APEX OPERATION FOURTH STORY: Interview with Apex Managing Editor Cameron Salisbury

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Yesterday I introduced you to Operation Fourth Story, Apex Magazine’s official digital magazine drive. And today, I have an interview with Managing Editor Cameron Salisbury. Please give Cameron a warm welcome!


Hi Cameron, and welcome to the blog. I’m thrilled to have you visiting today!

Hello!  This is my first interview as an Apex editor, so I’m really excited to be here.  Thanks for hosting.

Can you start by telling us about your job at Apex as Managing Editor? What is your work day like?

It’s a work evening, usually.  I come home from my day job, heat a bowl of soup, and curl up with my laptop and my housemates’ dogs, who are developing into discerning critics of science fiction themselves.  I spend a nice chunk of time sorting and distributing the slush and fielding all the queries that land in the submission inbox.  I’m also one of the souls behind our social media accounts.  We don’t have a full-time copy editor, so I do some of that, and I’m a problem-solver and sounding-board for all the other small predicaments that inevitably pop up as issues come together.  One of my favorite tasks is helping Sigrid Ellis, Apex Magazine‘s editor in chief, decide which stories to put in each issue.  We’re constrained by word count — so if we publish a really long story, we have to find a short one to go with — and then we decide who makes an interesting compare-and-contrast, how they talk to each other, what themes connect them, etc.  I love the creative puzzle-piecing that goes into that.  My other big job is scouting out art to feature on our covers (send me a link to your portfolio!), stories to reprint, and essayists to solicit.  I have boxes full of goofy old paperback anthologies that I plow through, hunting for forgotten gems.

How long have you worked for Apex, and have you worked for any other publishing houses?

Sigrid lured me into this madness in October.  I’ve worked for no other publishing houses, but I volunteer as the Symposium editor for Transformative Works and Cultures, a peer-reviewed fan studies journal run by the Organization for Transformative Works.  The two gigs complement each other well.  I have a nifty mix of fiction and scholarship crossing my desk every week.

Apex is one of my favorite small publishers, and I’m so impressed with not only the quality of work you put out, but the way your books and stories seem to be mash-ups of more than one genre. As Managing Editor, is it hard to find the right types of stories to fit the Apex “brand,” or do you have more than enough submissions to choose from?

We are getting so many good stories right now that earlier in March we considered closing submissions for a while!  We are still open, and I have a heroic team of submissions editors who make sure every story gets the attention it deserves, but they’ve been working their butts off.  Finding work we’re excited to publish is not a problem.  We’re also still running some content that was purchased by Apex’s previous editor in chief, Lynne Thomas.  I’m looking forward to watching Sigrid develop a reputation of her own.  She’s queued up some stunning stuff.

Since we’re hoping to spread the word about Apex’s Operation Fourth Story, can you tell us a little bit about it and what you’d like to accomplish?

We’re trying to raise funds and drive up subscribership so we can pay one more author per month.

We feel pretty strongly about keeping the majority of Apex Magazine‘s content available for free on our website — it provides important exposure for the authors, doesn’t shut out lower-income readers, and promotes conversation and community — but this means we rely on our readers’ generosity — and enthusiasm for our gorgeous eBooks — to grow.

Hence!  From April 3rd to April 17th, year-long magazine subscriptions will be discounted to $17.95 when you buy direct from Apex or through Weightless Books.  You can also purchase through Amazon or by becoming a patron of the magazine through Patreon.  No matter your preference, everyone who subscribes (new and renewing) will get a free Apex eBook of their choice.  All you have to do to claim your book is forward a copy of your receipt to Lesley at lesley@apexbookcompany.com and let her know which title you’re interested in. Check out the Apex store for a full list of available novels, anthologies, and collections.  What’s more, if we reach our goal of 250 new subscribers, we’ll give away a Kindle Paperwhite to one random new subscriber.

EBooks come with extra goodies including reprints and chapters from upcoming novels and anthologies.  This month’s has “Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary” by Pamela Dean and an excerpt from The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar.  The more subscribers we get, the more awesome content we’ll publish.

It’s not uncommon for people in publishing to be authors themselves. Are you also a writer, or do you have hopes of publishing your own work one day?

I am a writer.  So far I haven’t written anything I feel like shopping around, but I’m sure I’ll hit that point eventually.  I really love editing, though, often even more than writing.  I have degrees in literature and teaching, and get a huge kick out of the workshopping process from both sides.

What do you do in your free time, when you aren’t working?

I enjoy stomping through the woods and paddling on lakes, mucking about in the kitchen ruining perfectly healthy muffin recipes with fistfuls of chocolate chips, and hosting fannish tea parties here in Boston, which mostly consist of a bunch of people in a slightly too-small living room, cackling about television and favorite story tropes, watching vids and eating bonbons.  It’s not a bad life.

I’d love it if you can tell my readers three things about yourself that may not be widely known.

1. I’ll be at WisCon and Readercon!  So will several of my Apex colleagues.  I’m hoping to meet lots of people and hear what they think about Apex, genre fiction, and anything they think we, as decision-makers in the industry, can do better.  I’d also love to just hang out and talk about t.v. and books and writing and meta, so please say hello.

2. I get an awful lot of correspondence addressed to Mr. Salisbury.  This is quite understandable, and I’ll never hold it against you, but I will vaguely associate you in my head with peddlers of unneeded credit cards.  I’m a “Ms.”  🙂

3. I live in the States, but I’m a dual citizen.  It’s important to me to get plenty of international content and diversity of all kinds into Apex Mag.  Canada represent!

Thank you so much, Cameron! I hope everyone considers subscribing to this amazing digital publication.

About Cameron:

By day Cameron Salisbury works with numbers; by night she works with words as the Managing Editor for Apex Magazine and the Symposium Editor for Transformative Works and Cultures, a peer-reviewed, open access fan studies journal. She has degrees in literature and education from Wellesley College, The U. of Victoria and Trent U., but most of the really important stuff she learnt from fandom. She is a writer, occasional lecturer, and a denizen of the Somerville Curatorium, an artistic-academic co-op in Somerville, MA, with seven humans, one cat, two dogs, and fifteen pots of basil.

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Posted April 10, 2014 by Tammy in Interview, Magazine drive / 7 Comments


7 responses to “APEX OPERATION FOURTH STORY: Interview with Apex Managing Editor Cameron Salisbury

  1. Hooray for small publishers, they do such good work. Kudos to Cameron for all that she does (and that’s a lot of duties!) to get new authors and their stories noticed. I just read my first Apex magazine issue this week, and loved their “think outside the box” perspective!

  2. I need to keep reminding myself that Apex is a night-job for everyone involved. Everyone goes to work, comes home, makes dinner, and then works on Apex.

    And I love that Cameron talks about putting puzzle pieces together. The fiction and non-fiction pieces all do seem to speak to each other and reflect each other. I’m getting very spoiled by that, actually.

    and I learned a new word today! “Curatorium”.