I’ve been sending stories into magazines and contests again (after not even trying for about 4 years because I wasn’t doing anything with my writing during those years) and mostly it’s been a lot of waiting with the occasional rejection letter.
Basic rules when submitting (obviously every publisher has their own rules so check their website, but these are generally what you’re looking at).
1. Has to be the right type of story – meaning, if it’s a mystery magazine, submit mysteries; fantasy, submit fantasies. It gets more complicated because they could say they take all types of fantasy, but really want more medieval, swords and horses stuff than urban fantasy. Read through their whole website and the actual magazine to figure out what they are looking for besides just the general genre.
2. No simultaneous submissions – meaning you submit that piece to a publisher one at a time, not to five at a time. Which is why it takes so long to run through them.
3. No multiple submissions – meaning you send them one piece at a time, not five.
4. Read their Writer’s Guidelines carefully and follow them to every nitpicky T. If they want underlines instead of italics, you go through the whole thing and change it (btw, does anyone know how to do this in bulk in Word so I don’t have to go through the whole thing and change it one by one? 🙂 They want pages numbered a certain way? Do it. A specific font? Hey, that one’s easy to change, do it.
5. Aim for shorter – most magazines have a word limit for short story submissions. A good number seems to be about 4K – 6K.
I’ll be posting excerpts from my shorts in the future, and I’ll put up the list I’ve compiled of magazines that take urban fantasy submissions and pay professional rates (in fantasy that’s at least 6 cents a word). (You’d be shocked how many magazines say if the story is accepted they will get the usual set of rights to publish it, have submissions guidelines, advertisements and sale subscriptions like any other magazine, but don’t actually pay the authors for their story!)
Here’s what I’ve put out on hooks so far:
The Gods Defense Novella (length of 17K words) to Writers of the Future on 2/9/15 (find out in June).
One In Infinity (14.5K) to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction on 2/11/15. Said no on 2/26 because it didn’t quite win them over, but it had some good writing and they hope to see more stories from me. (Encouraging at the time, now I’m wondering if they say that to everybody.)
The Gods Defense Novel (90K) to http://www.dundeebookprize.com/ (find out in June).
The Order of the Sphinx (12K) to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction on 3/2/15 (about 15 days). Said no on 3/16/15, again with a version of what they said about One In Infinity.
Evie Jones and the Crazy Exes (5300) to Baen Contest on 3/25/15 (find out in July).
Evie Jones and the Good Luck Fundraiser (6K) to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction on 4/24/15.
Not a lot, I know. And you probably noticed half are F&SF. That’s because that magazine takes long pieces (up to 25K) and answers in about 15 days. So I’m running the stories that are ready past them first, because I know I’ll hear back quickly.
I will be submitting stuff to Tor when they open back up for submissions in May; they take longer pieces too. But other than Tor, F&SF and WOTF Contest, there’s not many places to submit stories over about 10K words. Most magazines cap short story submissions at 6K.
So if my longer stories don’t get picked up by Tor or WOTF now, I’m looking at self-publishing them.
I have two Millie stories around 6K almost ready to go: Patentability Pending and The Treetop Terrorist Experiment (suggestions for a better title are very, very welcome 🙂
And then I have a ton of other stories that were never finished and could be picked back up and finished if I could remember for the life of my writing career how I planned to end them, or just figure out a new ending.
Alright, there’s my tips and updates. Happy Writing 🙂