Over time I have developed some guidelines that I apply when choosing where to send a story. Because I’m annoyed at the current story I’m working on, I decided to post this, instead of finishing the story.
- Good stories. I have to like what the magazine has published in the past (or at the very least recognize authors I like in previous table of contents).
- Payment. I want to make a living from doing this. I’ve submitted to very low paying magazines (or non paying mags) in the past but I try to avoid doing that now unless I really respect the mag. Generally I’ll start with the highest paying, appropriate market.
- Response Time. I try to drop stories to markets that have relatively fast turn-over. Some magazines can hang onto stories for over a year before rejecting them; these are usually not at the top of my submission list.
Market Bonus Points
- Feedback. If I know the market gives good feedback on declined stories, they get a couple bonus points.
- Great Editing. I know my stories benefit from editing. The problem with this category is that you have to had something published or have talked to someone who has to know if the editing at a particular magazine is good. Some markets just print what you send; typos and all. Others have one or more editors go over your story, improving it. In my experience On Spec has had consistently strong editing and I’ve recently had good experiences with Not One of Us and Northern Frights.
- Visibility. I like knowing someone has read my story, so I will tend to gravitate to markets that have higher circulation numbers, or exposure.
- Reviewed. Similar to the point above, if Ellen Datlow, Horton or other professional reviewers are likely to read the magazine, I’m inclined to submit there.
- Quirkiness. Some magazines I just have a fondness for, based on past experience, or there’s something about their submission procedure I like (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine gets bonus points, despite having broken my heart three times, with their reading system where you can track the progress of your story as it moves through their various readers + you usually get good feedback).
How do I know where to send stories?
I use duotrope as my market information finder; I find that it has pretty up to date information and loads of ways to view the market information — you can do some pretty elaborate searches. But there are several other market finders out there.