Plasma Frequency Editor Interview: Richard Flores IV

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plasma-frequency-magazine-issue-13-coverAndrea Pawley interviews Richard Flores IV, editor-in-chief of Plasma Frequency, a bimonthly magazine of speculative fiction which just started their third year of publication:

Q: Plasma Frequency publishes a wide range of speculative fiction stories including science fiction, fantasy and horror. How do you know when you get a submission thats perfect for Plasma Frequency?

Flores: Deciding what stories go into an issue of Plasma Frequency is a lot harder than I ever imagined. First, a story has to go through two other editors before it comes to me for a final decision. Either of those other two editors can reject the story for a variety of reasons. So once a story gets to me for the final decision, they are usually all very good stories. At this point, I am looking for something different, something that takes me by surprise. It could be a twist that captivates me. It could be a new spin on an old idea. It could be something Ive never seen before. All these things lead me to select those stories. They have to stand out from the rest of the really good stories. It usually isnt easy to pick.

Q: What inspired you to start Plasma Frequency?

Flores: There is no shortage of very good fiction out here.And a lot of it gets rejected simply because there isnt enough space for every story. So I wanted to offer one more home to stories. And it was important to me that authors were paid for their work. So that inspired me. But researching how the magazine market worked fascinated me, and that was what finally pushed me over the edge to actually start the magazine.

Q: As a child, who was your favorite science fiction or fantasy author?

Flores: I actually wasnt a fan until much later in life. In high school, I hated to read. I was tired of being forced to read these books that didnt interest me. But I was forced to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Since that time, I have always held a spot for his work as one of my favorite artists, because it was his work that introduced me to the joy of reading science fiction.

Richard Flores IVQ: Whats the most unexpected thing youve encountered as editor of Plasma Frequency?

Flores: Rude authors. Hands down I never saw that coming. When we started Plasma Frequency, we were a personal rejection only market. We didnt use any form letters. And we got some very nasty replies back from authors. Some were even very threatening. It wasnt that our rejection letters were rude, we only offered them the reason for rejection. I had one reader quit because of it. And now, even though we have switched to using a lot of form rejections, we will still get one or two rude replies every now and again. It surprises me that authors will act like that.

Q: You make good use of an army of dedicated volunteers. What makes for a good volunteer?

Flores: They have to be committed. It can be very tough to ask someone to set aside some of their time to work hard for a magazine that they dont get any money from. So they have to be very loyal to seeing good fiction get published. The volunteers I have really do want to see Plasma Frequency succeed, and it shows in the amount of work they put in. They are also very understanding that Plasma Frequency doesnt make any money at this point. Sales and subscriptions dont yet pay for the issues, let alone the other business costs. And the volunteers we have are like-minded to me, they arent in this to make money, they just want to see good stories find a home.

Q: Your third year of publication starts this month with the September/October issue. What changes will Year Three of Plasma Frequency hold?

Flores: We do have something new coming down the pipeline. I am not sure when we will start this up, but it will be more behind the scenes helping the authors. We are working out a program where selected stories that have great potential but need more work can join a one-on-one critique session with our proofreading editor. He will then be able to work with the author to make changes. That is the idea anyway. We are currently ironing out all the details. It wont be released until further down in Year Three, hopefully early 2015.

Plasma Frequency is a magazine of speculative fiction that offers short stories in science fiction, fantasy, horror and all other aspects of the genre. Plasma Frequency is available DRM-free in single issues or as a 12-month subscription.

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