It’s spring, and that means change and renewal. In that spirit, I’d like to let everyone know that Julia Rios has decided to step down from her position as editor of Fireside.
Julia is a fantastic editor. She’s had a spectacular run on Fireside, and I’m grateful for all her hard work, especially as we transitioned from a weekly online workflow to a print-centric one for Fireside Quarterly. We’ve had to do a lot of sprinting over the last year in order to institute the lead times that print production demands, and Julia sprinted hard. Since we do work so far ahead now, Julia’s editing will continue to appear in Fireside for the duration of 2019, and stories she acquired will appear in 2020. If you’d like to follow her work beyond Fireside, I encourage you to go check out her Patreon.
So what’s next? Over the past two years, since I took over Fireside from Brian, I’ve gotten more comfortable with my role as publisher and, as is my way, I’ve been thinking a lot about where Fireside’s editorial strategy should go in the long term. Since Julia has been doing such dependable work, there hasn’t been any urgency to implementing any changes. But once she let me know that she wanted to move on, the opportunity presented itself to implement a broader, more inclusive vision for Fireside editorial.
Editors, and their effect on authors’ work, are often overlooked by readers at large. The excellent developmental editors I’ve had the privilege to watch at work have a hand in shaping the final work that reaches readers. They often take promising — but rough — manuscripts and, through compassionate, rigorous, and thoughtful feedback, help guide the author to crafting the best possible version of their piece. That takes skill and effort, both of which should be celebrated.
Additionally, Fireside is known for publishing authors from diverse backgrounds, as well as being a venue where readers can discover new authors. The small improvement we’re seeing in visibility for marginalized authors is a great thing, but true inclusion in publishing can’t happen if we don’t also have traditionally marginalized voices working behind the scenes in less visible — but equally critical — roles. I want Fireside to be part of the solution here, too.
So going forward, starting with the January 2020 issue, each issue of Fireside Quarterly will have a different developmental editor, working under a broad but well-defined editorial framework, in order to ensure cohesion and consistent quality from issue to issue. I’ll choose both established editors as well as up-and-coming ones, in order to build up a group where newcomers can lean on veterans for advice and mentorship.
Since every issue of Fireside Quarterly will have its own developmental editor, we want to give each of them the opportunity to build a table of contents that reflects their sensibilities. To that end, each guest editor will acquire and solicit works for their issue, and that means that our schedule for opening to submissions is about to get much more regimented and predictable: we will open for submissions four times a year, at the top of the production workflow for each issue of Fireside Quarterly.
In the coming weeks, I’ll announce the exact dates of each submissions period for at least the next year or so, and we’ll start announcing who the editors for each of the 2020 issues of Fireside Quarterly will be. I’m absolutely thrilled with this new direction for Fireside, and to be working with all of these fine folks — I can’t wait to share their names with you. I’ll be making all these announcements in our newsletter so, if you want to stay in the know, sign up below.
As always, thanks for reading!