Would you like to write reviews for SFX?

Would you like to write reviews for SFX?

Well, you probably can’t.

Because you need to be exceptional.
Because I don’t have that many opportunities going for freelance.
And because I’ve got plenty of reliable writers on my books already who I can trust to do a good job.


Just as it’s important for a magazine to periodically refresh its design, it’s also important for it to keep refreshing its pool of writers. And I know I’ve been slack about this over the last couple of years. There are probably a few speculative submissions people have sent in that I haven’t even read. And I’d like to correct that. Somehow (god knows how) I will find the time.

So, if you would like to be considered for my freelance pool of reviewers, here’s what you need to do:

1. Email me THREE reviews of films, TV series, books or comics. Send them as Word documents, attached to your introductory email (my email: ian.berriman@futurenet.com). Don’t just send me a link to your blog. Send me documents I can print out within a minute. Don’t send me gig reviews. Don’t send me features or news stories (I don’t commission features or news stories, and writing reviews is an entirely different discipline).
2. Keep your introductory email BRIEF. I don’t need a full CV. Be sure to tell me what your passions/areas of specialist knowledge are when it comes to science fiction and fantasy. Be specific. If you’ve read every book by author X, or seen every episode of so-and-so TV show, or read every issue of a certain superhero comic, that might be useful to know.
3. For god’s sake, do yourself a favour and SPELLCHECK.

Your reviews should demonstrate knowledge of/passion for the subject matter, immaculate grammar (or as near as damn it), plus a clear understanding of the house style of SFX. I’m particularly looking for people who can write smart, funny prose, who have a knack for a memorable turn of phrase.
Don’t kick off your review with great swathes of synopsis.
Don’t write in the first person.

I will acknowledge receipt of your email, but (though I may occasionally do so) I cannot promise to provide any feedback – I usually just don’t have the time, sadly.

If I fail to acknowledge receipt of your email, give it a week (not a day...) and then email me back to check that your email didn’t end up in the spam filter.

If you don’t hear from me after receiving the acknowledgement email, please assume that unfortunately your work wasn’t quite what I am looking for – and don’t be disheartened. The reality of the situation is that after I put this call out I will probably receive 100+ submissions, and will only be able to even consider using two or three people.

And bear this in mind: I know the balance of our freelance pool is not as representative of wider society as it could be. And I’d like to improve that balance – especially given that so many of our staff (who write a significant percentage of reviews every month) are blokes between the ages of 35 and 45.

That DOESN’T mean there’s no point you sending me submissions if you also happen to be a bloke between 35 and 45. But it does mean that if you’re, say, a 25 year old woman, you’re exactly the sort of person whose perspective the reviews section could use more of (and whom, for whatever reason, I do not generally tend to receive speculative submissions from). So put yourself forward.

There is no “closing date” as such for this process, but if you can get your submissions in to me in the next month (ie by 6 July 2015) that’s probably a good idea.

Ian Berriman
Reviews Editor, SFX
6 June 2015

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