Concatenation's Guidance for Contributors

The Science Fiction Concatenation site has a growing five-figure unique visitor traffic a month and six-figure page monthly download. The guidance below is for those wishing to submit news, to contribute material, or to get a link and/or information on to the site.

[Submitting articles or convention reviews | Link exchanges | Sponsor links | Worldcon/Eurocon organisers]
[Providing news | Book /DVD promotion | Submitting fiction | Editorial services | About Concatenation]

 

Submitting an article

We will 'consider' all articles submitted but they must relate to the site's theme of science fact and/or fiction (as well as associated exotica, whimsy etc.). Do please include a paragraph at the end about yourself and feel free to give any links to your home page and one or two of your relevant works or SF projects. Please note that links need to work and that once a year we check the site to weed out non-functioning links and there associated text. (We will not include links that are likely to be temporary.) Articles should typically be between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Articles can be submitted as an MS Word document but please note that Concatenation is a text-only site and does not contain pictures though of course we will be pleased to link with picture pages on other sites.

Send your contributions to info [-at-] concatenation [-dot-] org and put something clearly SF in the subject line so we know it is not spam.

Please also note that Concatenation is, and always has been, volunteer run. No payment is made for articles. The only concession we do make is to professional writers in that we give them a certain leeway in the material they submit. As indicated above, some writers view appearing on the site as a way or raising their profile (so contributors include your links) but others as a way of getting something off their chest that normally would not see print commercially, or even for fun.

 

Submitting a convention review

Concatenation welcomes SF convention reviews of typically between 600 and 1,200 words long provided that they are either of a country's national SF convention or an international convention such as the Eurocon or Worldcon. We positively do not carry reviews of regional conventions: there are many other websites that do that. Reviews of specialist conventions that have a clear international dimension will sometimes be included. For instance the site contains reviews of the Festival of Fantastic Films for while this is a small (200-300 attending) event it ran an internationally respected film (both independent and amateur) competitions and did attract some 5% of its attendance from overseas as well as showcase SF films from around the World.

If you do wish to submit a convention review then again add a paragraph about yourself at the end together with any web link if appropriate. Do please note that Concatenation's site's surfers include both literary, cinematic and media SF enthusiasts and so your convention review should attempt to cater for each of these. Typically your review needs to include: when and where the convention was held, who were the Guests, some report of the nature and aspects of the programme, a paragraph on the venue city and an indication of what it was like to attend. Any amusing incidents, speaker quotes and so forth would also be welcome. Adaptations of a convention review that may also appear elsewhere in a specialist fanzine are also welcome: there is nothing wrong with getting mileage out of good material however it is courteous to inform both the fanzine editor as well as ourselves of your intention to do this. Finally even if English is not your first language do please feel free to submit a review of your country's national convention, we will be happy to go over your review for you.

 

Link exchanges

In principle Concatenation welcomes link exchanges but we do it with a certain style, so please bear with us on this. First we are happy for you to link to any page on the site. If you are running a convention as part of a series of conventions that we have reviewed in the past then you may wish to ensure that your convention's publicity material includes the web addresses of these reviews. If you are an author or a publisher of a book we have reviewed then again you may wish your book's publicity to include the appropriate web address of our review. Because Concatenation was founded in 1987 and has been on the web since 1997, we are probably a reasonable bet for a long-lasting link and are somewhat net-rot resistant. Having said that it would really help us if you (also) linked to our home page. (Please...)

Regarding us linking to you, please note that we keep the number of our links page quite small. There are many other SF sites with very large portal pages and we see little point in yet again duplicating this service. However we do include links in a number of ways and you are free to explore any of these with us (once you have read the following paragraphs).

First, links on our convention diary of national and international conventions are most welcome. Second, as per above, we welcome links within our SF and science articles but these need to be to sites (pages) that are long-lived. Finally, third, we include links in our news bulletins. Our philosophy is this, our site is both a topical and a reference site and we have found that our regulars like to have links presented to them at the moment they read relevant material on various pages. For this reason we do not confine links solely to a portal page and we know from other sites with which we have had a link exchange that most prefer this. This is probably because our policy results in increased link usage than the tradition of having a single huge list of links which is rarely used. Sometimes a link not on our links portal page can be better than one on it as search engines can pick up on the relevance to your site from the content of the text surrounding the link.

Sponsor links on our front page are also possible. Sponsor links are a way of improving search engine ranking. These cost several US$ a month. However please note that we strictly limit the number of these and do not carry links to pages that we consider inappropriate (these include those that promote gambling, pharmaceuticals, alcohol or tobacco). Sponsor links do not need to relate to our site's content. At the moment we do not have banners on the front page but might consider it if the sponsor's banner somehow related to our site's content: science, SF, books, films etc.

When we receive a request for a sponsor link, then provided we currently have less than 10 such links on our home page we will pass your request to our sponsor co-ordinator. You will be informed of terms and asked for the URL to which you want us to link. We will check that link to ensure that it does not have inappropriate content (see previous paragraph) and a periodically re-check all our sponsor links. If everything is mutually agreeable our sponsor co-ordinator will finalise matters with you.

 

Worldcon and Eurocon organisers note

Worldcon/Eurocon organisers will note that we list the cons in our diary page (which we update in December each year for January posting) and have a Eurocon/Worldcon news section within our seasonal SF news page.   Eurocon chairs may wish to note that we have had a formal 'media partner' arrangement with a number of Eurocons whereby they link to us from their home page and send us news three times a year to ensure that we have material to cover their event in the two years prior to their convention. We also review many Eurocons after the event and to date are the website with the most coverage of Eurocon affairs other than ESFS. (Incidentally Concatenation and the Concat' team have three Eurocon Awards for their work in the European SF community.)   Worldcon publicists note we also cover Worldcon affairs. We need to know what is your event's 'USP' (unique selling point') if our European regulars are going to invest in a transatlantic flight. Worldcon organisers may also care to note that we have a series of articles on the cities that venue a Worldcon so as to provide a guide for Worldcon delegates (see our Toronto example). Articles on these venue cities should be written by residents of the said cities and include tourist sites of science and SF interest. These articles should also include clear details of how to get to the convention from the station and/or airport and approximate costs. We need to receive these well over a year before the Worldcon being held. In the event in the future a Worldcon returns to a venue city on which we previously have posted an article, then we would welcome your suggestions for updating or a replacement article (which might be part based on our original one).

 

Submitting news

We welcome news from large fan groups, national-level conventions, major author news (and our saddest task, SF personality deaths). We have a relationship with a score of book and film publicity & promotion offices. Professional PR folk get their reward with the coverage we provide but fans submitting news get a credit at the bottom of the news page.

 

Getting a book or a video/DVD promoted

If you want to see if promoting a book though our site is possible you are strongly advised to read this section very carefully. (We do not spend time with those that have not read this subsection: we are unpaid volunteers and time-pressed.)

In brief:-
          We list forthcoming SF/F/H books published, and DVDs released, in the British Isles from the major, specialist SF/F imprints. (The major specialist imprints sending us advance information in time (a month before the relevant seasonal edition) is important (see our posting schedule).) If you are an established British based publisher with a specialist SF imprint then the best thing to do is regularly send us a PDF of your forthcoming seasonal (or annual) book catalogue. Most do (but sometimes when there is a change of PR personnel we get forgotton and so our seasonal list is less complete).
          We also review current SF/F/H books published in the British Isles. And specifically books from major British Isles specialist SF/F/H imprints and major publishers.
          And we review non-fiction SF (books on SF authors, SF film etc.) and also some science fact (popular science) from lay up to undergraduate science level.

We do not review books that are not from the major specialist SF/F/H imprints. (We have a small, unpaid volunteer team and so have a specific focus. Other websites have a broader, less (or different) focussed remit.)

We do not review e-books.

We receive more books than we can review and so sending us a book does not guarantee that the book review team will select it for review.

If you are an author published by a major, and specialist, British Isles SF/F/H publisher then ask them to send us a copy of your book: they all know us. If you are published by someone else then you need to seek another website to review your title.

And now some more detail...

We do list British Isles forthcoming book and DVD releases in our news bulletins (as well as forthcoming film releases on our diary page). However we do require full marketing details: see our news bulletins' forthcoming books subsections.  STOP: Read that last line again: 'we do require full marketing details'. You do need to check out what this means and have checked that helpful link we gave to our 'forthcoming books' subsections within our seasonal news pages.  Those that do know what this means, and those that actually know about book marketing in Britain, will realise that this package of information we use for books is exactly the same as that used by the British book-marketing and bookselling sectors including 'Books in Print', The Bookseller and the biannual Book Buyers Guide. It therefore should be information you are already disseminating (and if you are not then that is not our problem). Please do not expect us to list your titles if you do not provide this information. (Yes, very obvious, but still a number occasionally ignore this.)

Because we only have three news bulletins a year you do need to get us this information as soon as you have it: remember our lists are for the forthcoming season (or current season once posted, and not the last season). We do not list books published outside of the British Isles, nor do we list electronic books, or titles from vanity press publishers.  We list the principal British Isles SF/F imprint titles and some small press specialist imprints if we are given the proper package of publishing information (see the previous paragraph).

We also publish fiction, non-fiction and fact book reviews as well as graphic novels. Again, as with book listings, we do not review e-books. To consider reviewing a book we naturally require the book or graphic novel. However to avoid disappointment please note our broad policy on reviews. Fiction: we do review works of SF but tend not to review works of fantasy unless it is something exceptional or we are feeling frisky. There are the occasional exceptions but these are rare.  We do cover non-fiction books on SF and fantasy: non-fiction books relating to science fiction be they history of SF or books on aspects of the genre are regularly reviewed.   Finally, we do review popular science books written at the New Scientist level and occasionally first year undergraduate level. (Some of the reviews we write occasionally also appear in print in academic scientific journals (as one of the team has a relationship with a number of scientific publications).)  However we do not review pseudoscience, new age mysticism and related works unless they have a clear relationship to real science. We are (obviously) acutely aware of the relationship between science fact and fiction and are fully cognisant of science fiction being 'fiction' even if it can promulgate an appreciation of, and an interest in, 'real' science.

We do not review vanity press published books (sorry to repeat this but we all too regularly hear from these) but do occasionally publish reviews from British small press publications and European ones if the book is in English and of relevance to European SF.

We repeat (as we still get a fair number of these requests), we do not review books published outside of the British Isles with the very occasional exception of those of authors whose other books are known in western Europe, or are non-fiction books available through UK retailers whose subject matter is of likely core interest to scientists who like SF.  Remember, we are based in Europe and not N.America, and even though nearly a third of our visitors are from N.America, there are N. American SF websites better suited to promoting N. American books.

We occasionally will publish two reviews of the same book as, as scientists, we appreciate sampling theory. We will also sometimes repeat review especially if our first reviewer was heavily critical of a writer of whom we (and arguably our regular visitors) might expect better. We tend not to repeatedly review books from authors that have had a number of previous negative reviews from us as this neither provides our site's visitors or the author with a meaningful service.

If we give an author an unusually negative review then we will use a different reviewer the next time we review them. If an author gets three negative reviews from three different reviewers then we will never review them again (Note: the record extends back into our print magazine days before the internet, but only a handful of authors to date are ones we avoid.)

Finally, yet again, sending us a book to review does not mean we can review it. We certainly will let all our book reviews team know that we have the book for review (we circulate them a list three times a year) but it is up to them which books they select for review. Alas we get sent more than twice as many books for review than we can review. Having said that things vary depending on sub-genre. For example, far more SF (as opposed to sci-fi) books sent us get reviewed than sword and sorcery fantasy: other than sci-fi media, the majority of SF books sent us tend to get reviewed.

Phew. Sorry that was so long, but it is all important to know as we treat reviewing seriously and there is method to the madness.

 

Submitting fiction

Other than the Nature 'Futures' stories WE DO NOT PUBLISH FICTION! (Plenty of other sites do.)

 

Editorial services

We occasionally get requests to: appraise an SF manuscript; asked to comment on a translation; provide a reference to a publisher; and other editorial requests that should instead be directed either to literary agents or publishers' commissioning editors.   Please note that we do not provide such services. (Indeed, do not ask as refusal often offends.)

Answering authors' science questions is something we used to do and on rare occasion still do. However since the first decade of the 21st century it is possible to get many science answers from internet searches.   Prospective hard SF authors are advised to collaborate with a scientist friend whose specialist area coincides that with science in your story.   While we may not feel able to devote time to answering e-mail queries, if you catch some of us with appropriate expertise to your needs at SF conventions then, for a coffee or beer, we may well spend quarter of an hour chatting with you.

 

About The Science Fact and Fiction Concatenation

Concatenation began life in 1987 as an annual print fanzine distributed to the then two UK Easter conventions and the managers of a score of specialist SF shops. It reviewed science and SF for the year and had a peak print run of 5,000. In 1997 it moved to the internet and in 2002 increased its updates and re-introduced (from its print days) news columns. Judging from site visits and site hits, these moves have proved popular. Site growth since the turn of the millennium to date (2009) has been 20% a year so doubling every 3 or 4 years! It shows no signs of slowing. Do check our Google score and site ranking for searches on things like 'science fiction news' and/or 'science fiction book reviews' (see also how many other sites are out there and where we come with respect to these).

Concatenation receives a five-figure number of unique visits a month (and many more hits - excluding search engine hits and multiple page visits as part of a single unique visit). The number of visitors to the site is increasing so Concatenation runs what is called a 'sticky' site (many having come across us return again and 'stick' with us). Around half of visitors to the site are from the British Isles, a third from North America, and between 15 - 25% from other countries. (Much depends on month of the year: months following our major three seasonal updates a year see a few thousand more unique visitors. This in itself tells something about the nature of Concatenation's following.)

Nearly all of those most closely involved with Concatenation are, or have, worked as professional scientists be it in academia, industry or governmental and non-governmental organizations, or are engineers, work in computing or other technology-based sector. Consequently much of the site either has takes a hard SF approach or has reference to science. This is not to decry softer aspects of the genre, but that our specialisation is very much that of the science fact and fiction interface.

You may have noticed that our site design is very simple and is mainly text-only without artwork, pictures, video, sounds etc. We do link to other sites that have bells, whistles and tinsel. (If you want eye-candy and frills then go elsewhere.) All we try to do is provide a seasonal coverage of key events within the SF world albeit through a British-European prism by SF buffs many of whom are scientists and engineers.

We have three main postings a year (spring, summer and autumn) -- see our posting schedule -- and so our site statistics jump three times a year. This means we know that while we get more than several thousand unique visitors downloading over 100,000 pages each month, we get an additional several thousand more unique visitors in seasonal download months. (Unlike most websites that update continually, being just seasonal gives us an advantage in that we are able to distinguish between background [average monthly traffic over the year] and dedicated traffic [the additional traffic in the three months of our major seasonal uploads].)

We hope that the information on this page helps you to contribute to the site as we continue its development. Meanwhile elsewhere there is further information on our introductory editorial and also a summary of our history.

 

[Submitting articles or convention reviews | Link exchanges | Sponsor links | Worldcon/Eurocon organisers]
[Providing news | Book /DVD promotion | Submitting fiction | Editorial services | About Concatenation]


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[Date: 03.12.30 | Updated: 14.1.20 | Contact | Copyright | Privacy]