December CSFF Blog Tour Day 3: Digital Dragon Magazine

Day 3–this is the day I usually survey the rest of the CSFF Tour bloggers for enlightening insights and memorable quips, but unfortunately, technical problems have left only three (oops, sorry, Mike!) four of us watching the store this month: Timothy Hicks, Jason Joyner, Mike Lynch, and me.

Not to worry. This being the end of 2009, I’ve decided to devote my final CSFF Blog Tour post of the year to (1) congratulating Digital Dragon on a strong sprint out of the gate; (2) wishing T.W. Ambrose and company continued and increasing success as they round the corner into their first full year of bringing us entertaining, spiritually-aware, family-friendly speculative fiction and poetry; and (3) offering a list of things I’d like to see in Digital Dragon next year.

Fred’s List of Things He’d Like to See in Digital Dragon Next Year

1. Longer stories: A 1500-word guideline is fine, but a little awkward. It’s a bit too long for flash fiction, and a little short for a short story with a substantial beginning, middle, and end. I know you’re fairly flexible about the word count in practice, but maybe setting multiple bars, long, medium, and short, would be more inviting to prospective contributors. Serials are very cool, but I’d also like to see the occasional novella-length story presented in one bite.

2. Interviews with the artists. There’s some nifty cover art going on at DD–let’s hear from the folks who are creating it! You’re already including interviews with some of the authors, which I think is a great idea and hope you continue in the coming year.

3. PDF-format ‘zine. You could sell this as an upgrade for a nominal price, or just package the ‘zine this way all the time. There are some niggling format issues I run into if I use different browsers with the current format (the large type at the beginning of each story sometimes runs into the text below), and a PDF offers some extra flexibility for the reader to vary the size of the text and move the page around in the field of view.

4. Pay the authors. Even if it’s just a token, it sends the message that you intend to be a serious market and pulls you out of the “just for the love” category in Duotrope’s Digest and that serious and aspiring-to-be-serious writers avoid like the plague when they’re looking for places to send their stories. That’s not to say that I don’t love you and won’t keep sending you stories anyhow. Christian spec-fic is a niche that needs more outlets, and you’ve got a good one going here.

5. Mix it up. I like the mix of sci-fi and fantasy, and a few more poems and non-fiction articles wouldn’t be amiss.

6. Attention to detail. Watch out for grammatical errors and typos in the final product. It’s not been bad, but there’s room for improvement, and a clean, tight magazine is another unspoken message that you’re a serious market.

7. Maintain the enthusiasm. I love the energy and excitement you guys transmit in your editorials and correspondence. If you’re having fun, people want to hang around to have fun with you.

*Stupid federal disclaimer*: Yes, Digital Dragon published one of my stories this year, interviewed me, and reviewed my novel. I’ve tried my very best to keep my comments truthful and evenhanded, and if you detect a hint of bias, I apologize. I’m human. Live with it.

That concludes my final installment of the CSFF Blog Tour for 2009. C’mon back in January, when we’ll be reviewing (I think) North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson. Hmm…that could be the title of my biography…

Here’s the rest of the CSFF Blog Tour crew–check ’em out, they’re good reading in or out of the Tour!

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Tina Kulesa
Melissa Lockcuff
Mike Lynch
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Cara Powers
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
KM Wilsher

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