Monday, September 19, 2005

Market Research

So you're looking for a market for your latest magnum opus short story. You've looked over Ralan, maybe Spicy Green Iguana, definitely duotrope, what next? RTFG and RTFM.

Read the Friggin' Guidelines! It never ceases to amaze me how many writers apparently either cannot or will not read. Every editor and agent in the business can tell you. Well over half of what they receive is formatted incorrectly, addressed improperly, sent by e-mail when they don't accept e-subs, sent outside reading periods, etc., etc., etc. Reading the guidelines is common courtesy and common sense. Why would you waste time and money on a submission when it's just going straight into the shitcan without even being read? That's just stupid. Follow instructions and give your story a fighting chance.

Read the Friggin' Magazine! Why? Two reasons.

First, you need to know if your story fits the market. reading the guidelines helps with this, too. There's no sense sending a fantasy story to a market that only accepts literary fiction. Also, you can tell a lot about an editor's tastes and preferences from reading the stories he/she/it has chosen to publish. Again, if your story doesn't fit, move along. Don't waste everybody's time submitting inappropriately. You can also save your reputation a serious black eye by just paying attention.

Second, and this is something I don't remember ever seeing addressed anywhere else (how's that for a value-add?), weigh the content against your own personal standards. I see a lot of magazines, especially e-zines, that suffer from terminal illiteracy. I don't want my name associated with a magazine that is full of typos, bad grammar, incorrect word usage, and just plain shitty writing. I try to go the extra mile to be sure my writing is clean and error-free (as much as possible, nobody's perfect), and I want to see it presented in a way that does it justice.

Like the saying goes: You can't soar with eagles if you're lying with pigs. Or something like that, anyway.

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2 Comments:

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Melly said...

"I see a lot of magazines, especially e-zines, that suffer from terminal illiteracy."
LOL, Carter.

Ralan had an aritcle about this as some editors asked for their names to be taken off his list because people just sent their mss to the whole lot. Beats me!

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Carter said...

Everybody thinks thy're the next big thing. A lot of magazines are going to Web forms for submissions for this reason. Some, like Missouri Review, will accept e-mail subs only if you pay them a reading fee. Snail mail remains free. It only takes a few dumbasses to ruin things for everybody.

 

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