20 May 2009

why to write short stories #3

A note to our E-Spec readers. Some might wonder why I digress into talking about other markets here. Firstly, it's syndicated from my personal blog. But more importantly, the better all short story markets do, the better Electric Spec does. A strong market works to all our benefits--writers and publishers alike. Thanks for reading. --Betsy

Like I said yesterday, there is no shortage of markets for short stories. New internet for-the-luv markets open almost daily. Paying markets are hanging in there and reinstating pretty often. I won't lie and say you'll get rich selling short stories. (Though some erotica authors do all right.) Mostly, short stories build your resume and get your name out there. It's called paying your dues. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Submitting to an online market takes nearly no time at all. There's no lengthy query letter to draft, no sales pitch. It's basically here's my story, "such and such", it weighs in at (rounded to the nearest hundredth) words. Thanks for you time and Bob's yer uncle. List credits if you got 'em, skip that whole bit if you don't. Seriously, editors don't care. Let me repeat that. Short story editors don't care how many credits you have. It's all about the story and nowhere in our industry is that more true than in the short story markets, especially with us indy types. (addendum: some markets focus more on writers with a name because those names listed on the cover sells issues. But nearly EVERY market buys first sales.)

So, no pressure on the letter. That one thing makes it super easy to send your story right back out there, too.

Most turn-around times on submissions are decent--weeks rather than months, and I'm convinced you'll get a fair read. And there's several places online to find markets. (As I said before, I like Ralans.com.)

But really the best thing about submitting to short story markets is that with less time invested in the original product and the marketing of it, rejections don't sting as much as a novel rejection does. It thickens your skin. There's also other benefits, like it being more likely that you'll get the coveted personal rejection. That's what we'll get into tomorrow. :)


Martin Willoughby said...

Online submission is great. I got my first publication that way.

Does the online market help support the printed market (or vice versa), or is it sounding the death knell of the printed short story magazine?

A recent magazine launched in Britain called First Edition (http://www.firsteditionpublishing.co.uk/).

It's on its third edition at the moment and is full of new writers, but I haven't seen any other new launches recently.

Betsy Dornbusch said...

I tend to find new markets a lot by searching the databases and hanging online in general. And of course, others pop up under the radar because it takes some work to get listed (just ask Dave--he usually handles that end for us).

I'll have to look at First Edition. Seems I always have spare story to send somewhere.