About BCS
Consider Supporting BCS
Posted in: About BCS, Support BCS by Scott H. Andrews

As we posted, BCS has raised our pay rate to 6 cents/word, which is the new ‘pro’ rate set by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

We have received many emails from readers concerned about the impact this higher rate will have on BCS.  Thank you for your concern! We do publish more stories than most all online magazines–55 full-length pieces in 2013, all originals. And we publish more longer stories than most all online magazines–14 novelettes in 2013, out of those 55 total.

This pay increase is an opportunity to remind our readers, authors, and fans that BCS is supported primarily by donations. 

If you would like to join the BCS readers and fans who have made a donation to help us meet the cost of this pay rate increase, we would be delighted to have your supportClick here for donation information.

Because we are a non-profit organization, granted tax-exempt 501c3 status by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, donations are tax-deductible (consult a tax professional). We will proudly list your name on our Donors page (or keep your name anonymous, as you wish). 

If you would like to buy our ebooks, that too is a great way to support us. Our BCS anthologies are available on Kindle, B&N Nook, Kobo, and at Weightless BooksOur single issues are available on Kindle and at Weightless Books, and the BCS ebook subscription–26 issues, a whole year, for only $13.99–is available at Weightless Books. Ebooks go on sale a week before the issue appears on the website, and ebook subscribers get new issues a week early.

All donations and ebook proceeds go directly to pay our authors and artists for their work.

Thank you to our readers and donors for your concern for us regarding this rate increase, and thank you to all our readers, authors, and fans for your support!

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BCS Raises Pay Rate to 6 Cents/Word
Posted in: About BCS, Editorials, For Writers, Guidelines Questions by Scott H. Andrews

Effective May 31, 2014, Beneath Ceaseless Skies has raised our pay rate to 6 cents/word.

This higher pay rate will meet the new qualifying pay rate for short fiction set by SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which goes into effect July 1, 2014.

From our debut in 2008, BCS has taken great pride in being a ‘pro rate’ market, and a pro-rate market that is accessible to new writers. All writers deserve professional pay for their work. New writers deserve markets that will help them to establish themselves as short fiction authors and as members of the F/SF field.

Over our six years of publishing, we have heard from many of our newer authors that their sale to BCS was their first ‘pro’ SFWA-qualifying sale, allowing them to join SFWA as an associate member, or was their third ‘pro’ sale, allowing them to join as a full member. We are delighted that our dedication to earning and maintaining SFWA pro status has facilitated those opportunities for them and their work.

Our Submission Guidelines have been updated to reflect this new pay rate. We look forward to continuing to support new writers and continuing to showcase great fiction from writers both new and established.

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For Our 300th Story, a BCS Ebook Subscription Sale!
Posted in: About BCS, Ebook Sale by Scott H. Andrews

In celebration of the 300th story to appear in BCS –“The Lighthouse Keepers” by Nicole M. Taylor, in BCS #146–we’re having a sale on BCS ebook subscriptions!

For the fortnight that “The Lighthouse Keepers” and BCS #146 are the current issue on our website, the BCS ebook subscriptions –which are available through WeightlessBooks.com–are on sale for 300 cents off!

BCS ebook subscriptions at regular price are only $13.99 for a whole year/26 issues. (That’s 25 cents per story!) During this sale for our 300th story, from now until Wed. night May 14 they are only $10.99 for a whole year.

Subscribers can get issues delivered directly to their Kindle or smart phone (any device with an email address), and they get new issues a week early, before the website. Ebook subscriptions are also a great way to support BCS–all proceeds go to pay our artists and authors.

Current subscribers can renew their existing subscription at this sale price, regardless of when their subscription expires.

Join us in celebrating our 300th story and get a great price on a BCS ebook subscription today!

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BCS a 2014 Hugo Award Finalist!
Posted in: About BCS, Awards and Accolades, BCS Authors Elsewhere by Scott H. Andrews

The 2014 Hugo Award nominees were announced over the weekend, and BCS is a finalist for Best Semiprozine!

Thanks very much to all who found us worthy! We are honored to be a Hugo finalist again this year, especially because this honor is for the whole magazine; all our authors and fiction.

Thank you very much to everyone who helped keep BCS this year what it has become, including Assistant Editor Emeritus Kate Marshall, Editorial Assistant Nicole Lavigne, all our authors and artists, our guest podcast narrators, and of course every one of our readers and fans.

Congratulations also to the BCS authors who had other work named finalists:

  • Rachel Swirsky (“Great, Golden Wings” in BCS #28), in Best Short Story for “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”

And congratulations to all the other finalists in Best Semiprozine: Apex, Interzone, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons.Those four magazines show up often in our BCS Authors Elsewhere posts of our author’s stories appearing in other magazines. It is a great age to be a F/SF short fiction reader, with such a panoply of vivid and diverse magazines, all with their own unique voice.

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A New Real World for BCS
Posted in: About BCS, Special Issues by Scott H. Andrews

BCS is proud to announce our expansion into a real world new to our pages:  urban fantasy.

This vibrant segment of fantasy fiction has countless imaginative authors and dedicated readers, who savor tales of vampires, werewolves, troubled teenagers, and hardscrabble young adults, all moving through the gritty vividness of our own contemporary, real, modern world.

Der Erlkoenig, copyright Shalen Hamar

“Der Erlkoenig” by Shalen Hamar

Character-driven stories set in these tangible, familiar, real worlds can be just as entertaining as literary adventure fantasy, and can comment just as profoundly on what it means to be human.  If a roof-scaling thief or a clockwork airship captain or a battle-seared knight can explore our human condition, then why not a vampire hunter werewolf or an undead barista or a demon from the suburbs?

This gorgeous artwork, “Der Erlkoenig” by Shalen Hamar (used by kind permission of the artist), is a great example of literary urban fantasy–a work of classic fantasy literature reimagined in an urban fantasy context.

Locus online last year credited BCS with raising secondary-world fantasy short fiction “from the midden of disdain.”  Now we will raise urban fantasy short fiction from the dumpster of disdain.  We will give literary urban fantasy short fiction its own dedicated home.

Starting this summer, BCS will feature one urban fantasy theme issue every month, with custom commissioned artwork, including animated images and even short movies.  The podcasts in these literary urban fantasy issues will include a new podcasting medium that no other magazine in the field to our knowledge has done:  video podcast narration.  Now not only will you hear the narrator read the story, but you’ll also be able to see them read the story; to watch them at the microphone as they express and emote the author’s vision for their world and characters.

We look forward to bringing our readers this rich facet of fantasy fiction, written with the same literary flair and focus on the characters as all BCS fiction: literary urban fantasy.

“The State of Short Fiction” Roundtable Mar. 22
Posted in: About BCS, Appearances and Cons, Magazine Publishing by Scott H. Andrews

BSFAThe Baltimore Science Fiction Society is hosting a short fiction roundtable panel this weekend: “The State of Short Fiction.”

The panelists are editors and/or publishers of major short fiction venues, either in print or audio podcast or both, including Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld), our own Scott H. Andrews (me; Beneath Ceaseless Skies), Jonathan Landen (Daily Science Fiction), Norm Sherman (Drabblecast), and Bill Campbell (Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond).

The panel will delve into the current state of the short fiction market, including topics such as how do you fund a magazine or anthology, what makes a story work for podcast, and more.

The BSFS-hosted panel last year on a different short fiction topic, “From Slush to Sale,” was well-attended and well-represented, including our own Scott H. Andrews and staff from Strange Horizons, Electric Velocipede, and more.

This panel on the State of Short Fiction is Sat. Mar. 22nd at 8PM at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society meeting house at 3310 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21224. You can find BSFS on Facebook, including a Facebook event page for this panel; check out the event page, click if you are attending, and read more details about it.

With all the panelists’ experience in the short fiction field, there is sure to be great experience and discussion about the many facets of the current short fiction field. If you’re anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic area, you should consider attending.

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Editorial: Why Science-Fantasy (Reprise)?
Posted in: About BCS, Science-Fantasy Month by Scott H. Andrews

Why science-fantasy? Or, why are there spaceships in my BCS this month? :)

We asked that question back in March 2012 when we did our first BCS Science-Fantasy Month

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is character-driven stories set in awe-inspiring worlds. That those worlds be pre-modern is only a personal preference, one that many fantasy readers and our editor share. But as our first BCS Science-Fantasy Month showed, that awe can come equally well from settings that are more advanced than our world, rather than less.

Science-fantasy has as rich a tradition as fantasy, from seminal early works like the 1930s space opera of E.E. “Doc” Smith (writing in the same era as Robert E. Howard) to best-selling sagas like Frank Herbert’s Dune (breaking out in the same decade as The Lord of the Rings).

Their futuristic fantastical settings are just as awe-inspiring as pre-modern fantasy worlds. Character-driven stories set in such worlds can be just as fun as literary adventure fantasy and can comment just as profoundly on what it means to be human. Or alien...

Our BCS authors seem to see such a commonality, because six of the seven stories in this BCS Science-Fantasy Month 2 are by returning BCS authors, whose fantasy stories we’ve published in the past. (One of them is even set in the same world as that author’s BCS fantasy stories, in a far-future era.)

So swap your plate mail for pressure suits as BCS takes another month to showcase great literary adventure science-fantasy; stories in secondary-world settings that are futuristic. These special double-issues include returning BCS authors Aliette de Bodard, Yoon Ha Lee, Seth Dickinson, Dean Wells, and more. They feature bonus stories and a bonus podcast episode, along with special science-fantasy cover art and giveaways for signed copies of a George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois anthology.

The full issue(s) are out early on ebook at Kindle Store and Weightless Books; the bonus stories will be released later on the website.

We hope you enjoy BCS Science-Fantasy Month 2! And if you prefer your fantasy worlds not so futuristic, rest assured that literary adventure fantasy will return to BCS next month.

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BCS at Boskone in Boston this Weekend
Posted in: About BCS, Appearances and Cons, BCS Podcasts by Scott H. Andrews

BoskoneThis weekend BCS will be at Boskone, one of the long-running Boston-area F/SF conventions.

I will be on several panels:

Alternate Voices (Sat 1PM): Stories told through documents, letters, and reports. (Such as the BCS stories “The Calendar of Saints” by Kat Howard, “The Governess and the Lobster” by Margaret Ronald, and “On the Origin of Song” by Naim Kabir.)

Great Podcasts and Where to Find Them (Sat 3pm): Panelists discuss some of their favorite podcasts, sites, and stories. (One of my favs being BCS 100: Boat in Shadows, Crossing” by Tori Truslow.)

From Pixels to Print: The Challenges of Running a Magazine (Sat 4PM): Funding, staffing, and managing your organization, and then printing (or enpixeling), distributing, and publicizing your precious products.

I will have the omnipresent stack of shiny gorgeous BCS flyers and postcards. If you see me in the halls, after a panel, or at the bar, feel free to say hello!

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BCS Circulation Totals for 2013
Posted in: About BCS by Scott H. Andrews

BCS reported our circulation statistics for 2013 to Locus magazine, for their annual February issue that lists such data for magazines in F/SF short fiction. We will also post them here.

In 2013, BCS published published 26 issues, containing 55 pieces of fiction (42 stories and 13 novelettes; all originals). We also released 22 podcast episodes.

BCS averaged 32,000 unique web visitors per month in 2013, up from up from 25,500 in 2012.

The BCS podcast averaged 5500 downloads per episode, up from 4000 in 2012. Many episodes from past years continued to receive 2000-5000 new downloads in 2013.

Highlights of 2013 included a Hugo nomination for Best Semiprozine, three World Fantasy Award nominations, a Parsec Award nomination for our audio podcast of “Boat in Shadows, Crossing” by Tori Truslow, and “The Telling” by Gregory Norman Bossert winning the World Fantasy Award for Short Story.

Overall, our biggest year yet at BCS! Thank you to our readers and fans, and we look forward to 2014.

(*The 32,000 unique visitors/month puts BCS with the second-highest readership among all the e-zines who provided stats to Locus.)

(**The 5500 podcast listeners was second to the one text-and-podcast e-zine that reported figures and well behind the top podcast-only zines.)

(***The 55 stories was the most original full-length stories among all the e-zines reporting to Locus, and the second-highest total of original fiction including flash and short-shorts.)

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