The Top 5 Myths about Escape Artists

Hello authors, this post’s for you. There are a lot of misconceptions floating around genre fiction about audio publication in general, and EA in specific. Let me walk you through some of them and show you the significantly more awesome truth. Onward!

  • EA only buys reprints

Not true! When Escape Pod was launched in 2005 its goal was to create a reprint market for short science fiction. In those days if you didn’t subscribe to a print magazine, chances were you’d never get another chance to read the stories it contained. Pseudopod and PodCastle followed Escape Pod’s lead, and for many years focused on reprints as a way of introducing their growing audiences to great fiction and the developing podcast distribution method.

But over the last few years there’s been a shift across EA towards increasingly more original fiction. The Artemis Rising showcases are a great example. While each show takes their own approach in terms of balancing new and reprint fiction, here’s some numbers from the first quarter of 2017 to give you an idea:

Cast of Wonders – 18 episodes (10 originals, 8 reprints)
Escape Pod – 13 episodes (9 originals, 4 reprints)
PodCastle – 16 episodes (8 originals, 8 reprints)
Pseudopod – 13 episodes (9 originals, 4 reprints)

  • Your pay rates are low

Not true! All four EA shows are SFWA-qualified markets, paying $0.06/word for new fiction of any length. Are there other magazines that have higher per-word rates? Yes – but do they have a combined half a million average monthly listeners? That’s EA’s unique selling point.

And there are plenty of other markets that pay lower rates, fixed rates, or not at all. We consider ourselves middle of the pack, and the rights we request in our contracts reflect this. We request only what we use, ask for industry-standard exclusivity periods, and give you up front carve-outs for annual ‘best of’ and award anthologies.

  • If EA publishes my original fiction, it won’t qualify for any awards

Not true! Ratified in 2015 and passed in 2016, the ‘A Story by Any Other Name’ amendment to the World Science Fiction Society’s bylaws makes it clear that a work is eligible in the category appropriate to its length, regardless of publication format (including digital publication and audio):

Section 3.2.6: the categories of Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story shall be open to works in which the text is the primary form of communication, regardless of the publication medium, including but not limited to physical print, audiobook, and ebook.

While to date we aren’t aware of an original audio publication being a Hugo finalist, podcast stories have featured in multiple ‘best of’ anthologies and other prestigious awards. For example, Nino Cipri’s Opals and Clay (originally published as Podcastle episode 402) was a 2016 Finalist in the James Tiptree Jr. award.

  • How am I supposed to know what kind of stories EA buys – there are hundreds of episodes!

True – 1800 and counting. But every episode is someone’s first, just like every issue of a magazine you pick up might be your first introduction to that market. Each of our shows publish a new listener’s guide if you want to start with the editors’ favorites, and have extensive submissions guidelines. And there’s nothing wrong with loading up the latest episode or two and starting there, or heading over to our forum to read how others commented on a particular episode.

  • Hey I know Alasdair Stuart, I’ll just send my story to him!

Firstly, hello! Secondly, please don’t do that. I’m EA’s owner and publisher, and a frequent narrator and guest host — but I’m not on any editorial teams.

My job involves helping the shows do awesome things, steering EA towards the future, being involved with the genre fiction community, and hosting Pseudopod. That means I’m always looking to be a guest on other podcasts, appear at conventions and work with awards.

In other words, my roles don’t involve selecting individual stories. Our editors are brilliant and I have utter faith in them and the decisions they make. You could send me your story, but it wouldn’t have any impact on whether or not it gets published.

If you have suggestions for other questions that might make a good addition to this list come let us know on Twitter or Patreon.

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