You write the story, you edit the story, you’re ready to have others read the story.
Now comes the really fun part. Who do you sub to? Should you try and get into an anthology? Wouldn’t it just be easier to post your story on your blog and see if people like it there?
Figuring out how to reach your readers isn’t easy. There are so many options in publishing nowadays and a lot of magazines have their own rules and criteria. A good number of presses are switching to themed issues to get the kinds of stories they want to publish.
Choosing what works for you is all about your goals. If you just want to get your work out there and don’t care if people read it or not, put it on your blog. Who knows, maybe you’ll reach someone who really needs it. But if you’re looking for something more prestigious, it’s best to bide your time and get ready for rejection.
Submitting to magazines and e-zines is nerve wracking. It chips away at your patience and your confidence, but it is the greatest initiation for authorhood. There is nothing like getting that acceptance and being able to showcase your work in a professional manner.
Everyone’s a writer, everyone wants to be an artist. Finding a way to stand out and be heard is more difficult than ever. The main key in publishing is to take the hits and keep getting up. When a story gets knocked down, re-edit (if needed) and re-submit. I have stories that I wrote almost 2 years ago that are just now finding a home.
Sometimes you need those rejections to force you to make the changes that are necessary. NEVER GET MARRIED TO A STORY AS IS. Stories change. They evolve over time. TIME is a huge aid in publishing.
This is not pop music. You don’t have to make it big before you turn 25 in order to be successful. Let it sit. Let it simmer. Get that stew to really develop it’s flavor. (Okay enough with the cooking metaphors-fuck, now I’m hungry)
Best of all there are some great sites out there to help a writer figure out where the hell their work fits best.
I swear by Duotroupe
There is an annual fee, but it’s minimal and will help you earn your money back through publishing credits. This website is a database of publications looking for stories. There are anthologies and some novel calls listed on here as well. It’s an essential tool for any writer. And it helps you keep track of your accepted works/rejections. This is how a lot of writers know their acceptance ratio.
I don’t measure my progress as an author by counting the words I’ve written. Half that shit gets altered or edited out. I measure it by how many pieces get published.
Lately I’ve been receiving a new breed of rejection. I used to get just the standard, no feedback response. As I honed my skills, I began to get the “This is a great piece but it just doesn’t fit” responses. In the past month or two I’ve moved onto an even more encouraging form of rejection. I keep receiving links to other publications to help me find a home for the piece that was rejected.
Editors who take the time to encourage authors are gems. A lot of editors are authors themselves, or were at one time so I find it very fitting.
Sometimes it’s a link to a specific publication, but most recently I was directed here:
This is an amazing resource. And I like to cross reference everything so I know what I’m getting into. You can find a lot of the publications at New Pages on Duotrope. I like looking up pay rates, if the magazines charge submission fees, and what percent of submissions they accept. That last one is a big deal to me.
Of course we want to aim high, but after a time one grows tired of getting lovely rejections for the same publication because it only takes in .08% of what is submitted. haha
Those odds are insane. I like to play the odds. Sure it’s fun to get in there and really jump in the competition, but damn it’s a struggle.
Balancing the acceptance ratio, with the pay, and trying to avoid submission fees is where my brain is thankful that I actually like math. I hated it as a kid. Didn’t realize I was good at it until I had an awesome professor in college who really cracked open my brain.
The longer you keep at this, the more familiar you get with certain publications. You’ll fall in love with specific ones, subscribe to them and aspire to make it in one day. Those are your best bet. There’s no use submitting to a publication that you don’t care about.
Find the magazines that you love and work!