Submitting short stories to mags?

Discussion in 'Writing' started by BlueAngel, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    I have one complete short story done so far, but I have others in the works and I'd like to submit it to a scifi genre magazine that takes them. But I don't know where to start, or which mags wuld be best to submit to. I'm also unsure of the fees that they might pay an author if they decide to publish the work. Anyone familiar with this, and how to go about it?

    I would like to get it in print somewhere so at least it will be exposure and publishing experience, but as a said before I don't want to go into it blindly.~Angela
     
  2. JamesL

    JamesL Speculative Horizons

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    Best place to start is probably www.ralan.com - this lists most of the speculative fiction markets, with payment and submission details.
     
  3. MrBF1V3

    MrBF1V3 aka. Stephen B5 Jones

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    If that doesn't help, go to your nearby library and borrow the Writers Market for this year.

    B5
     
  4. mistri

    mistri Special Member

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    Duotrope.com is also very useful (it's a market search engine)
     
  5. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    I looked through the ralan site, but I'm still unsure of some things and unsure of who to go through. What amount should I accept as payment? What are some of the publishers that you guys have gone through for short story submission?
     
  6. JamesL

    JamesL Speculative Horizons

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    Payment is not something you should really be concerned with, and it varies from publication to publication. I was paid a modest $10 each for the two stories that I sold, but I was simply glad to be paid anything at all because I write for the enjoyment and the challenge, not for monetary gain. There is no negotiation concerning fees. If you don't like the payment offered by a magazine, don't submit to them.

    The two stories I have sold were both purchased by Nocturne magazine, published by Lighthouse Media One (a British indie press). To be honest you are best off submitting to similar, small magazines. There's nothing stopping you from submitting to the big guns like Interzone, Asimov's, etc, but be warned the standard is very high. Ultimately which magazine/ezine you target should be one that caters for your specific genre. Shop around using Ralan's listings and make a list of suitable magazines.
     
  7. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    It isn't about what I want to be paid, but rather what I should expect. I just would like to get it out there so it'll at least be an experience in publishing and for my name to get out. I appreciate your honesty, after all, I know from what I've read and heard that beginning to publish any work is often done in small steps.

    I'm having some confusion navigating the ralan site though, there are category terms I don't quite understand completely. Is there anyone who can explain it to me?
     
  8. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

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    BlueAngel, what is that you're not getting? I'll try to help.
     
  9. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    What are anthology, 4theluv, semi & pro markets? I'm guessing, but 4theluv is romance?
    The other thing is on submission formats. Apparently some want text files or rtf files. For text, is that just copying into an email or the msword format?
     
  10. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

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    An anthology is a special collection of short stories, usually issued one-time or perhaps annually as opposed to a regular magazine, sometimes organized around a specific theme. For example, The Year's Best Fantasy is an anthology. So would, oh, a collection of stories about lycanthropes, or pirates. If you want to submit to an anthology, make sure you understand what the editor is looking for, and that your story fits, so that you don't waste your time and hers.

    For the Love (no it's not romance specific, but that gave me a chuckle) is a market that does not pay any compensation to submitting writers, perhaps not even a complimentary issue. In other words, having something published in this market is "for the love (of writing)", rather than for payment. Not considered, to my knowledge, as a professional sale for purposes of SFWA* membership.

    Semi-pro and Pro markets are the ones that compensate the writers that they publish. Semi-pro may be only a copy or two of the issue and a bio, or maybe a small payment. Pro gets paid more, whether per word or flat fee. Depending on the type and amount of compensation Semi-pro may qualify toward SFWA; Pro will qualify.

    (Edited to defer to superior knowledge re: text files. *genuflects* See Dawnstorm's entry below).

    *SFWA=Science Fiction Writers of America, a professional association of, well, science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  11. Holbrook

    Holbrook Edited for submission

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    4theluv means no payment, just published in the mag or e-zine, as in doing the writing for the love of it.

    Anthology is a collection of short stories either in hard back or paper back, sometimes a mag.

    Semi & pro markets are mags/publishers that pay the going rate 4 cents a word (I think) or a set fee per number of words.

    Text, like RTF is an msword format, drop down your file type box on save as and you should see it.

    Hope that helped.
     
  12. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    A "text file" ends in .txt. The difference between txt-files and rtf-files is that txt-files contain nothing but ASCII-signs (standard coded letters, numbers and symbols). Some publishers prefer txt-files to rtf-files, because their less vulnerable to viruses.

    If they ask for a text-file, I'd assume their asking for a txt-file; which means that I'd have to find a way to indicate italics (not even underlining is possible in txt-files).
     
  13. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    Thanks guys, I've already listed several that I could submit to. Should I submit to all of them, or only a few at a time?
     
  14. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

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    It depends on whether they accept simultaneous submissions to more than one market. If not, then you should only submit to one at a time. If two or more do take simultaneuous submissions, then have at it. Ralan or Duotrope should have an entry for simultaneous submissions (either yes or no); but I can't say that for certain because it's been sometime since I looked them over..
     
  15. Ward

    Ward biblioholic

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    You're better off avoiding simsubs entirely from my experience, and most places don't like it anyway.

    Don't confuse simsibs (subbing the same story to more than one place simultaneously) with multi subs (sending more than one story to the same place at the same time).

    I recommend you check out Ralan's links page to read articles about fiction writing and the submissions process, etc. There's a lot to be learned. Above all make sure you follow manuscript format and whatever formatting rules the market requires (you'd be surprised how many people ignore these things...and how many editors are ready to shred their manuscript because of it).

    You should also know that you stand a much higher chance of getting pubbed as a first timer at a small press magazine than a pro mag, though the process (and maybe feedback) of subbing to the pros is invaluable. Just know that they publish a very small number of unsolicited stories a year and recieve a tremendous volume of the same.

    Also, if you are at all serious about publishing short fiction in magazines, you need to read those magazines to have some idea of what the editors want...and to help keep those magazines alive.
     
  16. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    I just made the exact mistake you mentioned, I forgot to reformat it. I sent it already, but do you think it would be a bother if a sent them a second email with the correct format? They want the standards sfwa uses, which I just looked at. Is this page it? http://www.sfwa.org/writing/format_rothman.htm
     
  17. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    After feeling like an idiot and seriously revamping the format, I've resent it, so hopefully, I won't have my chances crushed. BTW, I submitted to Aberrant Dreams. They were one of the only ones open to subs and taking the genres I write, so this will be the first submissions if I don't get in. I'll have to wait anywhere between 1-5 months. I'm not overly excited, but I do feel satisfied that I did something to persue this.~Angela
     
  18. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

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    Just be realistic in your expectations. That is as important as submitting to the proper market and following the required formatting. It's possible to write your first short story, send it off to one market, and have it accepted right away. Hey, you're off and running! It's possible and, sometimes, it actually does happen but it's very rare.

    The more frequent truth about following the path of short fiction as a means of building a career as a writer is that it takes time and lots of effort to see any results. Very few writers see immediate success. Most accumulate quite a collection of rejections. You must keep writing and polishing your stories (this is more important than the writing, actually), send the rejected ones out again as soon as the rejection comes in, keep writing, keep submitting. You must believe in yourself even as the submission go out and the rejections flow in.

    Over time, as you grow as a writer, you get a few pieces published. Then a few more. Then your name begins to garner some recognition. Acceptances come easier, and more frequently. Even the awful stories that you wrote in your beginning days may find a home merely because they've got your name on them. The next thing you know, people are asking when you're going to come out with a book-length effort.

    Patience and persistence are the neophyte's only weapons.
     
  19. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    Angela, print the story out and put it in a manila folder with a list of other publishers who will take this type of story in the order of preference and every two months send a copy to the next publisher on the list.

    Don't wait for the rejections... altho it is lovely when a magazine takes the time to reject you... don't be at their mercy, get your own plan. Take control.

    Now go write your next story.