Interview with Apex Magazine’s Jason Sizemore!!!

Apex Magazine is running a Kickstarter to fund the 2023 season of the magazine. If you love dark speculative fiction, Apex is one of the best markets out there (and not just because they’ve published a few of my twisted stories!). Co-Editor Jason Sizemore took a few minutes out of his hectic day to answer a few questions about the magazine and the Kickstarter here for you guys!

Jason, you announced recently that Lesley will now be co-editing Apex Magazine, which is fantastic, since she’s awesome! What motivated the change to co-editorship, and what are you looking forward to her bringing to the table?

Lesley has been by my side for a long time. She’s not only earned the title of co-editor, but the promotion is a better reflection of her actual role with Apex Magazine. She has an educational background in the literary arts (as opposed to my tech background) that I have found to be valuable. She helps me catch technical nuances that I miss sometimes. Besides, what’s better than one editor? Two editors!!!

You’ve been running Apex Magazine (and Apex Book Company) for over a decade! What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned about keeping a small press thriving?

You have to be adaptable, to be able to roll with a constant influx of challenges. Because financial resources can be scarce, there will be times you’ll have to think outside the box in order to accomplish what you need. You’ll have to learn how to code in PHP or create a comprehensive P&L statement. I don’t think these things are necessarily small press specific, but you need the skills all the same.

One small press specific recommendation I can make is to stay current with the rising stars of the genre. Being a small press, you’ll likely not be able to afford bankable names once they’ve had a taste of New York money. Certainly, there are established pros who do work with the small press, but you can make a big impact on the genre by helping find the next big star. 

I’m always blown away by Apex’s stories. Is there anything specific you look for that specifically screams “Apex”? 

We love stories that have a strong point of view and a statement to make while using the genre form as the story’s skeleton. I can point to a story of yours we published recently (“Candyland“) as a great example. You make brilliant use of magical realism as a means of showing the harm artificial social acceptance can do to young women. You embedded this theme inside a fascinating world and plot of your protagonist meeting an old, successful high school friend (which is a scenario we can all relate to). You also appeased the twisted Apex Magazine editors by constructing a fairly dark ending.

Apex’s Kickstarters are always fun! What kind of perks and stretch goals do you have planned this time around?

We funded early in the project, so it’s been a push to make some of our stretch goals. So far we’ve unlocked several Kickstarter exclusive goodies: a new Maurice Broaddus story, an Apex cocktail book, and a one-page Apex Magazine RPG! On the near horizon are stories by Daniela Tomova and E. Catherine Tobler, pay increases for our writers, original artwork for the zine by Marcela Bolivar and Godwin Akpan, and a Reading Time with Jason and Lesley where we read some of our favorite Apex stories via livestream!

Okay—fun, random question for either/both of you: If you could meet and spend the day with any one fictional character, who would it be, and what would you do?

Tom Bombadil from The Hobbit. We would drink tea, do shrooms, and smoke various forms of potent vegetation.

Thanks so much, Jason! I always love chatting with you. And everybody: go support Apex Magazine and help them reach a few of their stretch goals so it can be the best version of itself (which is already fantastic).

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