Friday, April 22, 2011

How To Find (Other) Places To Publish Your Fiction

I notice that a lot of indie writers don't know how or where to submit stories for publication these days. Which makes sense. If all you're going to do is self-publish, you don't need to know how to find markets....

Unless you want to use them to help promote your work. Traditional magazine and webzine publication is a place which will pay YOU to display a multi-page ad for your work (otherwise known as a "story").

Or maybe I convinced you in yesterday's post, that you want to start your very own rejection slip collection.

How do you find magazines to submit your fiction to?

The first thing to realize is that there is no such thing as an up-to-date or complete market listing. Markets change constantly.

So even though there are some great market databases listed below: the very first thing you must always do when you find a new market, no matter where you get the info about that market, is find the market's website and look that site over thoroughly. Find their writer's guidelines. Read them. Obey them. (I mean, yes, I said you want to collect rejection slips, but you don't want the story to be rejected out of hand if you can help it.)

It's also a good idea to read a few stories if they have them published on the site. And not a bad idea to buy a sample copy or two if they don't.

The Market Listings:

DuoTrope: DuoTrope is currently the best known of the free online market databases. They don't have every market, but they do have a heck of a lot. They also have a search engine to help find different genres or pay rates or other criteria. Some anthologies list here.

Ralan's Webstravaganza: Ralan is a little like DuoTrope, with perhaps an emphasis on science fiction, fantasy and horror, but covers everything. Some anthologies put out calls here.

Gila Queen's Guide to Markets: Gila Queen is a paid subscription newsletter with themed issues. Lots of anthologies and other temporary and changeable info. Lots of news about markets closing down or the movement of editors. It's put out by Kathy Ptacek, a really hard working woman who has been doing this for many years, and very much worthy of your money.

Writer's Market: Writer's Market is a huge enterprise, with books, websites, more books, magazines. WM has always suffered from being very popular and very out of date. However, they are now completely online, which means their database is more regularly updated. It's a subscription service, but if you are cash strapped, you can subscribe for just a month (or even use their 14-day trial) and use the heck out of it to gather lots of market ideas. You won't find anthology calls here, though.

Writer's Organizations:

The Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators, and the Science Fiction Writers of America are both famous for their rosters and listings. I was a full member of both of them and I can vouch for the useful info I got from them. There are lots of other organizations out there, and the only downside is that most of them cost money to join... and many have membership criteria to meet. (Although most have an "associate" sort of membership for those who don't have full professional qualifications.) One that doesn't have a membership fee or qualifications is the Short Mystery Fiction Society -- which was formed to promote the genre at a time when short mystery fiction was on the wane.

A few others I know off hand: The Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America. I never belonged to these organizations, so I can't tell you about the quality of their rosters and lists -- but I can say they have lots of good info for everyone (not just members) on their websites.

Finally, you can talk to writer friends -- and watch for where they have published! Get "Best of" anthologies and look where the stories were originally published. If there are listings of stories nominated for awards, odds are you can find the magazines which all the stories put forward were first publsihed.

You can even use Google. Search for magazines and site which publish fiction you want to read. (And it's a good idea to read them too.) Most of them will have guidelines posted on the site.

Of course, if you're looking for exposure rather than rejection slips, you can also look for blogfests (such as the Hemingway's Baby Shoes Microfiction Contest I'm sponsoring - only a little more than a week left), and sites which take guest posts. Or you can do as I do and publish some short fiction or poetry or jokes or songs on your site regularly.

Preferably you'll do all of the above.

Tomorrow I'll post a little on the value of woolgathering as well as links to at least one more entrant in the Hemingway's Baby Shoes contest. Then on Sunday, a fable for writers....

See you in the funny papers.

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