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Cafe Doom  |  General Discussions  |  General Discussion  |  What do you think about submitting...
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Author Topic: What do you think about submitting...  (Read 4858 times)

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LeeThompson

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What do you think about submitting...
« on: February 08, 2010, 02:49:18 AM »
I wonder if there's something to building a fanbase (and a relationship with certain editors) by getting several stories in their magazine. In the last four months I've had Morpheus Tales pick up three of my stories. They seem to like my writing. What do you think is a better approach? Writing and throwing stories at a dozen random markets or narrowing it down to say, three markets that really like your stories?

I think I'm going to send MT a story every month, and Psuedopod, and one of the others who have been very cool. And maybe three stories to markets that seem impossibe to get in to (Cemetery Dance, Black Static, Asimovs.) How does everyone else approach submitting?

Offline Geoff_N

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 03:54:35 AM »
Lee, I believe you are right in that once you get accepted by a magazine they conjure an attitude that this is a writer that can help the magazine build up readership - familiarity and all that. Because my writing is more science fiction than horror, I use a scatter gun approach to subs. Jupiter is the only one that always accepts my stories. I want to get into the big 4 - Analog, SF&F, Asimovs and Interzone but all I get are form rejections with requests to read their magazines first. Hey, I have been reading them for decades! Black Static is in the same stable as Interzone, and I agree with you that it is difficult to get into. One of our problems with those biggies is that they are all suffering from falling sales year after year. Consequently, they focus on big names - recycled stories from Baxter, Heinlein etc and generally make room for only one newbie per issue - if that. Even Stephen King moaned that mags are asking him for his dregs - stories from his pre-published days he'd be ashamed to let loose.

At Escape Velocity we deliberately take newcomers but were quickly overwhelmed with subs of very poor quality. We could only afford to run the mag on a POD service via Lulu and as PDF - the former too expensive for the masses and the latter, although cheap still sells slowly. In fact we give away the early PDFs and the latest is less than a cup of coffee and a doughnut - see here http://www.adventurebooksofseattle.com/escapevelocitymagazine.htm

Back to your question. For my subs, I try every paying outlet I find at duotrope then fall back on Jupiter if all else fails. I also look out for anthologies - a good way to get your name out there though sales of those are poor too.

Sorry for the ramble and the plug

Geoff
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 03:57:25 AM by Geoff_N »

LeeThompson

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 04:41:41 AM »
Great points, Geoff. Your mag looks cool, too. It's too bad it's so hard to distribute. Speaking of the big mags, yeah, I see them doing that a lot--wel-know authros filling the pages. I think it's still worth trying for them though. But working subs for a mag, I know that there can be 200 bad to decent subs and maybe 30-50 really good ones and they still have to narrow that down to 10-20 slots for an issue. Tough stuff. It's one of my goals this year to subscribe to all of my favorite mags (about 8 of them), not that it'll help a lot, but I don't want to see them go out of business.

I think that's a good system-- the top down approach. I've read a lot of pro authors give that advice. It seems, if nothing else, it makes you write your best and it can't hurt for the slush readers to see your name come up once a month.

Anthos are something I've never had luck with, but agree that they can really help get our names out there.

No apologies needed, man. I appreciate your opinion. It's good sense. Thanks. Lee

delph_ambi

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2010, 04:44:45 AM »
It's an interesting question. I have no problems getting poetry into Everyday Poets, but they only pay $1 per poem, so it's hardly worth the effort. I get asked by the editor to submit poetry and artwork to Earlyworks Press Anthologies, which is great, but like all anthologies they don't exactly sell in the thousands. I've also had a fair bit of luck with Leaf books, but that really is luck because their anthologies are judged anonymously, so it's not my 'name' that's getting me in - though once I'm in, of course people see my name, and hopefully it's starting to feel a bit familiar.

What I want is a nice literary/poetic journal that pays well and that asks me to submit on a regular basis. *sigh*

In the meantime, I'm tending to use the scatter gun approach and go more for competitions than journals. Not sure if this is a good idea. I've made a profit on it (setting winnings against entry fees) but I don't think it's getting me anywhere. Journals might be a better bet.

Offline Rev. Austin

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2010, 05:02:33 AM »
I've been concentrating on Library of the Living Dead, partly because they always have an antho in the pipeline you can sub to, partly because it's a really nice communiy, and partly because everything I've sent them has been accepted (apart from one that's still in 'acceptance limbo').  If they don't have anything coming out I feel I can write something for, or a story isn't completed on time, I use duotrope to look for other anthos to sub to.

In this respect, I haven't targeted any magazines or sites in quite a few months, but every now and again I'll doublecheck who's looking for what and by when...though I think I might have fudged things a bit by sending off stories to some places I really admire that clearly needed another redraft (I didn't think so at the time but I've since come to recognise certain elements that make a piece look a bit, um, 'rough', thanks to this place) - stories I've since polished into glittering diamonds but can't re-submit  ::)
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LeeThompson

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 05:06:19 AM »
I wish that market appears for ya, Delph. That'd be great. Little successes are still great, but yeah, a wider readership is always nice.

Contests seem like a great way to get recognition and give yourself a boost at the same time. Most of the ones I see are for flash, which sucks for me, I'm terrible at flash. Haha. Shock Totem has a monthy flash contest they just started. I'm going to enter it, you guys should too.

And thanks, Deplh.

Lee

LeeThompson

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2010, 05:12:08 AM »
Hey, Rev. Yeah, that's a good market. I have some friends from Zoetrope who get in those too (Chris Barthelmew and AJ Brown, a couple others too, I believe.) Hopefully that last antho comes out of purgatory. Do you think it helps you build a little following through the people that read their anthos?

I have a bad habit of subbing stuff too soon a lot of times too. Then after their subbed, I look the MS over and go "What the hell... I could have really tightened this up more." LOL. So, you're not alone. One thing that's nice is I think the more we learn and write, those first drafts come out a little cleaner. What's keeping you from subbing a lot, Rev? Lack of time?

Thanks,

Lee

Bec

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2010, 05:48:52 AM »
At the moment I'm trying to sub to different markets, because I thought it would look good in a biog to have a list of several different mags, rather than just one or two (even if they've published two or three stories). I've had three stories accepted by Delivered which had no success elsewhere (when I was trying to write for women's mags). Delivered takes all genres, so if I couldn't sell a horror story I'd probably send it there as the editor seems to like my writing.

I like Morpheus Tales, Lee. Next time I buy a copy I'll look out for your work. I've sent them one of my stories but haven't heard anything yet.

Offline Rev. Austin

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2010, 06:22:09 AM »
Hey, Rev. Yeah, that's a good market. I have some friends from Zoetrope who get in those too (Chris Barthelmew and AJ Brown, a couple others too, I believe.) Hopefully that last antho comes out of purgatory. Do you think it helps you build a little following through the people that read their anthos?

I have a bad habit of subbing stuff too soon a lot of times too. Then after their subbed, I look the MS over and go "What the hell... I could have really tightened this up more." LOL. So, you're not alone. One thing that's nice is I think the more we learn and write, those first drafts come out a little cleaner. What's keeping you from subbing a lot, Rev? Lack of time?

Thanks,

Lee

Well, I've managed to get 14 acceptances within 11 months, which as a personal target I'm rather pleased with (considering I only started subbing stories 11 months ago) but I'd like to try subbing to more places.  Initially, I literally chucked loads of mud at the wall and waited to see what stuck, but (especially within these last few months) I've made a conscious effort to take my time with every story I write, even if this means leaving it alone for a week or so before taking another look at it.  I do have quite a lot of free time, but it soon gets eaten up using this practice, and then sometimes I'll just not write for a week or two at all to kind of recharge my creative batteries  :smiley:

My reasoning with concentrating (if you like) on LOTLD is exactly what you said, Lee - I'm hoping to build-up a little following via their readership, or at least be in the position where they'll be a group of folks out there who see my stuff turn up in other places and go "oh yeah, I've read his stuff in so-and-so by LOTD"

I would like to get my stuff in different publications for the same reason Bec said - I hope it'd look good to have an extensive list, rather than just a few different places/one main place. 

Although, on a side-note, I have started to notice links between LOTLD and a quite a few places, even if it's just the same authors turning up (for instance, I appeared on the New Bedlam site, and Jodi Lee - the editor - is involved with LOTLD as an editor/illustrator, and I've noticed Severed Press (an Australian publisher) had a few LOTLD authors in their last antho).
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Offline delboy

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2010, 07:09:02 AM »
Quote
Well, I've managed to get 14 acceptances within 11 months, which as a personal target I'm rather pleased with

I'll say! That's tremendous. Puts my track record to shame. It took me about 25 years to get to 14 acceptances  :huh:

Alas, these days my short stories seem to come in at 5k minimum. Usually much higher, so I don't get to sub them very often as there still aren't that many markets for longer shorts. Especially, if like me, you're a non-zombie writer!

That said, I've gone back to novels anyway. I have one short story awaiting rewriting and submitting, but once that's done I think it'll be the last short for a long while. I much prefer the freedom that novels offer, even if the likelihood of publication is less than that of a short.

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Robert B. Parker

delph_ambi

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2010, 08:13:03 AM »
Absolutely! (regarding novels). I'm busy on a novel at the moment, and am loving the freedom it gives to take my time telling the story, to put in great chunks of dialogue that slowly reveal the characters, to give relationships time to develop - all that stuff.  :smiley:

I think it even has a theme, something which I find impossible to achieve in short stories, and it might even be commercially viable, as I'm going for the women's fiction genre rather than literary fiction or magical realism this time.

Offline Geoff_N

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2010, 08:24:53 AM »
Most of the big SF mags seem to favour stories around 5k to 10k long.

BTW, Lee, our Delph won an important literary competition recently - the Whittaker Prize.  Our JonP did well there too. Both have poems and stories in that competition's anthology - The Rhinoceros and His Thoughts here
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0557229766/

Geoff

Offline rsmccoy

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2010, 12:54:50 PM »
I don't think  there's much of a choice if you write horror or at least stories with strong elements of horror in them. There are only a handful of magazines that truly take unsolicited submissions. Cemetery Dance has been temp closed for awhile and even when they are open, you are competing against a thousand for perhaps one slot. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but one way to get into a mag like that is get popular enough to be asked. That takes time and also means you need to get into reputable mags as often as possible.

Morpheus Tales, Shroud, Necrotic Tissue (shameless plug) all have a lot of open slots and give all writers an fair chance to get in. There are others of course, but not many unless you count the free zines. I do agree writers should always try to crack the bigs, but not spend all of their time only trying them. Getting your stories in front of people is important and psychologically, it's important to us as writers. I have a pretty good acceptance rate, with 22 short stories in the last three years and one novel, but I hadn't had one in awhile. I got one the other day and didn't realize how bad I needed it until I'd read the acceptance letter.  I think it's good for the soul to always be int he process of writing and submitting.
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delph_ambi

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Re: What do you think about submitting...
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2010, 03:55:06 PM »
Thanks for the plug, Geoff! I'll be judging the poetry section of the Whittaker this year. Really looking forward to it. I hope anyone here who fancies trying their hand at a fiction and/or poetry competition where you get personalised feedback in every single round will give it a go.

Some mags/ezines are too easy to get into and give one a false sense of success. Always aim high, would be my advice. Start off with the freebies (non-payers) to boost your confidence, but as soon as possible try to get into the semi-pros and above. That's what I'm doing. It's tough, but there's no point trying to write commercially unless you possess rhinoceros hide.

The real money undoubtedly is in novels. I don't think there's any question of that. I like the fact that I've had plenty of poetry published, but it's never going to make me rich.

You can't sell the film rights to a poem.

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