Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Choosing a Market

The other day, I set out to find somewhere to submit a short story. Market research can take a long time. I like to think that I choose the markets I want to submit to as carefully as the editors of those markets choose which stories to publish. I am fairly picky about where I will submit. So, what criteria do I look for? Well, I'd love to be published in a market paying professional rates, so I usually try those first. They are, of course, few in number and slammed with submissions. Payment is not actually the most important consideration,but I do like to submit to markets that pay, even if it is only a token payment. It makes me feel they are actually serious about what they do. One exception to that is submitting to a prestigious literary mag that doesn't pay, but would still be a respected market and impressive publishing credit, such as Irreantum (the magazine of the Association for Mormon Letters).

To start, I get onto a good market site, usually Ralan's Webstravaganza or Duotrope. I look through the paying markets, taking note of which are closed to subs or died since my last visit or which have reopened. I look at their desired genres and word limits. I look to see if they are online or in print or both and what kind of response times they have. I don't submit to places that list response times in excess of three months. That's a long time for a short story response, and I don't want to wait, unless the magazine is really worth it for some reason. It is helpful to check the Black Hole to find out actual response times, as opposed to just what the magazine itself reports. If I find one that I think would be a good market, I'll take a closer look at their guidelines to see if my story will be a good fit. I am often surprised at how narrow some magazines' guidelines can be. I take a look at the website (even for print magazines), just to see what it looks like. I don't want my story published on some site that is really ugly, unprofessional looking, hard to navigate, or contains offensive content. I want a place where it is easy for readers to find my story, should I be accepted there. If the mag's stories are available online (and they almost always are), I'll take a look at some of those to 1.) see if my story would be a good fit, and 2.) see if the magazine is publishing quality work. It's always a plus if I recognize some of the authors and have read their stuff before. After going through all that, I'll write down the names of potential markets, and start submitting. Is that too picky of me? I don't think so. Getting published somewhere with a bad reputation can actually work against you. So, before you let the editors decide if your story is right for their magazines, take the time to find out if their magazines are right for your story.


Linz said...

That was really interesting to read. I think it is very important to be particular about where you send your work. Thanks for sharing!

tiff said...

i agree with linz i enjoyed this read good to know i thinks it is important to be picky about how things look that are representing you

Janyece said...

I think that's smart advice. Don't settle! Thanks for all the information!

Larry and CIndy said...

Angie, I am so proud of you in caring where your works are published. It is great that you are particular about your published writing!!! I think it is great that you are always true to yourself and you values!!! Love ya, MOM