I’m always on the lookout for new markets for my short stories. Problem is sometimes I get so engrossed in researching literary journals, I don’t write!
The good thing about short fiction and flash fiction is that no matter what your genre, from literary fiction to science fiction and every combination in between, there are probably publications out there that match your style. Receiving an acceptance is a totally different matter.
In the realm of literary journals, many are run by college or university English departments, or they’re small businesses on a small budget, sometimes edited by a staff of volunteers. It’s truly a labor of love and if they’ve gained any kind of reputation for producing a quality magazine, they’re probably bombarded with submissions. So read the submissions guidelines over and over, and make sure you tailor the formatting of your story to their requirements, right down to where they ask you to type your address, if that’s in their guidelines. Always proofread your manuscript meticulously, and after you’ve proofed it six times, have someone else read it for typos and continuity. Being so close to my writing, I tend to “correct” mistakes as I proofread. Of course, this is all basic stuff, but you’d be surprised how many interviews I’ve read in writing magazines where editors complain about typos and poorly formatted manuscripts.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to send your beloved story out into the world, the search for a good home is on. Let’s take my story “Before and After” as an example. At 838 words, the story falls into the category of flash fiction. At the time, I was using Duotrope.com to research markets. I knew of a few pubs where I could send the story, but I hoped to discover more.
After making a list of all the possibilities, paying particular attention to word count in the listing, I went to the actual online journals and re-read the guidelines to make sure the listings on Duotrope were up to date. Then I read a few stories in the journals. If I felt my story was a good match, and I felt the website had a professional look and feel, I sent the story out.
As soon as Wilderness House Literary Review accepted it, I withdrew it from another pub that still had it under consideration. I had already received a couple of rejections. In this case, the rejections were form rejections. If they were personal, I would make a special note in my personal submissions tracker to send something else as soon as I had a story I thought would be a good fit.
A word about online journals. As recently as three or four years ago, if you mentioned you were submitting to a web-based magazine, you might have gotten the old eye roll. Not anymore. Many well-known and respected literary journals either have an online version or component of their print journal or have gone completely digital. More often than not, the decision to digitize is financial. Many online journals are beautifully designed, and some offer the opportunity for writers to expand their horizons through interactivity and mixed media.
Most journals, print and online, allow some kind of electronic submissions, whether through their own system or Submittable (formerly called Submishmash). Sometimes there’s a small fee, but you’d have to pay that in postage, anyway, if you were to send your manuscript via snail mail.
Here are a few resources I use. I’m sure there must be many others. I no longer subscribe to Writer’s Market online or to Duotrope, which recently went to a paid subscription service, not because these products are bad. They’re quite good. I’m just trying to save a few bucks right now.
So where do you find markets for your work?
The Practicing Writer
Erika Dreifus’ newsletter offers articles and market listings, upcoming contests and more
To subscribe send a blank e-mail to practicing-writer- subscribe@ yahoogroups. com
Flash Fiction Chronicles
Jim Harrington does a super job updating his compilation of flash fiction markets. Also, explore the site for tons of info on writing flash, interviews and stories.
Flash Fiction Flash Newsletter
After a hiatus, Pamelyn Casto’s popular newsletter is back with flash fiction markets, subscriber publishing news and information on flash fiction, haibun, flash memoir and other short-short genres.
To subscribe send an email to FlashFictionFlash-Subscribe@yahoogroups.com
This diverse resource offers a variety of content for writers, from calls for submissions, contests and reviews to publishing news and much more.
Poets & Writers Database
The print version of Poets & Writers is packed with articles, interviews and market listings. This online database is pretty comprehensive. I included the link to lit magazines, but you’ll also find links to agents, contests and grants, jobs, small presses and more.
If you’re on facebook…
The Submittable (Submishmash) page
“Like” the page and get various markets and contest deadlines in your newsfeed
Paid subscription resources:
Writers’ Market $39.99/year
(They also have a free monthly newsletter)