Works of Richard Marsden

The Works of Richard Marsden. Writing and Historical European Martial Arts.

Writing Hints Blog

Submitting - Short Stories 6

Posted by rmarsden on August 18, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Short Stories Conclusion

 

All roads must end, and our journey on this comet to the sun will end off on where and how to submit your work.

 

www.duotrope.com  is by far the best thing I've come across. The search-engine feature makes it easy to tailor a publisher to you! You can determine story-length, reprints, sim-subs, print, electronic and so on to find out what markets are out there!

 

www.ralan.com  is another popular one.

 

http://pred-ed.com/pema.htm  Preditors and Editors is a website that lists book, magazine, game and other publishers. Venues out to screw you are identified as such.

 

There are many more, but the ones above will get you started.

 

How?

 

For Electronic Submissions

Save your work in RTF format. If you're not sure how to do that. In word, Save As, followed by Other Formats, then find RTF. RTF keeps editors safe from viruses and what not. If a publisher doesn't ask for your story in RTF format then they will probably ask for the story in the body of your email or in their own submission form.

Since you need to write the story somewhere you might as well get used to saving things in RTF format.

 

For Snail Mail

I never use Snail Mail, and am happy with the venues available that accept electronic submissions. However, some of the pro-markets use snail-mail to cut down on their slush piles I think.

Snail mail means you need to print your manuscript in the right format (see prior topic) and print it on nice quality bond paper. Then you print up your cover letter and place it upon your manuscript. You do not staple it. Take your cover letter and manuscript and place it in an envelope that comfortably holds 8x11 paper and send the story in. Include a self-addressed and stamped enevelope for the editor to send back their reply. Let them keep the manuscript!

 

Payment

Using Duotrope you can classify publishers by what they pay you. Here's a break down.

For Science Fiction and Fantasy professional rates are 5 cents a word. The Science Fiction Writers of America are even more discerning and you can't join them unless you are published at professional rates by magazines they list!

The Horror Writers Association puts professional rates at 5 cents a word and have a broader list of acceptable venues.

 

Joining either organization requires multiple sales not only at pro-rates, but of their approved list.

 

In my case, I have one pending pro-sale, but it's not on the SFWA list, so I'm not elligible for membership. Aww!

 

Beneath the pro-rates are semi pro rates, 1-4.9 cents a word. Most of these are in the realm of 'you get something' and it is here I try to operate the most. I'd love to get more pro-work, but it's a tough racket!

 

Beneath that are semi-pro rates. The semi-pro rates are usually places that pay a set fee for a story. Reflection's Edge for instance pays $15 for articles and so no matter how much or little I write for them, I'll get no more than $15.

 

And at the bottom are non-paying markets. If I can't get the above to accept one of my stories I move to these markets. In the realm of horror, Absent Willow Review and SMH Horror are good places to submit to. They publish online on a regular basis giving you a great opportunity to get some success and showcase your work.

 

Never Pay

You never pay anyone for your work. You did the work not them! You don't pay for editing, you don't pay for 'prime space' you don't pay a thing! Publishers pay you!

 

And so our ride ends! Hopefully my articles on publishing short stories will make those of you wishing to take the leap from fan-ficition to the little league and big leagues of professional publishing a little easier!

 

I'll get into how to market a novel next, though I''ll have to curb my advice in that realm to the basics since I've two book contract signed but haven't made it to the end process of sales to see if it was all worth it!

 

Good Hunting all!

Categories: Short Story Advice

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1 Comment

Reply Tom Harold
11:59 AM on August 31, 2011 
Richard, a fine post, but I think there's a typo in the section that lists pay rates. You explain pro, then semi-pro, and then beneath that you say "and then there's semi-pro" a second time. You then mention the publisher that pays $15 not matter the story length. I'm not sure what pay scale you attribute it to, but I was wondering if "token" wasn't what you were going for, at least that's what Duotrope calls those markets.

Aside from that, what an excellent article. I've been going through this process myself a fair bit lately, and you've done an excellent job of pointing out all the high points that writers would find of interest. This is good "Get the job done" advice for anyone.