Monday, December 6, 2010

Finding Markets

Currently, I have three short stories floating in submissionland, sitting in the inboxes of six markets. I made sure that they were all okay with simultaneous submissions beforehand, but it still feels like a slight breach of ettiquite to do more than one at a time.

When I am searching for a new market to sub to, I generally start at Duotrope. I also look at Ralan's site, but the layout irks me a little bit. Each Saturday I check their newsletter for possible new markets, as well as run through my list of 'favorite' markets. I have a very non-specific way of picking the markets I submit to, but this would be the general gist of it.

Presentation: Is this a market that I would be proud to have my work represented by? I like to look at the quality of the website and the publication itself. Places like Shock Totem or Apex Magazine inspire me to write, solely because I want to a part of something that is so gorgeous. If you haven't seen either of those magazines, check them out.

On the other hand, I am still surprised at how poorly designed some of the e-zines are. I thought we had moved past geocities style pages. The cover art and overall quality of many print magazines is just as bad. They aren't something I would want to have on my bookshelf. 

As a rule, I generally look for print anthologies and magazines first, then move on to the online markets.

Response Time: Perhaps it is wrong for me to complain about response times, as I know that many editors are entirely overwhelmed, but if a market averages more than 90 days, I will most often skip over it.  I can't shake this feeling that letting a short story sit for more than six months is blatantly rude, especially if they do not allow simultaneous submissions. Could it be that they are trying to weed out the writers like me? Possibly, but I doubt that the quality of their submissions is much greater for it.

There are of course exceptions to this, especially with Anthologies which have clearly stated reading periods. I understand that they are waiting until submissions are closed to make final decisions, and I am grateful that most communicate that.

Distribution: The reason I prefer print markets is simple; I like having something tangible to represent my work. The biggest problem with this, is that many print anthologies do not sell very well, and it will be a severely limited audience. Websites can make a great (and long lasting) way to promote my work. My upcoming publication in will likely stay posted for the life of that website, and could refer readers back to this blog. If an anthology only sells 100 copies from a PoD site, then it is not expanding my readership by a whole lot.

There are of course more reasons why I will choose or reject a market, but these are the recurring themes I have noticed. Pay is a factor, but not as much as one would think. Very few people will ever make a living by selling just short stories, so I try to submit to markets that I personally like. If a free market has a decent following and a quality product, I would not mind going 4theLuv. This all will probably change over time, especially if my writing starts getting featured in the likes of Clarkesworld, but for now I will stick with my moderately challenging markets, and simply try to improve my writing.


  1. Thanks for the comment on my blog. Always nice to find people in a similar predicament. Now if only we can all get good guidance.

  2. No problem Cameron, thanks for checking this blog out. I have been using your report cards for a couple years, so thank you :)


Web Statistics