05 April 2016

write to market?

I recently had the opportunity to interact with several different editors from around the country. I was frankly shocked at how diverse our opinions of stories were. A single publishable story could have opinions ranging from 'loved it' all the way to 'hated it.' I did notice editors had certain preferences. One editor wouldn't consider a story unless the first page had a lot of setting description. One editor only considered G-rated stories. One editor only seemed to like stories with male protagonists. And on and on...

These editors edit for different markets. If you study the publications they've edited you can get some reasonable ideas for what they like. There are a lot of different elements in a story including point-of-view, tone, vocabulary, telling vs. showing, and internal and/or external plot. My point is: different markets are different. Does it make sense to submit a story to an inconsistent market? Maybe not. Does that mean you should write to market, i.e. try to write a story that's consistent with a particular market to sell it to them? Every author should probably answer that question for his/herself.

Electric Spec does have some conventions. Here's a short list. To appear in our market your story must:

  • have a speculative element
  • have some kind of protagonist
  • have some kind of external plot
  • be good.
In addition, our stories almost always have some kind of showing. Often, the ratio of showing to telling is over fifty percent. We do look for unique stories, something we haven't read before. Our stories very rarely involved graphic violence such as brutal murder and/or rape of a child.

We're starting to gear up for our marvelous May 2016 issue. Stay tuned here for more info!
The submission deadline for this issue is April 15, 2016.

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