Where to Find Markets

There are a lot of questions out there about where to find places that will publish your work. Really, all you’ve got to do is snoop around a little bit and you’ll find a place. But (!) to make your snooping easier, below are wonderful resources for writers looking to publish short stories, poetry, and essays.

These are the links to the literary world! (Sounds a lot cooler that way…)

If you are a sci/fi/fantasy/horror/any-combination of those, then this website is a great resource for genre-specific fiction:
http://www.spicygreeniguana.com/

If you wish to one day win an award—or at least get published in a magazine that wins awards, the following is a list of all the magazines that have published stories that have won the pretty prestigious O. Henry award. While the O. Henry is just for short stories, many of these magazines publish other things (read: poetry).
http://www.randomhouse.com/anchor/ohenry/magind.html

If you are looking for really comprehensive lists of lit magazines—both online and in print, the following four websites are for you:

http://www.newpages.com/npguides/litmags.htm

http://www.pw.org/links_pages/Literary_Magazines/

http://www.duotrope.com/index.aspx

http://www.litline.org/links/index.html

I highly recommend that you at least browse the website of the magazine you wish to submit to. At the absolute verrrrrry least, read the WRITERS GUIDELINES. If you are a WRITER then the GUIDELINES are for YOU. This is not a trick. If you send something electronically to a magazine that does not have e-mail, then woe betide you.

Domination and Submission

“How do you go about submitting your work? Do you have a system for keeping track of markets and/or pieces you’ve sent out?” –Ali

She asked this like it would have a simple answer….

What I do, when I’m looking to send stories out, is I first browse through various market sites (for some great resources, check out the links in “Where to Find Markets). A lot of them recommend reading an issue before submitting, and I completely concur with that advice. It makes it a lot easier to ‘get’ what they’re looking for. However, there are some ways to get ideas for the right market without paying for 2,000 subscriptions.
1. Check out the websites. Most have at least one sample story–and here’s a clue: they don’t pick ones that are weak for their example…
2. Look at the “Best of…” and “O. Henry” anthologies. See what stories are from what magazines. This is the best of the fiction that’s being published, again they are practically handing you exactly what they are looking for.
3. FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES! They are not lying to you. They are not trying to bluff you. They are telling you what they want. Do it. If it’s not for them, don’t waste your time, your postage, or their future good graces.

Once I’ve browsed through–making notes on a scrap piece of paper regarding what story should be sent to what market–I write a cover letter. I paper clip the letter to the story that I’m sending to that market. (There are one or two magazines that flip out over paper clips, but don’t worry, they’ll tell you in the guidelines–but don’t staple anything.) If it’s an e-query, I note it on my scrap paper and save everything together on the computer. So, basically, I organize everything together.

Then I have an Excel spreadsheet where I have a different tab for each of my stories. Every time I send one out I note the following:
1. Name and address of the magazine, and the website if it has one
2. Name of the editor I addressed the letter/envelope to
3. Date I sent the work off
4. Magazine’s estimated response time

I also have spaces for when the work comes back:
5. Date I received reply
6. Editor who actually responded
7. Whether or not it was accepted
8. Whether or not it was a form response–if there are sweet little notes like “Send us more!” then I make sure that the magazine is up top the next time I do a mailing.

I also mark whether or not it’s a simultaneous submission, so I know that I can keep sending a story out if I want to. It’s important when doing simultaneous submissions to keep track of who is who because if the story is accepted somewhere, you’d better talk to the other people fast…so they don’t hate you. Generally, those magazines asking for exclusivity (read: no simultaneous submissions) are faster than those who allow them…but not always, so you have to keep on them. After their alloted review time is up (it’s in the guidelines…), write them to follow up–politely, don’t be a jerk. Sometimes things do get lost in the mail.

Change in Plans

Okay, so I’ve decided to throw the September goals out the window and readjust a couple things.
1. I will finish the round story chapter (umm, I think I have to…)
2. I will write as much as I can on FJR–hoping at least 50 pages…

And that’s it. I was going to have a new chapter of a new novel done, but (!) I realize that the baby is going to come very soon. Much sooner than I think and I want to be through the first draft and hopefully half of the second draft by the time junior comes along. Judging by my recent pacing…I have to step it up in that department.

So, it boils down to: Write like a mad fiend…or Whit on caffeine.

Why Creative Writing is Absolutely Necessary

“…learn just what you need, then get the hell out of academia before you get sucked into that solipsistic, mind-fuck parallel universe…” –John

Q: Why is creative writing necessary?
A: So you can construct effective, moving sentences such as the one above.

Scary vs. Stupid

“Here’s my challenge: take some risks this month. Think about that thing you’ve been thinking you should do, or write, but you’ve hesitated because it’s risky.”–Ali

When I discussed this challenge face-to-face with Ali I had a really hard time thinking about what I was scared about as far as writing goes. Because, really, I’ve gone into this whole writing thing pretty cocky and just kinda jumped in with both feet. I’ve submitted. I’ve been rejected. I’ve been accepted. I’ve written things outside my comfort zone. I’ve done public readings (probably the most nerve-wracking but I’ve done a lot of theatre too, so I didn’t sweat too very much). These are the reasons I love writing, because I can do these things and I’m not incredibly nervous.

Though submitting my novel is quite tremor-inducing.

But it’s not done. So submitting it would be stupid. I mean, I like to think that someone would look at it and say “Damn, I can sell this on the first ten pages.” Let’s face it. Such is not the case. (Though the first ten pages are, of course, brilliant.)

Now I’m trying to think of something that will help me prep for the BIG submission process. The only thing I can think of is continuing to submit short stories. Because then I’m still exposing myself, if I can put it that way in a public forum, and opening myself up to the varied/wandering/opinionated opinions of others. The other thing I thought of would be to write a query letter–apparently incredibly important to the submission process–and make other people read it/give their opinionated opinions.

So, does the challenge count if I do this, and all it does is alleviate those original fears I had?

So Much for That…

Well, crap. Didn’t get the round story done. Now I’m behind on my timeline for the monthly goals. Crap. Double Crap.

But, the good news is, I have worked on it. And it’s really, really cool. If I do say so myself. And I do. Now the problem is I want to just keep going and going and going. How will I hand it over? It’s kind of an addicting world for me. Crazy people all over the place, those are the best kind to write about.