I think I’ve found the next market I will submit “Relvan’s Rescue” to, barring acceptance from Black Gate. Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, an ezine that began accepting submissions back in February of this year, published their first issue at the end of June. (I just heard about it last week via Grasping for the Wind.) HFQ publishes three pieces of short fiction and two poems per issue. I read all three stories and found them to be fun, entertaining examples of heroic, sword-and-sorcery fantasy (even if I could see the twist in “The Black Flowers of Sevan” coming from a mile away).
Their submission guidelines contain a couple items I thought worthy of mention. The first is their rate of pay. It’s not professional rates, but $100 is pretty significant for an ezine. If you view short fiction as a marketing tool, it’s icing on the cake. With no ads on the site or announced plans to publish anthologies, I’m intrigued by how they are funded.
The second item is their method of submission. They require a query/excerpt (first 10 pages) on short story submissions. This is unusual, from my experience, for pieces of 10,000 words or less. A synopsis, sure, but not an excerpt that could possibly be the entire story.
I know that the publishing industry is a late adopter of technology in general. Some markets won’t accept attachments, if they even take emails at all. HFQ appears to run on blogging software (hey, guys, if you’re reading this, you need to up the visibility on your RSS feed link; I can’t find it anywhere). I know WordPress allows the creation of “Author” accounts, which allow users to submit posts–stories, in this case–that need to be reviewed before publication. It’s a model I’ve considered when investigating opportunities for starting my own ezine. There are other online markets that use forums or online forms that allow the input of the story directly into a database from where it can be easily published once approved. These tools are one of the benefits of being an ezine; I’m not sure why any online publisher wouldn’t take advantage of them.
That small critique aside, I found HFQ to be a solid entry into the pulp fantasy market. Their choices of content reveal a solid editorial staff, and the site and rates are of semi-professional quality. I look forward to reading their fantasy fiction offerings, and submitting to them, in the future.