Interview with Sigrid Ellis
Posted April 7, 2014on:
As part of Apex Magazine’s Operation Fourth Story (learn more here), I was lucky enough to score an interview with Sigrid Ellis, the Editor in Chief of Apex Magazine. You might know her from Chicks Dig Comics, Queers Dig Timelords, or Pretty Deadly. So, whaddya say, wanna better get to know Sigrid Ellis? I do!
Little Red Reviewer: How did you come to be involved with Apex Magazine?
Sigrid Ellis: I was asked.
I had worked with Lynne and Michael Thomas on other projects – co-editing Chicks Dig Comics with Lynne, and co-editing Queers Dig Time Lords with Michael. I liked working with them and I respect the work they do. When the opportunity arose to be a submissions editor for Apex, I was happy to help out. At the point where Lynne was looking to move on to other projects, work on Queers Dig Time Lords was just wrapping up. The timing worked out for everyone!
LRR: What’s the day (or a week) in the life of an Editor-in-Chief like?
S.E.: I wish I had a great answer for you, here. The truth is, I am still figuring out the flow.
I don’t yet have a sense of the rhythm of the work. There’s the predictable, planned work — get the magazine out every month. But the moving parts required to get us to that place? Those parts move a lot. And those parts are all, really, things I need from other people. I feel like I am constantly caught off-guard by the next little thing that comes up, by the next piece of the puzzle that needs to fit.
It’s about 60% answering email and making decisions, and about 40% reading new stories. So far. I think.
LRR: How long does it take to get an issue of Apex Magazine completed ? (when it’s an electronic magazine, does the term “ready for press” really apply?)
S.E.: The fiction is the easiest. We are suffering, if that can be said to be the term, from a profligate sufficiency of quality short fiction. We have enough fiction already waiting to keep the magazine going through December 2014. I commission non-fiction pieces a few months ahead. Writers need time. The cover art I try to select a few months ahead, to give time for the interview.
The parts which ambush me are the small things. Author bios and photos. Getting the podcast checked. Making sure all the other people involved — copyeditor, sound engineer, poetry editor, pdf assembly — have the parts they need to do their job.
It either takes years or weeks to get an issue of Apex to print. Depends on how one is measuring, I expect.
LRR: What’s your favorite part about being the Editor-in-Chief of Apex Magazine?
S.E.: Oh, by far it’s picking the stories.
I have a diabolical sense of glee and delight at getting to publish some of these stories.
LRR: You’re also the editor for the comic Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Ríos, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles. What are the major differences between editing a comic and editing a genre magazine, what are the different types of challenges?
S.E.: On Pretty Deadly I am a calendar keeper, proofreader, and nag. The team is incredibly professional and vastly easy to work with. Mostly they keep themselves on track. I maintain the master schedule and send gentle emails to people when I haven’t heard how some portion of the production is going.
Proofreading comics is an entirely different thing! There’s script, and art, and inked art, and colored art, and lettering scripts, and lettered pages, and … and changes are introduced at every conceivable step of the process. It’s a challenge.
LRR: Besides Apex Magazine and Pretty Deadly, any other projects on the horizon? (the selfish part of me is hoping for more “…. Dig Timelords”)!
S.E. Apex and Pretty Deadly take all the time I have at the moment. Emma and Kelly Sue are already talking about the second volume of the comic, and Image (the publisher) is game. And Apex is an ongoing endeavor that will keep me busy for the foreseeable future!