Sunday, September 5, 2010

Special Issues: How to Create One and What's Coming Up

Femspec currently has a special themed section on Octavia Butler in the making, plus an entire special issue on Paula Gunn Allen, another one on motherhood in sf, and another one on Canadian author Vonarburg, edited by Amy J. Ransom, which will contain pieces in both English and French. We had one on disabilities but only received one submission. If you are interested in submitting materials on any of the above authors or themes, let us know; we will connect you to the appropriate editor. And if you are interested in starting up a themed section or issue, here is what you need to know:

1. All contributors, including the editors, need to be current subscribers to the journal.This means in order to submit materials, your authors and you must subscribe at the initial stage of the process. The process will go a lot smoother if you and your contributors actually read the journal and know what kind of journal you are working with as we work to support you to bring your work into print. Read us, get to know us, and be committed to be in dialogue with us.
2. You must send us a proposal of what you intend to do; we circulate this amongst our editorial consensus people and get back to you before the call for papers can be circulated or posted.
3. You are responsible for circulating and posting your cfp, and of notifying us of where you do.  You must also send us a complete cfp for us to use in our issues and on our electronic sites.
4. You receive the papers and submissions, and then you circulate them for anonymous review following the review procedures as described on our web page ( under "review process."
5. When you have received comments, returned them to your authors, and received revised papers back that you are ready to submit as a section or a whole issue, you submit two hard copies to us in which all names have removed from the table of contents and the pieces so we are also doing anonymous review.
6. I read one copy, and send another copy to a selected editor either from our board, or a specialist if no one on our board is willing or able to review the material.
7. We make a decision and send our comments to you. If we ask you to revise, you get your authors to revise and return the entire project with a letter describing how you or your authors met our requests. We may accept the whole project; we may accept most of it but not all. We may ask for substantive revisions, or we may say that we accept the project contingent upon your agreeing to the minor revisions we request. We make these decisions with a view towards the longevity of the journal and keeping to our mission and standards.
8. We do not reprint works previously published in English.
9. We generally retain all copyrights including of creative work and cover art.
10. This process can take 12-18 months.

If you would like to see some of our successful themed issues, look for 2.2, our Native American issue; and 6.2, our African American issue. We also have had a girls issue, a sf film and reproductive technology issue; a horror issue; and a Jewish Women's issue. We consider our special issues some of our finest work, because of the nature of the dialogue that ensues as different communities talk with each other, even though this requires a lot of work. We like each issue to include book and media reviews, interviews, art, critical works, and creative works, as well as something for girls. We don't always hit all those bases, but we like to as we conceive of the audience of special issues as going beyond the general readership of the journal, although also including the readership of the journal. We can make available to  you editors of ongoing or previous special issues to provide mentoring and support throughout your work.

Thanks for your interest!

Batya Weinbaum, ed.

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