13, and line spacing 1.5, as this is how the poem will appear in the magazine.

Note concerning cover art: Must be portrait-shaped (as opposed to landscaped shaped)  in JPEG form about 1,000 kb in size. It will fit under title on cover page and be surrounded by white space, no bleed. I will adjust size of JPEG to fit space.

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

I usually acknowledge receipt within 24 hours and a decision within a month of the close of the submission period. For those who submit in May 2022 I intend to respond no later than June 30 and probably earlier.

Q) Do you accept reprints for submissions?

Not often, but sometimes, if I like it. This applies to short stories for Polar Borealis. Poems for Polar Starlight must be original and not previously published. The editor for Polar Borealis prefers original poems, but will consider reprints (title of previous publication & date must be included).

Q) Do you accept multiple submissions?

Yes, up to 2 short stories and up to 5 poems. If 2 stories, each should be submitted separately. Poems can be submitted together.

Q) Do you accept simultaneous submissions being submitted elsewhere?

Yes, but only short stories. Whole point is to get you published. If someone else accepts your work before I accept (or reject) it, good for you! However, we prefer poems not be simultaneous (to other publications) submissions..

Q) Do you ask for changes or rewrites?

Sometimes, if I think it will improve the story and make it easier 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 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. Currently closed.

Poem (regardless of length): $10.

Colourful cover art with a Science Fiction or Fantasy theme: $40. Currently open.

Q) When do people get paid?

Shortly after the contract is signed and before publication.

Q) How do people get paid?

PayPal, cheque, or, my preference, by Interac e-transfer.

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 does a typical issue consist of?

Polar Borealis Magazine: Cover art, masthead page, table of contents, editorial page, 8 poems, 8 stories, and a bunch of short bios on the contributors. Approximately 60 pages of stuff.

Polar Starlight Magazine: Cover art, masthead page, table of contents, editorial page, 16 poems, and a bunch of short bios on the contributors. Approximately 30 pages of stuff.

Q) How will it be distributed?

Hosted on this website in PDF format available for free download, or emailed in PDF format to readers who request a copy.

Q) Won’t that limit distribution?

Sure, but I won’t be denying myself income. There isn’t any. Besides, I figure word of mouth will eventually attract a decent number of readers. Currently Polar Borealis is being downloaded and read in 94 countries.

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.

Mind you, I was inducted into the CSFFA Science Fiction Hall of Fame at the 2019 Aurora Awards ceremony along with Eileen Kernaghan and Tanya Huff. Publishing Polar Borealis may have had something to do with it, methinks.

And then in 2020 Polar Borealis won an Aurora Award! Again in 2021! And again in 2022! And also in 2023! Huzzah!

And in 2021, started working with renowned British Columbia poet Rhea Rose to publish Polar Starlight! Double Huzzah! Absolutely Imperial!

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.

Q) Why did you choose the title “POLAR STARLIGHT” for your poetry magazine?

Scintillating, twinkling pinpoints of light dancing off the ice and snow signifying the individual talents scattered across Canada.