Breaking news! By breaking, I of course mean, “I read about this last week and am just getting around to telling other people about it!”
Daily Science Fiction has moved their maximum accepted word count from 10k down to a lean 1.5k. The announcement came and went as a header for a story with little fanfare, an e-mail I deleted because I am an idiot and reflexively delete stories once I am done reading them. There was no notice on their Face Book page, nor any mention of it on the main DSF website that I could find other than an edited submissions page that reflects the new word count limit. I do not think this is a negative move, as the owners and editors of DSF may do as they very damn well please with their submission guidelines and, as I recall from my deleted e-mail, are moving towards shorter stories in response to their audience’s desire for a more true “quick-fix fiction” story in their inbox each day. This shorter word count will also strip away the longer stories typically published on Fridays.
DSF is a voracious market that demands literally hundreds of stories a year to keep pace with its publishing schedule and I can not blame them for moving to smaller stories for shorted processing times in regards to slush pile navigation and the necessary editing process that touches stories of all lengths. It also helps cut back on the cost of paying authors, which even as an author who has and will continue to submit to DSF, I don’t see this as a bad thing. DSF will keep their 8 cents a word payment and I respect that a lot. If this was a cost-saving maneuver on their behalf then I would prefer that they take shorter stories and maintain their status as a Qualifying Short Fiction Venue for SFWA.
Daily Science Fiction is an awesome market, and I highly encourage anyone with a shorty-short story to throw their hat into the slush pile. No, wait, throw your story into the slush pile. You would probably ruin a hat doing that.